Reproducibility is not our thing. We generally don't keep records of which dyes go into which dye pot or which combinations of colors we use to hand paint yarn. We always tell our customers if they think they might need that second skein of yarn or bump of fiber they should go ahead and get it now because we won't be making it ever again. We have come close a few times which is to be expected since we like the colors we like and tend to use them often. But the same exact colors? Exact enough to keep knitters happy? Nope.
Our hand woven shawls are nearly as completely unique as our dye work. We did have one case where Peggy and I bought the same yarn but in different colors and ended up weaving shawls that look remarkably the same - even down to the same weave structure and type of fringe. I think that's the only time that's ever happened.
Kitchen towels are slightly different. My favorite weaving structure is a color and weave pinwheel. I'm happy to weave this pattern and my feet and hands work really well in the comfortable and remembered pattern. I've woven these in as few as two colors or as many as five. I've never done two runs of towels in exactly the same colors but the pattern does seem to crop up repeatedly.
So enter Deb Folks. Deb is our web designer and has become a friend. Years ago when she did our original website we gave her a kitchen towel. She loved it and we were pleased. Last winter I was casting around for ideas and Deb asked if we had any more of the same towels left because she wanted another one. The same towels? Nope. We had long since sold all those towels and lots of other towels between then and now. I do try to keep samples of all my woven items - sort of a laundry list of successes and failures. I found Deb's towel and sure enough the pattern was color and weave pinwheels. I decided to do a run of those colors again. This is where it gets murky - or at least slightly problematic. The original towels were woven with cottolin for the warp and hand painted linen for the weft. I didn't have those colors of cottolin or of the linen so I had to order both. Tracy Kaestner, our weaving yarn connection didn't have the colors in stock either so had to order the cottolin colors from Sweden and the linen colors from Virginia. The entire process took a bit of time. We never could match the linen colors now available to the linen I had used in the original towels so we did our best to come close.
Finally, all the yarn arrived and I could get to the warping and weaving. Then is was the washing and pressing and hemming. This is the towels Deb asked for - cottolin warp, linen weft.
And the rest of the towels. I wove two of each but they are a bit different - one is woven using only natural cottolin, one uses all the colors in the warp in the weft and one uses the blue and the natural only in the weft...
All in all, I'm very pleased with the outcome. Now to see which of them Deb wants.