Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Striped towels: project planning

I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to fiber arts equipment, I'm afraid. I have a hard time passing up a really good deal, and my studio is steadily creeping out of my corner of the house. There is a spinning wheel in the bedroom. One of the sheds outside is more than half full of raw materials. And the living room upstairs has a 100 year old rug loom in it.

The problem is, we'd kind of like to turn that living room into a work-out room, if I'm not going to be using the loom. I do have two more floor looms down in my workshop, you see. And I've never actually used this particular loom. I'm not even sure if it works correctly.

So, obviously I need to try out that loom! It is a very sturdy two harness beast, with an automatic shed changer as you beat the weft shot into place. I don't have any rug warp, but I should be able to make a nice set of plain weave hand towels on it. So this afternoon, I dug through my stash of weaving yarn, and came up with this:

This is 5 different colors of 8/2 cotton yarn. I'm thinking of making warp stripes. The two dark colors on the left will be threaded together for a dark stripe, and the two lighter colors will be threaded together for the light stripe. Blending the two colors together in each stripe should give some visual interest--a bit more depth to the color. The green there in the middle will be the weft thread, giving an over-all green color to the towels. And since there is only one color in the weft, the weaving should go pretty quickly.

So I did my figuring. 8/2 cotton plain weave should be about 20 threads per inch. I have a 10 epi reed, so I can sley two threads in each opening in the reed. I'd like the finished size of the towels to be abut 16"x28". Add some in there for take-up and shrinkage, and I think the towels should be about 19"x34" in the loom. Add some extra length for loom waste, and that makes my warp 380 threads wide, each thread 7 yards long.

Then I got out some graph paper, pen, and pencil, and played around until I found a stripe pattern I liked. Each square on the graph paper is equivalent to 10 threads, which is half an inch of warp.

Next step will be winding the warp, and seeing if I actually have enough of each color to make this work. I really should figure out the yardage I need for each color, then weigh my yarn to estimate whether or not I have enough. Hmmm...probably should do that before winding the warp, no? Well, that will be a job for another day. I've got to work tomorrow, so I'm calling it a night now.


  1. What loom are you using to weave your towels? I like your strip plan. Should look great woven up.

  2. I've got a antique rug loom, of the same make and model as the one in this picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2163699690/ I put it together some time ago, and it has been sitting upstairs waiting for me to have time to use it. I either need to weave on it, or sell it off to someone who will put it to good use. I did check with the Pioneer Living History museum here, but they weren't interested in it. I think they didn't have enough room.