Weaving Inspiration: Plaids & Stripes

I have decided to join the many weavers who are weaving dish towels…. It’s about time I gave rag runners a rest and got into some fabric making!

Designing an interesting plaid or stripe fabric isn’t as easy as it might seem.I like to look around me for inspiration. When a fabric catches my eye, I check out the width of the stripes, whether a plaid is balanced or unbalanced, and unusual color combinations. I even have a stripe page on Pinterest. But my favorite place to look is men’s shirts! Men are so lucky! For some reason, their designers come up with luscious color stories. When I am in a store with both men’s and women’s clothing, I find myself on their side…

One of the many reasons I love living in the South are the colors of the clothing. Here is a selection of juicy (men’s) shirts. Whether or not they are the colors I want to use, these plaids give me inspiration.

Men's plaid shirts

In the end, I didn’t warp anything of great interest. For my humble dish towels I chose a simple unbalanced stripe, which can be woven in a stripe or in checks.

Dishtowel start

I haven’t woven anything so fine in forever and thought I should start out simply. It’s slow going, (I’m using 8/2 cotton) but the rhythm and the process of making cloth is wonderful.

Weaving towels


12 thoughts on “Weaving Inspiration: Plaids & Stripes

      • Interesting….I never have! In fact in the hayday of my weaving (1973- about 1990), I’d never heard of them. I just wove a long section yesterday and really got into the rhythm and the selvedge looks great. We’ll see how how much it has pulled in. I did buy a temple but it’s too narrow for these towels. I’ll look on your blog for more details…


      • The trick, as far as I can see, is pulling the thread a bit snug against the selvedge, then letting it droop off the shuttle a little, to provide some slack, and beating on an open shed. Tug, droop, beat on open, switch, repeat.


    • Hi! The sett is 20 epi. I looked at various websites and blogs and decided on that. 24 epi if you’re planning to weave twill, the experts say. Obviously the jury is out on this sett until after I wash the towels. I bought a temple as I see so many people using them and it turns out that the one I got is too narrow for the towels! I think I wanted to try it out on a placemat width. I am not quite sure how to use one and it looks like it’s a pain to use as you always have to move it when you move the warp. Have you used a temple?


      • I have a wide temple that I plan to use on my next rag rug project but I need a narrower one for my tea towel project, which I plan to do on the Dorset loom. The hope is that once I have made the rag rug I will know how to use a temple!


  1. Have no idea what a temple is, but I love your dish towel so far, Deb. I really have to look into learning to weave; it was one of the things I wanted to do when I got here. But who could’ve guessed that hooking would be so pressing??? Still, after my sewing machine lesson (after my neck heals significantly), weaving in 2017!


    • Thanks Laura! I am going to be interested to see how they wash up and how good they are at their intened purpose! I need to get back to your blog – I tried to comment the other day and it wouldn’t load…..


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