The Next Thing: The Towel Exchange

I noticed this morning that today is the end of the first half of 2008; that's six months to Hanukiah, Christmas and New Years. (Sorry, I'm ignorant about other celebrations, but I know Ramadan ends on September 30 and Diwali is October 28.) So I thought I'd gauge interest for another wee thing now, because I hear some people live intelligently and plan ahead and even get around to putting on a warp or two of gifts in time for the holidays!! If only I could...

There is room for improvement in the plan, so please feel free to jump in.

* * * The Kitchen/Tea Towel Exchange * * *

We weavers are tactile people, and I think we deserve a present at the end of the effort, as well as a show, so here's what I've been thinking.

1) You weave one or two or three or however many kitchen/tea towels you wish.

2) Then you name each towel, and email me the name/s and one photo per towel. Also email me you real name and a physical address, PO Boxes permitted, of course. Keep the towel/s for now.

3) I collate the photos and put it up on the web much like SSVE.

4) I'll ask a neutral party, like Nancy or Ben, to mix/match towels and select exchange partners. (I just discovered that an old Japanese draw system doesn't exist in the West and there is not even a word for it, so I'll have to show you in another post! But it's a fair method.)

5) I email you the recipients of your towel/s, and you post it/them to him/her/it/them.

6) You wait by your mailbox to receive your towel/s, and maybe email the sender when you receive them to say you've got it/them. You will receive the same number of towels that you send, naturally, but from one weaver or from multiple weavers will depend on what I get.

Note 1) In place of a kitchen/tea towel, you can also weave two (?) guest towels, or two (?) face cloths. I was overcome with envy when I saw Susan B's handwoven face cloths, (and then about towels in italy), and knew this is one of those ultimate pampering luxuries I can make. I need help in figuring out the equivalent sizes/volumes to a kitchen/tea towel of these articles, please.

Note 2) Loom knitters: can you use fine cottons or cotton/linen mixes or some such to create a towel-like cloth? A knitted article would be far more absorbent and so I guess the scale is the issue: enlighten me if you want to investigate this.

Note 2a) No excuse for Rigid Heddle weavers if you're think RH can't handle this: my first set of table napkins/serviettes were woven at 10DPI in a 30DPI/10DPI space/cram stripe in those colorful Swedish cottolins.

Note 3) Due dates. I want to propose two due dates; one at the end of October and another at the end of November. New Zealand have early due dates for overseas posting where various overseas postal services guarantee delivery before the holidays. Usually they are early November for Economy Post and early December for Air Post/Air Mail. I'd imagine Australia has similar, and by complying with these dates, if my memory serves, we possibly save money on the postage, which is not insignificant when posting from this end of the world to North America and Europe/UK. I want to make the Exchange as economical as possible for everybody, so I thought if we have early birds from Downunder, they can chose to take advantage of this. Plus, you in the US of A might receive a special something to show off at Thanksgiving. This is the issue I really want to know how you all feel. The on-line exhibition can be opened at two different times, or at once, or even as I receive each towel pic/s.

Note 4) I go back and forth between an exclusively Christmas design. I for one love Christmas colors and motifs, but don't celebrate Christmas as such. In respect of religion, nationality, or ethnicity, I try hard to keep things inclusive. By the same token, I hate to be a PC weaving police to put a damper on anyone's enthusiasm or creativity, or negate anyone's beliefs. So can you think of a way to get around this one? The only option I can think of at this moment is for you to specify "I don't wish to receive motifs" in your email, then Nancy/Ben can be mindful when match-making. Oh, and if you weave a religiously/ethnically significant motif, make sure you let me know because I'm pretty ignorant about these things. Personally, I have always been keen to design menorahs in pickup with Hebrew scripts flowing , but is it a no-no for a Japanese lapsed-Catholic to weave such a gift?

Help me.


Susan B. said...

Well I do love this idea! and thanks for the nod to my facecloths!
I think you have helped me decide my next project! Count in me in for the guest towels - I've been wanting to do some to go with the facecloths!
I think you essentially have chosen November to be THE month for show and presentation! I think that is doable.
It is a lovely idea, Meg!
As to motif, I say leave it up to the weaver! I don't think I'm up for any complicated design yet.
Count me in!

Anonymous said...

sheeze Meg, can't you please leave me in my comfort zone?
Now I have to figure out a towel?
Never woven such a thing!
grumble gripe and muss.

okay....I'll figure it out......

Dr. Crystal Grimes said...

Yes, loom knitters can use cotton (or linen or whatever we/they choose...) to create a towel/cloth, or whatever it needs to be. :D I don't mind saying some of the greatest dishcloths/kitchen items have been done on fine gauge knitting looms. And it's not like I need something else to do right now, but I'm sure I'll officially give in to this one soon. LOL! Great ideas here!

Meg said...

Susan, yup, it was YOUR idea :-)

Lynne. sooooorrrrryyyyyy.... I was trying to think of small things so it's quick to weave and easy to post. I know you'll figure it out.

Crystal, thank you for that info. I was a little worried that you might need different/additional equipment, but if it works, great!

Taueret said...

Ha, only yesterday (?) I said on Ravelry that I would NEVER knit a towel. Ok, I guess this is weaving... but still.

What Lynne said about comfort zones made me delete my original comment which was "NEVER"! So count me in!

Dr. Crystal Grimes said...

I know this is probably more than you ever wanted to know, Meg, but I have a compulsion to share... :o The looms I use for baby hats, blankets, etc are regular gauge, and towels and such require at least small gauge (5/16" spacing between pegs for tighter stitches). I don't have any small gauge looms, but am now checking into what it would take for my favorite crafter to make me one (CinDWood Crafts... Her looms ROCK!) This just gives me an actual excuse to get what I would have gotten eventually anyway. LOL! Will also help with holiday gifts. And the cotton is something I need for those, too. So really just one (or however many towels) more thing to make; it will be fun! There are some designs I've been wanting to try and this is just the thing for them!

As for the date, it doesn't really matter to me, but it looks like end of Oct would be best for you guys down under. And I'm guessing there are more of you than us from the US, so majority rules. :)

I think the motif should be up to the weaver, but people could request not to receive certain things. For me, I'm open to anything!
Very excited about this event! And getting a present too?! It will be great!

Meg said...

Taueret, I never knew there was an entire anti-towel league out there. For me, it is really one of best joy-weave objects, and I only have to zap the ends with a serger/overlocker or a sewing machine and throw them in the washer/dryer. Plus handwoven stuff lasts forever, and are far more absorbent than the stuff I buy. It's not art, but you could make it art. I'm so glad you changed your mind.

Crystal, thanks for that info. I thought that you might need a new loom for it, from what I understood of the knitting loom pics. So, if you're were going to buy these things anyway, then I will rest easy. And thanks for the input on the other issues, too.

Anonymous said...


Hi! Am just back from having been away two weeks on vacation and am catching up on what's gone on while I was gone.

Love this idea. Fingertip towels, tea towels, spa towels, etc. can all be so very elegant. Joy weaving for sure -- as there is nothing quite as challenging as to make rise a humble every day article into a work of beauty.

Count me in!


Taueret said...

oh, no it's nothin high-falutin, or like I think I'm in any way "ABOVE" towels. It's just never made me think "whee", is all. Anyway once I try it I may never look back! I pity my recipient though!!

Meg said...

Jane, "there is nothing quite as challenging as to make rise a humble every day article into a work of beauty." What I'm saying all the time, except a lot less eloquently.

Taueret, no, we didn't think you were "above" towels at all. Just different focus. But I get the feeling you won't regret it.

Cathy said...

Hi Meg - I love the idea as well... would we need to commit ahead of time or would it just be a matter of sending in the photos by the appointed date?

Cathy said...

oops - meant to check the email option...

Meg said...

Cathy, you whoever sends me what I need before the due date/s are in. No signing up or anything. And from you, we'll take cake if you prefer!!

Geodyne said...

How did I not comment to this before? Apologies, it's been a crazy couple of months for me. I'm in, and have already wound my warp!

Meg said...

No worries, there's plenty of time! Like... I'm not getting there anytime soon...