Sunday, 14 December 2014

What is on my loom: hand towels

Weaving waffle weave hand towels.


I have just finished a set of hand towels in waffle weave.  I love this weave structure.

Here is the draw down. I have used green, red, blue and white to show the structure clearly. It is woven using seven shafts.

Drawdown for 7 shaft waffle weave hand towels.

Warp: 8/2 cotton in three colours, natural, light green and dark green.
Weft: 8/2 cotton in three colours, natural, light green and dark green.
Sett: 24 epi

Total number of warp ends: 589 ends.

The pattern repeat is 12 picks and 12 warp ends.  I used three colours: natural, light green and dark green.

The colour order is as follows:

24 natural, 12 light green, 12 natural, 12 dark green, 12 natural.  I varied the order in the centre but to balance the weave the final group of natural warp ends should be 25.  In all there are 45 groups of 12 ends and two larger groups of 24 at one edge and 25 at the other edge.  Look at the towel on the loom for the exact colour order.

There is no need for a floating selvedge as the waffle weave shrinks and fulls up beautifully.
To start, I used a fine 16/2 cotton for the first 12 picks ( one pattern repeat).  This is for the hem so that it will not be too bulky.

Here is the weaving on the loom.


I wove one towel with just the natural as the weft.  A further two towels I wove with five pattern repeats in natural, light green, natural, dark green etc.  The length of the towels on the loom was approximately 95cm (37 inches)
A close up of the weave structure whilst on the loom



Once off the loom I ironed the ends of the towels to make the hem. I turned up one pattern repeat -  (the first 12 picks in fine cotton)  and ironed it flat. Then turn a further pattern repeat in the 8/2 cotton.  This makes the hem which can now be tacked. Don't worry if your hem is slightly larger.

Close up of the hems before washing. 


I used a wide zigzag stitch on the sewing machine to hem the towels. Once hemmed the tacking stitches can be removed.

To wash the towel, I put it into the washing machine with  my normal wash and then into the drier.

This weave structure makes very textured towels.

 The shrinkage is as follows and is measured with the towel already hemmed.

Before washing ( and after hemming):   Length: 85 cm  (33.5 inches)     Width: 57 cm (22.5 inches)

After washing and drying.:                     Length: 62 cm (24.5 inches)       Width: 45 cm  (17.75 inches)

There is a lot of shrinkage for this weave structure.  The final towels are beautifully textured and make ideal hand towels.

Hanging tag.

I also wove a narrow warp faced band to use as a hanging tab on the towels.  I used the 8/2 cotton in the same colours.  Here is the drawdown.

Drawdown for warp faced narrow band.

The narrow band has 42 warp ends.  If you look along the top of the drawdown, you can see the colour order for the warp. Some of the dark and light green warp threads are doubled so that they stand out in the pattern. This is indicated by a thicker square on the drawdown.




I wove the band on my Swedish band loom.

These type of bands can be woven easily on an inkle loom or with a rigid heddle. (See my book The Art of Simple Band Weaving and the Youtube video Five ways of weaving narrow bands).

I cut the band into 4 inch lengths for the towel hanging tags. Turn under the ends of each tag and iron flat.

Pin to the edge of the towel and oversew.








The band tags were sewn onto the towels - just in time to be wrapped for Christmas presents.

The three tags: one is sewn onto the edge of the towel.


More narrow patterned bands.



Bell key ring holders by Tamaki


My friend Tamaki posted a lovely photograph of some of her key bell holders.  She has been making them to raise money for the orphans of the tsunami.

She loves band weaving and has made some lovely bands in beautiful colour combinations to go with the key holders.

She allowed me to publish her photograph. As you can see, she has been very busy making these lovely bands and knitting the key holders. All of the keyholders sold.

The colours are just right for Christmas.









And finally - a Happy Christmas to everyone.


Susan J Foulkes  December 2014

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