While hanging out the washing last month, I noticed that my tea-towels were threadbare and developing holes. And so my summer weaving project was decided for me.
Initially I had planned to make something like this turned twill design, in pale yellow, silver and white.
That design is for 8-shafts, but I was able to work out a similar design using false damask that I could do on my 4-shaft loom. Feeling quite smug at this point
Not so smug when the order for my yarns arrive, and find that the yellow is a deep golden colour and the grey is about 70% black. Nice, but in my chosen design—> hazard sign! Plan B, is to use plain weave, with a white weft to help tone down the colours. A few stripes to give a little interest, Fibonacci widths for visual appeal, and supplemental weft for something new for me to try. A little time spent playing with yarn wrapping lead to the main idea. From there I adjusted the widths to match Fibonacci proportions.
Supplemental weft was thrown in because last year I had shown DH a picture of the bobbins from Ashford, and asked if he could turn a few ( well half a dozen) for me. He disappeared into the shed, the sound of the lathe whirring and then the chatter of wood being shaped into a round. Moments later he appeared with Example A, made using Casuarina; I love the medullary rays in this timber. Example B, was a little smaller and made in Red Gum. Finally Example C was the size I wanted and very soon I had a baker’s dozen in Silvertop Ash.
Winding the warp, I made a couple of (unplanned) changes to the design due to counting mistakes and running out of the yellow thread. It looked quite dramatic on the warping pegs. But it toned down a bit as I started to weave.
My denting was 3-2-2 and as I started to weave, I could see reed marks in the cloth (the darker bands where the threads are closer together). I didn’t like the look in that sample and resleyed the reed to 2-2-2, but this was too open. Dismayed, I googled ‘reed marks’ and found a few posts showing how the reed marks disappear after washing. So, fingers crossed, I reslayed the reed back to the original and ploughed on.
I tend to weave sporadically, going as far as a full bobbin will take me, occasionally two or three. After a while, the weaving is done, and inch of twill separates each of the towels. It gets cut off the loom, the hems zig-zagged before being cut apart. A double folded hem, machine stitched down and it’s in with the wash they go.
They did look quite nice fapping around in the breeze against the blue sky. Looking closely, I can still see faint reed marks, but you wouldn’t really notice it unless you were looking for it.
The yarn for this project cost wasn’t cheep, costing about $10 per towel. Not exactly economical, but like they say ‘I good hobby is cheaper than therapy!”