Ask Nancy: On Weaving & Baking

Ask NancyIt’s our final blog post of 2016 and we’re saving the best for last: on today’s post, Nancy sprinkles in a little baking knowledge while answering an interesting question from one of our customers.

Got weaving problems? Stumped by your spinning? Our resident expert Nancy Reid will answer all of your burning questions in this new regular feature! Previously only available on our newsletter, we are moving Nancy’s informative column over to the Woolery blog for easy reference. In this month’s edition, we are sharing a few questions about fiber prep; to ask your own question, email weavernancy@woolery.com or click here to post your questions in our Ravelry group

All the Best,

Wave, Perri, and the entire Woolery Team

Q:

I’m looking to weave some soft tea towels from cotton yarn that will to wrap home baked loaves of bread – I would like the towels to be soft and also dense enough to keep the bread from getting too terribly stale. I’m not sure if this is possible, but I wondered if someone might be able to recommend a nice yarn that would work?? It might be a long shot, I’m not sure!

Nancy shares sage advice about weaving & baking on this week's post!

A:

One of the properties of cotton that makes it so wonderful for clothing is that it wicks moisture away from the (skin) surface, carrying it up to the outer surface of the cloth where it can evaporate and cool the body. That precise property of wicking moisture away will create staling very rapidly in a loaf of bread. While a cotton cloth is nice to keep steam from condensing on a fresh-baked hot loaf (unlike plastic, which traps the steam on the surface and causes sogginess), that same cotton cloth will facilitate the further transport of moisture quite well, and make a loaf stale up awfully quickly. For best keeping, allow a loaf to air-cool with good circulation until it reaches ambient temperature, then encase it in nice air-tight plastic. I used to bake professionally long ago…

To answer the non-food textile portion of your question, either 8/2 (found here) or 6/2 (found here) unmercerized cotton will produce the cloth you are looking for.  I set the 8/2 at 20 EPI in a plain weave and the 6/2 at 16 EPI in plain weave.

Including a handwoven tea towel with your home-baked bread is a lovely gift, and we’ve found a few free patterns for anyone interested in a last-minute weaving project this holiday season (hint: this would also be a great hostess gift for New Year’s!):

Free pattern from Louet for handwoven tea towels.

Cornucopia Tea Towels from Louet

Free Friendship Towel pattern from Schacht.

Friendship Towels from Schacht

Free Woven Dish Towel from LeClerc.

Dish Towel from LeClerc

Follow us here on Pinterest for more great weaving inspiration!

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