Archive for the 'Towels' Category

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

Summer and winter towels done

muttaburrasaurus_doneTa-dah! The towels I wrote about here are finally done. As Lynette commented, the colour blocks show really well – and I think to a ringer the connection would be immediately apparent.

It’s taken me a while to do the finishing. Partly because I’m back at work after the summer holidays, but mostly having trouble figuring out how to finish the ends.

detail

detail

I planned to have some plain weave at each end, but it flared out really badly. (Does anyone have a suggestion for preventing this? – the plain weave was wider than the summer and winter area). I ended picking out the machine-stitched hem, which I thought would be more durable, and hand hemming. I did use the machine to stitch the method name on the hanging tag.

With experience from these “full-scale samples” I’m keen to do more with this idea. Petlins, my local weaving shop (and how lucky I am in Australia to have one!!), reopened this week so I have stocked up on some more traditional colours for the next batch of teatowels.  Language question – here a “teatowel” is a cloth used to dry dishes when washing up. Is that the standard meaning elsewhere?

Muttaburrasaurus Delight Major

muttaburrasaurusCurrently on the loom – a summer and winter representation of Muttaburrasaurus Delight Major (fourth’s place bell).

A deliberately obscure (but accurate) description – and a huge amount of fun.

I’ve been working on the change ringing teatowels idea I mentioned in this post. An initial sample was very useful – wet finishing (machine cold wash and warm tumble dry) made a big difference to the appearance of the cloth – and left enough warp for two towels.

muttaburrasaurus2I see the back of the pattern as I weave, which reduces the number of shafts to lift on most picks. Each horizontal stripe represents one “change” of ringing (in which each bell rings once in a predetermined order). Given the limited range of colours I have available, I’ve used pink to show where the treble (highest note) bell sounds and turquoise to follow the path of the “fourth’s place” bell.

plantagenetIt’s easier to see the changing positions of the bells on this view of the cloth on its way to the cloth beam (just for fun I’ll be pendantic and mention that this is sixth’s place Plantagenet Surprise Major).

Weaving lessons so far?

  • I’m using a temple again and like it.  Takes a bit of fussing, but I’m getting a better and more consistent result.
  • The three shuttle thing is very slow, but it’s not a race and I’m finding it interesting and absorbing.
  • I haven’t shown the sampler, since the yarns chosen (cottolin warp, pattern weft and tabby weft) are unusual and chosen specifically for this project, as is the actual threading so probably not helpful for other applications.  The general comment is that the order of picks  – which tabby first, how to manage the two pattern colours etc – has a big impact on the final effect.
  • muttaburra_selvedgethe selvedges are bumpy where I carry the colours up. Cally has been talking about selvedges here and here. Personally, I’m accepting them as an integral element of the weave. The weft bends up and down as it passes across the warp, and it bends around as it is carried up the selvedge. It’s the nature of the beast.

That’s it for weaving content. Some background information – the particular patterns or bellringing methods I’m using on these full scale samples are not in standard use. I’m planning to give them to my mother (also a bellringer, as are most of my immediate family), who whose interests also include paleontology (muttaburrasaurus is/was an Australian dinosaur – more info here) and english history (she’s a member of the Plantagenet Society)


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The 3 brothers afterwards.

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