Pink zigzag towel

3 December 2014

Cochineal pink brocade towel

Cochineal pink brocade towel with trellis hemstitching

This was the first towel made on the natural 8/2 warp on a RH loom (see previous post for the other towels). These have all been brocade samples but in a  complete piece to show composition also.  The classic brocade design I got from a Mexican textile and is quite simple and easy to do visually since it is just diagonal lines.

Pattern for 10 epi closed shed pick-up. One square equals one end and one pick.

Pattern for 10 epi closed shed pick-up. One square equals one end and one pick.

It is continuous overlay/underlay done on a closed shed.  Overlay/underlay has floats on both sides,  one can check the pattern for the length of floats on the top but  the floats on the back are also a concern.  Here in this traditional design, the floats on the back make a nice but slightly different design.

Both sides have an acceptable pattern but they are slightly different

Both sides have an acceptable pattern but they are slightly different

The supplementary weft goes from selvage to selvage. I had a bunch of small skeins of cochineal dyed wool/alpaca that we dyed this summer lying around so I used one. A single strand of the wool alpaca made a nice brocading weft.  It was a good use for one of the sample skeins but when the towel was finished I washed it by hand because I thought the wool alpaca might felt in the washing machine. I have added a row of traditional trellis hemstitching  to both ends of the towel.   Traditional hemstitching combines decorative pulled thread work and the stitching needed to fasten the hem. (You can see a full range of possibilities of traditional hemstitching in The Complete DMC Encyclopedia of NeedleworkTherese deDillmont )  Instead of pulling threads out I just left a gap in the weaving. So I wove the hem with a single strand of 8/2 cotton to reduce bulk, then placed a 1/4″ dowel in the shed to create the gap, changed to a doubled weft leaving a long tail. After weaving several inches of the body and before advancing the warp, I removed the dowel and used the long tail to hemstitch across the top of the gap.

On loom; brocade complete, gap for trellis hemstitch with hemstitch at top of gap

On loom; brocade complete, gap for trellis hemstitch with hemstitch at top of gap

After weaving the body of the towel, I left a long tail of the doubled weft ( for hemstitching) and  inserted the dowel to form the gap for the decorative hemstitching at the other hem. Then I wove the hem with a single strand. Then I used the long tail of doubled weft to hemstitch across the bottom of the gap.   Then I serged the edges  to cut the panel out of the cloth removed from the loom.

Towel just off loom. Note the thinner hem and the placement of the hemstitching at both ends.

Towel just off loom. Note the thinner hem and the placement of the hemstitching at both ends.

The serged edge was basted under.  Press.

The serged edge is turned up and basted in place

The serged edge is turned up and basted in place

Then the hem is turned up to the bottom of the gap and basted in place. Press again.

With the serged edge turned under the hem is basted in place at the bottom of the gap

With the serged edge turned under the hem is basted in place at the bottom of the gap

The the final hemstitching takes place. This row of hemstitching does double duty; it bunches the unwoven warp threads together and holds the hem in place.  To get the trellis effect I bunched together different threads than were bunched together in the top hemstitching; 2 ends from one bunch and two from the next bunch.  So the hemstitching at the top and bottom both have 4 ends in each bunch, just a different 4.

Trellis hemstitching underway

Trellis hemstitching underway

I used a double strand of the 8/2 cotton just like I had used  for the hemstitching at the top.  The needle takes deep bites into the hem  and you can see diagonal stitches on the back.

Back side of the completed hemstitching.

Back side of the completed hemstitching.

They seem quite obvious here but almost disappear after washing and pressing.  This  traditional hemstitching both holds the hem in place and add a decorative element.

Hemmed towel before washing

Hemmed towel before washing

I like the way the trellis hemstitching echoes the brocade design. I wish that I had left a much bigger gap; releasing the loom tension and the stitching have both shortened the space and trellis detail is very small.  Next time I’ll leave at least 3/4″.  The decorative hemstitching makes the hem look like it was meant to be there, a very nice finish.

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One Response to “Pink zigzag towel”

  1. Lauraine Says:

    Excellent description and photos…thank you for sharing your expertise!

    Like


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