Monday, October 27, 2014

First Project From My Eight Shaft Loom

After quite a bit of work to get my eight shaft loom (a copy of a Gilmore loom) completed, I finally took the first project off and finished the hemming today.

I chose the pattern Butterflies in Clover from the Sept./Oct. 2014 issue of Handwoven because is was a single shuttle weave with a fairly simple treadling.  I was able to weave four towels and a couple short dishrags from the five yard warp.  I used 8/2 cotton.  The pattern called for thinner yarn, and I think it would be better than the 8/2 because there are a few floats that are a bit longer than I care to have due to the chance of snagging the yarn.

The warp is tan.  I was looking for an antique look, and I think that color warp was just right.  I had several starts and stops and redo's before getting the treadling order straight in my head.  The first towel completed was woven with dark red.
Teal was used for the second towel. I hemmed it so the reverse side is visible. 
Navy was used for the third towel.
I wanted to use three different colors for one of the towels, so I decided to change the treadling.  This one is woven with 8/2 dark brown cotton and 22/2 cottolin in lime and orange.
The reverse side looks different with this towel also.
 This is my treadling for the brown, green and orange towel.  I separate the first and last four twill treadles with the tabby treadles in the center.  For me, it seemed to help with fewer treadling mistakes.  The tabby is not a true plain weave.  Make note of the tabby used in the hems.  Photos can be clicked to make bigger.
With just a little warp left over, I wove off the rest in medium dark green.  I like to use my samples for dishrags rather than storing them away in a box. 
My finishing process is to serge the ends of all the towels, wash in hot water with Dawn dish detergent to remove oils.  I wash again in the washer with hot water and laundry detergent, stretch both lengthwise and crosswise to remove wrinkles from spinning in the washer, and then dry on a normal temperature in the dryer.

After drying, I dampen the towels and stretch them again right before pressing with my Steam Fast steam press.  The press is a great time saver. 

I then turn the hems and steam press before stitching on the sewing machine.  After sewing, the towels get another final press.


  1. Lovely work, Jenny! Could you help me visualize how you maneuver a towel in the press to get it all done? Thanks.

    1. Nancy G, I start the towel fan folded by the hinge in back and press, bringing a new section forward until the length is finished. I press the hems by finger pressing and using the press, one fold at a time.

      After stitching (I use the sewing machine), I use the steam function, press both hem ends, turn sideways as in the photo, press one edge, turn and press the other edge. I hang until the moisture evaporates before folding and storing.

  2. Beautiful towels, love the patterns. I like the idea of a steam press, but I'm not sure it's in my budget...

  3. What a great post! Thanks for including so much detail. Beautiful project, well done.