Sunday, 1 April 2018

Handtowel in linen and tow linen

Black and White

Here is a lovely hand towel that I wove for my black and white bathroom. It is made from linen and tow linen.  Tow linen is a cheaper alternative for linen but is very 'hairy'. This makes it very absorbent for towels, but be warned, it sheds for the first few washes.

Beware: A lot of colour comes out in the wash so I suggest washing it by hand for the first few times.

The towel is so pretty.

Close up of the linen and tow warp. 

It is difficult to show in a photograph but the warp in the centre of the towel alternates between 24 ends of black tow linen no 6  and 12 doubled ends of 16/2 black linen.

The 16/2 linen has a shine but the tow linen gives a matt finish.  I like the way that alternating the black stripes in the centre shine against the matt black.

The white stripes are 12 doubled threads of white linen. The weft is 6 tow linen in black. Tow linen is very 'hairy' and is not as strong as ordinary linen. The borders on each side start with the warp of 8 doubled ends of black linen.  This makes the selvedge strong.

There are four stripes of white on each side. In the centre the sequence is carried on with black linen stripes

Weaving details

Warp: black tow linen 6 and 16/2 linen in black and white.
Weft: black tow linen no 6

Warp sequence

Black 16/2 linen used double   8d                                                      12d                                         
Black no 6 tow linen                     24        24        24        24        24       24  now reverse the sequence     
White 16/2 linen used double            12d      12d      12d      12d                       

Total number of warp ends = 364

For the hems at each end I wove 12 picks using black 16/2 line singly.  This makes the hem less bulky when turned down.

The drawdown 

drawdown for hand towels

I have coloured the drawdown to make the pattern easier to see. The turquoise stripe at each side is the selvedge. The 8 warp ends are doubled 16/2 linen in black because tow linen would not be strong enough for the edge of the towel.

The weft is black tow linen. The white stripes at each side of the towel are in doubled 16/2 white linen. In the centre of the towel, the stripes continue in doubled 16/2 black linen and black tow linen. If you look at the close up picture you can see the black linen stripes.  They have a sheen to them which stands out against the tow linen stripes.

Hanging tag

I made a hanging tag for the towel. I designed two variations.

Two variations for the hanging tag.
 I felt that the predominantly white tag provided a better contrast. here it is on the towel.

white and black hanging tag on the hand towel

Warp and Weft

The hanging tag used white and black 16/2 linen.
There are 40 warp ends. The weft is white 16/2 linen

The band width is 15mm.

Reversing the colours gives an interesting variation but I preferred the predominately white band for the hand towels.

I enjoyed weaving this towel and it co-ordinates with the bathroom tiles.

Next month I will be posting the instructions for the black and white bath mat that I wove to co-ordinate with the handtowels and the bathroom.

Susan J Foulkes April 2018


  1. Hi Susan, off topic,but I would like your opinion. I am finding back strap weaving very tiring as my back hurts a lot , no matter my posture. I was thinking of getting a loom on which I can use a beavi, sunna or sigga heddle. Does such a loom exist?

  2. Hi Lin Ifyou look at the list on the right hand side of the blog, there is a section called weaving patternedd bands. You can see illustrations of heddles being used in looms there.
    Here is the link for you

    I use my Sunna heddle in an Ashford knitters loom and also a Schcht cricket loom.


  3. I love your new towel. Having just begun weaving with linen last Fall, I found your info regarding tow linen to be interesting and useful. Thank you for providing your details and drawdown. I will be 'borrowing' them soon.


  4. Thank you Susan. I will have to become inventive as there do not appear to be any small looms in the Western Cape. Importing is not an option as the cost in ZAR is monopoly money. I will persevere with back strap. I do enjoy it and love using the patterns you make available. At present am also making Krokbragd inkle bands.


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