Handwoven Turned Twill Dishtowels

Sometimes you just need a little inspiration. I was in a creative lull when I walked past my neighbor’s beautiful garden with these cone flowers in full bloom.

My neighbor, Mark, and his wife, Cathy, are master gardeners and their yard is often full of flowers that change with the seasons. After asking Mark if I could snap a few photos, I immediately came back to the weaving studio and began matching colors.

To match the colors of the flowers, I used the following colors: Fuchsia (5169), Cayenne (5213), Garnett (5193) and Yellow Orange (3161). I wanted to experiment with the turned twill weave structure so I thought making dishtowels would allow me to play with different tie ups. For these dishtowels I used 8/2 cotton with a sett of 20 epi. My warp was 461 ends (23 inches in the reed) with the following threading:

I wasn’t too picky about the length of the towels and tried to design on the loom rather than design on the iPad first. Each towel is approximately 32 inches in length when finished so I aimed for about 35 inches woven not including the hems. For hems, I wove 2 inches of plain weave. I wanted to keep it simple for the first towel so I used the following tie up.

For towel one, I only used the Y treadles changing directions when I used Yellow Orange for the accent bands. For this towel, instead of using the Garnett for the weft as the red, I used Burgundy instead.

For the second and third towel I changed the tie up and used both the X and Y treadles. Below is the tie up I used:

Towel two was treadled one through eight throughout the entire towel. I alternated Fuchsia, Cayenne and Garnett three times aiming for a square. This towel ended up a little shorter than the other towels, but still within an acceptable range for a dishtowel.

In the Cayenne and Fuchsia sections of the third towel I used the Y treadles and alternated the X and Y treadles for the inside sections between the narrow yellow bands. The yellow bands were treadled 1-8.

I changed the tie up once again for the fourth towel. For this towel, I used a broken twill tie up.

I totally designed the fourth towel at the loom so I didn’t create a wif file, but here’s a photo of the towel. From looking at the fabric I can see I treadled the end bands (Garnett) and the main body (Fuchsia) of towel using the X treadles. The Yellow Orange Bands were treadled XYX and the inside sections between the bands were treadled with the Y treadles.

I really love the turned twilled weaving structure. There are just so many possibilities and with simple changes to the tie up, a totally unique effect can be created on the same warp! I absolutely love these color combinations.

Winter is just around the corner and those beautiful cone flowers in Mark and Cathy’s garden are quickly fading away. I’m sure that one chilly winter day when I’m at the sink drying a dish with one of these towels it’ll take me back to a late summer evening with the cone flowers in bloom.


    March 24, 2024 / 10:51 pm

    This is fun looking at your work, I love the last towel here, it is fantastic!

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