Thursday, November 7, 2013

Twill Tea Towels ~ 8 Shaft Pinwheel Stars

Wanting to use yarn from my stash is always a challenge. I’ve wanted to weave a set of fine tea towels using 2/16 cotton for some time and I’ve wanted to try out this colour and weave twill pattern that looks just lovely with the tiny pinwheel stars.

Off I went into my stash cupboard and found that I had some lovely blue and green cotton in 2/16, but I didn’t have anything that went with them.  What I found was some 24/4 white cotton which has approximately the same yards per pound.

Then came the realization that the ends per inch needed to be somewhere between 30-40 threads ~ 30 for loose plain weave, and 40 for lace weave.  Since I was doing twill I decided on 36 ends per inch.  My final thread count is 868 ends for a 24 inch tea towel and that is more heddles per shaft than I have on my loom.  First order of business, move heddles from shafts 11 and 12 onto shafts 1 to 8; this is fairly straight forward on the Louet Spring loom, but it sure hurts your fingers after a few shafts! I'm thinking this is my first big mistake.

The plan is to weave 6 tea towels at 36 inch long each, so I pulled a warp of 242 inches.  This is just shy of 7 yards but still gives me lots of loom waste and take-up.  Since I had 2 cones of the white cotton yarn I decided to pull them at the same time, but to separate them at the cross to keep them in order.  This proved to be my second big mistake, and the reason is torque.  As the thread is pulled up off the cone it creates a spiral and by using 2 cones at the same time, the spiral turned into twist.  I pulled the warp in 3 sections over 2 days because it was a tad tedius.  I’m already having doubts about this project.
This is how it looked as I was trying to pull the warp onto the loom.  This was such a nasty warp to pull on that it took 2 people 1-1/2 hours to get it through the raddle and beamed because the torque was immense.  Starting to really dislike this project!
Nothing but snarls and twists as the threads passed through the raddle!
And even more sticking and bridging as they tried to pass through the lease sticks.
I had to stop and strum the warp with the back of my fingers to separate the web, every half turn of the back beam ~ awful!
 Right now I’m threading the loom and up pops my next challenge; bear with me while I explain my problem.  When I work out the pattern on the computer I have the tie up on the top right of the screen, when I pull the warp on the warping board I start at the same place, but start building my warp from the back left of the loom.  So when I start to thread I’m sitting at the loom and I start threading from right to left and that is from the left of the screen printout.  Normally this is not a problem, but on this particular colour and weave pattern if you thread it backward the pattern does this and you lose the star pattern.
There is another very odd foible in this pattern, if you don’t get the threading and treadling exactly right you get this.  Not only do you lose the stars but you lose the rest of the pattern.
Because of the way I put the warp on the back beam I’m having to thread my heddles from left to the right to make sure it works out.  I'm finding it completely counter intuitive and it’s taking me forever to get anywhere, but I have to admit that it's looking really, really lovely.


Dianne said...

It must be the phase of the moon or some such thing. I've had real trouble getting from warp winding to weaving!

Linda said...

Hang in there, Lynnette! It will be worth it in the end. These are going to be beautiful!!

Susan said...

Towels made from 16/2 cotton have such a nice hand to them that you forget (or is that forgive?) the extra work. I have woven this pattern and found it to be tricky as well. The orientation of threading direction seems to mess with the the pattern! (Makes you wonder if this happens with other drafts too?) The end result, the stars, are really effective and I just love the colours you have chosen.

Think when this all finally woven up and washed, you'll love them and wish the warp had been 2-3 towels longer!
:) Susan

Alida said...

Very nice pattern for towels!

kathleen said...

I've just started weaving with 2/16 and 2/20 and I don't have enough heddles for some weave structures, but I can Take a 4 shaft pattern and use the shafts 5-8 as my extras without taking heddles off and moving them. I just have to remember to tie them up under my loom. It saves a bit of time.
Kathy from