Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kitchen Towels

Ok, I'm guilty.  These have been done for quite a while, but have been sitting on my chair-side table for a month waiting to be hemmed.  I've discovered I don't much care for hemming....

Since the idea of weaving entered my mind, I wanted to weave kitchen towels.  I don't know why, but I love dish towels, tea towels, whatever you call them.  Having towels that dry well, are soft and supple, and gentle on your dishes makes such a difference.  So I decided to weave some!  I started off with unmercerized cotton.  Mercerization of cotton involves exposing it to a sodium hydroxide bath, which is then neutralized by an acid bath.   This treatment increases luster, strength, affinity to dye, resistance to mildew and shrinkage. Mercerized yarns more readily accepts dye and hold the color longer.  In the weaving world, this is called perle cotton.  While there are many benefits to mercerized cotton, ABSORBENCY is what is sacrificed in the process.  And we all know absorbency is what we need in a kitchen towel.

So here is my UNmercerized 8/2 cotton, before I wound the warp.  I chose 2 colors: natural and a pretty "china blue".
I wanted to make these towels plaid-like.  I designed a pattern, wound the warp, and dressed the loom.  I wanted to try different treadling patterns for each towel.  I looked through my weaving pattern directory and found 4 to try.
Here is the first towel on the loom.  I used an S diagonal (really a plain twill) on this one. 
Once I finished the first towel, I placed 4 throws of a contrasting yarn, and proceeded with the next towel.  The next pattern was an extended zigzag.  This one was a lot of fun to weave.
Up close on the zigzag.

I didn't take pictures on the loom of the remaining two patterns: but I did a Bell Celtic pattern and then Hopsack.  
Here are the towels right off the loom!
Next up was separating the towels.  I performed a machine zigzag stitch on either side of the pink dividing yarn to secure the warp and wefts...
And then cut.  I tell ya, that is unnerving.  I think I was praying the whole time that the stitching would hold!
I decided to hem the towels by hand.  For some reason, the tension on my machine was acting up, and I wasn't confident that the hem stitch from the machine would look alright.  Plus, I was wanting to do as small a hem as possible, and Lord knows I'm not a good enough machine sewer to keep that hem in place as it moved through the machine.  Thus, enter the unhappy task of hemming.  

Once it was (finally) done, I washed them up by hand, dried them in the dryer, and then pressed them.  Check out how much the pressing helped!

Here is the finished product(s).  I'm so pleased with them.  I made them to be sold at the craft fair coming up, but I really am going to have a hard time letting these go.  They look so absorbent and feel so soft, I know they'll be a cherished piece of someone's kitchen someday!

 And a special shout-out to one of my partners-in-crime, who helped with the photo shoot! :)

Due to the popularity of these towels, I've scanned and linked the copy of my weaving record sheet which will give you instructions on how to make your own.  If you have any questions or can't read my writing :), message me.



  1. These are terrific towels! Well done! Isn't it fun to do one threading then vary the treadling or even the tie-up? Keeps me from getting bored! (My example is here: )

  2. wonderful! I'm going to try this too! THANX

  3. In a while I will publish my towels on FB: tinybits&knits.

  4. Awesome! love these easy to follow chart and info. Thanks

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