Bellringing towels

20090606_summer_winter_5As yet unblogged, I finished these towels  in summer and winter – could it be 3 months ago? Very similar to these , with some minor improvements.

20090606_summer_winter_1This was the longest warp I have ever put onto the loom – a whole 4 metres! The tension at the edges got a little loose by the end, easily controlled by putting in a stick at the back.

I wove pretty much as far as possible. The draft uses 11 shafts, so there was enough space to get an adequate separation of the warp even with the apron bar grazing the heddles on the back shaft.

20090606_summer_winter_2My original plan was for 3 towels, but I was able to squeak out 4 – the last one I changed up the design to make it a bit shorter. The ringing methods depicted are Bristol, Yorkshire and Belfast Major (all rung on 8 bells) with the extra of Cambridge Minor (6 bells, which is what gave the shorter pattern). You may be able to see in the photo that the closest pattern doesn’t go as close to the edges, since it has two less bell positions.

Also visible in the photo at the back right are the reels of cottolin sitting on my lazy kate. I love using all the equipment I’ve acquired in my textile pursuits, and the lazy kate makes it very easy to wind off bobbins.

20090606_summer_winter_320090606_summer_winter_4In this project, based on feedback to the blog previously,  I used 8/2 cotton for the weft in the hem area (cottolin elsewhere). I didn’t use a temple in the plain weave area and also added start and end pattern sequences in white on white. The plain weave sections between towels were much improved, with none of the widening I had in the earlier project. The hems were easy to sew, with nice crisp right angles. I also changed proportions, widening the towels.

Altogether a very enjoyable project and I’m pleased with the results – especially the idea that with experience I can learn and introduce little refinements.

If you’ve had enough of bellringing, stop here. If curious, you can see us ringing at St Andrew’s Cathedral on youtube here.

Also, I just checked my diary – the towels were finished mid-March, just before we hosted other Sydney bellringers at a “striking competition”. In a frantic rush I finished the towels (2 are now in the St Andrews ringing chamber) and (slight textile connection) organised matching shirts for us – seen here in this classic bellringers shot.200903_striking_comp

4 Responses to “Bellringing towels”


  1. 1 trapunto June 7, 2009 at 2:35 am

    Mmm. Your towels look especially nice all rolled out on the floor! Did it give you a pang cutting into them?

    Thanks for the link to the youtube video. It gave me the shivers. Weird how visceral the response to Big Music is; pipe organs often make me tear up for no reason. I was surprised how athletic change ringing looks. And difficult! And what do you do when you’re learning? The whole world can hear your mistakes, unless there are mini practice bells or something?

    Last time I visited my parents I was startled to find a huge churchbell sitting on blocks in their garage. It turns out to be the same one I rang as a kid; when my parents’ church moved out to the housing developments and sold their building in town, they took the bell out of the old steeple. But they hadn’t built anywhere to hang it in the new building! My dad offered to house it for them until they have a place, but I don’t think anyone in the church remembers or cares enough about the bell to make a place for it. It made me sad, it looked so wrong pushed into a corner by the tool box. And strange, to be able to touch it. It was like finally meeting someone I’d had a warm correspondence with over the years

    • 2 fibresofbeing June 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm

      It’s a lovely moment isn’t it, when you’ve finished weaving and finally see it all at once. I take a moment – then rush on to wet finishing and best of all the finished object. That’s when I really get the hit of accomplishment. mmm…

      Change ringing takes a lot of practice, first to handle the bell on your own, then to ring with others, then more and more complex patterns. Sometimes especially at the beginning we muffle the sound, but once you start ringing with others you really have to be able to hear what you are doing. There’s a time lag between pulling and hearing the result. Experience is the only way to improve. The St Andrew’s bells are particularly beautiful – the recording only hints at the sound. If ever you come to Sydney let me know and I can arrange a tour 🙂

      It’s a great story but sad about the bell in the garage. I hope it finds a home and a real use again.

      Cheers Judy

  2. 3 Jane B September 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Love the towels and the link to your life – love the bells as well


  1. 1 Inspiration strikes on the bus? « Fibres of Being Trackback on February 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm

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