Sunday, November 14, 2010

Linen Towel Project

This week, I have been working on using more of my stash.  I purchased quite a lot of yarn at an estate sale a while back, and one of the things I bought was a large bundle of linen that was a cut off warp with no cross.  It was about four yards long, and a mix of a plyed smooth linen singles and tow linen singles. 
It's a good thing I am not a production weaver, because it took forever, or so it seemed, to get it on my Leclerc Artisat loom. 
Because the tow linen was so sticky, I decided to thread front to back so I could control the tangles better.  I worked with small bundles of pattern units and threaded the heddles first.  I wanted a cross, so as I threaded each bundle, I put the ends over and under my lease sticks attached to the back beam.

Once I threaded the heddles, added two floating selveges, and tied onto the backbeam, I was able to put some weights on the warp ends.  I moved the lease sticks to the front of the loom and worked it slowly toward the end of the warp.  The yarn was soooo sticky, and I was beginning to hope I wouldn't have to ditch the project.  Patience! 

It paid off!  But very slowly.  No warps broke while winding on the back beam. 

The warp is spaced 25 epi in a 15 dent reed.  It is sleyed 1-2-2.  The first dishtowel I am working on is mainly plain weave, with a border at each end.  The threading came from Marguerite Davison's book, Twill Miniature, on pg. 39.

 I'm using the first half of treadling #1 for the borders, with a little bit of plain weave between them.  With no tabby for this version, the weaving is going quickly.  So far, with tight tension, I have had minimal warp sticking together, but have had one broken warp thread so far. 

The weft is a turquoise blue 6/2 cotton, and seems to be working perfectly with the sett of the linen.  I love it when my guess turns our right the first time.  I wasn't planning on a towel with borders, but as I was spreading the warp and testing for correct threading, I kind of liked the look of it.  It is pretty typical of me changing the pattern in some way after I get started.

I use the Golden Ratio to determine the length of the towel and then use adding machine paper for a weaving guide to my towel length.   I can mark where the first borders are, and then mark where they should be on the other end of the towel.  Once the towel gets wound onto the front beam, I can't look back at what was woven.  I tend to get interrupted while weaving, and then forget what I did at the beginning, especially since I'm not a cookbook type of weaver.  My adding machine paper has saved me many a time, since I write a lot of notes on it, along with the inch marks.  It gets pinned to the edge of my towel while weaving with two pins.  It is kept loose, so I can see the whole length of the tape.  I use it again for the next towel if I am weaving something similar.
I'm hoping to get 3-4 towels out of this warp.


  1. Wow, you are not afraid of anything I suppose? But it's worth all the hard/patience work. I looks beautiful!

    Have a nice Sunday.

  2. HEY-THERE-JENNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Your weaving surpasses our rag-rugs, but sure-do-enjoy-it-alot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We are located north of Flippin, AR half-way toward Bull Shoals and not far past ' RANGER BOATS ' out here in the timber of the OZARKS enjoying our ' Senior-Time ' weaving on any one of our 8 looms and usually building/restoring one for the ' fun-of-it '!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We do enjoy visits from WEAV'N-FOLKS, and even do some demos @ the county ' ART-CENTER ', so you are very welcome to check w/ us when in the area!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Take a look @ our photo album ( #54 ) on yahoo group Rugtalk to see more of our activities!!!!

  3. I love the towels and will check out that pattern. Thanks for adding that information. I was surprised to see you use a raddle. Did you do that for the linen or do you do that routinely F-to-B? I've almost finished threading a front to back warp - you've got me wondering.

  4. Marion, you are right, I am not afraid to try things, as long as they interest me. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I will get out and finish weaving off that warp.

    Lou, thanks for letting me know where your studio is. If Bob and I get down that way again, we will surely look you up. I took your suggestion and signed up for Rugtalk. I just got approved, but haven't had a chance to look at your photo album yet. Any possibility you will add to your blog? I find mine a great way to keep a record of my projects, since I give most of them away for gifts.