It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Worst: well, no need to explain that. Best: unlimited weaving with no end in sight! Woohoo!
On my eight shaft loom I’ve got a dishtowel warp in 8/2 unmercerized cotton in blues and greens, and I threaded it for Turned Taqueté according to the ideas I was exploring in my last post. I threaded a straight draw following a light/dark color sequence all the way across. I used a two-block profile draft from Jakob Angstadt. The first block is on harnesses 1-4, and the second block is on harnesses 5-8. The design is symmetrical, and I am keeping to color combinations of dark/dark, dark/light, light/dark and light/light in treadling.
This is the first towel, for which I used only a dark blue weft.
This is the second towel, for which I used only a light weft:
And the underside:
As you can tell, I’m big into the checks. And there a few different ways I can play this. I have four more to go, so my next move is to plan number three.
I alternate days weaving on the 8 shaft, and days weaving on the 16 shaft looms. I am well into the second ever warp on the Ashford, this time weaving scarfs in 8/2 rayon threaded to a sixteen shaft straight draw.
This is the first one, now off the loom:
This is the second one, an undulating twill:
This is the third one, just started:
I am still struggling with the warping, and decided to order a raddle kit for next time. The warp sticks provided are very thin cardboard and I decided I really don’t like them, so will switch to wood warp sticks. Plus I will figure out a better way to weight the warp as it is wound on.
I do enjoy the slower, more focused pace that the table loom requires. And I am dazzled by all the pattern possibilities. One of my goals with this loom is to explore more ways to weave circles, a design motif with which I am perpetually obsessed.
I decided to put my Etsy shop on indefinite Vacation Mode, thus avoiding a lot of unnecessary trips to the post office. However, I will be adding to the inventory, so whenever I feel safe enough to go out more, there will be lots of new stuff.
And, I am reading Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety, her first novel, although it wasn’t published first. It’s loooong, and I love her style, and it focuses on characters in France before and during the Revolution. I thought the title was entirely apropos 😉 .
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.
Big news chez iowaweaver! My Turned Taqueté circles draft has been published by Handwoven Magazine in their May/June 2019 issue. I received an advance copy yesterday, and the digital version is available on the Interweave website as we speak. (There they are: in the left hand corner looking all cute.)
Funny story. Last September I was finishing up (as in hemming) a batch of towels for my Etsy shop when Handwoven editor Susan Horton emailed, inquiring if I would be interested in submitting a project. The theme of the issue is long warps, and they liked the idea of weaving both circles and checks on the same warp.
What could I say? I sprang into action, taking quick iphone photos of the towels.
They loved the colors and designs and suddenly I had another Handwoven Magazine publication. My last one was in 2013, with a Diversified Plain Weave Circles Scarf in cotton and rayon chenille which you can read about here. So it’s been a while. But it’s still fun.
I wrote my first Turned Taqueté blog in October 2012. Where does the time go? People starting noticing that particular blog post and the one following. But. It took some time before someone on Facebook kindly informed me that one of the weaving groups there was all over that blog post and weaving Turned Taqueté towels like gangbusters. So, what did I do? I joined the weaving group on Facebook. And a few others ; – )
Above, photos of the very first tea towels.
Fast forward to the present. I revisited this draft and decided to weave a batch of towels using a color palette themed after the Pantone Color of the Year Living Coral.
If you start deep diving into the whole Pantone color thing, you can find web sites that take the current Color and create palettes with coordinating hues. I chose a few colors, and then tried to match them with available 8/2 cotton colors from Maurice Brassard. That seemed to work pretty well.
Brassard’s version of Living Coral turned out to be Saumon, in the lower left hand corner. A little too light, but good enough.
Here is the finished set of towels. I treadled each one a little differently. I think they represent the Living Coral palette quite effectively.
Next up: Living Coral Turned Taqueté Circles towels. Of course!
So I wove up a batch of my Circles Turned Taquete towels recently. It kind of went in fits and starts. My notes tell me I began in October. I had ordered a beautiful palette of cotton yarn in what I called “Beachy” colors, and I was, like, game on. But change was in store…
Change #1. This is 8/2 unmercerized cotton and it was a brave new world of warping and weaving for me. Previously, all my cotton dishtowels have been woven with 10/2 mercerized cotton. But I had come to think that 8/2 unmercerized cotton was really a better choice for towels. It’s easy to find, comes on smaller cones so you can order more colors, and the weaving community seems to have come to a consensus on its appropriateness for the end result. I was a little twitchy about unmercerized vs. mercerized though. Mercerization is a process that renders it more willing to accept dye, improves color and sheen, but renders it less absorbent. Unmercerized cotton colors are perhaps less bright, but the cotton itself is soft and more absorbent, making it ultimately the better choice for hand towels or all sorts.
Change #2. I picked a group of eight colors and wound my warp. This is a new size of cotton, so I had to choose a different sett for my warp. I chose 24 epi (after checking around the interwebs for a bit to see what others were doing ;-)), which meant that I needed to order a new reed! OMG! I haven’t order a new reed. Ever. But It had to be done. So that pushed my timetable back a ways.
But, once I got going, it was smooth sailing. 8/2 cotton wound on the loom like a dream, and was really easy to weave off. I wove four towels in the circles design and two towels in my checked variation.
Here’s a photo of the two different varieties still on the loom:
And here’s a group portrait of all six after they were washed, and hemmed, and ready for their closeup:
I’m ordering more greens for another batch of towels, probably in a design that doesn’t involve so many dots. Everyone needs variety!
I’ve had a dishtowel warp on the loom for months. Oh wait, was it only April? That’s not that long…. sigh.
I wound enough warp for six towels, the most I’ve planned for, ever, because I’m not exactly a production weaver. More like a see-where-my-whims-take-me weaver. But, my pattern seems to be that my measuring/estimating skills are not quite up there with the professionals. That last towel turned out to be a placemat. But I love it anyway…. 😉
Truth is, just about all, OK all, of my dishtowel warps have just enough left over for a small mat. My collection is growing.
This warp was threaded in my Circles draft for Turned Taquete. I alternated natural color 10/2 cotton with different color stripes of 10/2 cotton from the stash. The idea was to use up some cones, and I did that. I threaded 32 epi.
Here are a couple of shots of the group:
As you can see I produced dishtowels with the original circles treadling and dishtowels with the checked treadling. I used the 10/2 natural cotton as weft for two of the towels. Then I switched to checks.
As in this drawdown:
I alternated natural and brown on one. On the second I rotated natural, tea rose and camelia.
Then I went back to circles and wove one with all mauve. The short number six was woven with all camelia.
Quite a cheerful bunch, I think. Next up, I will get them photographed and in my etsy shop. It’s a good thing, because I am currently all out of dishtowels and I need to stock up!
Okay, this is how it’s going to go down. I am warping for a small batch (two) of Turned Taquete Circles Scarves, and using yarn on hand (how else?). I decided to go with rayon chenille because it’s easy. I don’t want to wind a warp that’s 60 epi. Au contraire, I’m starting this at 16 epi and will be sampling from there. This is 1450 ypp chenille, and my normal epi for that is 16. I am prepared to go up to 20, but we’ll see how it goes. I have weft of the same size, and I also have weft that is 2000 ypp, which would probably be recommended for drape.
Shockingly enough, I will sample with both!
This is the draft I’ll be using, including color choices. I decided to go full on monochrome, just black and white. My next warp will have color added. This time, I wanted the most contrast I can get, and besides, I like black and white dots.
In other news, I have a batch of Turned Taquete towels off the loom and ready to finish:
Dishtowels off the loom – group portrait
This warp is my standard dishtowels warp: 10/2 cotton sett at 32 epi. 20 inches wide, and woven as close to 30″ long as possible, not counting hems which are another 1 1/2″ each. I say 10/2 cotton is my standard, but as soon as I use up my 10/2 stock, I think I will be switching to 8/2 cotton.
8/2 cotton seems to be a more standard material for dishtowels these days. Plus it’s somewhat less expensive. Can’t argue with that.
So, here are some close-ups just for fun:
I took these shots with my new iPhone, and I have to say that these photos would stand up to my Nikon SLR any day. Just sayin’…
This is a quick shot of the first of my new batch of dish towels on the loom. I'm using my tried and true Turned Taquete technique, but as usual I didn't think it through.
I had planned for a checkerboard effect with the taupe/gray background and multicolor checks. I warped the gray areas in the solid color with no contrast. And I had hoped to isolate the color squares with gray all around. But. To do that, I needed to alternate gray/color/gray/color. Instead, I alternated color/color.
This makes for a nice variety of colors overall, but my intended result is not happening.
I am getting better at using my new warping reel, though. So that's a good thing. And the winding on went smoother for a change.
My next idea is to use this technique for placemats. I will probably order 5/2 cotton for the warp and sett it pretty close at about 24 epi I think. And maybe use 10/2 cotton for the weft. We'll see.