There is nothing like a deadline. I have been working steadily on my Sweet Orange Huck Towels for the HGA towel exchange but didn’t feel much urgency until I looked at the date, the towels still on my loom, and realized they are due on August 31, now less than 2 weeks away.
In the interest of time, instead of weaving to the end of my warp and finishing all 15 towels, I decided to cut off after #8. To create less loom waste and avoid having to re-tie, tension, and spread the warp again, I wove a stick into my warp before cutting off. If you haven’t done this before, you might want to try this method:
- Weave a few picks of scrap yarn to protect the weft of the fabric and run a line of Fray Check along those picks.
- Weave an inch of plain weave in another color.
- Insert a sturdy stick slightly longer than the warp is wide.
- Weave an additional inch of plain weave.
- Smear white glue on the plain weave areas on either side of the stick. I know many other weavers trust the weaving to hold the stick in place, but I like the extra protection.
- When the glue is dry, release the tension on the warp, cut along the scrap yarn line and remove the fabric.
- Bring the stick up close to the apron rod, lash it on with a long cord, add tension, and you are ready to weave again.
For the towels, I blended 2 overshot drafts, Sweet and Lovely and Orange Peel, and huck lace into a 16-shaft draft. The original 4-shaft drafts, available in the WIF library can be woven alone or combined with each other. Just for fun, I started with the three 4-shaft patterns, progressed to the three 8-shaft combinations, and finished with a 16-shaft combination of all three drafts. For the 8th towel, I switched the overshot treadling and wove the overshot bands “as if” for yet another combination. (In weaving terminology, "as if" means weaving one threading with another threading's treadling.)
The huck towel is pure white, but I chose purple and gold 8/2 and 10/2 cotton for the overshot bands on each towel. White, purple, and gold are the colors associated with the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, and since this is the 100th year of American women being able to vote, I thought that was an appropriate color combination. It’s my way of remembering the sacrifices made in the past that benefit women today.
I personally like to wet-finish before I hem projects. I secured the cut ends with multiple lines of machine stitching to make sure nothing let go, trimmed loose ends, and then threw the long piece of fabric in the washing machine and dryer. It’s always a little scary to wet finish. Even after sampling and years of experience, it still feels like a leap of faith, but this time my reward was great. I’m very happy with the towels and will be sorry to send five off although I also can’t wait to see the towels that I get in return.