Happy New Year – weaving brick by brick!

The 6 towels that I beamed on my Mighty Wolf loom at the end of October, 2020 are hemmed as of yesterday.

Six handwoven cotton towels by irieknit folded in a stack on festive tablecloth.  Towels are an 8-shaft straight twill block structure with coloured weft on white warp.
Happy New Year!

At first taking space to breathe felt strange. It was not a choice exactly. Wanting to weave with a loose aim of the holidays meant starting, working around the tough regular school-at-home pace.

Back beam of Schacht Mighty Wolf loom with warp of white cotton 8/2 threads and packing sticks for kitchen towels.
Beaming triumph! And then it sat.

Taking 2 months let some new thinking in. Some of that shows in the towels. Mostly it helped my weaving not tick everyone off.

Now I go up to this spare bedroom but return fairly quickly. When I return we can carry on because I am not exhausted. A trio of knitting projects got equal play. The hat design calls for its own post but Ty is happy with this year’s Teamh variant.

Child wearing cable knit hat by irieknit in Rhichard Devrieze denim-E colourway yarn.
Rhichard Devrieze Denim E yarn has a new fan

After the hats, alongside the towel weaving, I had enough mojo to bring back this good idea: Pinked Socks for N. His first pair is so loved that it wanted back-up. Judy Alexander is the designer.

Knitting-in-progress stranded handknit sock by irie knit Pinked Socks design by Judy Alexander
Loves them!

Tired brains innovate sometimes

Upstairs, the loom was sorted at the end of November. Sustaining regular school-at-home was by then very hard but workable for the most part (still waiting on those supports hrm…).

Cones of 8/2 cotton weaving yarns on mahogany desk.
Two recipients asked for nautical blue (back cone)

The good thing about a white towel warp is that you can get such different looks for a 1-shuttle weave like this. It wove as 19.25″ wide under tension.

Weaving 2 block straight twill false damask pattern gold mercerized 8/2 cotton weft on white warp by irieknit on Schacht Mighty Wolf loom.
Gold is Ty’s favorite now

The warp plan is a 2-block straight twill adapted from Tom Knisely’s table runner Pumpkin and Harvest design in “Handwoven Table Linens,” (p. 57). It uses all 8 shafts of my Mighty Wolf loom, is a ‘false satin.’

Tired warping led to some asymmetry you can see below. It’s a ghost of Block A that I kept after the threading discovery, 16 extra ends.

A bigger problem was uneven tension but I started anyway with gold for Ty. This is where I lost the plot of weaving entire blocks and stumbled into a nice effect.

Pressed cotton handwoven towels laid to show left selvedges gold, nautical blue and yellow on white by irieknit.
(l-r) selvedges: gold oops!; nautical blue; dark yellow

In tromping not as writ, treadles 1-8 straight there is a nice textural border to be had. The traditional read the book correctly pattern woven to square is nice too.

For 6 towels aimed at 31.5″ each + sampling, I made a 6.67 yard long warp. The 8/2 cotton is mainly Valley Yarns (3,360 ypp): 8001 white & 2550 nautical blue.

Weaving 2 block straight twill false damask pattern blue 8/2 cotton weft on white warp by irieknit on Schacht Mighty Wolf loom.
End of November

When my thinking evened out for towel no. 2, I still had waves from tension being uneven. This too is staying for our kitchen needs.

The studio is open!

When weaving is to happen, I started to announce in my fun voice, “The studio is open!” Sometimes that comes out as, “Nope! The studio is open!”

I might need a sign for them though.

Weaving on the Mighty Wolf, storing stuff is really the only craft work done in this space. Since I do all appointments behind the closed door it has become more like an office-in-pandemic than a studio.

Hemstitching woven false satin towel on Schacht Mighty Wolf loom by irieknit.
Hemstitching on the loom

The idea now is to take things as “brick by brick,” a favorite poem encourages:

build me your story brick by brick your

history foundation walls

don’t worry if it doesn’t fit together

no life does

The Fires of Naming, Mary Lou Soutar-Hynes, 2001 Seraphim Editions, p. 9
Hand sewing hem on handwoven cotton 2-block twill towel blue weft on white warp by irieknit.
Machine stitching is less intense, I know

I am almost sure who is getting a towel from this warp. There are 4 going out this time. Luckily, I fixed the early waves of tension on the loom.

However each towel is received, I did make them under some hard circumstances and am proud to call them last-made for 2020.

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Lara is a spinner, knitter, natural dyer, parent abandoning a certain fear of weaving. Jamaican-Canadian; she/her in the Greater Toronto Area; we have a Jellicle cat, Melvin & a Double Doodle, Spark. A spindle is usually close to hand!

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