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Tokunbo Popoola
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does anyone have any idea of how to make homemade towels from scratch real scratch.. ? like i could used yarn and put something together but would it hold up after all the washing.. has to be a solution I know how to make yarn .. it always feels like im relearning things that were common sense in the not to distant past
 
Judith Browning
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Do you mean bath towels or kitchen towels? Anything with the terry cloth loops would be difficult on a floor loom at home but not impossible. A plain weave cotton or linen much easier. What type of fiber are you spinning for the yarn?
I am a long time weaver and I much prefer to recycle cotton and linen curtains, table clothes, etc for my kitchen towels and the backs of old bathrobes for bath towels. I save my effort weaving for more special things.
A handwoven fabric can hold up to use and washing as well as anyother. I suppose you could make a simple frame the size of the towel and weave one. I bet a knit or crocheted cotton, linen or hemp bath towel would be great.
 
Tom OHern
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Pile Loop Terry Towel Cloth Weaving

 
Tokunbo Popoola
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Tom OHern wrote:Pile Loop Terry Towel Cloth Weaving




thank you for not thinking im stupid.. and answering
just so you know i love you a little bit right now!
 
Leila Rich
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There are mountains of unwanted towels at my local thrift shops.
Unless it's more about learning skills, I'd be stockpiling second-hand ones
I think old towels make the best cloths for oiling tools etc.
 
Tokunbo Popoola
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Leila Rich wrote:There are mountains of unwanted towels at my local thrift shops.
Unless it's more about learning skills, I'd be stockpiling second-hand ones
I think old towels make the best cloths for oiling tools etc.


cotton is gross.. even after washing cotton certain brands still make me breakout. you hit a point were you give up and just grow the cotton yourself. in order to grow cotton it's sprayed to high heaven .. funny thing is we subsidies pollution.. it's kinda crazy when you think about it.. so learning how to make towels, linens and all kinda things help me and my face not look like a nuclear bomb of acne going off
 
Deb Stephens
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Tokunbo Popoola wrote:cotton is gross.. even after washing cotton certain brands still make me breakout. you hit a point were you give up and just grow the cotton yourself. in order to grow cotton it's sprayed to high heaven .. funny thing is we subsidies pollution.. it's kinda crazy when you think about it.. so learning how to make towels, linens and all kinda things help me and my face not look like a nuclear bomb of acne going off


The video was certainly interesting, but why would anyone go to so much trouble for a towel? I mean, I would certainly find a towel like that luxurious, but it would take a year at least at that rate to get one big enough to be useful! Have you considered buying ORGANIC cotton or hemp towels or maybe a loofah to wash with? (Of course you probably couldn't dry with a loofah.) The organic fiber route is more expensive, but considering that your time is worth something too, it would probably be more cost effective than weaving one of your own. I have often found, that in a pinch, even a cotton t-shirt or flannel sheet makes a decent enough substitute -- though not quite so endlessly absorbent as all those loops -- so maybe you could weave a flat organic cotton towel like a dishcloth instead.

One other thing to consider... it may not be the towels setting off your acne. It could be the soap or even your diet. Have you been tested to see if you are allergic to anything in particular? I think I would ask a dermatologist for some advice before spending the rest of your life weaving towels. Good luck either way!
 
Tokunbo Popoola
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Deb Stephens wrote:
Tokunbo Popoola wrote:cotton is gross.. even after washing cotton certain brands still make me breakout. you hit a point were you give up and just grow the cotton yourself. in order to grow cotton it's sprayed to high heaven .. funny thing is we subsidies pollution.. it's kinda crazy when you think about it.. so learning how to make towels, linens and all kinda things help me and my face not look like a nuclear bomb of acne going off


The video was certainly interesting, but why would anyone go to so much trouble for a towel? I mean, I would certainly find a towel like that luxurious, but it would take a year at least at that rate to get one big enough to be useful! Have you considered buying ORGANIC cotton or hemp towels or maybe a loofah to wash with? (Of course you probably couldn't dry with a loofah.) The organic fiber route is more expensive, but considering that your time is worth something too, it would probably be more cost effective than weaving one of your own. I have often found, that in a pinch, even a cotton t-shirt or flannel sheet makes a decent enough substitute -- though not quite so endlessly absorbent as all those loops -- so maybe you could weave a flat organic cotton towel like a dishcloth instead.


Ive made my own soap for a few years just because im cheap and i learn to make it from a friend and it was easy enough. 1 weekend enough soap for a year good deal to me. it wasn't the soap. I was tested or I wouldnt have said it was the cotton. At boyfriends house he bought new towels took hands broke out putting towels in washing machine. fingers swelled a little. knew id need to wash the towels. sometimes people put preserves on cotton before it's sold it happens ive had that reaction before normally a good wash or two and i dont have trouble with the towels again. got my washing soap (also make soap once every 4 months seems like a good deal so i started to years ago). Let the towels soak for a solid hour. then wash them twice. it normally fixes anything most people have done to cotton. Ended up folding and using towels about 2 weeks later. huge reaction and it wasnt fun. It was scary and find out how and why it happen and cost me money pissed me off anymore. i cant explain this enough if you have had a reaction a bad one many things become worth it. and many changes happen

One other thing to consider... it may not be the towels setting off your acne. It could be the soap or even your diet. Have you been tested to see if you are allergic to anything in particular? I think I would ask a dermatologist for some advice before spending the rest of your life weaving towels. Good luck either way!



your right.. my time is worth money. i work from home on a mac pro i create pictures, video, 3d models and sell em. it's a good job but there is downtime.. which i like. i dont commute to work .. alll i need is an internet connection. so i save about an hour to 2 hours per day .. i could buy organic.. totally. but even in organic growing they can still spray things in the USA. they need to spray things that are on the list of approved things to spray. you have an allergic reaction bad enough you stop playing around. it stop becoming a joke or something that makes you "feel good for being organic" it becomes real. The amount of money spent on an allergic reaction is out of control (it's expensive and i have the good health insurance ... tech company) the amount of time you take after the reaction tracking things down or keeping up and clearing it up. The fact that you now need to buy drugs in case just in case gives you pause. I buy the drugs i dont even take just for emergencys so my neck doesnt break out and start to swell. i grow my own loofah's because it's easy. i started growing my own cotton and saving it for fun years ago. it was something i just did without that much thought about it. now I have a crap load of cotton so i might as well use it and save myself a buck or two.

im not sure when the point of doing a "craft" or learning how to do something worth while became not worth folks time. people pay good money online for handmade towels i looked it up. you can gice them to as gifts and mothers look for those types of towels for babies. (also diaper cloth) in the search for how it's made. we simple go to the store and buy so much without much thought. we trust the idea of organic thinking organic means ok when it's not always true. Knowing how to do a few things your great great great grandmother knew how to do is worth while. it might just learn something pretty cool

im so freakin tired. sorry i worked about 20 hrs pumping out a project on deadline so it's gonna read like a hot mess because my brain and my ipad fingers are tired
 
Lyvia Dequincey
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I do hand weaving for fun. For me, it is patient and obedient. Once I decide on a pattern, it just lays there and waits for me. Nobody submits last minute changes or sets deadlines. No hidden modes or settings. I weave what I like when I like. But I have done more curtains and blankets than towels. Towels get pretty hard use compared to curtains. It does take a long long time, and it can be heartbreaking to find a mistake made several hours previous, and decide whether to undo, start over, cut around it, or live with it.

That said, wool is more fun to weave than cotton. Wool has a little give, which means small imperfections in the tension can work themselves out. Cotton is less forgiving.

Further, "plain" weave is easier than waffle, pile, or any of the common towel weaves. So you might consider something less advanced to start.

Actually, I bet I could crochet a towel faster than weaving. Weaving would be better for a dozen towels, but the set up can be a lot of work for a small object. It gets easier and quicker as you get familiar with the loom, and collect tools, but crochet might be a good option, especially since the cost of tools would be so low, and the project would be portable.

One thing about crochet is that it uses a lot of tiny muscles in your hands, so be conscious of building strength in those muscles, and maybe treat them to a warm rub in the beginning. I tend to bring a project close to my eyes, and might hold it with my left ring finger while my dextrous fingers do the work. Needless to say a mere ounce squeezed for an hour by a little finger can really cramp and ache.

The more I think about it, I would use crochet. A weaving has a lot of cut ends that can come undone with hard use; crochet is mostly a long single string. The tension on weaving is critical, crochet, not so much. Go to a site called Ravelry, the registration is free, and there are a bunch of free patterns and everything fiber related.

Good luck, and welcome to the fiber arts!



 
Tokunbo Popoola
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Lyvia Dequincey wrote:I do hand weaving for fun. For me, it is patient and obedient. Once I decide on a pattern, it just lays there and waits for me. Nobody submits last minute changes or sets deadlines. No hidden modes or settings. I weave what I like when I like. But I have done more curtains and blankets than towels. Towels get pretty hard use compared to curtains. It does take a long long time, and it can be heartbreaking to find a mistake made several hours previous, and decide whether to undo, start over, cut around it, or live with it.

That said, wool is more fun to weave than cotton. Wool has a little give, which means small imperfections in the tension can work themselves out. Cotton is less forgiving.

Further, "plain" weave is easier than waffle, pile, or any of the common towel weaves. So you might consider something less advanced to start.

Actually, I bet I could crochet a towel faster than weaving. Weaving would be better for a dozen towels, but the set up can be a lot of work for a small object. It gets easier and quicker as you get familiar with the loom, and collect tools, but crochet might be a good option, especially since the cost of tools would be so low, and the project would be portable.

One thing about crochet is that it uses a lot of tiny muscles in your hands, so be conscious of building strength in those muscles, and maybe treat them to a warm rub in the beginning. I tend to bring a project close to my eyes, and might hold it with my left ring finger while my dextrous fingers do the work. Needless to say a mere ounce squeezed for an hour by a little finger can really cramp and ache.

The more I think about it, I would use crochet. A weaving has a lot of cut ends that can come undone with hard use; crochet is mostly a long single string. The tension on weaving is critical, crochet, not so much. Go to a site called Ravelry, the registration is free, and there are a bunch of free patterns and everything fiber related.

Good luck, and welcome to the fiber arts!





i did 4 blanket's nothing huge.. they took forever .. and were pretty awful .. but i enjoyed doing it and it used up some surplus i had. i wouldnt need completely hand man but at some point id love to build a big loom i have a very small "kids" loom my grandma gave me. (she was from panama) i dunno if loom stuff is hand made. i know no terms or anything i only know the things i saw . so im not in the "circles" of how to do things. (so im full of basics). . but if i visually see someone doing something i can figure it out most of the time. i make a lot of baby booties .. everyone seems to be getting knocked up in my life lately. i can pump those out like a factory waiting for renders
 
Deb Stephens
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Tokunbo Popoola wrote:
Ive made my own soap for a few years just because im cheap and i learn to make it from a friend and it was easy enough. 1 weekend enough soap for a year good deal to me. it wasn't the soap. I was tested or I wouldnt have said it was the cotton. At boyfriends house he bought new towels took hands broke out putting towels in washing machine. fingers swelled a little. knew id need to wash the towels. sometimes people put preserves on cotton before it's sold it happens ive had that reaction before normally a good wash or two and i dont have trouble with the towels again. got my washing soap (also make soap once every 4 months seems like a good deal so i started to years ago). Let the towels soak for a solid hour. then wash them twice. it normally fixes anything most people have done to cotton. Ended up folding and using towels about 2 weeks later. huge reaction and it wasnt fun. It was scary and find out how and why it happen and cost me money pissed me off anymore. i cant explain this enough if you have had a reaction a bad one many things become worth it. and many changes happen

your right.. my time is worth money. i work from home on a mac pro i create pictures, video, 3d models and sell em. it's a good job but there is downtime.. which i like. i dont commute to work .. alll i need is an internet connection. so i save about an hour to 2 hours per day .. i could buy organic.. totally. but even in organic growing they can still spray things in the USA. they need to spray things that are on the list of approved things to spray. you have an allergic reaction bad enough you stop playing around. it stop becoming a joke or something that makes you "feel good for being organic" it becomes real. The amount of money spent on an allergic reaction is out of control (it's expensive and i have the good health insurance ... tech company) the amount of time you take after the reaction tracking things down or keeping up and clearing it up. The fact that you now need to buy drugs in case just in case gives you pause. I buy the drugs i dont even take just for emergencys so my neck doesnt break out and start to swell. i grow my own loofah's because it's easy. i started growing my own cotton and saving it for fun years ago. it was something i just did without that much thought about it. now I have a crap load of cotton so i might as well use it and save myself a buck or two.

im not sure when the point of doing a "craft" or learning how to do something worth while became not worth folks time. people pay good money online for handmade towels i looked it up. you can gice them to as gifts and mothers look for those types of towels for babies. (also diaper cloth) in the search for how it's made. we simple go to the store and buy so much without much thought. we trust the idea of organic thinking organic means ok when it's not always true. Knowing how to do a few things your great great great grandmother knew how to do is worth while. it might just learn something pretty cool

im so freakin tired. sorry i worked about 20 hrs pumping out a project on deadline so it's gonna read like a hot mess because my brain and my ipad fingers are tired


I totally agree that learning the old crafts is well worth the time if you have the time, and don't mind putting in the hours it takes. (Well really, everyone should try to make time. I only thought that if you were needing towels quickly, buying an alternative might be helpful for you.) I pretty much do everything myself -- including making all our soaps (hand soap, shampoo, dish and laundry detergents -- completely from scratch), lotions, medicines and so forth. I also sew our clothes, make our shoes, weave baskets, cook everything from scratch -- including breads, work a garden (100% organic), care for lots of animals -- including making their meals from scratch as well, and too much more to list. I also pay all the bills by writing online content and selling original art. (So I also work from home -- that part, I must admit, is really nice!) It is good to see someone else who feels that way about learning the old ways (a lot of folks here feel the same, I think).

Seeing how allergic you are to cotton makes me wonder why you would want to use it all -- even organic cotton. Unless you think it is the huge amount of nasty chemicals they are using on it that causes the problem? You said you were tested for allergies -- what did they say you were allergic to, the cotton or one of the chemicals? Hemp is great as an alternative. It does everything cotton does and more. Plus it is stronger. There is a place in Canada that I get organic hemp rope and twine from for some of the things I make. They also make clothing and linens. You may want to check them out. I can't remember the name off-hand but I will try to look it up if you are interested.
 
Tokunbo Popoola
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Deb Stephens wrote:
Tokunbo Popoola wrote:
Ive made my own soap for a few years just because im cheap and i learn to make it from a friend and it was easy enough. 1 weekend enough soap for a year good deal to me. it wasn't the soap. I was tested or I wouldnt have said it was the cotton. At boyfriends house he bought new towels took hands broke out putting towels in washing machine. fingers swelled a little. knew id need to wash the towels. sometimes people put preserves on cotton before it's sold it happens ive had that reaction before normally a good wash or two and i dont have trouble with the towels again. got my washing soap (also make soap once every 4 months seems like a good deal so i started to years ago). Let the towels soak for a solid hour. then wash them twice. it normally fixes anything most people have done to cotton. Ended up folding and using towels about 2 weeks later. huge reaction and it wasnt fun. It was scary and find out how and why it happen and cost me money pissed me off anymore. i cant explain this enough if you have had a reaction a bad one many things become worth it. and many changes happen

your right.. my time is worth money. i work from home on a mac pro i create pictures, video, 3d models and sell em. it's a good job but there is downtime.. which i like. i dont commute to work .. alll i need is an internet connection. so i save about an hour to 2 hours per day .. i could buy organic.. totally. but even in organic growing they can still spray things in the USA. they need to spray things that are on the list of approved things to spray. you have an allergic reaction bad enough you stop playing around. it stop becoming a joke or something that makes you "feel good for being organic" it becomes real. The amount of money spent on an allergic reaction is out of control (it's expensive and i have the good health insurance ... tech company) the amount of time you take after the reaction tracking things down or keeping up and clearing it up. The fact that you now need to buy drugs in case just in case gives you pause. I buy the drugs i dont even take just for emergencys so my neck doesnt break out and start to swell. i grow my own loofah's because it's easy. i started growing my own cotton and saving it for fun years ago. it was something i just did without that much thought about it. now I have a crap load of cotton so i might as well use it and save myself a buck or two.

im not sure when the point of doing a "craft" or learning how to do something worth while became not worth folks time. people pay good money online for handmade towels i looked it up. you can gice them to as gifts and mothers look for those types of towels for babies. (also diaper cloth) in the search for how it's made. we simple go to the store and buy so much without much thought. we trust the idea of organic thinking organic means ok when it's not always true. Knowing how to do a few things your great great great grandmother knew how to do is worth while. it might just learn something pretty cool

im so freakin tired. sorry i worked about 20 hrs pumping out a project on deadline so it's gonna read like a hot mess because my brain and my ipad fingers are tired


I totally agree that learning the old crafts is well worth the time if you have the time, and don't mind putting in the hours it takes. (Well really, everyone should try to make time. I only thought that if you were needing towels quickly, buying an alternative might be helpful for you.) I pretty much do everything myself -- including making all our soaps (hand soap, shampoo, dish and laundry detergents -- completely from scratch), lotions, medicines and so forth. I also sew our clothes, make our shoes, weave baskets, cook everything from scratch -- including breads, work a garden (100% organic), care for lots of animals -- including making their meals from scratch as well, and too much more to list. I also pay all the bills by writing online content and selling original art. (So I also work from home -- that part, I must admit, is really nice!) It is good to see someone else who feels that way about learning the old ways (a lot of folks here feel the same, I think).

Seeing how allergic you are to cotton makes me wonder why you would want to use it all -- even organic cotton. Unless you think it is the huge amount of nasty chemicals they are using on it that causes the problem? You said you were tested for allergies -- what did they say you were allergic to, the cotton or one of the chemicals? Hemp is great as an alternative. It does everything cotton does and more. Plus it is stronger. There is a place in Canada that I get organic hemp rope and twine from for some of the things I make. They also make clothing and linens. You may want to check them out. I can't remember the name off-hand but I will try to look it up if you are interested.


it wasnt the cotton that does me in. it's what they spray on the cotton . it's the reason why i soak everything and then wash it twice normally that's enough but whatever they used on that piece of cotton was something else. i grow cotton outside ive been growing it for years and years. the 100% org idea you havent isnt always the same idea. the producers have an approve list of things they can use on products.

I got a pretty big chem list. that's currently no go
 
Lyvia Dequincey
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I feel for you on the allergies. If most people react to a substance, it's not an allergy, it's a poison. By definition, an allergy is a reaction to something generally recognized as safe. And yet so many people won't believe it until they see it.

I would also suggest hemp or bamboo towels. I believe you that it isn't the cotton, but rather a coating or treatment on the cotton. But hemp and bamboo would have different product issues, and the producers would have different approaches to finishing, so you might find something. But again, you might spend money before you do.

Good luck,
Lyvia

 
Michael Cox
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Does it need to look like a traditional towel? You could probably use rag rug methods on scraps of really old cotton clothing (stuff that has been washed a gazillion times and you already know you don't react to).

Fabric wise, for an absorbent towel you are really limited to cotton, hemp or bamboo - basically plant fibers. Animal fibers are 'designed' to be basically waterproof to keep the animal warm.

rag rug making
 
Lyvia Dequincey
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I second that idea - you could weave plain weave with weft of strips torn from old cotton tee shirts or sheets for example. That would be cheaper than yarn and lots of absorbent surface area. I wonder if they disinfect used clothing though, you might ask to make sure.
 
r ranson
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There are lots of great reasons to make your own towels.  But before I get to them, let me tell you, it can be pretty darn easy.  Towels can be knit, crochet, woven and an assortment of other construction methods.  My personal favourite is woven as it's quick.  One can even make their own loom to weave towels on.  Towels are usually made from plant fibre like linen, nettle, or cotton.  I don't like hemp as much for towels because it tends to be heavy and slower to dry than linen.  It's also pretty expensive. 

Making our own towels allows us to create a quality product that will last 10 or 20 times as long as commercial towels.  We can make it out of whichever fibre we choose, including organic cotton and linen.  We can even grow our own fibres.  We can choose our own colours.  The look and texture of handmade towels can be fantastic!

Towels don't have to be heavily textured to work.  My favour towels have very little pattern. 

Here are some of my recent handwoven towels.  Not organic yarn, alas, but by making my own towels, it cuts down on the amount of chemicals used to produce them (I don't use sizing or fire retardant - which is possibly what the OP is allergic to).





These are made on a 4 shaft loom, but for simpler towel making, I recommend a rigid heddle loom like we used for these next towels. 




I hope to weave some towels from my home-grown cotton soon.  I do have some home-grown linen towels, but I don't have any pictures right now. 


Thrift store:  This isn't such a great source of towels.  Sure, it keeps it out of the landfill longer, but it has other challenges associated with it.  For example, used towels usually have a lot of fabric softener and other potentially toxic chemicals in them.  These are often worse than the original chemicals one gets in new cloth (sizing, fire retardant, carding oils, spinning oils, herbicides, &c).  New cloth washes 'clean' in two wash cycles whereas used cloth can take one to two dozen wash cycles and it will still give me a rash.

Another way to think about thrift shop towels is to approach it the same way a vegan approaches leather.  My vegan friends won't buy second-hand leather because they feel it enables and encourages people to harvest animals for their skin.  Likewise, I seldom buy second-hand cloth.  I would rather put my money towards cloth that encourages good ecological practices. 


If anyone's interested in learning more about making towels at home, I'm happy to help.
 
r ranson
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A new set of washcloths.



These are made using a technique called waffle weave.  It makes a nice texture that is very absorbent but quick to dry. 

I used 4 colours in the warp to use up the odds and ends of some yarn (instead of buying new ones) and because it's 4 times as fast to make a warp like that.  The warp turned out beautifully.



These are a sample for some larger hand towels I'm making for the bathrooms.  I've been searching for years for handtowels that don't look dorky and don't fall apart in under a year.  So far, no luck.  So, I'm making my own.

here's my blog post about how I wove it, what yarn I used, and other details for those who love geeking out over yarn.  Any questions, feel free to ask here. 
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I made some very simple knitted cotton towels. They dry just as well as any other towel. You can spin your own grown cotton into a thread and then knit a square or rectangle. That's all.
 
Dawn Hoff
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The handmande towels look really really beautiful - a friend of mine recently introduced me to a square loom she bought in Argentina - because I had been complaining about how hard it was to find cotton dishcloths. So I might be making my own dishcloth soon. I had been thinking about knitting them, but this just seem so much faster.

I am also thinking about crocheting my own scrubbies - because I can't find them in any natural material anywhere (some online organic stores have scrubbies, but they are crazy expensive, considering they are made out of really inexpesive materials).

But I must say that I am surprised when I hear about kitchent towels and hand towels only lasting 6 months... We have had ours towels (hand and bath) since we got married - which is 10 years ago. Granted they were high quality towels - some from Egypt and some from the Danish design house Georg Jensen Damask, but they are still very good. The kitchen towels have all been bought pretty cheaply years ago (maybe even before we got married?) and are still fine - I have been thinking about changing some of them and demoting the most worn to rags - but 10 years isn't bad IMO. Wonder what on earth it is that is sold in America...

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Dawn Hoff wrote:... I must say that I am surprised when I hear about kitchent towels and hand towels only lasting 6 months... We have had ours towels (hand and bath) since we got married - which is 10 years ago. Granted they were high quality towels - some from Egypt and some from the Danish design house Georg Jensen Damask, but they are still very good. The kitchen towels have all been bought pretty cheaply years ago (maybe even before we got married?) and are still fine - I have been thinking about changing some of them and demoting the most worn to rags - but 10 years isn't bad IMO. Wonder what on earth it is that is sold in America...

It surprised me too. All towels I have last for many years. They are not at all the highest quality sold here in the Netherlands. It's possible the towels that are in the shop now are of a lower quality than in the time I bought them ... I remarked the quality of clothes has gone backwards very much in the last few years   But I think organic cotton towels must be of better quality than the average towel
 
Judith Browning
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I think that unless I buy organic yarns my weaving is loaded with chemicals... pesticides, the defoliant used just before harvest, and any chemicals used in the dye processes.  When I was weaving full time 'fast and furious' and handling the yarn for days on end and breathing the fiber fallout I felt (eventually) that organic or homegrown was the way to go although it's much harder to find the bright colors of chemical dyes in a more natural process. 

I do notice that thrift store things sometimes have scents that take a while to wash out although I couldn't be sure that those toxins are worse than what is carried on conventionally farmed cotton yarn.  ...and then there is the pollution from the commercial dye process.  It's an interesting dichotomy 

I'm not in touch with what yarns are available anymore.  I used to order organically grown hemp from Ecolution and FoxFibre cottons, (both would make lovely towels)...probably some others also...maybe there are more now? I'm starting to day dream about dressing my loom again......this thread is encouraging that

editing to add a link to a store that sells foxfibre  http://www.vreseis.com/shop/1025-colorganic-yarn at least it's still around and there must be other places that carry it.
and a store selling ecolution hemp..I used to order it straight from the company on kilo spools for $20 a kilo as recent as ten years ago... http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/ecolution-3-strand-pure-fine-hemp-yarn



 
r ranson
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Oh I agree, organic cotton way nicer than regular cotton.

I see it like the wheaton ecoscale. Not everyone can get to the top, but we do the best we can with the resources we have.


I see the cotton towel ecoscale going something like this:


level 10: Wild harvested or polyculture grown fibres gathered in a responsible way and processed at home.

level 9: Homegrown and home processed fibres - this allows one to be in complete control of every aspect of the fibre production, but not an option for everyone.

level 8: Linen yarn - takes less chemical than any other plant fibre, at any stage of growing or processing.  Lasts longest too.

level 7: Undyed organic cotton like Sally Foxes cotton

level 6: Organic cotton yarn - which can be quite water intensive

level 5: Hemp, sizel, and other bast fibre yarn (although I'm tempted to put hemp quite a bit further down as it can involve a lot of chemicals and pollutants at the processing stage.  Some hemp doesn't, so it goes here.)

level 4: linen fabric

level 3: regular cotton yarn - water intensive, pesticides, herbicides, spinning oil, dyes, labour issues and transport.

level 2: organic industrially made cotton cloth (this still contains several chemicals like fire retardant, and can be water intensive)

level 1: industrial made cotton cloth - same as regular cotton yarn, but add to it sizing (a chemical to make weaving go easier), more labour issues, and fire retardant.

level 0: Second-hand cloth - all of the issued mentioned above plus laundry soaps, fabric softeners, scents and any other smelly stuff.

level -1: not interested in where their cloth came from or what eco-impact their massive wardrobe has on the world.


From Paul's ecoscale:

Observation 1:  most people find folks one or two levels up took pretty cool.  People three levels up look a bit nutty.  People four of five levels up look downright crazy.  People six levels up should probably be institutionalised.   I find the latter reactions to be inappropriate.

Observations 2:  most people find folks one level back are ignorant.  Two levels back are assholes.  Any further back and they should be shot on sight for the betterment of society as a whole.  I find that all of these reactions are innapropriate. 



In a perfect world, we are all going to jump to level 10.  But alas, except for Pangloss, we don't all live in the best of all possible worlds. 

I worry that someone reading this thread may think "oh, I can't afford organic yarn, I won't bother then".  Organic is great, it really is... but I can't can't afford it either.  I'm going to keep going. 

The reason why I'm going to keep going is because every little bit helps.  I've read in several places now that textile production causes a little over half of all agricultural pollutants.  That's textiles that are grown.  These numbers don't  include synthetic and semi-synthetics like bamboo or soy silk (which have their own serious problems).  When I think about it like this, I get the feeling that making one's own towels is going to be as good or better for the environment than switching half their diet to organic.  Even if we use inorganic yarn (at the start).  Use something like Sally Foxes cotton or Linen and wow!  We're making a huge difference. 
 
Judith Browning
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yes, by all means weave everyone!!!  There is not a more relaxing and fulfilling craft with endless variation
I came to my conclusion to use organics after some years of weaving with anything I could get my hands on.

I think these ecoscale levels below might be questionable without some research into the chemicals and labor involved in both recently manufactured and used fibers. I might have had the energy thirty years ago to check it out more thoroughly.  Back then I did a lot of reading on conventionally grown cotton as it was the main yarn I was using and my brother the neurotoxicologist added to my fears.  I've never thought about checking into laundry soap residue though.......
level 1: industrial made cotton cloth - same as regular cotton yarn, but add to it sizing (a chemical to make weaving go easier), more labour issues, and fire retardant.

level 0: Second-hand cloth - all of the issued mentioned above plus laundry soaps, fabric softeners, scents and any other smelly stuff.


 
r ranson
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I admit level 0 and level 1 are pretty close together for not-niceness.  It's a tough choice, but I really do feel that second-hand towels are less desirable than new ones. 

At the risk of getting side tracked, there are a lot of labour and transport issues with second-hand cloth on top of the added chemicals.  Most second-hand cloth that gets donated to the charity shops gets shipped abroad, to several different countries along the way to their new home.  This adds dramatically to the ecological footprint of second hand clothing.  where do your old clothes go and where cast-off clothes end up are just the tip of the iceberg.  There's some pretty scary stuff when one investigates this further.

It is generally thought that many of the agricultural chemicals don't 'wash out' of cloth.  Fire retardant chemicals are designed not to wash out of clothing.  So with second-hand cloth we are starting with these chemicals, then we add to them scents, soaps, softeners, &c. 

And then, there is the challenge with people's ideas towards clothing.  It's okay to buy more towels because I want to change the 'look' of the bathroom, I'll just donate the old ones to the charity shop. 


Of course, we could put level 0 and level 1 together if that works for others.

I don't know if it's interesting enough to go into further.  We could start a new thread about it.


Really, I just put the list there as a way to encourage people to make their own towels and other cloths with whatever they can afford. 
 
Deb Rebel
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There is tablet weaving but it takes a LOT to set that up plus to do any real width takes forever.

Thank you, for the how to's. I have a few of my wedding towels yet, as well as assorted rummage sale/thrift store, bought, etc. Close to 4 decades worth. Buying some heavy 100% Egyptian cotton, over the years that type has worn the best.

One thing with weaving, crocheting, or knitting your fabric. SWEAR BY (not at) a good 'check your width' swatch before getting underway with a large project. if you don't know your loom, then running a few inches is worth it's weight in gold, to find out how your finished item will look (width especially). It can make all the difference.
 
Judith Browning
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Fire retardant chemicals are designed not to wash out of clothing.  So with second-hand cloth we are starting with these chemicals, then we add to them scents, soaps, softeners,


One more thought and then I'll stop ...apparently, fire retardants are not a worry in most new or old cloth or clothing except in childrens pajamas/clothing and more likely drapes, upholstery and stuffings, some childrens toys and mattresses, futons, fabrics used in public places....plenty of places to hide, just not so likely in our new or used clothing or towels and bed linens.   http://www.toxicsinfo.org/kids/toys/FireRetardantSleepwear.htm  ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire-retardant_fabric ;
I just quickly browsed a few sites...there are many more out there of course.  I think it sounds like a chemical we can generally avoid in most used or even new items.

I'm looking forward to seeing more projects here, so glad R. got the ball rolling......I've been warping my loom in my head 
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