Tea Towel Wrapping Paper

I needed to wrap a wedding shower gift for my son’s fiance. I could have found something to use in the drawers full of wrapping paper and reusable gift bags that are in the house. Instead I decided to weave some tea towels to give the bride as part of the gift, and also to use as wrapping for the purchased gift. This is a thing in Japan where wrapping cloths are called “furoshiki”. Traditionally they are fabric squares used to transport clothing or goods, around 17″ x 17″ or 28″ x 28″, made of cotton or silk. The cloths are wrapped around an item with the corners tied. They need to be thick enough, but not too thick to tie. My tea towel wrapping cloths will be rectangles, but oh well.

There have been many changes to weddings from when I got married in the 1980’s, besides the lack of puffy sleeves on dresses. These days many brides and grooms have been together for years, are older, already have a household established, and are more involved in the planning and financing of the wedding, or taking on complete responsibility. The traditional gift registry has a wider range of items and likely a cash fund for contributing to the cost of the honeymoon or other large expense.

One of the biggest changes has been a decrease in the number of weddings held in places of worship. According to the wedding website “The Knot” only 22% of weddings in 2017 were held in a religious institution, down from 41% in 2009.

Many of my contemporaries had weddings at a church, followed by a reception with dinner and dancing at another location. My wedding was traditional but on the lower end of the budget with a wedding dress I made myself (which turned out very well if I do say so myself), and a mid day ceremony followed by lunch in the basement provided by the stereotypical church basement ladies. Weddings today are often held at an event venue where the ceremony and reception can be at the same place, with the use of an internet ordained friend for the officiant, rather than a priest or pastor.

For my tea towel wrapping project I used a pattern called Running Stitch Towels, designed by Christine Jablonski. The yarn is Gist Duet 55% Linen / 45% Cotton. For once I had the exact yarn they used, although my two colors do not have has much contrast as theirs. My pattern will be more subtle. Gist also has patterns for Running Stitch Placemats and Running Stitch Napkins.

Two colors of Gist Duet cotton and linen blend yarn

This pattern has a slightly more complicated pattern than I have made before. The main yarn is blue, with darker blue stripes on one side of the warp, and also for about 1/4 of the weft yarn. The darker stripes are doubled, with the yarn passing through the same shed space twice, rather than every other space. You can see the darker warp yarns in the photo below.

Warping the loom, with stripes of the darker blue on one side

The first part of the warping process involves threading the yarn through the slots of the heddle and stretching it out across the dining room table and back, so that you have two yarns per slot. After that you wind most of the warp yarn on to the back beam. Then the next step is removing one of the warp yarns from each slot and threading it through the adjacent hole in the heddle. For this pattern the darker yarn has two yarns in the same space rather than one. In the photo below you can see on the right side where there are two warp yarns in each slot. On the left side I have moved warp yarns into the holes. Normally there would be one yarn in each hole and slot at the end of this step. In this pattern the darker yarn has two yarns, whether it is a hole or slot.

Distributing the warp yarns into the holes and slots according to the pattern

After all the warp yarns are distributed into the holes and slots, the yarns are tied on to the apron rod to hold them in place for weaving.

Tying the warp yarns on to the apron rod

Following is a photo with all the warp yarns tied on and ready for weaving.

Warp yarns all tied and ready for weaving

It is efficient to go ahead and do the hem stitch at the beginning of the actual weaving while it is still on the loom. If you wait until you remove the weaving from the loom it is all floppy and harder to work with (speaking from experience). I also found it works well to weave rows of waste yarn in between each towel being made on the same warp yarn, and do the hem stitch at the end of the first towel, and the beginning of the second towel. The next photo shows the weaving of waste yarn rows in between the first and second towel. The hem stitch is done at the end of the first towel, but not yet at the beginning of the second towel. You can see the pattern of darker yarn double thick on the second towel. The weaving will relax some after removing it from the loom, and shrink with washing, so the weave will be tighter.

The end of the first towel and the beginning of the second towel

You can see the pattern of darker rows in the photo below, after I removed the weaving from the loom, before weaving in the ends and washing.

Weaving complete and removed from the loom, before weaving in ends and washing
Closeup of the corner of the towel, showing the pattern of darker yarn.

It turned out to be a little slippery trying to wrap the towel around the gift. I had to wrangle with it to keep the fabric in place while tying the twine on. I really liked they way the tea towels turned out and will probably try the Running Stitch Napkin pattern with the same yarn.

Tea towel after washing and wrapping around the gift

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

8 thoughts on “Tea Towel Wrapping Paper

  1. What a nice touch to the gift! I am sure it will be a treasure to the bride! Of course, your work is beautiful. BTW, in Michigan I asked the people selling honey and bees wax candles, if they sold the cloths with bees wax on them. She said they are full time beekeepers, and those cloths are too much work! She did offer to sell me the beeswax, so I could make them myself. I admire your craftsmanship!

    Liked by 1 person

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