What's on the Loom?

I am working on a couple of new things I'm really excited about.  

First is the hemp face cloths.  My friend, Nancy Whitbeck, who has a dairy goat farm in Maine, asked me if I was interested in weaving some face cloths made out of hemp.  Nancy is getting ready to open her store where she intends to sell goat's milk and cheeses along with the soap and eggs she already sells.  She also carries some of my linen face cloths.  Several of her customers inquired about hemp products.  Nancy is working on a recipe for hemp soap.  So was I interested in weaving hemp face cloths?


Well, yes.  I was interested.  So that's what's on the Schacht loom. They are similar in size to my linen face cloths, about 14" by 14".  Hemp is very similar to linen in how it feels, how little it shrinks, and how wonderfully exfoliating it is.  The hemp tangles a bit more easily but that's the only issue I've had in how the weaving goes.  The biggest difference is that hemp is a fairly new product and only available in a small number of weights and colors as opposed to linen which can be found in many weights and a plethora of colors. I took some of the white hemp and dyed it with mud dyes.  I have some of the unbleached hemp ready to dye with indigo as soon as I get the vat set up.

Second is a run of kitchen towels that was sparked by an article in Handwoven.  They are called Birch Bark and are woven using grey and white stripes in the warp and cotton boucle in the weft.  When you add a few streaks of black they look remarkably like birch bark.  I added a background pattern that resembles leaves instead of using a simple plain weave. I love the added structure and it leaves me free to make all sorts of changes in the weft while I'm weaving off the 11 or 12 towels that I have warped up. These towels are on my Gilmore loom.

Then there are the linen bath towels that have been languishing on my Louet loom.  I've been weaving on them recently so I hope to get them finished sooner rather than later.  I think the reason I haven't gotten them done by now has to do with the loom.  We haven't really bonded, this loom and I.  There are so many things I love about this loom but a couple of things I don't. The loom is very tall and my bench is very tall to match. I don't like it much. Or maybe I just need to figure out a different way of thinking about it. These linen bath towels will be wonderful when I get them woven off.  I'm working on that.