Sunday, 15 January 2017

Hand towels on four shafts

Hardwearing Handtowels.

This weave is lovely and very useful as a hand towel. I do not know what it is called. The two pattern blocks are in a 2/1 twill with an additional pick. The warp is one colour - unbleached cotton - so the colour is only in the weft.  This means that if a long warp is put on the loom, several towels of different colours can be woven.

This is a block weave.  
There are three blocks to treadle.  The first is the border for the hem. The next two blocks alternate to form the pattern. This draft will not weave plain weave but the first treadling on weaves over two under one.  This is used for the hems of the towels.  Use a thin cotton such as 16/2 cotton in unbleached or white.

For the pattern there are two blocks. One block is threaded 12312312312 and the next block is threaded 43243243243.

As you can see with the two colours of weft, one block shows more of the coloured weft than the other.  This gives the appearance of checks. From these two blocks different patterns can be created.

Warp: 8/2 unbleached cotton
Weft; 8/2 unbleached cotton and 16/2 coloured cotton used double.
Sett: approx 20 epi
Picks approx 25 per inch.
For these towels I warped 460 ends. The width at the reed is 85 cm.

The pattern can be woven in stripes or checks.

on loom weaving with two shuttles.

Weaving Sequence

The border is the first pattern on the drawdown and is only used for the border. Weave about 4 cm with unbleached 16/2 cotton used singly.

The stripes are woven with 8/2 cotton used double.  Weave four picks with 8/2 doubled cotton in block two. weave four picks with double red 16/2 cotton in between then four picks with 8/2 cotton.
there are 20 picks in red before the next pattern.  I decided to weave three groups of two pattern blocks at each end of the towel.

For the centre of the towel, weave 30 cm then repeat the border pattern.  Finish with 13 cms in red then 4 cm in 16/2 cotton for the hem.

closeup of towel on loom
The hem is easy to turn under.  I used a zig zag stitch on my sewing machine.  The finer weft makes the hem less bulky.  I like the contrast with the white for the hem at each end of the towel.

The towel pattern can be varied.  I wove the  fourth towel in a pattern of small squares. This towel has been washed once then pressed.  This towel is not dependent upon an exact length of warp so it is useful for the final towel of the four. If my warp is not long enough, the pattern repeat is short so I can weave to the very end of the warp leaving just enough for the hem.

Close up of the towel woven in small square motifs.  


Before washing
                                     Length    76 cm  width 54 cm

After washing
                                     Length  70 cm  width  50 cm

Hanging tags

I designed a hanging tag for these towel. Here is the weave draft for the blue hanging tag.

pattern for hanging tag.
There are 27 warp ends.  I used 8/2 cotton and blue 16/2 cotton used double.

The tag is 1.2 cm in width.

Here are the completed towels.

Completed handtowels

The towels are soft but are very efficient at drying hands.

I have woven variations of this design many times.  The towels are very hardwearing. I love the fact that when weaving, different colours can be used for the weft.  Next time I weave some more,  I think that I will vary the pattern.  I liked the small squares so I thought that I could design a different block pattern.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes
January 2017


  1. These are fabulous!! I will be making these! Thanks so much:)

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes the pattern is very easy and there are all sorts of variations that you could do. the small blocks look particularly striking.

  3. I am a beginner weaver so am still learning to read patterns. This is lovely -- do you think a beginner could do it?

  4. Hi. You asked if the pattern can be woven by a beginner. Yes, I think it can be. The difficulty is using two stands of 16/2 cotton in the weft. I use a double shuttle. It is possible to wind two strands onto one shuttle but you will need to be careful that the threads keep together. I found that sometimes there is some slack in one thread and there is a loop of yarn.
    It is a lovely pattern.



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