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
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.