Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Long Lost Bamboo Towels

This morning someone on the weaving at yahoogroups email list asked about weaving with bamboo as warp. Last Fall I did a series of huck towels in bamboo on my counterbalance. It was the last thing I wove on that loom before moving it to the garage for storage. (As much as I'd love to have two working floor looms available to use, there are three other people in this house and they deserve room to live too.) But a search for my post on these towels came up empty handed. I guess it was one of those things "I should write about" that never made it to "Publish Post". I'll have to fix that!

Here is a picture of 2 of the towels. The one on the left has been wet finished but not ironed. It does 'grow' a bit once it's ironed. The one to the right (and half of it is under the one on the left) has been turned sideways and is not yet wet finished.

I used UKI Bamboo (aka Bamboodle) from Village Spinning and Weaving as warp and weft. It's quite thick - listed as a 5.24/4 yarn. I sleyed 16 inches set it at 12 epi. My notes say the warp was 3 yards long but it's likely a bit longer than that - rounding up is a good thing to do with warps so that I have enough room to do some samples. My plan was for 4 towels at 22" per towel plus loom waste. Turns out I got 5 towels out of the warp.

The pattern is a traditional huck lace from Davison's "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" on page 94. I played with the pattern and found I could get a plain weave selvage. I also discovered I could change up the huck pattern by changing the treadling. This was a welcome discovery because it meant I could make every towel a bit different.

So, for the final stats:
on loom: 16" wide by about 22" long (depends on the pattern I used)
off loom: 13" wide by 20" long (for one specifically)
wet finished and ironed: 11.5" wide by 14.5" to 15.5" long

The concerned individual wrote to the group worried about abrasion - would commercially spun bamboo hold up as a warp. My counterbalance loom has wire heddles and in the past has shredded novelty, handspun yarns. Thankfully the commercially spun bamboo was completely unfazed. So yes, bamboo works very well as a warp.

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