Friday, March 11, 2011
Twill Towels - Cotton/Linen Adventure
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.
Next I wove two green towels using a second treadling and making them different by adding a horizontal stripe to one.
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.