Category Archives: Handwoven towels

Happy New Year! 2020

My year end project was making this table runner for my sister and husband who were married in August. Better a little late than never. I seemed to be running behind most of this year.

I continue in my 2nd term as president of the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston. It will be nice to finish my term in June and only have to have the title and jobs of Past President.

In the WOW study group we have been studying Profile drafts. We broke into smaller groups which each chose a profile draft to be woven in a weave structure appropriate for their loom. Since I have 12 shafts, rep weave was possible using our chosen profile draft above. So that is what needs to be accomplished in the next couple of months.

I’m working on towels with a color scheme that is out of my normal realm but colors being requested. The loom has been set-up and currently being woven. Weft colors may vary for additional towels in the warp length.

On a walk on Christmas Day at Cullen Park in Sugar Land, TX we came across this magnificent tree, covered in moss. It was a beautiful sunny day to enjoy with my daughter and husband.

Family for Christmas Eve. Even the grand-dog had to get in the picture.

They are so cute, but what would one do with them? They can’t be sheared for fleece. Comfort animals?

May you have a Happy 😊 and Prosperous New Year!

Where has time gone

This summer came and went. I spent several weeks in Minnesota to attend my Sister’s wedding and several weeks later a nieces wedding.

Such happy times. It allowed me to reconnect with relatives, some which I had not seen in years. The temperatures being cooler than back home were an added bonus.

An extended family photo was even possible at Ruth’s wedding. I’m in the back row 4th from left. Of course we were missing some spouses and cousins.

I did hem a few of the above towels when I was in Minnesota to prepare for my guilds sale in a month. These were woven with cottolin in a 12 Harness, broken Twill.

My second grandchild arrived in October. A beautiful little girl. Needless to say we are thrilled.

After weaving 3 of the towels found at the top of the blog, I switched colors for the weft. And I wove this green version. The towels were easy to weave, an 8 harness satin weave. I didn’t even need the use of my temple treadle to aid with the weaving. These also used 8/2 cottolin yarn. I ran out of time to finish weaving off the 7 yd. warp and cut off the 4 towels woven so they could be finished for my guild, The Contemporary Handweavers of Houston’s Annual Sale, that took place last weekend.

We tried something new this year having an opening night, with refreshments. It was something that the guild used to do, but had gone away from. It is always amazing how beautiful the merchandised looks once set up is completed. And now to get back to weaving. I’ve already started weaving off the warp that couldn’t be completed for the sale. It should result in 2 more towels, which will be gifted.

A wild turkey outside the ” Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge” .

Off and Running

The new year has begun with new opportunities for artistic expression. My looms are warped and ready for the shuttles to be thrown, with the yarns to be beat in place, growing the new fabric.

A 12 shaft twill, fabric for more towels. Unmercerized cotton is used since it is has greater absorbency than mercerized cotton.

The colors in the second photo are truer. There was more natural light coming in the windows when it was taken.

The treadling is changed in this piece, giving us a different graphic design. There is not a true plain weave with this threading. Not having a true plain weave will create a better towel since plain weave does not shrink as much as the twill with wet finishing. This will give hems that should not flair out.

We’re getting more rain tonight as I write. it is not supposed to amount to much which is good. We do not need more flooding since some of the rivers are high from waters being released upstream.

There still are occasional blossoms on the roses to brighten the days.

How time Flies

It’s hard to believe the holidays are right around the corner. Yes I’m still weaving whenever possible. This year I took on another role for the Houston Handweavers as President. Some say being president is an easy role. Yet trying to keep everyone engaged, while trying to help improve the health of the guild can be difficult task. But I decided that the guild was important to me so when no one else stepped up I said yes.

The above weaving uses 8 harnesses and 10 treadles. This advancing twill is an 8/2 twill, sett at 24 epi for a towel. I realized that one weft repeat had been left out throughout the piece. It will still be functional, but looks even better when treadled like this:

The transitions between boxes is much smoother with this one pick added to each repeat. Can you see the difference.

This could be interesting with different colors used in the warp for each box but a solid weft.

The temperature didn’t get low enough to do in these cannas. The Palm tree canopy may have helped to protect them.

Scrap Happy Towels

The idea for these twill block towels came from blogs written by other weavers earlier this year. It seemed there was a trend to see what one could do with the leftover yarns and/or fabrics used in ones craft.

It always seems a shame to throw away good yarn that remains on a bobbin when a project is finished. Also there are those cones with just a wee bit of yarn left. Some these have been lingering in a basket and small box for quite a few years.

So I decided to create a warp using these ends of 8/2 unmercerized cotton. There may also be some cottolin yarns, since for a time I never identified the leftover yarns. A bit of a yarn hoarder I am, since you never know what one might need the leftover yarns for. I measured a 5 yard warp randomly placing colors. With all the different yarns, winding was a bit tedious. The weft I used was a 8/2 Stone color, from a new spool of Brassards cotton yarn.

8 shaft, 12 treadle twill blocks were used to create the pattern. I changed up the block pattern in some of the towels as you can see above. So Towels were made from those left overs. Waste not want not.

Towels from the Stash

The yarn stash, has been taking over my house. Well at least the bedroom designated as my studio. If I walk into a yarn store I will surely walk out with at least one cone of yarn or a couple of skeins. This will happen even with no project in mind. The yarn just needs to be pretty or a color that may be missing in the stash. The warp yarn for the above towel was purchased many years ago at Fine Line Creative Arts Center, in St. Charles, Illinois. It is a variegated flake yarn that was a millend. Even at that time variegated cotton yarns were difficult to find. So of course it came home in the suitcase, with another cone of different colors and grist to take their places upon the shelves of cotton yarns.

Every year I’ll weave a set of towels that are inspired by fall foliage. So the cotton variegated, flake cone was used as the warp yarn. ( It created a large amount of lint when weaving. Vacuuming of the space was definitely required on completion of weaving 🙁. I used different colors of 8/2 cotton for the weft. The twill weave is difficult to see the pattern due to the variegated colors. The pattern did give a nice texture.

In my last blog, Snowflakes in Summer, a reader requested the drawdown for the snowflake design so here it is:

So now the Spring loom is empty. I had measured a warp, when My foot kept me from weaving, from all those bobbin, and spool ends collected for many years. (“Waste not want not”, I guess this is a clue to how I was brought up). So the new towel warp is awaiting threading on the loom.

I’ve returned from HGA’s 2018 Convergence Fiber Arts Conference in Reno, Nevada. The telling of my experiences will have to wait for the next post.

The iridescence of this dragonfly is amazing. They also help to rid us of all those pesky mosquitoes.

Bronson Lace #2

After a botched posting, I’m back to share. Off the loom now is this black, white, and gray, Bronson Lace weave. You can see the center of this towel design. I love lace weaves, this is the first time I’ve woven this design. It began with a pattern found in the Weavers Book of 8 Shaft Weaves: Carol Strickler. A Bronson Lace design on pg. 186 #619. I modified the design found in the book to arrive at this pattern.

The next batch of cottolin towels will use these colors; the deep coral will be for the weft yarn, with a surprise color used in the weft for some of the towels.

The outdoor Amaryllis was in full bloom for Easter. It’s not looking so good now but has one bloom yet to open. What started with 3 bulbs a couple of years ago, has now become six. It maybe time to separate.

Oh no now what

Some days it seems one won’t ever get to the point of weaving beautiful cloth. A simple 8 shaft turned twill makes weaving fairly simple. There’s no need to even use the Tempo Treadle to help with weaving. Just treadle 1-4 two times than 5-8 two times and vala pattern repeat is done. One shuttle to throw so weaving goes quickly.

Weaving did go quickly but a few problems needed fixing first. I discovered when threading that there were not enough heddles on 2 of the shafts. Oh my! I could rethread so the heddles could then be moved around on the shafts. Instead I added string heddles which is a fairly easy fix.

A change in weft colors and varied treadling helped appease the boredom that can set in when weaving multiple towels on a longer warp.

The towels are off the loom and being hemmed. Some will find their way to the CHH gallery at the Guild House in Houston this weekend.

Now to setup the looms for the next projects.

This Amaryllis is blooming on a 24 inch stem. Normally their 10-16 inches tall. The bulbs outdoors are just beginning to send up their buds.

Ringing out the year

The last project of the year, cotton towels is off the loom and waiting for the hemming to be done. The Spring loom is not empty though, a project to be woven in the new year is almost threaded so weaving can begin.

I had given myself permission in 2017 to improve my weaving equipment and I followed my plan. An 8 shaft Spring loom was acquired and I added 4 more harnesses giving me a total of 12 harnesses. I also added a Tempo Treadle to the 12 harness Spring and to my 8 harness Baby Mac. Now I have fewer weaving errors and can weave more complicated patterns.

The towels used 8/2 cotton, sett at 20 epi, I used a 10 dent reed with 2 ends per dent. When weaving this 12 harness shadow weave pattern Some of the towels were treadled differently. So if you compare the 2 pictures the patterns are different. Also I used different weft colors.

No new equipment is on the horizon for the coming year. Instead I will be trying to down size some of my stash and equipment no longer being used.

A Happy Creative New Year to all!

Autumn colors

IMG_6265Every autumn I weave a set of towels in colors of changing trees. There’s not much inspiration here, but my eye can take me back to the years spent in Minnesota.

The towels are a twelve shaft shadow weave, of 22/2 cottolin sett at 20 ends per inch. I used any where from 3 to 5 colors in their weaving. 3 colors in warp, The weft colors were changed as cones were used up to avoid adding to the stash.

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The box above is the 4 shaft extension kit for the Spring loom. Not what I expected for all that money. Anyways it arrived a few days before Hurricane Harvey so was not assembled for several weeks. A few choice words were spoken during assembly.  ( Have you ever assembled IKEA pieces?) My recommendation is if you think you want 12 harnesses invest up front and purchase a 12 shaft loom.

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This bundle of joy arrived a month ago to my Son and Daughter-in-law. We are lucky to live 5 hours away, making it easier to visit my first grandchild.

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A Baby blanket was woven and gifted.

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I’m finishing items for the CHH Annual Sale. So if your in the neighborhood visit and support the Fiber artists participating as well as the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston guild.

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Signs of the coming winter with the Blue Heron returning to the community lake.