Weave a thick plush towel on your rigid heddle loom – it’s easier than you may think!
Take a look at this quick video to see the technique in action. https://youtu.be/MZtZLIoDBDA
For this project, we’ve used the 16″ Presto loom with the 8 dent heddle and some worsted weight cotton yarn. You will also need a dowel long enough to go across the entire width of the weaving area. The dowel rod that came with your loom is the perfect diameter. Here, we borrowed a 24″ dowel from another loom (the Harp Forte). You will also need 2 shuttles for this project.
Our Aqua dish drying towel was 40″ long and covered the entire width of the heddle while on the loom. After wet finishing, it measures 14″x36″. We used white as the warp and background color and a light and a dark yarn held together for the loops. Scroll down to see a smaller, single shuttle mat that uses the same color for the loops and the background.
For the Aqua towel, warp the loom with white worsted weight cotton “dish cloth” yarn to a length of 80″. Use the entire width of the 16″ heddle.
Fill one shuttle for the loops. Hold both Aqua yarns together as you fill the shuttle. It took 2 balls, 200 yards each, of both colors to compete this project.
Fill the second shuttle with the white and weave 20 rows, following a usual woven or paper header. This will become the hem edge.
Next, you will begin the loop pile sequence. Pass the main color shuttle through the shed. Adjust the edge, but do not press the heddle forward. Leave it in the “up” or “down” position. Lay the dowel on the top of the warp and beginning between the second space, pull up the weft yarn and place it over the dowel. Continue this across the piece, stopping before the last space to ensure an even edge.
Press the heddle forward while the dowel is still in place. Change the shed and run the background color through. Again press the heddle forward, this time at a bit of an angle, with the lower edge leaning to the front. Pull the dowel out while holding the heddle forward. The angle will help to keep the loops from pushing out the bottom of the weave. Once the dowel is removed, press the heddle forward again. Change the shed. Lock the loops in place with another pass of the background color. Weave another row of loops. You should have a 3 row repeat – loops, plain weave, plain weave – repeat.
Make certain to wrap the yarn as it is carried up the sides. This will keep the edges nice and neat.
Continue until you have used up all of the main color yarn. Finish with 20 rows of white for the hem, followed with some waste yarn. Remove from the loom and sew along the ends of the waste yarn using several rows of a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine to prevent unravelling. Trim off excess (but not too close to the stitching) and wash in hot water. Dry thoroughly on high heat. This will shrink the cotton and tighten up the weave, preventing the loops from pulling out.
Trim the ends so that the white is 2″ wide. Fold over and hem, either by hand or machine. Because the weave is so full on the top, the hem lays better when folded towards the top rather than the underside as is usually done on a towel.
This makes a lovely absorbent dish drying mat.
My dog loves the little water mat I made for him. This was done using the same method as above. However, I used the orange yarn, not doubled on the shuttle, for both the main color and the background. This made for a somewhat simpler version because there is only one shuttle. It’s not as thick of a pile, but serves well for a mat all the same.