Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guest Bath Towels: Yarn Miscalculations

In January, I started weaving some hand towels for our guest bathroom.

My original blogging plan was a beginning, middle and end post for each project. I'm realizing that I have a beginning and an end, as planned.

I also seem to have a post at every point where I get stuck on a project. Sometimes that's a lot of middle!

Here's the first sticking point for this project.


After choosing colors to coordinate with our bathroom, I started browsing handweaving.net for drafts. My plan is to stick with 4 shafts on my Toika for this project.

I searched through everything on handweaving.net, narrowing my choices down to three.

I started calculating how I'd use my stash yarn to work with the drafts I like.

The yarn is an assortment of cotton, mostly 8/2 and 10/2 from lots of different sources. I want to use a light colored warp and weave each towel with a different weft. Using that method, I shouldn't have problems with different yarns shrinking at different rates. At least that's the theory, backed up by helpful advice from Sandra Rude.

The different wefts might have different shrink rates, so the towels may end up different sizes. I'm OK with that.


I love this pale blue-gray. It would make a great warp for this project.

I determined the sett, and used my McMorran yarn balance to calculate how much yarn I had.

2 problems:
  1. I only have enough warp yarn for 2 towels...I don't like to warp the loom for such a small number of towels.
  2. Because the sett is tighter than I imagined, the patterns I've chosen from handweaving.net will be very small - maybe 1 cm in width.
For every problem, there's a solution. (You know that one of my favorite solutions is "More Yarn".)


I ordered some cotton-linen from WEBS. I didn't have color samples, so I ordered a gray that looked like my blue-gray from stash. As a back up I ordered white.


Since I was ordering, I also scooped up two cones of merino-tencel. I'm not done playing with shadow weave yet. I thought this might make a nice scarf with one of the designs I've developed.


I headed back to handweaving.net to look for wider drafts so the patterns would show up better from far away.

Related posts:
Getting started

12 comments:

Jennifer said...

hey - at least you caught the miscalculation before you started weaving!!! It's much better to catch mistakes while everything is in the concept stage! I can't wait to see these towels. I'm really jealous!

Renee said...

I love your solution, "more yarn!"

sheilabythebeach said...

A woman after my own heart, more yarn! I actually lol!
The end result will be very nice I am quite sure. I have been surprised how most colors really do get along with one another especially when woven to give a totally new hue or is it tone or...???

marion said...

The blue colours look wonderful and yout solution 'more yarn' is the best one :) At least that is what I think.
Good luck with the weaving (as I am a relative how do you do your selveges?

Gjeani said...

The colors are great! more yarn is always a solution for us weavers. I read you are weaving on a Toika loom, I am offered a toika liisa for only 100 euro! but it it a bit big in my living room, it has 8 shafts and 10 threadles. What should I do?? I have a leclerc artistat right now 4 shafts. Does a Toika threadle light? or not? can you tell me some more? the loom I can buy is already in pieces so I can't try it out.

Theresa said...

Hmm, the tighter sett for that twill would use more yarn. More yarn is ALWAYS a good solution! ;-)
Do you have a copy of Davison's book? I find myself mining that for most of my 4 shaft twills.I sure wish she had done an 8 shaft book.
Can you stretch the yarn by doing borders of another color or stripes through the warp in similar colors?
I'm sure you've thought of that all ready.
Well, carry on! I am so jazzed to see those in progress.

charlotte said...

The colors are lovely! I look forward to see the towels!

Sara said...

More yarn is always good! Did I just say that???

Love those two blues in your last photo...

Sharon said...

I am so confused by weights of cottons. I make dishtowels from 8/2 so would have thought you'd need something like 5/2 for bath towels. You've got my attention. I can't wait to see what's next and really appreciate that link for pattern drafts.

Delighted Hands said...

More IS better.......

dinesh said...

i just want know washing cycle of bath linen. Which is not mentioned here( means how many wash can affored bath linen as per standard)

Life Looms Large said...

Generally, when I weave towels, I take special care the first time I wash them, and remove them from the dryer when damp and iron them to make sure no creases get set in.

After that initial wash, I expect towels made from cotton or a cotton-linen mixture as these are, to last for years with regular washing. I wash them with my other laundry and dry them in the dryer.

Hope that answers your question! If there's something else you wonder about laundering, let me know!

Sue