Saturday, February 16, 2013

Granite Friendly Hand Towels

Handwoven Hand Towels by RepWeaver, Warp #91

These hand towels are from a warp tied on to my previous two warps. This means they are of the same threading but a different color-way than the other two. This time I decided to place the variegated ends in regular spots within the warp. For instance, I decided the thin middle stripe in the first five towels should be variegated. There are a total of four variegated ends within each threading repeat.

The drafts are #443, #444, and #446 from Carol Strickler's "A Weaver's Book of 8 Shaft Patterns", my favorite drafts from one of my favorite books.

While weaving these I was thinking how well they would go with granite countertops. My house does not have granite, maybe some day . . .

RepWeaver #91-4, Hand Towel detail

As a general rule I aim to chose a solid color from one of the middle hues of a chosen variegated yarn. That way there are both lighter and darker highlights sprinkled in with the solid colored main warp color. And if I match the main warp color to a mid hue, the variegated ends will sometimes seem to disappear into the background.

An issue on my mind while weaving these is how so often handwoven towels are referred to as "dish towels." I beg to differ. Handwoven towels, at least my handwoven towels, are meant to be used to dry your hands. I call them "Hand Towels". A dish towel is a thin flour-sack sort of cloth, preferably embroidered with a cute design to brighten up a sometimes tedious task. Something like this:

Embroidered Dish Towels
Two of my favorite "dish towels" and their embroidery patterns
from Bird Brain Designs ( #325) and Aunt Martha's (#4009)

Another thought is that towels such as these would work equally well in the powder room as in the kitchen. No longer will I label my towels as "Kitchen Towels" which is the way I have been doing it.

Handwoven towels are usually beguiling in structure and color, a joy to handle. Drying my hands with a handwoven towel is a source of delight in midst of an otherwise mindless task. After all, between your run of the mill terry towel or a handwoven towel which would you choose?

Handwoven Hand Towels
Handwoven Hand Towels

Handwoven Hand Towels by RepWeaver

Handwoven Hand Towels


  1. Yes, RepWeaver! I'm running our first Tea Towel Exchange at our Guild this year. These towels entered will be too beautiful to mop up messes in the kitchen! I agree, delight in their beauty and dry one's hands! Yours our beautiful!

    1. Oh, Cathie, thank you. I am glad to know I am not the only one. Flour sack dish towels are great and I love using them. But handwoven towels . . .
      Thanks for your kind comment.

  2. Guess I will be the dissenting voice....handwoven towels are just perfect for mopping up kitchen messes, grubby little faces, dog drool, whatever. In my kitchen flour sack towels are used for draping over rising bread and rolls - they are wonderful towels but I love my handwoven towels for everything else. Your granite towels are just lovely.

    1. Hey, Thistle Rose, I think we actually agree. What I intended to say is I don't use my handwoven towels to dry dishes but I do use them for everything else. Flour sack towels are my preferred dish-drying or "dish towels."

  3. Your towels are just lovely. I am about to embark on my first towels, which will be very simple but I have high hopes for the future. I see that your width in the reed is 22" Would the length be then, 28" to keep in proportion? Or, is there more take up/shrinkage length- or width-wise? And about how much? I am using a heavier thread, 8/2.
    As in so many things, questions lead to more questions.

    1. Thank you, Firefly.
      These towels had pretty even take-up/shrinkage. The structure uses a tabby so I think it acts similar to balanced plain weave. I wove these 32" long measured on loom without tension. Once they relaxed and were hemmed and washed the finished towels were 19" x 28".
      The best way to predict take up and shrinkage is to sample. And the more you weave the better idea you will have of what to expect.
      Good luck and have fun with your towels.