Waste not

Purchasing weaving yarns by the cone is usually more economical than buying smaller quantities, and having lots of leftovers in the fiber stash increases the chances that what is needed for the next project will already be on hand. However, eventually, one ends up conceiving a project that requires something beyond the contents of the current stash. For those living out in the middle of nowhere, this means mail-order, and a wait.  Another inevitable consequence of planning for leftovers, is that you accumulate a lot of odds and ends that don’t want to gel into anything in particular. The combination of an enforced wait and an accumulation of odds-and-ends presents a good opportunity to embark on a project to make something small and quick and utilitarian, like dishcloths. Handweaving something so every-day, that will be repeatedly soiled and laundered until it wears out, may seem to some like a waste of time, effort, and materials. However it is a great way to experiment with a new technique, while producing a useful item (that will almost certainly be more absorbent than most commercial versions), and saving some scraps and bits from going to waste. Besides, there is something particularly satisfying in making an item that will be used daily. It forges a connection with our ancestors who made many of their own clothes and household items. Included in the fiber mail order were several cones of cotton flake, a slubby cotton that makes an excellent addition to dishcloths and dishtowels. Some of the current dishtowels are getting a bit threadbare. The next project?

The dishcloths started today have as warp several colors of unmercerized 8/2 cotton, with a weft of natural-colored cotton flake, in a honeycomb treadling of Bolton Cord (Marguerite Davison threading #17). Treadled as written, the honeycomb pattern wasn’t turning out to be very uniform; alternate pairs of pattern repeats were failing to close together into “cells”, leaving conspicuous bands. Adding an extra pick to each repeat solved the problem, and because it was only a dishcloth, the various trials to find a solution don’t have to be ripped out, they just add a little character.

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