I am, by all accounts, exchange-obsessed. I already have a drawer full of handwoven towels but couldn’t resist weaving for the upcoming towel exchange happening at Convergence 2018. As a challenge to myself and to prepare the way for the new cones of yarn I intend to purchase at the marketplace, I decided to weave stashbusting towels that would use up some practically empty cones of 8/2 cotton I already had. I based my design on the Tropical Twill Stripes towels by Karen Tenney in the Winning Towels eBook. Sometimes it’s nice to have some of the work done for you when designing projects.
Karen’s towels have a white plain-weave background with rainbow-colored stripes in a 2/2 twill that sort of sit on top of the white plain weave. It makes for a nice contrast between the satiny look and feel of the twill and the homespun quality of the plain weave. For my towels, I chose baby blue 8/2 cotton and then found 8 colors that ranged from pale green to a deep aqua in my stash to use for the twill stripes.
Karen had figured out the sett, and the basic draft, but I expanded the threading and woven length to satisfy the exchange’s size requirements of 18" x 25". I designed the towels using Fiberworks. The twill stripes are sleyed with 3 ends per dent which, when combined with the straight draw threading, meant it was best to design the twill stripes in multiples of 6 ends.
As I warped each 2" section, I added my colors to the twill stripes. I didn’t work from one side of the warp to the other but skipped around, so that my colors were more evenly balanced and I didn’t have to worry about running out of any of the twill stripe colors. For weft, I used the same baby blue as the plain-weave warp for the first two towels. I switched to another light blue for the next towels, and then wove the last two with some similarly colored 22/2 cottolin. I am so pleased by the results that I’m already planning a set of napkins using the same idea. After all, my stash of 8/2 cotton is only surpassed by my stash of 10/2 cotton!
For me, there was a certain satisfaction in designing within the parameters of my stash while still achieving my goal of weaving five towels for the exchange. Perhaps my only regret is that I didn’t weave a sixth to keep.
Hope to see you at the towel exchange!