At the start of the new year, I sat down to play with some ideas for a set of tea towels. Of the patterns I experimented with, I liked the above one best so I thought I’d share some quick instructions for it. In the future, I hope to write up a true pattern for it—-with illustrative pictures, more detailed instructions, a complete draft, as well as a few variations of the design—-as a PDF for sale in my Etsy shop (if I can ever remember the password to log in!). Until then, though, I hope you find inspiration in the project as I outline it below. Happy weaving!
Modern Medallion Tea Towels
Materials & Equipment:
- 4-shaft loom with weaving width of at least 20 inches
- 10 dent reed
- 1 shuttle
- 8/2 un-mercerized Brassard cotton, 2 tubes in contrasting colors–one for warp and one for weft. I chose natural for warp and navy for weft.
- Scrap yarn
- Sewing machine or other materials for hemming ends
- Sett: 20 EPI (2 ends per dent)
- Width in loom: 20 inches
- Total number of warp ends: 402
- Warp length: 3 yards
- Weaving pattern: Rose Path variation (from p. 17 of A Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison, threading #1 and treadling X)
- Makes two towels, measuring roughly 17 x 25 inches each after washing and finishing
- Wind a warp in your desired color, 3 yards long. A width of 20 inches at 20 EPI equals 400 warp ends plus two floating selvedges, for a total of 402 ends. This means you will need approximately 1,206 yards of yarn for the warp. (A 1/2 lb. tube of Brassard 8/2 cotton is roughly 1,680 yards, so you will have plenty.)
- Warp your loom using whatever method you like. I prefer front-to-back.
- Sley 2 warp ends in each dent. Bring your floating selvedges through the shafts but do not thread them; hang off the back beam while threading.
- Seated behind the loom, thread the heddles in this pattern, from right to left: [4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1]. Repeat 49 times for a total of 50 sequences.
- Tie warp onto back apron rod, beam warp, and tie onto the front apron rod.
- Use scrap yarn to weave a 1-inch header in plain weave to spread the warp.
- Using your preferred weft color, weave plain weave for about an inch for the hem.
- For the pattern, use this treadling sequence:*
- 3-4, 2-3, 3-4, 2-3
- 3-4, 2-3, 1-2, 1-4
- 3-4, 2-3, 3-4, 2-3
- 3-4, 1-4, 1-2, 2-3
- Weave the pattern for about 30 inches or desired size.
- Weave one inch of plain weave for the other hem.
- Repeat from #3 for second towel.
- Use scrap yarn to weave another header to secure the end. Cut fabric off the loom.
- Zigzag stitch the two raw edges of the fabric. Weave in and trim loose ends. Machine wash (warm water, delicate, mild soap) and machine dry. Press fabric with iron if desired.
- Cut yardage apart into two towels. Roll one hem over about 1/4-1/2 an inch, lightly press with an iron (if desired), then roll over again (and press again, if desired). Hand or machine sew to secure hem. Repeat with other hem. Complete process for other towel.
- Enjoy your gorgeous handwoven towels or gift them to someone special!
*Notes on treadling:
- This sequence is written for a sinking shed loom, meaning that the shafts I list are lowered when I press on my pedals. If you have a rising shed loom (such as a jack loom), simply step on the opposite pedals. For example, 3-4 in my sinking shed pattern would become 1-2 for a rising shed loom. My 2-3 would be 1-4, and so on.
- I am a somewhat lazy weaver and don’t often change my direct tie-up. I also find writing the treadling pattern out in groups of four (if possible) makes it easier to understand and follow. This method works for me, but I understand not everyone may like it. If this is the case for you, see p. 17 of Davison for a more standard tie-up and treadling.
::: Pattern is for personal, non-commercial use. Thank you. :::