Friday, February 6, 2009

Blue Crepe Towels Project Wrap-up

I ordered the yarn for these blue towels years ago, as part of a series of dishtowels. My whole goal was to produce something useful, while improving my selvedges enough to tackle other types of projects where smooth edges might be more important to me.

I intended these towels to be a set for our master bathroom which is blue and white. I got side-tracked by other events in my life, and then by not having good weaving habits.....There were long gaps between winding the warp and dressing the loom, another gap of several months between when I started dressing the loom and when I started weaving the towels.

I also got side-tracked when one of the towel hems unraveled during wet-finishing. But now, this project is officially done!

At the end of the warp, I had a bit left, so I made a facecloth using cotton flake for 3 repeats of the weft, then one repeat of the blue.

I haven't used cotton flake before, so I'm not sure how it will hold up.

Currently, three of the towels have been wet finished by washing in warm water, and drying on low, then removing from the dryer when damp and pressing.

The fourth towel went through that same process, but has also gone through a regular cycle in the wash with clothes and household items. That fourth towel shrunk I expect my other three to shrink more once they're in use.

You can see that the towel on the right has shrunk more - the threads are more tightly packed.

This towel ring is where I originally intended these towels to hang, but I didn't carefully check the dimensions of the project in Handwoven, and the resulting towels are shorter than I like for that use.

Project Details:

Project Plan: 8 shaft crepe from
Handwoven Sept/Oct 2003 "Bath Accessories au Naturel"
by Karen Tenney, pages 52 - 55.

This same author's work is featured on the cover of the September 2008 Handwoven.

Warp & Weft: 8/2 unmercerized cotton in royal blue
(Homestead cotton from Halcyon in Color 9)
This yarn choice differs from the author's choice in both color and brand.

Sett: 20 epi (2 threads per dent in a 10 dent reed)
PPI: 20 ppi
Total warp ends: 360

Width on loom: 18 inches
Length on loom - 30 inches per towel: 2 inch hems on each end, 26 inches crepe

Wet finishing: warm water wash, warm dryer, iron while still damp

Dimensions after finishing and hemming: 15 x 22
Dimensions after washing with regular laundry: 14.5 x 21.5
Shrinkage: Width 19.5% Length 23%

What I learned:
  • Good idea to leave some sample space at the start of your warp to get the correct beat
  • Sometimes beating is more like placing the yarn - not "beating"
  • How to rescue a fraying hem
  • My preferred hemming method right now for towels is to straight stitch by machine, wet finish, cut apart, then hand hem.

What I loved about this project:
  • Weaving with 1 shuttle was really nice
  • Love this blue color
  • I am capable of making a matching set
  • My selvedges, which I can still improve, are good enough

What I'd do differently next time:
  • Make sure the finished size that the author is suggesting will actually work for my purposes!
  • The plain weave hem wanted to ruffle - so I think a different weave in the hem might have been more compatible with this weave structure. There's some discussion on Weaving A Life about ruffling hems.

I'm glad I tackled this project, even though the towels are too short for their intended use. I always need more towels in the kitchen or to give as gifts, so that's where they'll end up.

In the end, I'm happiest that this project is complete and I can move on to other things. I'm also really glad that I am creating good weaving habits and doing a better job fitting weaving into my life. There are just so many things I want to explore!


OzWeaver said...

Your towels are a howling success! I especially love the face cloth! ...and the view out your window next to your loom! Even though I'm sick of snow right now that's a wonderful view!

Great weaving! I can't wait to see what you do with your tapestry project!


Sue said...

I love the facecloth too! Thanks!

And thanks for saying something nice about the tapestry project.....after seeing your beautiful work, it took a little gumption for me to put my very beginning, extremely amateur attempts out there.

But we all have to start somewhere!


Alice said...

Those towels would work in my bath...just a thought!

I am so happy to find new weaving blogs to read. Thanks for reading mine!


Lynnette said...

Love the towels! Several of the gals in one of my guilds have been using cotton flake in tea towels with great success. Apparently it wears and washes very well.

Leigh said...

Congratulations on project completion! I really enjoyed this post because I am the same way when it comes to my weaving. It's nice to know someone else keeps those weaving goals in mind for so long.

The towels are lovely. I love the blue and your weave structure. And the project notes are a real plus!

Sue said...

Thanks for the towel compliments!!!

Alice, Maybe I am too picky about towel sizes!!

Lynnette, good to know that other people have good experiences with cotton flake. I think my first project on my giant Toika might use cotton flake - but don't hold me to that!

Leigh, Those project notes were inspired by your great project notes - so thanks for being the inspiration! Good to hear I'm not the only one whose project incubation phase is sometimes really long!


Theresa said...


They look wonderful. Love the weave and such a great
color. I have some cotton flake in my stash earmarked to use in a summer cotton blanket. Thanks for all the good notes too.


bspinner said...

Fabulous towels!!! I love both the color and pattern.