Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FO: Weaving - Tropical Handtowels

Handtowel-002 Border Detail

My first project woven on the big Toika loom, Yay!

I wanted to weave a simple, mostly plain weave project just to shake down the loom and get a feel for how it weaves. So, I planned a set of handtowels with a random stripe warp (the longwise threads) in colors to match the crazy pink bathroom’s shower curtain, and wanted to try several simple twill and basketweave borders that could be woven with a straight threading and treadle tie-up for 2/2 twill. Desired finished size ~ 12 x 18” plus fringe.

Handtowel-002 Done

Knitters, this is what those scary looking cones of really skinny cotton are for. The yarn is about laceweight to heavy laceweight, and I even mistakenly bought one cone of 20/2 cotton that’s the size of cobweb-weight, but decided to use it anyway for a little extra texture. It weaves up fast though – the actual weaving time on these was just a few hours. Setting up is the time-consuming part of the process.

The colors look great together, and I like my mis-matched borders. I had a number of missed threads on the reverse, since I think the cotton occasionally sticks to itself. But, otherwise, the cotton was easy to weave, and I’m still working on the right combination of tension on the warp threads and how hard to beat in the weft (the crosswise threads) to get a balanced weave (same number of picks per inch as ends per inch, or same number of threads longwise and crosswise for plain weave). My fabric did shrink more in length than width though with a machine wash and dry, so the finished fabric is closer to being balanced, and I think it looks better.

Handtowel-002 Borders

Since I was asked at weaving guild, the edges had no special treatment. I didn’t use a floating selvedge since there was going to be so little twill. I did twist the colors together at the right edge and catch the edge thread on the left with the shuttle on pattern picks. Mostly, I try to weave reasonably quickly, at an even pace, and without fussing with the edges so that a steady rhythm will even out my edges.

It will take me a while to get settled on an ergonomic weaving position on this loom, but otherwise, once I finally figured out how to tie-up the treadles (the foot thingies) to the harnesses (the eyelets the threads go through that, in part, determine the pattern) for a decent shed (the open area between the threads where you throw the shuttle across), it was easy to weave countermarch (a loom type where some harnesses go up and some go down at the same time, on a jack loom they only go up or down). I’ll set up something with a bit more complicated threading or treadling for the next project though.

Project: Handtowel-002
Pattern: Plain Weave and Twill
Technique: Twill and Basketweave borders
Source: Chandler, Learning to Weave
Loom: Toika Norjaana
# Harnesses: 4
Reed: 10 dent
Width in reed: 14.5” 13.5” after draw-in
Warp yarn(s): Cottons from Stony Mountain Fibers in 8/2, 10/2, 20/2
Sett: 23 epi
Weft yarn(s): Same as Warp
Picks per inch: 18
Width: Off the loom unwashed 13.25” / Washed 12.75”
Length: Off the loom unwashed 22 - 23” / Washed 19 – 19.5"