October Weaving Challenge: Playing with Color

Posted by Jodi Ybarra on

*Trick or Treat Towel Kit*

Creating a yarn color palette is exciting but the process can be daunting if you're not sure how to combine colors in weaving.  

I have to say that there are no wrong answers when choosing your color palette.  Everyone has their own taste in color and if it looks pleasing to you then I say, go for it!

So, with that said, I will continue with some suggestions for success.  

Weaving for the season:  I like to call myself a seasonal weaver because I tend to choose colors for my projects by what season we are in.  For example, in the Spring I choose colors that symbolize fragrant flowers, the awakening of nature and the freshness that Spring brings.  These colors tend to be colorful and feminine.  In Summer, I start getting more adventurous and add more intense hues to the mix.  Fall is my favorite time of year when the colors start to change and are more earth friendly. Rich, bold oranges, reds and browns let me know that cooler weather is coming our way.  Then comes Winter with its white snow, gray skies, evergreen trees, berries and cool, dark shades.  I love them all! 

Weaving in a "color family":  Weaving in a gradient of color brings me a sense of harmony.  This is always pleasing to me and easy to accomplish.  Start by choosing a color then add three or more of the same color in shades from light to dark. I also like to break up the colors with natural or white to make the colors pop. You can't go wrong with this option!

Weaving with variegated yarns:  Weaving with variegated yarns can produce stunning results where the yarn does all the work.  You can get away with simple plain weave, add texture with a pick-up stick or blend with solid colors with great success.  I like to start with a variegated yarn then choose my solid colors from each of the colors in the mix. This is a really fun way to play with color!

Sample, Sample, Sample:  The best way to see how colors blend is to weave a sample or color gamp.  This will help you decide what colors appeal to you and what color to choose for a weft yarn.  I love sampling because it's a great way to learn about color theory with little risk. I usually choose a small project such as mug rugs or tea towels so that I'm not using a lot of yarn for the sample.

Let's weave in color!

  • Gather your supplies ~ We've supplied a pattern in this blog for inspiration, but we would love to see your own unique designs too.  Our goal is to see as many different color combinations as possible! 
  • You can weave these Trick or Treat Towels from the pattern below or you can choose your own pattern and colors.  We encourage lots of color play in this month's weaving challenge.
  • We have our Trick or Treat Towel project available as a kit if you'd like to weave the towels shown in this blog or you can use your own yarn supply.  There are no rules, just have fun choosing and mixing colors.  We can't wait to be inspired by all the different ways we will be weaving in color.  
  • Let's get our looms warped and weave together!  I'm here for you every step of the way!  

Trick or Treat Towel Kits

There are 9 color combinations to choose from!

Trick or Treat Towel Pattern

Weave structure: plain weave
Rigid Heddle Loom (2-shaft); 21.2” weaving width; 10 dent reed; 3-7 shuttles (one shuttle with doubled natural plus extra shuttles for doubled weft yarns and one more shuttle with single strand for hems)
Yarns: Aurora Earth 8/2 cotton Natural, Light Cocoa, Duck, Beige, Peach, Nile, Rose.
Total warp ends: 212 (424 total doubled threads)
Warp length: 2 ¾   yds (99”)
Setts: 10 epi (doubled in slots and holes); 10 ppi (double strand)
Finished size:  two towels 17” x 26” hemmed
Other supplies: matching sewing thread for hems
Available as a kit from Cotton Clouds, Inc.

Step 1:  Warping the Loom
Set up your loom to direct warp a length of 2 ¾ yards (99”).  The warp threads are doubled, warping with four threads in each slot following this warp order chart.  (Note: You can warp directly in the slots and holes if you prefer this method, but I find that I get better tension by only warping in the slots.

Warp Color Order
Chart numbers represent thread counts. Warp each slot with four threads.  
Five slots Natural (20 threads)
* Three slots Light Cocoa (12 threads)
One slot Natural (4 threads)
Three slots Duck (12 threads)
One slot Natural (4 threads)
Three slots Beige (12 threads)
One slot Natural (4 threads)
Three slots Peach (12 threads)
One slot Natural (4 threads)
Three slots Nile (12 threads)
One slot Natural (4 threads)
Three slots Rose (12 threads)
One slot Natural (4 threads) *
Repeat from * to * four times
End with five slots Natural (20 threads)

Step 2:  Sleying the Reed
Wind the warp onto the back beam and then transfer two of the threads from the slots into the holes.  You will now have two threads in each slot and two in each hole. 

Step 3:  Preparing the Shuttles
Wind each of the shuttles with double strand weft yarns and another shuttle single strand natural for hems.  (approximately 15 yds per hem)

Step 4:  Weaving
Weave with scrap yarn to spread the warp evenly. 
Using the single strand shuttle weave 1 ½” for hem. 
Now you are ready to weave the body of the towel using double strand weft yarns in the following sequence.

10 picks Natural
6 picks Light Cocoa
2 picks Natural
6 picks Duck
2 picks Natural
6 picks Beige


Continue weaving with natural until towel measures 27”
6 picks Peach
2 picks Natural
6 picks Nile
2 picks Natural
6 picks Rose
10 picks Natural


Finish with 1 ½” single strand shuttle for hem.

These colors are available in our Trick or Treat Towel Kit in Saltwater Taffy color option.

Note:  The Trick or Treat Towel Kit includes six colors along with natural, white or black depending on the color you choose.  We've included extra yardage in each of the six colors so that you can weave these towels in stripes, or plaid, or one of each.  Each color square will require about 4 yards.  Wind a small amount of your colored yarns onto an empty spool so that you can wind your shuttles double strand.  You can use this example for your weaving sequence or weave your own design.  There are so many colors and lots of extra yardage to play with!

Step 5:  Finishing and Hemming
Remove the towels from the loom and sew a straight stitch across each end with sewing thread before cutting apart.  Using a hot iron, fold each hem over twice to get a nice flat edge.  Sew a straight stitch across securing each hem.  Machine wash in cool water and dry on normal in machine dryer.  Press with a warm iron if needed.  Towels will relax with more washes.

Enjoy or Gift Your Towels!
I hope you enjoy weaving these Trick or Treat Towels.  I encourage you to weave some in your favorite colors!

Happy weaving! 

Jodi Ybarra


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