Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunshine Plaid Towels

Just in time for holiday gifting, I finished my towels. There were three in total, and on Sunday night, I finished the weaving, zigzagged the hems, cut them apart, sewed the hems down, machine washed them, and then ironed them partially dry before laying them flat to dry overnight. Then on Monday morning, I folded one up and gave it away. Phew. The other two will be going to new homes, as well, which means I still won't know, firsthand, how well they will work to dry dishes. I will have to trust others' opinions on that, at least for now. I believe I mentioned previously that I have more of the cotton/linen blend that I will make more towels with, sometime soon. Perhaps I will keep some of those to try them out.

After washing, the fabric softened up and fluffed up, and now it has quite a nice soft hand. The selvedges evened up a bit, too, which is nice. While I was weaving, the warp threads along either side of the cloth were looser than the ones in the middle (despite me trying to fix this prior to weaving.) I was worried that the selvedges would end up wobbly because of it, but they looked okay off the loom and even better once washed. As per usual, finishing can hide many errors.

There were a few errors, alas, that I noticed on the underside of at least one of the towels, where a few warp threads were skipped and left a little block of threads. I think it gives the towels character. It certainly proves they were handmade.

My biggest lesson with these towels was in changing weft colours (and frequently.) I mostly just wove in the starting tail in the next shed, but left the finishing tails hanging. I am a bit worried about it, since I don't know how well the cut ends will stay in place. I certainly don't want them developing holes along that selvedge, especially as they are gifts. I am placing my trust in more experienced weavers, who say that it will work out.

Overall, I did enjoy this pattern. The repetitive nature of the blocks kept me wanting to weave Just One More, and they also gave a way to gauge how far I had woven, without the fuss of trying to measure the cloth before it wound around the beam. I will, however, be taking a break from plaid to go back to something simpler (one colour in the warp, one in the weft) for some little facecloths in the leftover cotton/linen. I am going to sample a few patterns I invented, and see how they turn out. Then maybe back to the plaid for that woven blanket I had planned...?

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