As the headline states, I’ve spent much of my past eight years avoiding 10/2 cotton in my weaving. I know, it’s silly, but the thought of threading my yarn at 4 more ends per inch (epi) than with 8/2 cotton was enough to deter me. Twenty-eight epi for twill? No, thank you! Or so I thought. Recently, though, I wove a set of towels in 10/2 cotton—and I am absolutely in love with them. All these years, with one notable exception, I had avoided weaving projects for 10/2 cotton. Now, that’s all I want to weave.
What is it about those 10/2 cotton towels that I love so much? 10/2 cotton drapes so much more beautifully than 8/2 cotton does. The fineness of the fiber also makes for a fabric that looks and feels delicate, even though it’s as strong as—if not stronger than—fabric woven from 8/2 cotton. My 10/2 cotton towels are like the silk scarves of towels; they exude an air of elegance I didn’t think possible from basic twill towels. Instead of avoiding them, I’m now designing projects for 10/2 cotton. I’m currently planning a set of overshot napkins with one of my favorite drafts from the excellent Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes: Miniature Overshot Patterns (#48, Stormy Weather).
As for 8/2 cotton, my love for that particular fiber is still as strong as ever. I truly do think 8/2 cotton towels are more absorbent, although I’ve yet to try unmercerized 10/2 cotton, so that might change my mind. I love how much quicker it is to wind and warp a project in 8/2 cotton, and sometimes, when it comes to patterns, bigger is better. When it comes right down to it, of course, the beauty is that I don’t have to choose. I can weave wonderful, thirsty towels from 8/2 cotton and more delicate napkins from 10/2. My newfound love for one yarn doesn’t eliminate—or even decrease—my love for the other; if anything, it only serves to heighten my love for weaving in general.
I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that if there’s a fiber you’ve been avoiding, either because it’s too scary or too fine, maybe give it a try. So pick up that cone of 100% line linen or that extra-fine silk. Give it a try—you might find your new favorite yarn.