The first project I tackled was finishing off a warp of 8 huck towels.
But my rule of "more weaving, less thinking" means that I have to stick with it through moments like that.
In the end, I couldn't be more thrilled to have a stack of 8 huck towels - 2 for our kitchen, and 6 to give as gifts.
Look how close that one blue knot is to the back of the heddles. It couldn't have been any closer.
After I cut the towels off the loom, when I checked my notes I realized that I didn't think I'd have enough for an eighth full length towel. Good thing I wove it totally believing there was enough!
Sticking Points of this project:
- Dithering endlessly about what to do with the last 4 towels worth of warp (I'd woven the 4 designs that were part of the Handwoven article, and I was paralyzed with too many competing ideas for what to do with the next four towels worth. In the end, I decided to just re-weave the first four towels, but change the color order.)
- Hot, hot, hot in my studio in the summer
- Difficulty getting an even beat in the first towel
What I loved about the project
- The color combo in these towels makes me happy every time I see it in my kitchen
- Meeting Rosalie Nielson, who wrote the Handwoven article that included this towel design
- Tension on this warp stayed even and I didn't have anything hanging off the back of the loom at the end of the warp because I didn't break any warp threads. (First time that's ever happened!)
What I learned
- First time I've ever cut the beginning of the warp off to test finishing
- Sometimes you have to beat lightly to get an even fabric
- Even though I had some difficulty maintaining an even beat, and getting beautiful selvedges, I've decided that my selvedges are good enough to branch out into weaving other things that really need straight edges.
- This is the first block weave I've ever done.
What I'd do differently:
- I'm definitely trying to even out my weaving momentum, so that I don't have long lulls like I had in this project. Maybe I need to make sure I don't let a project stall for more than a week without knowing what I'll do to resolve whatever issue I'm having. (This project sat all summer in part because I had so many ideas for how to finish the unplanned part of the warp that I couldn't decide. On vacation, I finally decided to just go ahead with getting usable towels and stop dithering. (That's my More Weaving, Less Thinking rule!)
- Cutting off the first towel on a warp is very freeing. It can be done with or without glue. Glue lets you get the absolute most out of your warp. I was going to say it wasn't necessary, but in the end, the last towel needed every bit of warp. Generally speaking, I won't usually use glue when I cut off.
- I'd like to try UKI yarn to see if there is less tracking than with this Homestead cotton. Rosalie's original towels were with UKI yarn, and having seen them in person, I can see that the yarn behaves differently.
- I might change the design of the edges so there are a few more threads. All four pink stripes were the same width, and since I had draw-in at the edges, the small amount of difference bugged me. (Or I have to figure out how not to have draw in - which I'm not sure is even possible.)
- Weave the towels in the article in the order 2,3,4,1. Because of the structure of the first towel, it was much tougher to vary the beat to get that towel to be even. I did all of the towels twice, and towel 1 was hard for me the second time too. Starting the project with that towel was a tough place to start.
Project Plan: Set of huck dishtowels from Handwoven, J/F 2001, "Tales & Towels of Huck" pp. 34-37 by Rosalie Neilson.
Warp & Weft: Homestead 8/2 unmercerized cotton from Halcyon Yarn in
Color 9: Royal Blue
Color 64: Turquoise
Color 54: Green
Color 31: Rose
Sett: 18 epi (2-1-2-1 threads per dent in a 12 dent reed)
Total warp ends: 293
Width off loom: 15 inches
Length off loom: 29 inches
Finishing: Machine wash warm with color catcher, tumble dry, press while still a little damp.
Hem by machine.
Machine wash and dry so the towels fluff up.
Finished towel size: 13.25 x 22 (Some of the decrease in length due to hem.)
I recently gave two of these towels as a housewarming gift. I got a huge compliment in return...the recipient felt like she could see my personality in these towels and I really liked that idea.
Even though they weren't my design, I did choose the colors, and I really like the idea that a little bit of my vision and personality came through!
Restarting this project after vacation
Taking this towel to meet the towel designer
Cutting off a single towel: One Stick Trick
Worrying at the start of the warp
More start of warp worrying
The beginning of this project