A Weaver’s Counting Rhyme

Overshot columns in various shades.

One to follow directions —

Same draft, woven with one shuttle.

Two to work up speed —

various treadling patterns

Three to try variations —

One-shuttle overshot weave in neutral rayon/linen blend.

Four for neutrals we all need.

Overshot towel with two blocks.

Five for tradition —

Ticking stripe with wefts.

Six to use up every scrap.

A quick bunch of towels, and this project is a wrap!

These towels are based on a draft from Malin Selander’s Swedish Handweaving, which has a lovely cover that looks like a handwoven inlay.

Cover of Swedish Handweaving.

I love this book, but since it was issued in 1961, there are just a few color illustrations, which are crammed full of woven items.  Then those items are labelled with designer names like “Hambo” or “Chomper” or “Sarsaparilla,” that have nothing to do with the actual weave structure of the project.  The draft pages may or may not show a black and white picture of a fabric sample.  It took me years of weaving before I could read drafts well enough to figure out which one went with which illustration!

I wanted to weave the pattern of the dark aprons with colored columns.

Overshot draft.

This is the draft of the pattern I picked to weave from the color illustration, the dark fabric with the brightly colored columns.  But most of my yarn is left over from when I worked at a historical park and was trying to weave things that looked handspun, and I really need to use that up, so I ended up with a warp of randomly spaced white and cream cotton.

To get the effect that Malin Selander got, you need to use a fine yarn on one shuttle for the background tabby, and a thicker colored thread on a separate shuttle.  The more shuttles you use, the more time it takes to set them down and pick them up properly to get a nice selvage.   So I did two of the towels (the light blue and the tan) with just one slubby yarn on one shuttle.  It goes so much quicker and I think it still looks pretty nice, but those are little too boring and predictable for me; they look commercial.  I may use those for dye experiments and see if I can liven them up, but on the other hand, it’s okay for dish towels to just sit there and dry things without calling attention to themselves.

I really enjoyed finally getting a project done this year, and finally reducing the number of tripping hazards in this house by using up a few balls of yarn!