Thursday, 15 June 2017

More handtowels on four shafts.

Delicate handtowels on four shafts

The pattern for these handtowels is known as 2 fold Ms and Os.

This pattern is from the wonderful book  Margarite P Davison  A Handweaver's Pattern Book on page 56. This book was first published in 1944 and was the first book about weaving that I bought. My copy is old and well used and used to be in the library at Edge Hill Teacher Training College. When I trained s a teacher, crafts were still considered important and I remember in my college large floor looms in the corridor as well as in the craft room.

Here is the weave drawdown for the pattern for these handtowels.

You can see how the Ms and Os are outlined in blocks of three by the blue warp and weft.  The weave structure makes these towels shrink in the wash but although they appear very delicate they are excellent for drying hands.

Warp and Weft

Total number of warp ends is 572
Width at reed  59.75 cm   23.5 inches
Warp sett is 24 ppi          12 reed with 2 ends per dent
Weft sett is 30 ppi

The warp  is 16/2 cotton and the weft is 16/1 linen in two colours blue and white. I use Swedish cotton and linen made by the same company so that the colours for the different yarns are the same.

Colour order for border  

white  10       10      8     8     10
blue          2         4     2     4        2

then the pattern threading is as follows

white  22
blue          2           18 repeats    then 22 white.  The order for the border is now reversed.


I use 12 rows in plain weave - for this threading true plain weave is not possible.  Then weave approx 1.5 inches in pattern to fold over to form the hem.

Weaving the towels. 

I made enough warp for three long handtowels.  

Tying the warp onto the front beam

This is a two shuttle weave using the 16/1 linen

close up of the weave structure on the loom
The weave structure is quite open as you can see from the photograph.  The weft sett is 30 ppi.  It is important to weave the design square even though the warp sett is only 24 epi.

 This photograph shows one end of the first towel.  I have woven extra blocks in white linen for the hem.  The coloured thick thread is the division between this towel and the next I am weaving. After I have taken the finished weaving off the loom, I cut each towel at the place where I used the thicker yarn.  I always turn up the hem and iron it as soon as possible after cutting the towels apart. I pin, then tack the hems in place before sewing them on the machine.


I always machine hem the towels before washing so the measurements include the hem.

                        before washing                               after washing
length              80 cm   31.5 inches                         65 cm   29.75 inches
width                58 cm  23 inches                            53 cm    21 inches

Close up after washing
Here you can see how the design puckers up creating a lovely surface texture. There is some shrinkage.

I washed two handtowels by hand and the third in the washing machine.  I wondered whether there would be any difference in the shrinkage.  The measurements were the same.  However, there was an odd difference which I was not expecting.  The hand washed towel was slightly yellow.

Two towels, one handwashed and one machine washed.
I first thought that it was the machine washed towel and that there had been  a slight colour issue in the wash but it is definitely the handwashed towel that is not white.  The effect might be difficult to see in the photograph. I have no idea why this should have happened.

Of course I also wove a tag for hanging the towels.  Here is the pattern.

Draft for hanging tags.
I used 16/1 linen for the pattern.  There are 47 warp ends.  The width of the tag is  13 mm.

Linen hanging tag on the hem
I like to sew the hanging tag along the hem.  It is very firmly attached.

Two handtowels

This is a lovely light hand towel but excellent for drying hands.  It would make a pretty guest towel.

Susan J Foulkes


  1. These are so lovely, Susan!! Thank you for sharing all the information needed to weave them. As my loom has 4 shafts I especially appreciate drafts for 4. I wonder if you used laundry detergent in the hand washed one? Sometime laundry detergent has a bit of bleach in it. They are both beautiful at any rate.

  2. Thanks for your comments Julie. I think that you are right as I used non bio detergent in the machine wash and delicate fabric liquid for the hand wash. I subsequently washed the hand washed towel in a washing machine and the yellow tinge disappeared
    Happy weaving

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