Ah, sweet February, a short month that brings us days that grow increasingly longer. As winter slowly releases its grip, and with Valentine’s Day smack in the middle, I found time to reflect on the loves in my life.
These simple towels, basically plain weave, with two bands of turned summer and winter represent my reflections on love.
The first towel, with three hearts, reminds me of the love of a good relationship. A couple meets with hearts open to each other. As the relationship grows, and the couple learns more about each other, their hearts begins to fill up with memories created: first date, first kiss, first dance, a grand romance. Love continues to grow and now we see the full hearts of mature and lasting love.
The second towel, with connected hearts, reminds me of the love between a mother and child. The first sound a child hears is the beating of the mother’s heart. As the child grows each step and bump and fear and laugh and smile is shared and softened by the mother’s arms and heart. Even as the child grows and grows and finally becomes an independent adult, the hearts of mother and child remain connected forever, no matter how far apart they are.
These towels, though simple, took a while to weave as each row of the design had to be picked up thread by thread which gave me a lot of time for reflection.
February’s towels are woven in Turned Summer and Winter, which means the pattern and background threads are built into the warp, and only one shuttle is used for the weft.
These are the February towels found in “Weaving Towels as a Means of Learning the Basic Four-Shaft Weaves”, by Clotilde Barrett, Weavers Journal, Fall 1983, Volume VIII, Number 2, Issue 30, pages 11- 19. I adapted the draft to use 2/16 cotton sett at 24 ends per inch. This makes the pick-up bands 2.5 inches wide.
I also realized that since I had to do pick-up, I could change the motifs as I went along, and had fun playing with different heart designs.
The original draft was written on four shafts, with the plain weave threads alternating between shafts 1 and 2, and the pattern on shafts 3 and 4. This will require 222 heddles on shaft 1 and 222 heddles on shaft 2. Make sure you have enough heddles on shafts 1 and 2 before you start dressing the loom.
Because I had an eight shaft loom available, I spread the plain weave sections over shafts 1,2,3,and 4 and put the pattern threads on shafts 5 and 6.
Use a 12 dent reed and sley 2 ends per dent in the plain weave sections, and 4 ends per dent (2 background and 2 pattern threads) in the pattern bands. The pick-up is based on 4 pattern ends for each block in the diagram, and the 12 dent reed is enormously helpful in counting your pick ups.
Warp: 2/16 cotton, natural for the background thread, and 2/8 cotton, raspberry, for the pattern thread.
Weft: 2/8 cotton, natural.
Sett: 24 epi (ends per inch), in plain weave sections, 48 epi in pattern bands (24 natural cotton, 24 raspberry cotton)
Total number of warp ends: 624
Width in reed: 21 inches
Warp length: 3 yards (for two towels)