Several blogging friends have referred to my common dish towels as tea towels, which means the same thing and is much more alliterative, so it is the title.
Dish towels are made from linen or cotton fabric. The former do not dry well, but also do not scratch, and make silver and glass sparkle. Cotton towels are far less expensive than linen, but sadly carry the reputation of drying poorly.
I wonder if this has been a common complaint the last seventy or eighty years, since non shrinking cotton fabrics were invented. Fabrics processed commercially not to shrink, and fabric softeners, which coat fibers chemically, have been the demise of the common dish towel.
The majority of the threads we bought to weave were siphoned from the great manufacturing process before any or many chemical alterations had occurred. We purchased from brokers, who bought of lots of unsold thread, and supplied it to third world economies. This was back in the day there still were spinning factories in this country. I just realize how little I know of current cotton thread manufacture. Probably the same as when the mills were in our south; now they are in India, Pakistan, Korea.
For various reasons the threads had not gone on to additional processing, such as mercerizing, a sodium hydroxide treatment that makes thread stronger and shiny. Of course I nosed into back stories with my brokers, knew which manufacturers had rejected a lot, or didn’t get it for want of paying a bill. So many stories. We bought great thread for weaving fabric on our hand looms. Buy low, sell high, as they say.
Highly processed pearl cotton. Lovely, doesn't absorb moisture.
Donated it to the Art Academy
Because the thread came from the front end of the manufacturing process, we could treat it however we wished, which was minimaly. We weren't out to own a weaving factory, just to make pretty fabrics for great clothing. We turned the web, the woven stuff off the loom, into fabric by fulling, a wetting and pounding operation as old as weaving. We used the washer and the dryer.
The cotton fabrics were back to basics; cool in the summer because they breathed, warm in the winter as an insulating layer. And because there were few or no added chemicals, the stuff absorbed water.
My youngest daughter downsized her storage unit bill and I was the recipient of a dozen cartons of thread she kept, to weave with some day. And the shelving they were on in storage. Bonanza. Emily, Laura and I sorted it out today. Lots of natural for the next towel warp; some variety of colors for more colored towels, and an entire shelf that looks like a fabric warp to me. There may be cotton jackets in my future.
A jumble out of the boxes
Which annoyed the two budding artists so much they had it unscrambled in short order.
This week's red towels, leaving two by two in tomorrow's post.
I do hope we will see pictures of where they live.
Next week's natural towels.
The warp is almost gone!
The director of the Art Academy asked me if I'd consider a workshop in sectional warping. I will. Another opportunity to ask the universe for a 36" LeClerc counterbalance, four harness, six treadle, please.