Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jacques' Dishtowels

Kate's original cottolin towel

Jacques' design, inspired by Kate's original, also in cottolin

Sandra's version, in 8/2 cotton

Susan O's version, in 8/2 cotton

Susan's second version, in 8/2 cotton

more of Jacques' original run of towels

Stevie's version, in 8/2 cotton

There's been a recent frenzy of dishtowel weaving, everyone getting ready for winter gift-giving and such. Many of the towels have been Jacques' Dishtowel Pattern (which we capitalize the spelling of because they have become a nearly holy thing around here).

It all started five years ago when Jacques Tremblay, one of Kate's students, wanted to weave a run of dishtowels for his house in France and to give as gifts to friends across the pond. He was inspired by a cottolin towel that Kate had designed which was kicking around the studio at the time. In his typical fashion, and true to his colorful french canadian background, he fashioned the prototype for what we now call "JDT" with bold colors and a distinctive twill pattern.

It's a straight twill that changes direction on the warp color changes, with a couple of interesting twists; one is that in the middle stripe of each wider band there is a herringbone, and the other is a very interesting section in the middle of the towel that is threaded as a straight twill, but is woven with two shots of one color, followed by one shot of another in sequence. Depending on the weft colors chosen, this section can be tremendously effective in creating an unusual pattern for the eye.

This year many of the local weekly students have made their own unique versions of this dishtowel, with some incredibly lovely results. It's taken some work to write up a draft based on Jacques' original design, mostly in counting the exact number of warp threads needed to create a centered herringbone in the middle of each stripe, but by now it's practically a yak route, so many students here have made their own. 

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