I love including a facecloth with my soapy gifts, but I've yet to master the craft of crochet. Learning to crochet the edges of these woven cloths is the extent of my knowledge!
There are a few things you need to make these cloths, primarily a loom of some sort. I have a Martha Stewart Knit and Weave Loom Kit (Walmart is the cheapest place to get it, 1/2 the price of what I paid at a craft store). But you can use any SQUARE loom. If you can;t find one you can make one! You just need a wooden square with evenly spaced nails, 24 per side.
If you use the Martha Stewart loom you will need 4 corner pieces, 4 12 hole pieces, and 4 6 hole pieces as well as blue pegs for all of the holes (the starting corner needs 1 grey peg, and the other 3 corners can be left open as they are not used).
For a nice plush cloth you want to use a worsted weight 100% cotton, and you want 2 balls. We will be doubling up the strands to increase the surface area of the cloth.
Tie a slip knot ~6 inches up from the tail of the strands and secure around the grey corner peg. We will now start to lay the "warp", or vertical weave strands. Go from the secured corner peg (upper right corner) to the first peg at the bottom right side of the loom, then up around the second peg from the right at the top and continue until you reach the last upper peg on the left. Secure here with a slip knot and trim the tails ~6 inches. I find it best to secure the last laid warp line with my thumb so the warp lines won't all come unwound if you slip or drop the line.
After the warp is laid it is time to start the "weft" or horizontal weave. This is where the actual weaving starts!
Pull out around 1 yard of cotton, the first weft line will use a good part of this. Take a weaving hook (you can also use a long crochet hook, or a long knitting needle with one end bent into a hook) and weave it under 4 warp lines, then over 4, and under 4 until you reach the left side. Take the middle of the yard of weft line you pulled from the balls and hook it, then pull the hook back through the warp lines and secure the loop over the first peg. It's actually a lot easier than it sounds! My example is done single stranded so you can see the technique a little better.
Here is the cloth with a few weft lines woven:
Can you see how the middle of the weft is starting to bow toward the bottom of the loom? This is easy to fix!
If you have a weaving hook there is a notch on the non-hooked end to push the weft into place. You can do this with almost anything; try 2 toothpicks taped together! Push them back into straight lines then continue on with your weft.
**don't pull the warp or weft lines too tight! You want them snug, but loose enough that casting off with crochet won't be next to impossible.
Here is the completed weave! At this point you will have 3 ~6 inch tails sticking out of your cloth. Don't tie off the weft line, just leave it hanging, we'll get to it!
Now is the time to work the weave off the loom. To do this we want to rotate the loom so that we start the crochet process at the corner with the weft tails. We will be working counter clockwise, so those weft tails will be the last thing we work with. To cast off the loom we will use a crochet hook, mine is a big large, but came with the loom kit. Pick up the loop off the first peg, then the one off the second peg. Pull the second peg loop through the first peg loop. This will leave the second peg loop on the crochet hook. Then pick up the third peg loop and pull it through the second peg loop. Keep doing this until the corner. You should be at the only corner with no tails, keep crocheting around the corner all the way to the 3rd corner. Untie the warp line anchored here and use it to make a loop. Crochet that loop just like it's another peg loop. Do the same thing at the next corner, and again with the weft tails once you get back around to the beginning corner. You should be left with a loop on the crochet hook.
Take a large weaving needle (they are generally plastic) and thread the weft tails through the eye, pick up the loop from the crochet hook with the needle and use it to stitch the tails into the crocheted binding along the side of the cloth (you should always be sewing these in to the left).
Once all of these tails are woven into the cloth snip off any excess that you couldn't sew in. Tada!! You have a finished cloth! Congratulations!!!
The first few will probably take you about an hour or so each, but after you get the technique down they only take around 20 minutes. Fast and beautiful! Great addition to any soapy gift!
Coming up: restocking Snowfall, making salt bars, and oat milk lotion for my Husband.