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Sunset Towels

Sarah writes, "A couple years ago, I took a trip to Florence Italy with my grandmother to source yarns for the weaving yarn shop I was opening. When a woman whose family had been running a mill for generations started pulling out skeins and cones of yarn for me, I instantly fell in love with this cotton/linen blend. It is a lace weight, three-ply, slub yarn made from 50% cotton and 50% linen. The texture makes it more interesting than most cotton/linen yarns, and when washed, it blooms into the soft, durable hand that makes all of us weavers love cotton and linen so much. 

When I set out to design these towels, I knew I wanted to create something that would showcase the colors and textures of this beautiful yarn. I selected four vibrant colors of 8/2 Un-Mercerized cotton for the warp and started playing at my warping wheel with different combinations to create a gradation of colors across the width of the warp. If you’d like to follow my project exactly, you can use my warp color order, but I suggest you have some fun and play at the warping reel or board to develop your own gradation instead! To keep things visually interesting, don’t worry about it being symmetrical." 

Designed by Sarah Resnick. Originally published in the Jan/Feb 2019 Issue of Handwoven Magazine.

Need some help getting started? Check out Resources for Beginner and Intermediate Weavers. 

Materials 

Warp: 4 cones of 8/2 Un-Mercerized Cotton in Raspberry, Orange, Peacock and Yellow

Weft: 1 cone of Italian Cotton/Linen in Goldenrod 

Kits: Each kit includes enough yarn to weave a set of 6 towels that measure approximately 16" W x 20" L each after washing and hemming.

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: 4 shaft table or floor loom 19" weaving width, 12 dent reed, shuttle & bobbin
  • EPI: 24 (threaded with 2 ends per dent)
  • PPI: 21
  • Width at Reed: 18"
  • Warp Ends: 434 (includes floating selvedges)
  • Warp Length: 5 yards (allows 7" for take-up, 35" for loom waste)
  • Technique/Draft: Twill
  • Finished Dimensions: Set of 6 towels measuring approximately 16" W x 20" L each after washing and hemming
  • Finishing Details: Hand sewn hem
  • Care Instructions: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low, press as needed

Weaving & Finishing 

Warping/Threading: Warp 432 ends 5 yd long following the warp color order below or create your own gradation on the fly as you warp. Sarah finds it easiest to cut the yarn at each color change and tie a knot to add in the next color. Measure 1 end of Orange and 1 end of Peacock (or colors to match your edge threads) to use as floating selvedges and set aside.

Use your preferred method to warp the loom, and thread following the draft below. Sley 2 ends per dent in a 12-dent reed for an epi of 24. Sley the floating selvedges through the reed on either side of your warp and weight them over the back beam.

Click the color order chart to see it larger. 

Weaving: Wind a bobbin with the cotton/linen blend. Spread the warp with scrap yarn. Weave following the draft below. Sarah prefers to weave the entire warp without marking where each towel starts and stops, and to divide them after wet-finishing.

Finishing: Cut the fabric off the loom. Zigzag at the start and finish to protect the weft. Machine wash in hot water and dry on low heat. Iron fabric on warm. Mark the fabric so that you have six equal lengths and cut the towels apart. Press under ½" twice for hems on each end. Hand sew using small, careful stitches. 

About Sarah Resnick

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. 

February 14, 2020 — Emma Rhodes