Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A trio of towels

When we left off, I had finally – after some struggle – warped the loom for towels. And it was so pretty. Here you can see the thinner (8/2 cotton) green yarn I used for the hem area (to reduce bulk when folding it over to hem), as well as the first bit of white weft (in 8/4 cotton):IMG_3384 And let’s just take a moment to admire the custom paint job S1 did for my little Cricket:IMG_3385

I wove along rather happily. One happy outcome of acquiring the loom stand is that I can sit comfortably on the couch, with a big pillow behind my back, because the stand legs can slide under the couch a little bit. Excellent for Netflixing!

As I wove along toward the end of the warp, I noticed that the finished cloth was no longer centered on the front beam. Why? Well, when I got to the very end, it was painfully clear why:IMG_3402

You don’t have to be a weaver to see there’s something wrong here. Everything is supposed to be at 90 degrees in weaving, and this most certainly is not! I also had some trouble with uneven threads toward the end, because this is how some of them went over the back beam: IMG_3403Hmmm.

I just kept going – there didn’t seem to be any fix for it at that point. When I pulled the finished cloth off the loom, it was a long mess like this:IMG_5670

That purple yarn is waste yarn that separates each of the towels. You can really see the light green hem section in the picture above. I also found some mistakes (skipped threads) at this point, like these:IMG_5671

Yikes! There is actually a way to fix these, and it should be done before the fabric is wet finished. (At this point, the weaving is really more of a web than fabric. Even after being released from the tension of the loom, there are pretty big holes in it – like a screen.) Do you want to see a fix? See the white warp (vertical) thread near the middle that goes over several weft rows:IMG_5672You can fix that by cutting it:IMG_5673

And then weaving in another white thread (just using a tapestry needle) that bridges the gap. There will be doubled warp for an inch or so, but that’s no big deal:IMG_5674

Then I machine washed the whole thing in hot water and dried it on high. I was amazed to find out that the web really does turn into fabric!IMG_5682

The only problem is that they aren’t very big towels anymore. Before washing, the lengths of each towel were 22-23”. After washing, they were 19.25-19.75”. The finished width is only 12.125” (I forgot to measure width before washing).

I hemmed one of the six ends. Here is how it looks before hemming (I machine-stitched a zigzag over the edge because I was paranoid about it unraveling):IMG_5683

And here is the finished hem:IMG_5684

I used the same thinner (8/2) green thread to hem with… but you can see it shows through on the right side a little. I will wait to finish the other edges until I have some white 8/2 cotton.

I tried to keep some notes to help me have more success on my next project:

  • Check my apron strings – are they really all the same length?
  • It is very, very hard to wind on evenly. Would it be easier with the direct warp method?
  • Don’t use wool for waste yarn if washing before removing it (the Knit Picks cotton/acrylic blend is fine though)
  • If I took the time to work hem stitch at each end, I wouldn’t worry about securing edges with zigzag on the sewing machine
  • Don’t machine-wash with those long ends… they are a mess!

I am anxious to warp the loom again to see if I can do better.

Also, I still adore the colors I picked for these towels. I should be able to get another set just like them with no problem.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! I had no idea that there were fixes for mistakes in weaving, that finished weaving needs washing to become fabric, and there were apron strings in weaving. I wonder how threads get skipped during weaving (doesn't the heddle prevent that?), but trust you'll teach us more about weaving as you progress with your beautifully painted Cricket.