Category Archives: cottolin

Linen/Cotton Towel & Drawloom Heddles


The first towel off this current warp is finished. I had hemstitched this one, washed it in warm water (in a front-loading washer), dried it on Normal, then checked dimensions. Off the loom, prior to finishing, the towel measured 30″ in length by 16″ in width. After finishing, the measurements were 22.75″ by 14.5″ losing 7.25″ (24%) by 1.25″ (8%). I was especially amazed by the shrinkage in length as I didn’t recall previously woven towels or runners woven with cottolin losing that many inches. (These measurements do not include fringe.)

I also noticed there seemed to be some tracking which I was not expecting. I’ve not had tracking occur occur before with cottolin but this weft is a single linen/cotton slub/flake type yarn. After sorting out the tangled fringe, the towel was spritzed with water, ironed with steam, then ironed again without steam. When fairly dry, I rotary cut the fringe leaving it 1.25″ in length.

I am quite pleased with this first towel and looking forward to weaving up more, varying the wefts and textures.


In addition to weaving and working on socks, I have been making long-eye heddles (using seine twine) for my single unit drawloom. Though I had started slow, I suddenly became determined to finish them so over the past few evenings, I have been cutting and tieing heddles. Last night I had 350 left to go, cut but needing to be tied, so I decided at midnight I would finish them all before going to bed. At 5 AM this morning I tied the 1,000th long-eye heddle. They are ready to put on the ground shafts, and I can go back to making more pattern heddles.

Now it is back to weaving and sock-cranking for awhile, along with some spinning but, there are two more tubes of seine twine on the way. About three years ago, I bought a 20 shaft opphampta attachment to add to my countermarche loom. There were no heddles included for either ground or pattern shafts, so after a reasonable break, I have two more sets of heddles to make.

Yes, I could use Texsolv heddles, but the cost of purchasing two thousand long-eye heddles would be around $340 plus shipping. That plus two more sets of heddles for another loom is an expense I could not make. Options needed to be considered and choices made based on funds available and other business needs and priorities. Also, the single unit drawloom already has 1,000 of the old-style string heddles on it and I just could not see replacing them as they work fine. So for the cost of a board, nails, and one tube of seine twine ($22), plus my time, I now have the 1,000 heddles I needed. I will do the same for the opphampta attachment. I have the gratification of not only saving funds on one item which will allow me to take care of a future need, but I enjoyed making the heddles. They were portable and I took them with me to work on when I had to wait, as well as working on them late in the evenings. One set done, two to go.

Learning to Use a Temple

I’m weaving away today, a simple plain weave towel, using a linen/cotton slub thread purchased awhile back from WEBS. It is a bit finer than the cottolin warp and I wasn’t totally pleased with the selvedges so decided to try a temple/stretcher. I’ve never used one before, and so far I am pleased, there is improvement with the selvedges along with keeping a consistent width.

Late last night I was making long-eye heddles again, now up to 75 of them. Not long before I was going to put this project away for the night, I discovered a way to make each one a little bit quicker.

I sit with the heddle jig standing upright in my lap, working my way from bottom up to the top. I found that with this longish thread, after the first section is on the heddle jig, if I cross the threads near the cut ends, to make the square knots, instead of further down each half length, I can work faster. I’ll be back at it tonight and am looking forward to making quicker progress.

New Beginnings for 2009


The New Year seemed a good time to begin the new warp, a 10 shaft twill with stripes of bleached and unbleached 22/2 cottolin, sett at 24 epi, 2 epi in a 12 dent reed. This afternoon I tried out a singles slub linen, first with one strand, then with two, both as plain weave and twill. Ideas for borders are going through my head as I weave. In a bit, I’ll begin weaving the first towel or runner on this 15 yard warp.


Also this afternoon, my son Noah made a heddle jig for me, cutting and sanding a board and setting in the nails for the long-eye heddles I need to make for the drawloom. There is a heddle on the jig, though the seine twine is difficult to see here.

This sock pic was taken this summer, on a sunny day, on the lakeside porch. I enjoy taking photos of my weaving, and socks. I photograph my work outdoors in summer, to get as close to the true colors in the yarns as possible. Taking pics indoors in this log home, where the logs absorb all light, is a challenge anytime of year, and something I continue to work on.

This is a wonderful time of year for setting goals for the coming year, re-prioritizing, listing what needs to be done, and later the feeling of accomplishment of checking things off as they are completed. This is also a good time to consider marketing, looking at the big picture of the year ahead, making choices for venues, and remembering not to over-commit. And as always, continue to take care, ensuring fine finished work.

Cottolin Warp

A new 15 yard cottolin warp went on the countermarche loom tonight, to be woven into towels and and a table runner or two. I had decided to use up some old cottolin I had on hand and decided to use unbleached and bleached.

While making the warp, the three tubes of Borgs unbleached had numerous knots, and as I do not like knots going into a warp and onto the loom, there was a lot of stopping, backing up the warping mill to go back to the “front” end of my warp, and starting again, more than a little frustrating. The bleached I had on hand was Berga, and in those three tubes, I only found three or four knots, and the cottolin was much smoother and nicer.

I have plenty of the bleached cottolin, also two or three shades of blue, but may have to quickly order a few tubes of the unbleached. I also have some two or three cones of a white cotton slub yarn I can use in some towels, too.

Later tomorrow, after working outside on windows during the last of our nice fall weather (we’ve already had three inches of snow), I’ll start threading the heddles.

Two sock orders are ready to be mailed tomorrow, as well. It is good to be getting things done.

Though traditional in appearance, this is what I’ve chosen to weave again, this time in white and unbleached cottolin for towels and table runners. There are probably other colors on the shelf that can be used as weft, too. Most of what I’ve woven in the past four years or so has been with rug warp and batik fabrics for weft. This will be a great change of pace, and a good reminder that I love weaving with finer threads. Though the 20-24 epi of this new warp is not really “fine,” it is a good way to get back to weaving something other than 10-12 epi.

Tweaking the Countermarche

Since the countermarche loom was moved a few days ago, it seemed a good time to do a little tweaking of anything that needed to be adjusted. The rods were placed in the jacks (from the back), shafts were in their holders, and a “warp” thread was tied onto the front beam, through the reed, through a heddle eye, and tied to the back beam. The thread should have been resting lightly on the bottom of the heddle eye, but was up just slightly, so all shafts (and holders) were raised one hole in the Texsolv, and now the thread IS resting in the bottom of the heddle eye.

When the rods and holders are removed, the action will drop a bit, and the thread should then be in the middle of the heddle eye.

The long V-cords run down in back of the shafts and lamms as they are supposed to. The distance from the floor to top of lamms was checked, and though not exactly at the measurements provided to me quite awhile back by Joe (RugsbyJoe), they are only 1/4″ or so off, and changing by one loop in the Texsolv cord changes the measurements too much, so they changed back to where I originally had them.

Treadles are being tied up today for a 10 shaft twill though some of the tie-up cords are missing. I ordered more Texsolv cord, so while waiting for it to arrive, the warp will be made, a white and unbleached stripe, giving me options in weaving all-over plaids, border plaid, stripes, twill, plain weave, and so on, as well as varying the treadling. This will be a 12-15 yard warp, using cottolin that I have on hand, a fiber combination I enjoy weaving with.

The Great Studio Swap, Part 1

The past few days have been spent finishing up sock orders, now only one order left. I’ve also been going through books, filing fiber magazines into holders, going through seemingly endless amounts of papers, and setting up more files, trying to get control of the paper blizzard, and keep it in check.

Yesterday evening, the great Studio Swap began when we took the Glimakra CM loom apart and moved it down to the living room. The drawloom will be down here in a few days, along with one other loom, shelving, and equipment. I wanted to make my studio space accessible to visitors. The living room furniture will be going upstairs to my (almost) former weaving room.

Lamms will be put back onto the CM this afternoon, cords put back in place, then treadles will be tied up for a ten shaft twill. Tomorrow a cottolin warp for towels and runners will be made.

The drawloom, when I reach that point, will be warped with cotton in satin weave. The Glimakra 8 shaft Victoria table loom will have fine cotton or linen warp for bookmarks. The 22″ 8 shaft Harrisville will be warped for cards and/or sachets. The Gallinger rug loom (still on the main floor, but moved to the laundry room) sectional beam has perhaps 45 yards on it ready to go, only needing the new apron to be lashed on, then tie on and tension the warp. I’m getting the studio and looms ready for a long northwoods winter of weaving.

There were two “interruptions” last week in the form of phone calls from the Northwoods Wildlife Center. As a rescue driver for them, I never know when they might call. Last Saturday came a request to drive to the U.P. to look for an eagle that was down. After searching for two hours, and not finding the eagle, we returned home. It may have gorged earlier and could not fly, but was gone by the time we arrived, or may have been stunned by a mishap with a car, but recovered enough to fly. We’ll never know.

The second call was Wednesday, could I meet up with someone from MI DNR and transport an eagle over to NWC in Minocqua, which I did. I stayed to watch Mark (rehabber) remove the eagle from the carrier, a quick refresher for me on how to grasp the legs and keep clear of those talons. I just called NWC, talked to Mark, and found out the eagle had severe internal injuries and only survived 1 1/2 days. Sometimes this volunteer work is heartbreaking, and other times it is very rewarding.