Napkin Exchange – the Finale

I finally received my nine napkins in the International Napkin Exchange. I planned ahead and wove mine during my least busy months, sending them in months before they were due. So I had to wait a long time to get my return napkins.

My napkins came from relatively new weavers and weavers who’ve been weaving for 30 years; weavers who weave only for their enjoyment and weavers who spent years in production weaving; weavers from the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands. The napkins are in bold colors and neutrals, in plain weave, lace, and doubleweave. Here they are in all their glory.

First up is an 8/2 cotton-linen blend done in two colors of huck lace blocks. Although not one of my favorites, I do admire how well this weaver got the napkin symmetrical – not an easy task.
2 purples napkin

Next is an interesting 3-shaft weave in mint green and red-brown. The warp was the red-brown in a 20/2 pearl cotton, and the weft is the green in an 8/2 pearl cotton. Although not my favorite colors or weave, it was interesting to me to see the 3-shaft pattern. I weave with 2 shafts on my rigid heddle loom, 4 shafts on my counterbalance, and have done 6 to 8 shafts on my Macomber. I’ve never done 3 though. I may have to explore some 3-shaft weaves.
green & brown napkin

Now for a napkin in four colors of 8/2 pearl cotton. An interesting 8-shaft pattern, I think my tastes are more traditional than this. (Conservative? Me?)
four colors napkin

I’ve been wanting to explore some crammed & spaced weaves for a while. Where does the time go? So many ideas – so little time to implement. This weaver combined crammed & spaced with a 3-shaft twill. (See…again I need to look at 3-shaft patterns.) This ambitious weaver used five different colors of cotton, in an amazing 30/2 size – (13,000 yards per pound!). While I wouldn’t have chosen these colors, the whole concept is interesting, and well executed.
checked napkin

Although I’ve done a little bit of doubleweave, I never would have considered it for a napkin. These weavers made me think about a lot of things differently. I also find it interesting that this woman made the decision to put the design only along one edge of the napkin. (It may not appear that way in the photo, since I folded it over so that you could see both sides.) I think I’m WAY to hung up on the symmetrical. This weaver also worked in a really fine 30/2 cotton.
doubleweave napkin

Now for my four favorite napkins.

First is a simple plain weave napkin in 10/2 pearl cotton, but again, done with amazing symmetry. I also like the colors the weaver chose. This napkin was woven by a fairly new weaver, so I really appreciate the fact that her beat was so consistent.
purple plain weave napkin

Next is a beautiful 8-shaft twill in two complementary shades of gray 16/2 pearl cotton. The weave is extremely consistent, and the overall look is very professional and formal. I must say, although I find this napkin lovely, I would have been extremely bored weaving a number of them — too much the same to keep my interest for that long. On the other hand, I learned how great this simple pattern can look with two similar colors. I’ve shown you both sides – with the lighter and the darker gray predominating.
gray twill napkin

This napkin is an 8-shaft pattern woven in 10/2 pearl cotton in a natural and navy blue. I like the arrangement of the lace weave pattern and the navy border. One of the really nice things about this napkin, and one I wouldn’t have thought of, is the fact that the weaver bound the napkin in a navy bias tape. And she did such an incredibly neat job of sewing on that tape – mitered corners & all.
blue & white huck napkin

Finally, my most favorite napkin of all. Woven on 4 shafts with a Bronson lace band, this napkin screams class at me. It’s made from a 10/2 blend of flax & rayon, with bands of cotton & linen. Again, I would not have made the band on just one edge of the napkin, but then, I think that added to this napkin’s beauty. I’m showing you just a piece of this napkin in hopes that the loveliness of the pattern comes through.
flax & rayon napkin

I’m really glad I participated in this exchange. Su Butler, the organizer, told us all that this may be her last exchange; the overseas postage was WAAAAYYY expensive — $46 for five napkins! I’m sorry to hear this. On the other hand, because I use towels but don’t use napkins, I already figured I’d try to find a towel exchange for next year anyway. Anyone know of one?

5 comments to Napkin Exchange – the Finale

  • Yippee! I’ve gotten a response from Yarnfloozie, and I’m in the 2012 towel exchange!

  • Thanks, Joanie. I had found this group through a web search after I posted, and sent an email to yarnfloozie a few weeks ago – still no response. So maybe the group is full. I’ll try another email and see if I can get a response yea or nay.

  • Joanie

    Another towel exchange is one that used to be chaired by Homestead Weavers but is now run by You send in 6 towels that are a minimum 425 sq in (18″x25″ or a variation of that) and receive 6 in return. I was a member for 2010/11 and received lovely towels. We are due to send in the next batch by March 1st 2012 and there still may be space available. We all communicate through yahoo groups and it’s an international gathering. I think the fee will be $10. for priority mail shipping and that’s it.

  • Peg Cherre

    Thanks, Susan! I’ll definitely send you an email, and will have to decide between this one and one I found online last night through

  • As a matter of fact, I do know of a towel exchange for 2012! The Guild of Canadian Weavers has an annual weaving exchange and the exchange will be featuring towels next time. You must be a member ($25 for the year, worth it alone for the 4 real samples that come with the newsletter alone!)

    email me at weeverwoman at if you’d like more information.


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