FAQ: my handwoven kitchen towels

Blue farmhouse plaid towel

A handwoven kitchen towel!

 

I’m getting ready to send a collection of handwoven kitchen towels to the Sarah Orne Jewett House & Museum Shop in South Berwick, Maine; they host a holiday seasonal sale every year that features the work of artisans from New England. I won’t be onsite to answer questions about my items as I can at art fairs, so I put together a “FAQ” sheet about my towels to assist the museum staff and patrons. I thought I would share it here!

  • Will my towel shrink if I wash it in the washing machine?

Shrinkage will be minimal. After cutting the freshly woven fabric from the loom, I machine wash the fabric in hot water and use the high spin cycle option. I then machine dry the towel fabric on the cotton setting. These steps help to “set” the weave and any significant shrinkage is accounted for before hemming.

  • Will the colors run?

It is very unlikely. During the initial wash I include a color catcher sheet with the towel fabric. This step helps to pull out any residual dye leftover from the cotton milling/dying process.

  • Can I wash my towel in a machine?

Yes. Wash the towel at your preferred temperature and machine dry. Avoid chlorine bleach as this will discolor the yarns.

  • Do people really use these in the kitchen?

Yes. I like to weave items that you can live with on an everyday basis. The densely sett yarns create a thirsty fabric. Machine stitched ends hold up to heavy use. Some of my customers prefer to use their towels for bread basket displays, for the powder room, or even as substitute placemats or small-sized table toppers.



Speaking of towels, I started working on another batch today. Here is the first towel, just underway:

IMG_1947.JPG

Sage green and unbleached cotton kitchen towel

I will also be weaving this same pattern with a nice Christmas-y red cotton yarn as the main color. Be sure to check my shop for my latest additions! I also added a couple of new scarves to the shop this week:

 

 

 

 

 

I best get cracking on those kitchen towels! Happy November, friends.

Be well, Kate K.

 

Bamboo, I love you…

Yes, I love weaving with bamboo! I first started working with it this past summer almost by accident. I was working with my sales rep from one of my suppliers discussing a couple of items that were on long-term backorder and on a whim I switched my yarn selections from the backordered 3/2 mercerized cotton to the in-stock bamboo. A cone of natural and black 5/2 bamboo showed up at my door later in the week and I had to figure out what to do with the yarn. I decided to start with the basics, plain weave, so that I could learn how the yarn and resulting fabric behaved.  I drafted a scarf pattern that ended up being a best-seller at the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair in August:

Log Cabin Bamboo Scarf Black Ivory

Bamboo scarf with log cabin borders

This item was the first design to sell out at my booth this year, which was a delightful surprise. The silky-smooth feel of the bamboo is what really appealed to my customers. It is lightweight and has a subtle sheen. I don’t know about you, but I really dislike having a heavy garment around my neck. I guess that is why I generally prefer lightweight yarns for my wearables (fine alpaca/silk, 8/2 lyocell, and bamboo being my favorites).

I started weaving a few more of these this log cabin bamboo scarves this week in ecru and black and also have a warp ready to go in lavender and black bamboo. To see these works in progress, please check out my Instagram page.

New in the shop this week are some diamond twill towels in a colorway that I’m calling “Flower Garden”:

 

Flower garen kitchen towels.JPG

“Flower Garden” Diamond Twill Kitchen Towels

I’m reserving six of these for my online shop and six will be heading to the Sarah Orne Jewett Museum Shop for their seasonal holiday sale, South Berwick, Maine, which beings in November.

Signing off for now. The bamboo is calling for me.

Be well,

kate k.

 

Log cabin placemats

Hello, friends. I’m continuing to weave custom order requests that I received at the League of NH Craftsmen Summer Fair in August. These log cabin bordered placemats were a new design for me so I was especially pleased that they found homes at the fair. I’m weaving a set of eight mats for a client in brick red and ivory cottons. Here is how they’re shaping up:

 

 

 

log cabin mats on loom

Weaving placemats

I designed these so that there is a machine-stitched hem on each end. Placemats that live in my house tend to need machine laundering, especially after pizza night, so I like to make items such as these washing-machine-sturdy. I hang mine up on a drying rack and, if I’m feeling snazzy, run a hot iron over them to give them a bit of polish at the table.

Next up after the placemats will be another custom request for an overshot runner. My client requested a black runner in this well-loved pattern draft:

Snowballs off the loom

Overshot runners

I’m really looking forward to working with black as a pattern weft. Pictures to follow! You may have ascertained that a lot of my work is the result of custom order requests. I welcome custom work! If you have a special request or would like to inquire about one, please drop me a line. I’d love to chat.

Be well,

kate k.

Codman Estate wrap-up; this week’s weaving

My first year at Codman Estate Fine Art & Crafts Festival, Lincoln, Massachusetts, was very enjoyable. The grounds are lovely (I recommend a field trip if you live in the vicinity) and the show was well-attended and well-organized. Kitchen towels found new owners as did table runners. I’m especially pleased that this Whig Rose table runner in colonial blue found a new home:

Whig Rose in blue on loom

This week I am continuing to weave a rather sizable (for me) custom order of two dozen kitchen towels. The weaving is proceeding well (I’ve worked this pattern in a variety of color combinations for over seven years now). Here is a look at this towels in process:

 

Colonial blue towels on loom

Farmhouse plaid kitchen towel in colonial blue and unbleached cottons

I’ll be updating my shop listings this week. There are still several waffleweave washing cloths available in addition to some kitchen towels. I’ve just sent off new work to two fine craft galleries this week, too, Littleton Fine Craft Gallery and Nashua Fine Craft Gallery. If you are leaf-peeping in New Hampshire this fall and fancy strolling around a fine craft gallery, I highly recommend a visit to any of the League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Galleries!

Thanks for stopping in & be well,

kate k.

 

A quiet house; this week’s kitchen textiles

Hello, friends. The house is quiet this week with the exception of the sound of the loom and the warping reel. (My husband noted this week that he likes the sound of the warping reel. I confess I hadn’t really considered the “sound” of the reel but by golly, there is one, now I’ve had my attention drawn to it). Both of our boys are back to their respective campuses for the academic year. And sadly, my longtime weaving companion of fourteen years, Ingrid, has crossed the rainbow bridge. She was so good at making sure that I took frequent breaks while working at the loom. Here is a photo of our beloved Norwegian Elkhound:

Ingrid

I’ve been keeping busy working on custom requests such as these colonial blue waffleweave dishcloths:

 

Dishcloths

Waffleweave dishcloths in colonial blue cotton

The diamond twill dishtowels are in the finishing stage right now and up next are some farmhouse plaid kitchen towels in colonial blue and ivory, also a custom request. They’ll look something like this:

 

Blue farmhouse plaid towel

Farmhouse plaid kitchen towel in ivory and blue

 

I have been working on the online shop feature for my new site here, and it is coming along. I plan to add more to it after this weekend’s show at Codman Estate in Lincoln, MA. Until then, if you have any questions or comments about my work or just feel like saying hello, do contact me here!

Be well,

Kate K.