S&TW: The most hideous towels in the world


My third sampling project this summer was towels + cotton in the weight called 8/2, which I didn’t have, but I did have various small spools of cottolin 22/2 which is approximately the same thickness. So this is a “work with what you have” project like my rugs from yesterday, which is an exercise I enjoy in itself – although it would be even nicer if you actually liked what you have. But, one shouldn’t scorn free art supplies very much.


I didn’t want to go the way of randomizing the weft like my sampler 16/2 pillowcases, so I just put all the colours in the warp and wove with a white cotton. Completely failing to pick a sensible threading sequence because I guessed at a pattern and guessed wrong, meaning I had very few options for trying out different structures.

Anyway. I have no idea if I want to weave my own towels after this. They’re too heavy for dishes, too thin for bath. I’d love to try some waffle weave but I’m still uncertain which yarn weight I should pick! One of them did turn out semi-waffely on one side, so perhaps a 4 shaft waffle would be good for hand towels, in 16/2 I’d do an 8 shaft waffle. So perhaps 22/2 in 8 shaft waffle would be great for bath? Cottolin supposedly sucks up more water as well as drying quicker I’ve read somewhere. For dishes I think I’d prefer a plainweave or twill 16/2 cotton, aka nearly sewing thread. I have some waffle weave dish towels from the store, but they are woven in seriously thin thread, like the one used for bed sheets. Customs vary I guess, since I know in the US they weave towels in 8/2 or heavier all the time.


I used a thinner yarn for the hems, but still feel that they’re quite bulky. Another thing I tried was weaving in the strap for each towel, hence the white middle stripe; but forget that on loosely hanging warp threads, if I’m to do that another time I’ll need a second warp beam for proper tension. (because the warp threads need to be longer than the others to loop the woven strap and weave it into the main fabric)

These will work just fine for mopping up paint should I ever get my new place ready for such antics. As well as the most important test for a towel: How thirsty is it?

cottolintowels01 cottolintowels02

Please excuse my paint splattered table, I didn’t really feel that these towels deserved the hassle of taking off the cover. 😉 Well, the real reason being I’m not very talented in the “product photography” department. Arranging things with pretty props and stuff, just don’t have it in me, even if I try to copycat.

13 thoughts on “S&TW: The most hideous towels in the world

    1. They could be a tad longer, but I think they’ll do ok for hands. My best dish cloths are some that my mum knitted, much more absorbent that store bought, and they say the same about towels, so I may want to do a whole kitchen set, next time in PRETTY colours! 🙂

  1. I really don’t think these are hideous at all, I think they’re very pretty looking and I like the colours so if they were mine I would use them as hand towels in the kitchen. Or would they be the right thickness for pet towels if they’re not right for a “human” use?

    But given that I am a non-weaver I’m just so impressed that you can make your own towels in the first place. I’m sure anything like this would take a bit of trial and error with the materials etc, so don’t be too hard on yourself, especially as you decided to make do with the materials you already had. That’s always the trouble with a stash – at least I find it that no matter how extensive the stash is, whatever is in there is never quite ideal for the project I want to do next. In fact for that reason I don’t really believe in the concept of a stash anymore, which is a big turnaround for someone who already has a stash-beyond-life-expentacy…

    1. I think it’s a great way to sample a yarn type, just use bits and bobs – in this case they came with one of my looms, but not enough of any colour to make it on their own. And it’s funny, because they probably do match our old kitchen which I haven’t gotten round to redoing or painting in all the time we’ve lived here! And I simply had my head too full of studio building to come up with a better plan. So I’m very pleased with them as a materials test, but they’re not really very tasteful imo. Not that any of my old towels are, everything could do with a replacement.

      I’m used to terrycloth towels, so it will be interesting to see how I like them for hands. Both thickness and absorbency – they’re quite soft and pleasant to touch and they say linen only gets better the more you wash and abuse it!

      So perhaps I should put them in the kitchen for now, simply for testing. 🙂

  2. I think they’re great, and I think you will love them for hand towels. I have woven some kitchen towels like that with cottolin and every time I dry my hands on them, I marvel that they just keep absorbing water and always feel dry. In our humid climate, that is saying something.

    1. Sounds like I need to experience more cottolin. I rarely see the weaving kind at a comfortable price though, so I’ll have to plan my colours a bit.

  3. Jeg kan altsÃ¥ godt lide dine hÃ¥ndklæder, og ville gerne bruge dem i mit køkken 😉 Isøær kan jeg godt lide det det “under to, over to” mønster. Og eftersom mine ogsÃ¥ allesammen er pÃ¥ stadiet lige inden kludebunken, sÃ¥ burde jeg mÃ¥ske ogsÃ¥ forsøge mig i hÃ¥ndklædeafdelingen her til vinter – læs bliv færdig med det, jeg allerede ha sat op 😀

  4. I like weaving with 8/2 and 22/2 cottolin but I haven’t had experience with a lot of other fibers. I agree that towels made of that weight seem sort of “beefy” but that can be a good thing, too. It better be a good thing–I have a TON of cottolin!

Add a comment: