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Waffling Around

So, the blogosphere and socialmediasphere for weavers and fiber folks has been swirling with the scent of waffles. So to speak. I’ve been catching glimpses of Waffle Weave in from four to eight harnesses and more, in towels and blankets and more. I was intrigued. This is a weave that has stood the test of time, and is ready to be called back into production.

I couldn’t remember if I had ever tried Waffle Weave, but thought I should give it a try as towels, so I looked at my weaving references. The best version I came up with was from my trusty Mary E. Black’s New Key to Weaving. She recommends 8/2 unmercerized cotton sett at 24 epi, and I concurred.

Waffle Weave starts with a simple zig-zag twill threading and treadling, but the tie-up includes floats of increasing and decreasing lengths so that square cells are formed, creating cushiony, squishy pockets of warp and weft. The more harnesses that are used, the deeper the pockets get. For towels, which may get a lot of use, the length of floats should probably be kept to a minimum. The repeat for a square is 6 ends, so 24 epi makes a neat 4 squares per inch. I’ve seen directions for Waffle Weave towels that call for 20 epi, or 3 1/3 squares per inch, but thought the floats would then be too long for my comfort zone.

Pro tip: Notice that I started and ended the threading on harness 3. That was because I wanted to keep the warp float to a minimum length on the outside edges. I also used floating selvedges (always!) and added a touch more width to account for extra drawing-in.

The resulting towels, which are going in my Etsy shop btw, are fluffy and pillowy and sure to be hardworking kitchen friends.

7 thoughts on “Waffling Around

  1. I always love seeing what you have to share and learning from your blog. I’ve tried several of your projects myself and have always been pleased with the results. Your comments and instructions are well thought out. Thank you so much!

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  2. Thank you for your information on sett an float length. The last time that I tried waffle weave towels the draw in in the middle was more than at the hem. How do you handle your hems so that it all stay the same width?

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    • Hi! I used sewing thread, just 8 shots for 1/4” inch on each end. I applied 1/4” wide Steam-a-Seam to this header, which is a nifty method for positioning the hem securely before sewing. Turn the header, then turn the hem, about 1”, then press with an iron on cotton setting. I then machine sewed the hem. I washed the towels and pressed them as the last step. There is a bit of waviness, but not that much.

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  3. Love your colors! Can you talk a little about how to thread for these towels? Specifically, how many ends in each “square”? Thanks

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    • Hi, Each color square has 48 threads. Since the threading repeat has 6 threads, that is 8 repeats. The right and left edge squares have a 52 and 52 threads each, because, as I noted in the blog post, I wanted to start and end on harness 3. The normal starting point would be harness 1. Plus I always have floating selvedges so that added 2 more to the sides. The drawdown is very simple and straigtforward, and you should be able to input the info into any software. Cheers!

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  4. Your color choices, as always, make these towels special. I haven’t done waffle weave in years; you make me think I should try again. The hemming and shrinkage (draw up and in due to the waffles) were things I hadn’t accounted for first time, part of my displeasure with the finished towels.

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