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Friday, March 11, 2011

Twill Towels - Cotton/Linen Adventure

More towels!  This time I made them as a bridal shower gift.  I used fibers that were new to me and a twill threading (M & W) that was also new to me.  

I got a very good deal on some WEBS 8/2 Cotlin (50% cotton, 50% linen) so I bought about a dozen cones in various colors.  I also had some cones of BORGS "Bomullin" which is the same fiber content but made in Sweden.  I thought I'd make towels from both and compare.

I used 8/2 mercerized cotton for the warp and sett it at 24 ends per inch, as for twill.  I had a cone each of white and natural so I wound them together and figured no one would be able to tell.  I was right about that!

I planned for six towels, 22 x 38 on the loom with a 1 inch hem of 10/2 white cotton at each end.  I also left myself some room to goof off at the end and I'm glad I did because I made a nice discovery.  More about that later.

First I wove the brick red towels.  This was the Swedish cotlin.  Here are the close ups.

Hurts  my eyes....

Next I wove two green towels using a second treadling and making them different by adding a horizontal stripe to one.
Because the person I made these for loves green, I made the third pair with olive green and brown.  I used a third treadling and varied it with wide stripes.

I had my six towels and still had about a yard of warp to play with, so I used the third treadling but switched to a thick and thin mercerized cotton flake.  It is quite a lot heavier and has specks of other colors in it.  The main color is dark mauve.
This one wasn't the full length of the other towels but is a nice "shorty" towel for personal use.

What I learned:

The Swedish cotton/linen was far superior to the WEBS.  It also costs twice as much, so if I were making a VERY VERY special project I'd be tempted to use only the Swedish.  The hand of the final cloth was crisper (like linen) and it didn't make any fuzz while I wove.  It also didn't need any ironing right out of the dryer.  The WEBS cotton/linen is softer and fuzzier.  I imagine it will not wear as well over time but the price could not be beat so I'm not unhappy with the purchase and have a lot more of it for other projects.

I learned that I have a hard time keeping track of even the simplest treadling sequences.  If my mind wanders, I mess up.  So, I assign a note of the scale to each treadle and sing a little song while I weave.  It's boring, and the words are the numbers of the treadles, but it WORKED FOR ME. 

I also learned not to freak out if the weaving doesn't look like the picture in the book.  I sleyed  the reed 3 threads to a dent.  This created little tracks in the cloth and at first I thought I'd threaded the whole thing wrong.  Nope.  After I washed the towels they were perfect.

Finally, I learned that I REALLY like the cotton flake towel!  The dense sett of the warp made for a nice, firm fabric.  It's heavy but not at all stiff.  It would make a wonderful bath towel!  If I hadn't left myself room to experiment I probably would not have discovered this - usually cotton flake is woven at 10-12 epi. 

The hemmed and finished towels are 19 x 34.5.  I am beginning to understand why towel weaving is so addicting.