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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dishtowels-to-Be

I did an analysis of what sold best at the recent Contemporary Craft Market, and the most popular item was DH's bottle stoppers, which sell for $15 apiece. We sold over 50 of them in 3 days. Since I have nothing at all in that price tier, I decided that for the next show I need to offer something in that range, so towels are on the agenda.

Over the past few days, while fighting a cold, I've not had much energy for weaving. However, I did manage to wind off skeins of white 20/2 unmercerized cotton for a towel warp.

Today I got out my biggest dyepot (which takes up most of the stove-top) and started a dyebath.



The dye is a color called "cerulean blue" by the manufacturer/distributor; I call it royal blue. Here are the skeins in the early stages of the dyebath:



That, my friends, is 13,600 yards of cotton, in 4 big dye skeins. I wanted to do them all in the same bath, because there's a better chance that way they'll all be the same color and depth of shade. I found that so much wet yarn weighs just about the max I can lift! Not to mention the pot with the skeins and dye liquor in it...

Here are the skeins after the first quick rinse; they're soaking in a bucket of cold water tonight, and will get one more rinse, then some time on the drying rack. The weather's been very dry, so that'll help speed things along.



I also dyed a small skein of 40/2 mercerized cotton for the hems of the towels, that I hope will match the warp pretty closely.

The weft skeins (30/2 mercerized cotton) are soaking in hot soapy water overnight to wet out thoroughly (they were still floating merrily on top of the water when I left the studio), and will get a brief simmer in more soap and some soda ash tomorrow to remove all the gunk and spinning oil, then will be dyed in 3 colors slightly different in hue than the warp but the same value. That's the plan, anyway.

The threading draft is for 5-end satin blocks:



This type of threading works with all manner of treadlings. I've come up with 15 different variations (the number of towels-worth of warp I've got). Some have symmetrical treadlings for traditional-looking block designs, some have turned satin warp stripes. A few use more flavors of 5-end satin than just the 1/4 and 4/1 shown here. You'll see them grow on the loom, once the skeins are dry, wound on cones, and beamed.

3 comments:

neki desu said...

wow! i can never get cotton to dye so intensely.

bicycledan said...

What are you using as "hangers" for the dye skeins?
Teena Tuenge

agnes said...

Good idea about the teatowels. I have been making them for years and they do sell well at the gallery. I find that sometimes people like ones work but not everyone can fork out a big amount for a lovely scarf but people are quite happy to buy a teatowel.