Category Archives: Towels

Towels

Tour the Historic Boott Cotton Mills

Boott Cotton Mills 1920's weave room

Boott Cotton Mills 1920’s weave room

After attending Convergence I spent a few days with my husband traveling. One of the stops was to Lowell, MA. I’ve been fascinated with history as well as textiles most of my life.  Of course a stop at the Lowell National Historical Park was necessary. The park provides  an up close view of textile production in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

First we rode the rails, on a reproduction Trolley car from the visitor center to the Boott Cotton Mills. The walk would have been about 15 mins, but the free ride was  much more fun.  A part of the former mill now houses a working 1920’s weave room, and a museum with interactive exhibits and video programs. DSCN0172 The 1920’s weave room shown at the top, features operating power looms. These are restored  Draper Model E. looms (ca. 1913 ).  When running they create  a racket, so ear plugs are supplied. One can only imagine how noisy it would be with multiple floors of looms all running at the same time.  No wonder so many textile workers became deaf. Some of these looms were weaving dish towel fabric  sold in bulk or as finished towels at the gift shop. These towels could be found in most American homes at one time.  The  towels are being woven  plain or with different stripe colors and number of stripes. I now have 2 of these towels in my home. Reminders of the trip.

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Sadly the Boott Cotton Mills  closed in 1954. The photo shows a Draper E loom weaving cotton towel fabric at the Bootts Mill.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Shadow weave towels with beaded counted cross stitch (Fall Leaves designed by Mill Hill)

Pumpkin Shadow weave towels with beaded counted cross stitch (Fall Leaves designed by Mill Hill)

Hope you have  a gastronomic holiday full of wonderful food, friendship and love  this Thanksgiving weekend. I am thankful for my loving family, friends and health. Thank you for taking the time to read  and interact with me on my blog.

Towels on the loom

Towels inspired by Fall colored Bradford Pear Trees

Towels inspired by Fall colored Bradford Pear Trees

By changing color schemes a pattern can look totally different. These shadow weave towels were inspired by the fall leaves on the Bradford Pear Trees in our neighborhood. They’ve just begun to change, but memory has served me well. These are woven with 8/2 cottolin, using a total of 5 colors. They are sett at 20 epi, 2 ends per dent in a 10 dent reed. I tied onto the warp of the pumpkin towels of an earlier post. These will be the last towels for a while, need to change gears and get a holiday gift project on the loom. 

 

Pumpkin Inspiration

Shadow Weave Towels

Shadow Weave Towels

Inspiration for these shadow weave towels come from the pumpkins seen everywhere at Halloween. Usually I use cottolin for shadow weave towels. For these 8/2 cotton is used with the same sett as if using cottolin, 20 ends per inch. A ten dent reed is used with 2 ends per dent. Weaving is done with 2 shuttles. The third shuttle was used when weaving the stripes at the base of the towel.
Zinnas

Zinnas

These zinnas could have been used for inspiration instead. This picture was taken on a much sunnier day than today. Happy Halloween to all you ghosts and goblins out there.

Houston Handweavers Sale

Scarves and Shawls

Scarves and Shawls

Towels and Bookmarks

Towels and Bookmarks

My items are all tagged and packed ready for check-in at the Houston Handweavers Sale. Today I helped with setting up the sale. It’s amazing how items entered by 40 some members is organized into a beautiful display by a small group of volunteers. Tomorrow when the sale opens the challenge will be to keep that display as beautiful as it was at the end of set-up.

Weaving in the Shadows

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One of my favorite weave structures is Shadow Weave. In traditional shadow weave every other thread is a dark color followed by a light colored thread. This is done In both the warp and weft directions. The light color is the shadow. My go to book for shadow weave is 1000 (+) Patterns in 4, 6, and 8 Harness Shadow Weaves by Marian Powell. With the many variations shown in this book it is easy to put together your own combinations. This book is also available digitally, allowing you to upload .wif files to your weaving software.

20131008-162101.jpg The towels are woven with 8/2 and 22/2 cottolin, sett at 20 ends per inch, 2 ends per dent in a 10 dent reed.

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Just a Little Warped

Warping Board with warp for towelsGrape yarnsFall colors towels

 

Took a break from weaving to prepare 2 warps. The warping board has several guide strings hanging down that are for different warp length measurements. Each of the warps pictured, will be woven as 8 harness, shadow weave towels. The grape or purple warp will be tied to the end of the fall leaf colored warp, after those towels are woven and cut off. Tying on to an existing warp takes just as long as setting up the loom initially, but there is one benefit there will be no threading errors or denting errors.

New shelves
This shows my new yarn storage shelves. Half of the yarn had been in boxes, bags or simply stacked in a closet. Of course the yarn I always wanted was on the bottom of the pile. My husbands solution was to increase my shelve space. So all the yarn was taken off existing shelves, to move in the new shelves. The yarn is sorted by type and color when possible and placed on the new shelves. This is the real reason I couldn’t weave this weekend, The loom was surrounded by yarn. So I warped instead.

Dye Day with Warp Painting

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Over the weekend I attended a Dye Day at the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston, Guild House. You bring your prepared yarns in skein form or pre-warped segments for dyeing. An assortment of stock dye colors are premixed for our use. These stock colors can than be mixed to create a wide spectrum of colors. Syringes are used to accurately measure the stock dyes into small cups. Distilled water can be added to dilute dyes for less intense colors. After mixing dye, a drop or two is put on a coffee filter to preview the color once dried. At this point a decision on whether to use as is or make additions to the color that has been premixed, must be made. To help in making decisions on colors to select for use, there were dyed yarn samples with formulas for mixing of colors. When warp painting with Sabracon F dyes, they will bleed into one another creating new colors. There is the possibility of creating muddy colored areas. My fiber of choice for this project is 20/2 silk pre-warped in one inch sections, enough for a shawl. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I painted this warp. The bright green was supposed to be a Teal like color but turned out more greeny. I’m hoping when this finally makes it to the loom it can be toned down with the weft yarn used. The other alternative is to over dye the pre-warped sections.

Summer and Winter Complete!

Summer and Winter Towel

Summer and Winter Towel

My larger loom sits in my livingroom where visitors and everyone in the house pass by it often. I have had a Summer and Winter piece designed for a study group project on it for nearly 2 years. The design was inspired by the backsplash tiles in our remodeled kitchen. After weaving off samples and 2 towels, I tweeked my lower back. Alas, I could not get myself to go back to the loom to complete the last towel which was half done. The piece wasn’t a dog but a nice art piece on the loom. I needed the loom for a larger piece that could not be woven on my Baby Mac loom. I’m proud to say the towel was completed and a new work is in the process of being threaded.

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What’s on the Loom

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Kitchen towels of 8/2 cotton. I’ve named this color scheme “Fire”. The first 3 towels will look like this. While in the next 2, I’m using red in the weft in addition to the orange and yellow. This is a Bronson Lace weave structure.