Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reaping the Rewards

At long last my kitchen towel warp finally came off the loom! (There was a lengthy delay weaving this off while my back injury healed) To repeat the details again: it is an eight shaft false damask, with two blocks. I chose to weave them alternatively throughout for a more balanced look. I used 2/8 cotton sett at 20 epi, which is normally a plain weave sett. Twills are best at 24 epi but with these towels, that meant a thicker hand to the cloth and that's not what I was looking for with a towel. The warp was ten yards long and I got nine large towels. No samples this time as I have woven this pattern before. I used three muted colours of a burnt peach, soft plum, and light khaki green with the dividing threads are black. The use of black seem to accentuate the colours and intensify them. (White tends to wash colours out) I have a black ceramic stove top in almond with black accents so thought to try black this time. I used some of the colours in the warp as weft ( plums, peach and khaki) and wove coloured borders on some and for the most part, just used one colour and no border at all. One towel is a plaid as an experiment and it a bit too busy for my tastes. That will go into my sale box.

I normally weave some scrap yarn in between my towels and this gets trimmed off when I serge the edges of my towels. I find this minimizes the cloth from unraveling that is common with handwoven textiles.

I take the towel to the ironing board and turn the serged edge over and press flat. Then turn and press again for small hem, pinning it as I go along. The pattern has the benefit of 'lines' to assist you. I have turned the picture so you can see my choice in irons.

It's a Rowenta and has the right amount of weight and steam to make finishing projects much easier. A friend calls me the 'Queen of the Ironing Board' and I have tried a few makes and models and this one works for me. (I also have the Rowenta ironing board which is much wider than normal ones and adjustable up or down for a variety of heights.) Then I sew the hem by machine. Some like to hand sew hems but I prefer to machine sew towels and items that will be machine washed and dried for durability. Runner and 'dainties' I hand sew as they are normally hand washed.

I found that my machine needle kept punching a warp thread through and making a large pull. I would have to dismantle my machine, pull it out and then ease the thread back into place and start all over again. I changed needles, longer stitch, shorter stitch, go faster, go snail kept on doing this! If anyone has a suggestion, please leave a comment :)

On three towels I used 2/16's mercerized black cotton as weft. It produced a lighter weight towel and it accentuates the warp colours. I also tried out using a green cottolin as weft. It's has a scratchier feel but should soften up in time.

They make an impressive 'stack' and it feels good to be productive again. I have already have the next warp on and so we'll chat about that next post.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if changing the type of needle would help with the punch-through. Either a very sharp one to pierce the threads, or a ball-point to slide past the threads. Also a straight stitch throat plate helps a lot- instead of the slotted zig-zag plate. The straight stitch plate only has a small hole and there is less fabric deflection.

Peg in South Carolina said...

They turned out very nicely. Should should indeed feel good! About the sett. A few years ago I wove twill towels in unmercerized cotton. I do not remember the sett. But I do remember the ensuing history. Every time I washed them they shrank and shrank and shrank and so became quite thick. Nice and absorbent however! My daughter is begging me to weave her some. My guess is, with that sett, you are going to have a lot of shrinkage, but.....they will get very very absorbent as they shrink!

Anonymous said...

I've just discovered your blog, so my suggestion for dealing with the warp threads being punched through may be too late. In the spirit of never late than never: have you tried placing a piece of tissue paper under your fabric? I've found this to be effective.

Susan said...

Hello Anonymous!
Thank you for that suggestion.. I will try that next time sewing the hems.

It's never too late!

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