Stashbuster kitchen towels

Well, it’s been a year and a half since I posted to this blog.  I’ve continued to weave, but other activities have taken up my computer time.  There’s no way I’ll catch up to everything I’ve done (though I’ll try to add them to the Galleries), so I’ll just start with one thing.

I found an interesting draft for a towel project in the Letters section of a Handwoven magazine.  No photo, just the draft and basic parameters.  As I was setting this up, I realized I’ve learned a lot of tips from different sources over my 5 years (!!) of weaving.  At the risk of TMI, I’ll share some of them here.

Context – I warp back to front, and the back lease stick goes through the loop of the cross.

One thing I figured out after weaving a while was to use an additional warping bar.  The one that came with the loom is lashed onto the back warp beam, and if I pulled the warping bar out of the lashing (not wanting to retie the lashing every time) I could never get it back in so the warp threads were evenly spaced.  Now I add an additional warping bar (dowel) in the loop behind the back lease stick, and then tie that to the original one.  Then I pull the lease sticks toward the front.  It’s so much easier!


The next thing is to use clamps to keep the warp from splaying out as it’s wound on.  The lease sticks ride on the support sticks.


My raddle is home-made – nails every 1/2 inch on a board, set on the support sticks at the front of the loom.


When the warp is wound on, I tie up the lease sticks to the back harness and hang the sections behind the heddles.  Then, the support sticks come out.


I prop up the harnesses on a yarn cone to help with threading – especially with 8 shafts!  I always count out groups of heddles before threading one or more repeats, as a double-check.


Then the support sticks go back up to rest the reed on while it’s sleyed.  I tie the bundles with the number of threads to use for each bout when tying on.


Even though I have a jack loom, a floating selvedge doesn’t automatically end up in the middle of the shed (I checked this out with the manufacturer) .  So, I thread these through paper clips hanging from a clamp on the castle.


I use shoelaces to hold up the front apron rod so it’s easy to tie on the bouts.


I began weaving, and all seemed to be going well, except the instructions for this draft said it should be 20 epi.  I’ve done plenty of 8/2 cotton in twill, very successfully setting it at 24 epi.  I wove about 12 inches and realized it was just too wide and loose for towels.  So, I cut out the weft to start over. (It took about an hour and a half to cut out – cutting very carefully between the warps, and then pulling out short sections of thread – and I’m glad I did.)


And here it is after starting over.  You may notice the temple – for thicker fabric I use alligator clips, which work well, but I found out about these knitting machine accessories which unfortunately I can’t remember the name of.  They hook into the cloth, but don’t seem as harsh as a regular temple, which I haven’t had success with.  I think the colors are more vibrant with closer set.


So, there’s my current project.  I’ll do 5 or 6 of the towels, depending on how the warp works out, all with different weft and treadling.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

And, hopefully now that I’ve broken the ice again I’ll be posting more often!