There was a wonderful project by Nicolle McKenna in the March/April 2020 issue of Handwoven called Birch Bark Tea Towels and Dishcloths. I loved the idea of using cotton boucle yarn for the weft to add texture and absorbency.  And I loved the idea of bits of black in the weft which really makes the fabric look remarkably like birch bark.  But the plain weave sort of left me flat. I wanted more complexity in the background.

I added an 8 shaft pattern in the background that looks like leaves but kept the mostly random grey and white stripes. I started off with white boucle, then I used up all the other cotton boucle I had in my stash. The boucle makes the background pattern rather more difficult to see so I moved on to slick 8/2 cotton in solid and variegated foliage-like colors. 

I found brown, cinnamon, grey and blue/green yarn in my stash and each of the colors makes a slightly different statement.  The cinnamon looks exactly like the wonderful cinnamon inner bark on my crepe myrtle trees.  The blue/green has a waterlogged, wet, cypress look to it.  The grey is just like the bark on my dogwood tree while the brown looks like the maple trees I remember from my childhood. Taken together they make a wonderful grove of trees that you would never find growing together in nature.

I love them all.

And because no warp ever ends at the end of a towel, there are a couple of smaller bread cloths to match/coordinate with the towels.