Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels

These towels make me think of my father. He was a brilliant architect. As an architect’s daughter, I learned to appreciate the interaction of structure, design, and color. This fabric has it all! These towels are also an expression of joy, a prominent aspect of my dad’s personality. If you could create a tangible article of jubilation, this would be it.

Broken and reverse twill structure. Handwoven towels.
Broken and reverse twill structure. Using all the same colors, each towel has a different sequence of weft color order.

After weaving three towels, I eliminated the floating selvedges. Which one of the four towels do you think was woven without floating selvedges? Leave your answer in the comments. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.)

Four new handwoven towels.
Three of the four towels were woven with floating selvedges.

Here’s a short slideshow video that shows the process from start to finish:

Jubilation bath towels are up next on the Glimåkra Standard!

May your jubilation rub off on your family and friends.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

47 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Number 4

  • Nancy says:

    They are all beautiful!

    I think it is number 4 that didn’t have a floating selvage. I know those edges anywhere! Ha ha

  • Kristin Martzall says:

    The towels are gorgeous ! I think I would have liked to have met your father…….
    !

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, I’m sure you would have enjoyed my father. He was a very likable guy. Thank you for your compliment on the towels!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Charlotte says:

    The richness in color and design…goodness…gracious…such beauty have you created! I and going with #3, to be the one without a floating selvage.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, Your encouraging words mean a lot to me. Thanks for making a guess. Stay tuned… I will reveal the answer next week.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    They are beautiful, Karen!

  • Rachel says:

    I believe it is 4. My question is why? These towels are stunning. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, If your question is why would I eliminate the floating selvedges, I have a few reasons. Primarily, though, I can get a much better rhythm in weaving without them. And in most cases, I find they are unnecessary.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • My guess is #2. Only because it looks a little different than the others. Did you start out without one and then decide it would be A little easier to use one?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenny, I started out with the floating selvedges because I thought I needed them because of the reverse twill. After three towels I decided to chance it and cut the floating selvedges off. I was pleasantly surprised. It leaves only small floats at the selvedge (which are unnoticeable after wet finishing), and it was much easier for me to weave without them. I only had to toss and catch the shuttle, so my hands didn’t have to stay so close to the warp.

      Thanks for making a guess. I’ll reveal the answer next week.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Bethany Garner says:

    What a glorious video Karen… the loom, the threading, the weaving and the music brought me great joy this morning. Be safe and well! You are loved!
    Bethany in Kingston, ON Canada

  • Kristin G says:

    I’m guessing #2. These towels are gorgeous, Karen! The video with all of its loveliness brought a smile to my face this morning (and I needed it – I was feeling like a grump!) Your father sounds like such a wonderful man. Thank you for spreading joy today 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristin, Well, I’m glad this had that effect on you because the world needs your beautiful smile! You would have liked my father, and I know he would have liked you.

      Thanks for your guess. Stayed tuned for next week….

      Hugs,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Good morning Karen. Your craftsmanship is so precise I couldn’t pick out the missing salvage with a laser pointer and a flashing neon light.

  • Loyanne Cope says:

    The towels are lovely. Your colors are always so interesting. If I am not being too forward, your edge in the picture where the towel is still on the look looks so firm. Would you share how you did this? Thank you, Loyanne

    • Karen says:

      Hi Loyanne, It’s good to hear from you.

      While on the loom, the edges stay firm for two reasons. 1. I generally keep the tension fairly tight. This is especially possible with a countermarch loom. 2. I always use a temple. The temple helps me weave tight selvedges—the weft is very snug at the selvedge, which helps keep the outer warp ends firm.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • jane n wolff says:

    These are lovely. Cam you share what yarn you used?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, Thank you for asking. The warp and weft is 22/2 Bockens Nialin (Cottolin). The cotton and linen blend is perfect for making absorbent towels.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • KimG says:

    Well, I LIKE the edge of number 2 the best. Where is the pattern from, how many shafts and what are the were and warp threads? Absolutely stunning!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim, Thanks! I like knowing what you like the best.

      I started with a draft for wool blankets from Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, by Tina Ignell. I adjusted it for size and sett to make the towels, and chose my own colors. This uses 6 shafts and 6 treadles. Cottolin for warp and weft.

      Thank you!
      Karen

  • Kevin B says:

    Your towels are beautiful! Beautiful colors and fabulous weaving! I’m guessing #4 is the one without the floating selvage.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kevin, I have enjoyed these colors immensely. It’s fun to find a set of colors to play around with. Thanks for making a guess! I’ll let you know the answer next week…

      Thanks for your sweet encouragement.
      Karen

  • D'Anne says:

    I suspect you inherited your father’s precise workmanship and creativity as your work is always exquisite. He sounds like a delightful father. I think #2 is the one without the floating selvedge, but I look forward to your answer. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, Your cheerful encouragement means so much to me! If I inherited my dad’s workmanship and creativity that’s saying a lot. You have a keen eye. We’ll see if you’re right about the selvedges.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Jan says:

    Beautiful towels Karen. I think No 1 is the one without the floating selvedge.

  • Linda says:

    My guess is #4. I always use a FS with twill and it makes me laugh that I am having such a hard time seeing the difference! Beautiful towels!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, Floating selvedges are very common. I’m pleased to know that it is not easy to tell the difference. Weaving is far simpler for me without them. Thank you!!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kat says:

    My goodness! These towels are just stunning, color, pattern, all of it! My guess is number 2. It just looks different form the other three, and I prefer the look of that edge!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kat, Your descriptive words really warm my heart! I’m glad these towels look good to you.

      Thanks for including your guess – and your reasons.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Janis Schiller says:

    Hi Karen,
    Your towels are wonderful. I love the combination of reverse and broken twill.
    Is this your original pattern or is it from another source?

    The video was enjoyable to watch as well.

    Can’t wait to see what your Jubilation towel project will be!
    Regards, Janis

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janis, I’m very happy with the reverse and broken twill combination. It puts a lot of action in the design.
      I started with a pattern for wool blankets in Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave, by Tina Ignell, and made adjustments to turn it into towels.

      The next Jubilation Towels will be very similar, only bigger! Bath size.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    Your towels are beautiful! Nothing beats the feel of hand wowen towels, I am sure they will be wonderful as bath towels, too 🙂
    My guess is # 2, for two reasons… the edge looks different, and I think I recognize the colors from the last towel you wove where you made this change.

  • Tobie R LuriTobie says:

    Hi Karen-The towels are beautiful but I have a question about rag rugs. I cleaned out my linen closet and discovered I have too many sheets and think they will make very good rugs. I plan to cut them in strips and dye them. My question is how wide should I make these strips–1 inch/2 inches? These are older cotton sheets so are pretty soft. What do you think? And thanks for advice!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tobie, That’s great that you have cotton sheets that you can use for rag rugs. I recommend you test some different widths of strips after you get the loom warped before you cut all the strips. I use a sett of 8 epi (3 epc) with 12/6 cotton rug warp. Most of my fabric strips are 3/4″ wide. If the fabric is thin, I cut them a little wider, up to 1 inch. If you want thicker weft, 2 thinner weft strips will pack in and lay better than one wider strip. Most of the Swedish rag rug books I refer to use fabric cut to 2cm (about 3/4″), so that’s what I try to follow.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Lora says:

    Number 2. Gorgeous towels.

  • […] PS Floating Selvedges. Last week I asked if you could tell which one of these four towels was woven without floating selvedges. (1 – 4, with the towel on top as #1.) See Process Review: Jubilation Hand Towels […]

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Tried and True: Designing Handwoven Towels

How do you come up with a design for standout hand towels? Sometimes it’s nice to start with someone else’s ideas. There is a gorgeous wool throw, designed by Anna Svenstedt, in Favorite Scandinavian Projects To Weave: 45 Stylish Designs for the Modern Home, by Tina Ignell. This Colorful Throw—Reverse Twill makes a perfect template for designing eye-catching hand towels.

New handwoven towels.
Warp chains with seven colors of 22/2 cottolin for standout hand towels.

Decisions:

  • Colors – a set of seven colors, to be used in warp and weft
  • Fiber – 22/2 cottolin for warp and weft
  • Reed and sett50/10 metric reed, 10 ends per centimeter (~ 12-dent reed, 24 ends per inch)
  • Finished size of towel – 39.5 cm x 63 cm (15.5” x 24.5”)
  • Number of towels – 2 pairs of towels = 4 total
  • Spacing of warp stripes – add two more narrow stripes at each selvedge to balance the pattern

These decisions enable me to prepare a project plan, make calculations, and write a new weaving draft.

New handwoven towels.
Testing, testing…

When the loom is dressed, the design process continues as I begin weaving a sample section. This is where I decide what weft colors to use, the spacing of weft stripes, and specific treadling patterns. I add these notes to my project sheet, which I keep at the loom as my weaving roadmap.

Measuring for weft stripes.
I place my measuring twill tape along the reed to mark the spacing of the warp stripes. I will use that same spacing for weft stripes to make plaid towels.
Testing colors and patterns.
Sample weaving to try out colors, stripe spacing, and treadling patterns. And, simply to practice this broken reverse twill treadling, which requires concentration.
First towel starts after the red cutting line.
First towel starts after the red cutting line.

These hand towels are a preview. If they turn out as hoped, I may have to make some bath towels to match.

May your designs stand out.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

14 Comments

  • Charlotte says:

    You will love the cottolin for your bath towels. I’ve used cottolin for warp and linen for weft. That works well. But, the balance of cottolin for warp and weft makes a wonderful bath towel.

    Your hand towels will be a treasure!!! The colors are smashing!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlotte, I like the idea of using linen for weft with a cottolin warp. You would get the softness of the cotton in the cottolin and the extra absorbency of the linen. I may consider that for the bath towels. What size linen do you recommend for that?

      I’m already thinking these may be my favorite hand towels.

      Thanks!
      Karen

      • Charlotte says:

        I am sitting here at home, sipping my first cup of coffee. Hence, I don’t have my notes available to answer your question. But, I usually try a weft and weave a few rows of blocks to make certain I can square the block. If the yarn is too thick for the weft, but I’m crazy about it…I’ll weave 1/2 blocks for the cloth. I’ll treadle 1, 2, 3 and change to the next pattern row: 4, 5, 6. Does this make sense?

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Gorgeous colors. Eight shaft?

  • Joanna says:

    I wish you more joy with your plaid than I have had with mine. It’s been stalled on the loom forever. What was your inspiration for the color choices? I keep looking for echoes of your beautiful Texas Hill Country.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joanna, I know it is disappointing when something on the loom is less than what we’d hoped. What if you just finished your towels off with a single weft color, having only the warp stripes? Would that work? At least you could get them off the loom sooner.

      I have a set palette of colors for our home in Sherwin-Williams paint chips. I spread those paint chips out when deciding on thread colors for weaving that will be used in our home. I have yarn samples of all the main yarn/thread that I use (Yarn in a Jar from Vavstuga is fantastic for this) so I can spread the yarn colors out, too, and find pleasing arrangements.

      I hope you find a way to put joy back into your towel weaving.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kevin says:

    Really beautiful! I love the colors and the pattern!

  • Barb says:

    Love the idea of using the warp stripe pattern as the spacing for the weft colors! It is an idea i will sample on the striped cotton towels on my loom. Thanks so much for sharing, I always find inspiration in your weaving journey.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb, Copying the warp stripe spacing is an easy way to bring a cohesive look to the towels. Good for you to sample the idea for yourself.

      I sure appreciate your kind encouragement.
      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Beautiful weave.Love your color choices.

    Thank you. Much needed as I sit next to totes being filled with decades of craft supplies to be moved to the retirement home and the empty boxes to be filled for the anticipated rummage sale. The Reed Pleater will have to be sold. Can I let go of the silk screening supplies from my college days?

    In the next 9 months there is much to do to make the transition.

    Between you and Curmugeom66 my creative soul is renewed. (His last VLOG was snow blowing his yard just south of Green Bay.) That said, he has posted quite a few VLOGs using cottalin.

    Thank you for keeping me in the loop with your wonderful projects..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I understand. I, too, had to let go of many prized saved things when we prepared for our retirement move. Happily, I have no regret of letting go, and I have not missed any of it. The move became my chance to start fresh. That doesn’t make your challenge any easier, but I hope you will be encouraged. You have a bright future to look forward to.

      All the best,
      Karen

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What Difference Does the Weft Color Make?

Does the weft color influence the cloth as it intersects the warp threads? Of course! The distinctive textural quality of this 3-shaft twill with warp floats is enhanced by the colors. In this case, the weft follows the same arrangement as the colors across the warp, making an interesting plaid. What does your influence look like?

3-shaft twill with weft floats. Hand towels. Karen Isenhower

Weft colors coincide with warp colors to create a plaid design. The pattern in the weave structure appears to change according to the weft colors and the angle of view.

Before weaving, the untouched warp colors look well-defined and clean. Introducing the weft, however, changes everything. How can you predict how the weft colors will interact with the warp? Hold tubes of thread next to each other, or wrap different colors on an index card, or even combine threads by twisting them together in your hand. Yet, when the threads become enmeshed in woven cloth, as weft interlaces warp, a new color is revealed.

You and I have strategic influence. How we choose to use that influence makes a difference. As you intersect with people, you bring a unique thread into the picture. The results may be surprising at times, not what others expect. But you are the only you. You have a creator-given purpose. Let your influence make a positive difference. Who knows whether you have not come to these present circumstances for such a time as this?

May you be an influence for good.

(To follow the color planning and sampling for these towels, click HERE and HERE.)

You are loved,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Laurie Mrvos says:

    Your message resonates, especially after a tough week. Thank you for this.. And the towels? The colors, texture and pattern are just lovely. One of these days I’ll get my towels hemmed and put them into service!

  • Karen says:

    Oh Laurie, I hope your next week will be better. If there is any way this little message helped lift you up, I’m glad!

    The nice thing about weaving towels is they are so functional. You can dry your hands on beautiful threads. I like that. Yes, hem those towels. I’d love to see them. If you email a picture to me, I can post it. karen (at) warpedforgood (dot) com.

    All the best,
    Karen

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