The Pinstripe Napkins are woven using 4 colors of Duet Cotton/Linen Weaving Yarn and a playful pinstripe pattern throughout the warp. Weave a set of 4 napkins or 3 tea towels using the loom of your choice (this project is suitable for rigid heddle looms).
Designed by Sarah Resnick for GIST: Yarn & Fiber.
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- Tools Required: 2-4 shaft table or floor loom, or rigid heddle loom, 12 dent reed, shuttle & bobbins
- EPI: 12
- Width at Reed: 20"
- Warp Ends: 240
- Warp Length: 120"
- Draft: Tabby weave
- Finished Dimensions: Set of 4 napkins that measure approximately 18" x 18" each or a set of 3 tea towels that measure approximately 18" x 24" each
- Finishing Details: Hand sewn 1/2" rolled hem on each side
- Care Instructions: Machine was cold delicate cycle, air dry (or tumble dry low if you prefer), press as needed
Weaving and Finishing
Creating Pattern with Color
Sarah writes, "These napkins are the adapted from my cotton Pinstripe Tea Towels to be a rigid heddle friendly project. I wanted to create a pattern with 'structured randomness.' Weaving teachers might not approve of this process description because it takes some "liberties" with the cross, but it is one of my favorite ways to design at the loom.
The Indirect Warping Method is the easiest way to make these napkins. Using a warping mill or warping board, I wind with all four colors at once. Instead of creating a cross between each thread, I make the cross with four threads at a time. This is a quick way to create colorful pinstripes while warping. (If you want each warp thread to appear in the exact same order throughout your warp, I suggest using a warping paddle to easily warp four threads at once).
You can also use the direct warping method on your rigid heddle loom - it will just take longer as you have to tie on and change colors with each thread!
Take your warp chain to the loom and wind on (I find the back to front method best for a floor or table loom). To thread the heddle (or heddles on a multi-shaft loom), grab each bundle of 4 threads one at a time. I randomly select the order of the colors in each bundle of 4 and thread one bundle at a time. Sometimes this results in two warp threads of the same color, from two separate bundles, being threaded next to each other. That’s OK! I like the random look here that occasionally includes doubles of colors.
This is the part where weaving teachers might not approve because it means that there are going to be crossed threads at the back of the loom. I have found this to be just fine as long as I stick to threading one bundle of 4 at a time and do not cross threads far across the beam of my loom. As I advance the warp and open the shed, the crossed threads seem to even themselves out and weaving continues happily.
Thread your entire warp this way. If you are using a multi-shaft loom, thread your 12 dent reed after you have finished threading the heddles.
These napkins offer a great opportunity to see how different weft colors interact and play with a pinstripe warp. I take 4 bobbins or pirns and wind them with each of the 4 colors, being careful to wind different amounts onto each bobbin/pirn.
As I’m weaving I’ll pick up and weave through one bobbin/pirn at a time and then start going with another one, resulting in stripes and blocks of color that blend seamlessly from one towel to the next. The result is a set of napkins that are each unique but will play well together beautifully in your kitchen."
Once you have finished weaving the full length of your warp, hand wash, air dry, and iron the fabric. If you would like to make a set of napkins, divide and cut the fabric into four equal parts. If you would like to make a set of tea towels, divide and cut the fabric into 3 equal parts. Finish by hand sewing a 1/2" rolled hem on each side.
Sarah Resnick is the founder of GIST: Yarn & Fiber, and the host of the Weave podcast. She learned how to weave in Toronto in 2009, and was hauling a Craigslist loom up to her apartment two months later...she's never looked back since! Other parts of her fiber journey included selling handwoven baby wraps, helping to launch a sewing factory in Fall River, Massachusetts, and creating Jewish ritual textiles for people celebrating life cycle events. The thread that winds through everything she does is a passion for building systems that directly support farmers, manufacturers, and artists to bring value and beauty into the world.