Spa Day

For much of my career in textiles, I’ve focused on handwoven garments, and that has been a wonderful and challenging path to explore. I’m pretty good at it. But at this point in my life, I’m pretty well stocked with clothing from my hands. Closet is full, and honestly, almost no where to wear any of it. I have my favorite go to’s, and as I write, I’m wrapped up in my handwoven sweater jacket I wear every day and wrote about for an article in Handwoven Magazine, but honestly, the longing to create more clothing just isn’t there.

However… I want to weave, I like long warps, and I mentioned last time I had decided to weave me some bath towels. Or rather spa towels. Because these aren’t like any bath towels I’ve ever used… (3.75/3 cotton from Peter Patchis sett at 12 epi.)

And then came the knots…

And then the whole ten yards was in a pile on the floor, headed to a hot wash in the machine. I was disappointed in that I miscalculated the amount of shrinkage I’d get from the collapsed Waffle structure, so the last of the four towels was about a foot short. Nevertheless, the whole thing went into the wash…

Just a warning note here, if you put 10 yards of 45″ wide Waffle weave woven from unmercerized cotton, there will be a lot of lint. A Lot! I had to open the dryer every 10 minutes to clean out the lint screen.

I mentioned last time, that these 8 shaft waffle towels had hems in doubleweave, to reduce the amount of flair that happens when the structure collapses and the hems don’t. I went to the sewing studio and carefully pinned the hems in on themselves, and handstitched them closed.

Turns out, the towel that ended up short, fit perfectly on the raised tile deck for my walk in shower. I wouldn’t use them on the regular tile floor, as the Roomba travels over it daily, and I think that these cuddly cushy towels and my Roomba wouldn’t be a good pair. And so yesterday morning I got to take my spa shower and wrapping myself in this cushy absorbent towel and stepping out on to the cushy absorbent mat were just the best. I highly recommended the spa treatment!

Meanwhile, my project for earlier in the week was to replace the disgusting destroyed cushion I had made for the bay window in the living room. This is the dogs’ favorite place to hang. They come in from outside, and go right to the window, shedding and muddy and there is just so much you can vacuum and clean a foam cushion and it ends up pretty ratty. Plus this more recent version I whipped up a couple years ago, was too small for the area, and would go flying every time the dogs jumped in the window.

I took a trip up to Joann’s, and bought a 2 yard wide slab of 2″ foam and pieced together the remainder of a fabric we had done some upholstery projects with. I had some synthetic microsuede I got as a remnant in Japan, and used that for piping. I reused the zipper from the old cushion.

And so, to keep it from flying out of the window, I added three folded vinyl tabs, that slipped under the double hung windows, and stuck out from behind the window enough to slip a small piece of a chopstick into the fold. When the window is shut, the tabs keep the cushion from going anywhere.

And to keep the animals from destroying it immediately, I tossed a couple of synthetic fleeces from IKEA on top. It is very cushy for the dogs, and I might get a couple of years out of it at least.

Friday night my daughter and I went to see the final production of the year for my beloved Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. They did a winterized retelling of Midsummer Night’s Dream and we laughed through the whole thing. The cast was amazing, and it was definitely a wintery romp. And all my hard work on the costumes paid off. They were brilliant. I’m just a volunteer stitcher but there was a lot of stitching to be done! And in the lobby of the theatre was a little pop up shop, with a table of my work, proceeds are donated to the Shakespeare Theatre. It was fun seeing all my work together in one place. The show runs until the end of the year, it is really delightful, a perfect holiday treat. Click here for more info.

And I continue plodding along on block number two of the appliqué quilt block of the month, which my mom unceremoniously handed to me in a paper bag last year, from 1999, after she broke her shoulder and realized that at 92, her arthritis and multiple broken achy bones would prevent her from doing the fine handwork she once loved. So I took a look at it, and after getting advice from a couple of my students on how to do this kind of appliqué, I reluctantly jumped in and found that I adore this kind of lovely easy zen like challenge. I finished block one back in September then took a break to make stuff for my guild sale.

So block 2 is almost complete, a bit more appliqué work on the face, and then the embroidered whiskers and name, and I’m on to block 3. I believe there are 10 blocks, or something like that, so I’ll be at this for awhile.

And we are now up to the week before Christmas. Which means my holiday gift towels should be just about hemmed and ready for distribution. Except they weren’t even on the loom. As a matter they weren’t even designed… I was too busy making myself spa towels.

Thank goodness for facebook memories. Facebook to the rescue. This popped up in my inbox the other day. I loved these towels from 2014, especially the color combo. This yarn was a cotton linen combo, which is no longer made, but hey, I have a wall full of 8/2 cotton and there had to be cones in there that could replicate this feeling.

I pulled down what I had, and used the 4 shaft draft I did for the custom runner I made back in the spring. The draft is available here in my shop. I wound the warp. This was Saturday morning.

I threaded yesterday afternoon, before leaving for another theatrical production at a different venue, and this morning I beamed and dove in on the weaving. I probably don’t have enough black 6/2 weft for the whole 10 yards, but I have navy, so that should work.

I’m in love with these towels. I might even save one for me, even though my drawer is full, I’m finding great fun making textiles for the home, which I can use daily, instead of garments which sit in the back of my closet.

As we close in on the end of the holiday season, give thanks for what you have, no matter how challenging the world is around you, for it is the little miracles that pop up in the oddest places that give us the nudge to keep moving forward. I hope your days are full of brightly colored yarn, and warm furry friends, and I highly recommend a spa towel or two just because…

Stay tuned…

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Annie Lancaster
Annie Lancaster
December 18, 2023 9:43 pm

I am always amazed with your use of color and pattern!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Yea, Daryl.

Limor Johnson
Limor Johnson
December 19, 2023 3:01 pm

Dear Daryl, always, always I’m so impressed by you and your work! I hope one day you will add a store and I can buy some of your towels. I’ll call the theater to see if they sell your work on line? I miss you and I wish you and the kids Happy Holidays and many years of weaving cloth and teaching and sewing .

Barbara M. In NH
Barbara M. In NH
December 19, 2023 8:16 pm

Such a lucky thing I read your entry today! I immediately sent the link to my son in NJ and offered to buy tickets for their family…..10 year old granddaughter is a huge theatre fan and loved the production of Midsummer Night Dream last summer. So I have now given a grandchild the perfect early Christmas present, even though I live too far away to join them. I love living in N.H., but tonight I miss NJ. Thanks for helping me choose the perfect present for a kid I love dearly!

Barbara M. In NH

Meg Wilson
December 19, 2023 11:03 pm

Love your towels! I was setting up for our WSSA guild meeting Holiday party and found green, red and sparkle waffle towels in a bag in the attic. Don’t know who wove them but they went up in the green bathroom with some I had woven. The Tree was full of handwoven and handmade ornaments and my windowsills were full of handwoven cards I have gotten over the past 30+ years with most and best from Lillian Whipple and Eileen Thompson. In our remodeled kitchen, I had 1 towel I wove and 4 towels that I won in a raffle… Read more »

Marsha Lodge
Marsha Lodge
December 22, 2023 2:09 pm

How long did you weave these and what was the final measurements?

December 23, 2023 8:11 am

Eureka! I had read your previous post about using doubleweave to control the flare, but didn’t quite picture what you meant until I literally saw your picture of hemming (or seaming) them. Lovely towels, both the spa and the last minute ones for gifting. Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2023 9:10 pm

Love your work, Daryl! It’s a pity I live here in Australia and cannot come to any workshops or anything. Oh well. Have a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

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