Weaving to Woo Week – Friendship Towels

Valentine’s Day isn’t all about having a significant other, but is a reminder to us all to spread love to everyone around us. This project is a wonderful way to share your love of weaving with friends, giving them something they can treasure for years to come. – Benjamin
Friendship Towels

Friendship Towel with shuttle

I wanted to share my favorite towel design with you. This is a project originally designed by Mary Ann Geers which we published in the May/June 1985 issue of Handwoven magazine when I was editor. I loved it so much that I included it in A Handwoven Treasury, a collection of articles and projects from the first 10 years of Handwoven magazine.  The threading is huck-a-back blocks from Marguerite Davisons’ A Handweaver’s Pattern Book. (If you don’t know about this compendium of patterns for the 4-shaft loom, it is a marvelous resource that you could spend a lifetime exploring!) I love this block pattern for a towel because it has small floats that are practical for a towel. This is a one-shuttle weave so it means that the weaving goes quickly. I call them friendship towels, because you can put on a long warp and weave many towels, each in a different color.

Equipment: 4-shaft Baby Wolf, 10-dent reed, shuttle (I used a 12″ end delivery shuttle).

Yarn: Warp—I used cottolin (cotton-linen blend yarn) instead of 8/2 cotton that was used in original. Either is fine. You’ll need 2,320 yards for 4 towels.Weft—I used cottolin in pink, you could also use 8/2 cotton or 16/2 linen. You’ll need 645 yards for each towel. Embroidered heart: I used pink embroidery floss.

Finished dimension: Warp length for 4 towels: 5 2/3 yards which allows just under 36” loom waste. Each towel takes 43”.Width in reed: 20 5/8”.Total warp ends: 414EPI: 20. Sley 2 ends per dent in a 10-dent reed. PPI: about 24

finished towel

Draft: See below. Note: because the selvedge threads don’t catch every time, thread the last 4 warp threads in the same dent. Alternately, you could use a floating selvedge, though it will slow the weaving somewhat.

Weaving: weave 2” plain weave for hem and then weave pattern for 39”, ending with another 2” hem, repeat for three more towels. I made a pink embroidered heart in the center on one end of the towel. Doing this on the loom when the fabric is under tension makes fast work of it. It’s a fun touch!Take-up and shrinkage: about 15% in width and 30% in length.

Finishing: Machine zigzag between towels and cut apart. Machine wash, tumble dry, press. Make a double rolled hem and hand or machine stitch in place.

Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960's and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.