Friendship Factor Project – Dish Towels adventure:
The Friendship Factor Project continues with learning to weave dish towels. I have been wanting to weave dish towels, dish cloths and other house hold items for a while and have been collecting various colours of cotton over the past year in anticipation of this new weaving journey. After all you can only wear so many scarves. Lisa and I decided to weave dish towels to start and chose a wonderful easy pattern from Cotton Clouds Inc. https://cottonclouds.com/products/cricket-loom-strawberry-tart-towels-pattern This hounds tooth pattern is a great design to start as it adds a wonderful design feature yet is very easy to weave.
Lisa’s dish towels turned out so beautiful as she used various colours instead of 2 like I used in my version. Read more below about her journey making the hounds tooth dish towels.
LISA: This is not the first time I have made towels. I did not, however, enjoy my first experience as much even though the towels work just fine. Conversely, these towels were fun to make and I love how the colors turned out. They have the primitive look that I love from using the light tan in the warp and weft; it’s almost as if I had tea dyed them. To change them up I wove three towels using a different color from the warp as the dominant color in my weft. In the fourth towel, I wanted something different, so I used all four colors and created block stripes rather than houndstooth.
Colors aside, I think that the difference in my enjoyment factor with making these towels versus the first set is that I found 8/4 cotton a lot easier to warp than the 8/2 that I used in my first set. Both sets of towels feel great, but the one thing that I have noticed each time I work with a cotton warp is that the yarn is slightly unbalanced and tends to twist to the left. That makes warping a bit of a challenge if you’ve never encountered that, especially with 8/2. With the 8/2 cotton using a double thread in each slot and hole, it twisted to the left badly and I constantly had to adjust it as the two threads tangled together right up next to my heddles. This adversely affected my warp tension. The twist on the 8/4 was much easier to handle, especially since you only use one thread per slot and hole, making these towels much more pleasant to warp and to weave.
Using a Cricket loom makes perfect towels that are great for dishcloths since they shrink a bit in the wash. Depending on the length, you could also use them as handtowels in a bathroom or kitchen. It would be fun to sew the towels onto a hanger that you could fit over a drawer handle as a functional way to display your handiwork.
Someone once asked me why I would make towels since they are so inexpensive at the store. After making them I thought, “Why wouldn’t I?” They’ll last a long time, look beautiful and it’s a great way to try out new patterns. Plus, you get to weave and proudly say that you made your towels. What could be better than that?
Valerie: (my journey)
This is the first time I have made dish towels and have enjoyed the process from start to finish. Previously I have woven several summer scarves with cotton which turned out really nice. Weaving with cotton has become one of my favourite fibers to weave. For my towels I chose to use a more traditional colour way with black and light gray hounds tooth to match my kitchen. The pattern from Cotton Clouds Inc. was very easy to read and enjoyable to make. I have been wanting to buy a sewing machine for a few years now and this made the perfect excuse to finally buy one so I could sew the edges properly. Of course it’s not the only reason I bought one, but was the final reason to finally get one so I can expand the type of weaving I want to learn in the future. There are so many wonderful items you can make with a woven fabric and I can’t wait to explore the vast array of items.
I used the 8/4 cotton on both the warp and the weft with the lighter gray 2/8 cotton at the beginning and end of the towels where you sew the seam. Using my sewing machine again after many years of not having one was enjoyable. I used an Ashford Rigid Heddle loom to weave my dish towels. I found they were a bit too narrow and have since purchased the larger 24″ Rigid Heddle loom to make my dish towels(trust me they are addictive to make and I plan on making many more) and perhaps some lap size blankets on this year. Today I am happy to report that weaving dish towels and dish cloths are my new favourite items to weave. So much so that I wove some dish cloths with a hounds tooth and gingham pattern to match my dish towels. Next on my list is some square dish cloths on my 16″ rigid heddle loom and to top them off a set of wider hounds tooth dish towels on my 24″ loom.
Overall the Friendship Factor was a success for both Lisa and I. I love how Lisa’s dish towels turned out with the lovely array of colours and the addition of the striped towel to compliment the hounds tooth towels. What a great collection of dish towels and I am inspired by Lisa’s colours and hope to make some similar in the future.
Lisa and I have been discussing what we would like to try next and it looks that using 2 heddles on a rigid heddle loom will be the next adventure. Stop by soon to see what we make next. Happy weaving and have a wonderful day!
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