In Recycling, Weaving on
September 18, 2016

Sometimes the yarn knows best

I had recycled a bunch of brightly-colored cotton sweaters, and after doing some “weaving math” I realized I had enough yarn to do really thorough test… and still have enough yarn left over to make multiple warps of the same thing. The nice thing about weaving (as opposed to knitting, for example) is that you can set up one long warp (the yarn you put on the loom before you weave) to make multiple pieces.

So I thought I’d put this yarn through its paces and see what how it wanted to be woven. Since the yarn was all cotton (some of it organic! What a treat!), I decided I wanted to try some kitchen towels, having done a few sample variations in the last few months, and loving the feel and the warmth of handwoven towels in my kitchen. The nice thing, too, is that often a sweater will say “hand wash only” but since it’s 100% cotton I felt pretty sure I could machine wash them. Or at least it wouldn’t kill me to find out with a few sample pieces.

I had four colors to work with, and I wanted to use three of them for the stripes in the warp and one (a gray-ish blue) to harmonize in the weft. And I wanted to do a twill border to give a little interest to contrast the plain weave body of the towel. So I did a little “weaving math” and got to weaving!

All looked pretty good at first:

…so I wove up 6 “towels” (which should have been my first clue, since I had done the math and set up a warp to create only 4 total), washed the full web, and cut and sewed into individual towels. But they were actually not really towel-sized — they really looked more like napkins!

And (as you can see in the photo) the fabric was very loose — in weaving terms it was bordering on being “sleazy” and looked pretty uneven. This meant that the squares exposed in the different colors as they crossed each other were not quite squares, adding to a lumpy appearance in the fabric. It was certainly good enough for me to use in my own house, but not ready for prime time.

So I re-measured the yarn and decided that maybe it wanted to be sett tighter – meaning that it wanted to be put on the loom with more ends per inch… I think I settled on 12 epi instead of the original 10. And so I set up the loom again and got going:


My dear husband was nice enough to photograph the finished project in a lovely setting so I can share them with the world! And they’re now available on my Etsy store for purchase. Let me know what you think!

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like

%d bloggers like this: