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October 12th, 2021 newsletter

Inspiration from a Sari Tea Towel Kit

The colours of this warp Inspiration from a Sari come straight out of the muted colour gamp from my Colour and Design workshop.  When I presented that project to the School of Weaving, I wove the bright saturated colours from a sample called Parrot on top and it took me straight to India. When I was there, I had noticed that muted warps, with brilliant wefts, were extremely successful and if you threw in peacock you got iridescence. The first towels on this warp follow the concept of weaving a gamp, working the colours across the warp from one side to the other. After the first 3 towels were done, I broke out those Parrot colours and that is when I really started to have fun. They are my favourites, bright happy and intended to make you smile.

The colours of India will inspire my weaving forever and I hope they inspire you too!

Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: 8/2 Cotton
Each kit makes: 12 Towels and a bit of playtime


Inspiration Taken Down Another Rabbit Hole 🙂

Anita Salmon is a fabulous weaver living in Victoria, British Columbia. She fell into the weaving “rabbit hole” after retiring from a very busy life in the field of health care. She has been inspired by Jane and was able to take a number of her in-house workshops on Salt Spring. These workshops gave her the tools to gain comfort to explore different structures on her loom. The following is a wonderful example of her journey. In this case, Anita has used the colour palate from a JST kit, layered a totally different structure on top of her own graphic, and shared her eye-popping results with us.

When I first saw the post about the “Inspiration from a Sari” Tea Towel Kit I knew I wanted to weave those colours. They are simply so glorious. However, I wanted to do something other than plain weave (as much as I love plain weave). Turned Taqueté is a structure I had seen in different publications and woven before. The start of my journey into Turned Taqueté was adapted from this older issue of Handwoven that can still be purchased as a digital version. (Long Thread Media’s Handwoven September/October, 2015 issue)

What is Taqueté? Little is written about it in current weaving texts. It is an ancient weft-faced weave structure used in finely woven textiles found from 200 CE China to Coptic Egypt. Over the years the technique found its way to Scandinavia where it persists today, most commonly used for rug weaving. In structure it is known as “polychrome summer and winter” or in other words, summer and winter woven without a tabby which gives a weft dominant fabric. Turning the draft 90 degrees – et Voilà – Turned Taqueté, a straightforward single shuttle warp dominant weave.

I liked the way this weave structure made the warp and weft colours interact with the irregular wavy warp lines.

In 8/2 cotton, with a sett of 20 epi, the cloth has a lovely squishy hand. It is a 4 shaft, 4 treadle structure that is easy to thread and easy to treadle. Winding the warp goes quickly because you are winding two colours at a time.

For my tea towels, I wanted irregular stripes. I paired up all my warp colours in a sequence that I found pleasing, deciding which would be A and which B.  These alternate on the surface of the cloth much like in warp rep. I added a few additional colours to those in the kit. Because each threading and treadling unit is four threads, I designed my stripes in multiples of 4, the smallest stripe being 12 threads and the widest 40.

From the photos, you can see that I played with weaving blocks and stripes and changing the weft colour.

You’ll find the threading sequence below!

Turned Taqueté  Edition, Threading Draft

Hot pink/Cayenne 24 threads
Gold/Pale Orange 36
Pale Limette/Peacock 12
Raspberry/Pink 40
Pale Orange/Pale Limette 20
Peacock/Limette 20
Purple/Gold 32
Hot Pink/Magenta 16
Raspberry/Cayenne 32
Gold/Pink 20
Pale Orange/Fuchsia 32
Raspberry/Purple 24
Purple/Peacock 32
Pale Limette/Limette 20
Gold/Pale Limette 32
Magenta/Purple 40
Peacock/Limette 12
Pink/Magenta 36
Cayenne/Hot pink 24

Total 504 threads


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October 6th, 2021 newsletter

Tea Towel Time with Jane New English Garden Kit

One of the wonderful things about designing kits is that sometimes a customer asks if we can do it in their favourite colours….. English Garden is one of the outcomes.  Roslyn Wallace is a weaver here on Salt Spring and she had woven the original colourway of Tea Towel Time with Jane, had a blast but then wanted to recreate it in colours from her rose garden. We played with a few colour variations and Voila….. it is stunning. These collaborations always leave me with a big smile on my face.  Thanks Ros 🙂
Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Weave structure: Plain weave, 2/2 Twill, Basket Weave, Turned Twill, Broken Twill, 1/3 or 3/1 Twill
Each kit weaves: 12 towels. Finished dimensions: 21″x 27″ hemmed.
Loom requirements: Shafts: 4 or 8
Reed: 12 dent
Weaving Width: 26″

Each kit includes:
Weaving instructions (including draft)
2 cones of 8/2 cotton- Nile
2 cones of 8/2 cotton- Hot Pink
2 cones of 8/2 cotton- Magenta
1 cone of 8/2 cotton- Navy

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Ask Jane

Hemstitching Tea towels (from the JST Knowledge Base)

Do you hemstitch tea towels even when they are going to have turned hems? Or, do you just machine stitch the ends after removing them from the loom? I’ve always machine stitched the ends but am wondering if I could skip this step if I hemstitched on the loom…will hemstitching encased in a seam hold up to lots of machine washing?

I don’t hemstitch for a towel with a turned hem. I do just what you do….machine stitch the edge and then I double fold and pin. Sometimes I hand stitch, sometimes I machine stitch, it depends on my patience level on the day. I even have a few towels that I have never gotten around to hemming, but I still use them. When those are in use I loudly proclaim that hemming of any kind is highly overrated. :^)


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September 21, 2021 newsletter

Need Help with Warping?

This week, we are including the PDF link to a basic document that will help you with a multitude of warping questions. Warping Jane’s Way is a document that was a handout at a workshop that I used to teach in person, called “Honing Your Basic Weaving Skills“. It walks you through the process of making a warp, and warping your loom. We hope that the step by step instructions and photo essay will help guide you on your journey.

This document is now 10 years old but the information in it is timeless, and we thought that having this with you as you practice warping your loom, might be useful for those of you who aren’t members of the School of Weaving. After many years of experience I have settled on certain weaving tools that help make my warping and weaving experience a lot easier. 

Here are a few of my favourite things (put the list to the music if you can hear it in your head 🙂

ASK JANE!

Help … I’m getting skips in my cloth!

I’m a fairly new weaver with a Leclerc Nilus 4 shaft.  I wove a tea towel kit from Jane’s store using cotton boucle and it went well. Now I’m weaving tea towels from a kit using organic cotton. Every inch or two I’m getting small skips over just one extra thread. We adjusted the treadles so they rose more uniformly, then I cleaned up a few heddles that had lint in them, but the problem persists. Have you any idea what I can have done/am doing wrong?

There are several possible reasons. I would try increasing your tension a titch. If they are only on one side then you should watch how you are putting the shuttle inside the shed. You might be diving a little as you throw. Make sure your shuttle is flat (horizontal) as it goes into the shed. I would also check to see if your warp is sitting on the shuttle race or if it is riding high on it (that is assuming you have a shuttle race). On some looms you can raise or lower your beater so that the shuttle race is in the proper position. If you have a shuttle race on your beater it should be sitting right under your warp when the shed is open. The shuttle race should support the bottom of your warp which helps prevent skips. Sometimes floats can be caused by not getting a clean exchange of warp threads which is why I always leave the beater against the fell of the cloth until after I change my shed. Once I’ve changed my shed I return the beater to the castle so I can throw my next shot. By bringing the beater back at this point it can clear up anything that might be sticking.


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September 13, 2021 newsletter

10% off all Yarns & Weaving Kits

It’s time for our Back to the Loom Sale

Now (September 13 2021) ’til this Thursday (Septe3mber 16, 2021)!

Autumn if my favourite season of the year. It has always made me happy for many reasons…the weather is cooler, the air is fresher, for me it has always meant the beginning of things as well as the end of things.
Starting school was one of my favourite things….the garden’s demise is definitely one of my favourite things….I mean….just how many tomatoes does one family need and at this time of year our freezers can’t take one more container so we are happy to see Jack Frost!


Mostly, autumn means more time for the loom.
So I hope you take advantage of our little sale and stock up for winter. 
Sending tons of love,

Jane


Sale prices limited to in-stock yarns & kits only. Not valid with other coupons. Spend over C$250 and you’ll receive free shipping! Receive additional 10% off & free shipping when you spend over C$500. (Some Exceptions Apply

Sale starts Monday, September 13th, 2021 and ends Thursday, September 16th, 2021 11:59 pm PDT.


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September 7, 2021 newsletter

Simple Collapse Weave Pucker Up Scarves Under the Sea

Ask Jane just below!

These scarves are a great introduction to simple collapse weave. The kit provides enough silk and merino to create 2 stunning scarves with finished dimensions of 12″ x 75″ plus fringe. All you need is a simple 4 shaft loom a 10 dent reed and a weaving width of 18″.

This Kit contains the weaving draft and instructions along with:

  • 1 skein of 30/2 Bombyx Silk – Quarry
  • 1 skein of 30/2 Bombyx Silk – Glacier
  • 2-50g skeins of Merino Wool – Peacock
  • 2-50g skeins of Merino Wool – Williamsburg Blue

How to weave a simple collapse weave!

If you are subscribed to School of Weaving, check out Season 3 Episode 6 Simple Collapse Weave and you’ll learn how to use active yarns (shrinkers) and inactive yarns (not so shrinky) to create highly textured fabric. Our perfectly wonderful plain weave is woven at a ridiculously open sett in 30/2 silk and 18/2 merino. We continue to push our technique to another level….learning how to control that crazy open sett and stabilize the fabric during the fulling process. If you loved Denting and Cramming & Denting, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one too. I know I sure do.

Things we will learn:

-how to use two different yarns to react and create a collapse
-how to weave with a very open sett and control it all
-how to manage the distortion that will occur in the weaving
-how to full and finish your silk and merino scarves
-how to deal with your hemstitching

Ask Jane!

Jane has been asked sooooo many questions over the years on all the “how to’s” of weaving. We thought it would be a good idea to share them with our readers. Here are a couple for this week from JST’s Knowledge Base 😉
Hemstitching Tea Towels

Do you hemstitch tea towels even when they are going to have turned hems?   Or do you just machine stitch the ends after removing them from the loom?  I’ve always machine stitched the ends but am wondering if I could skip this step if I hemstitched on the loom…will hemstitching encased in a seam hold up to lots of machine washing?

I don’t hemstitch for a towel with a turned hem.  I do just what you do….machine stitch the edge and then I double fold and pin.  Sometimes I hand stitch, sometimes I machine stitch, it depends on my patience level on the day.  I even have a few towels that I have never gotten around to hemming, but I still use them.  When those are in use I loudly proclaim that hemming of any kind is highly overrated. :^)

Would like to learn more? We have a video on our YouTube Channel School of Weaving bonus video on hemming!

Can’t seem to limit my draw-In

I am making a wool afghan and I can’t seem to limit my draw-in.  I am letting the yarn be loose but I am drawing in almost three inches on each side, going from 46″ to 40″.  I am not sure what the wool is. The epi is 8, it probably should have been 10. The ppi is 10 to 12. I am using a twill and floating selvages. Any suggestions before I begin the next afghan.

You have your answer….if it is sett at 8 but you are beating 12 then add those 2 numbers together and you get 20…because you want it balanced divide by 2 and you get 10 epi and 10 ppi.   That will help your draw-in immensely….because the warp ends are so far apart in your first throw they have lots of room to pull together hence your draw in. The next time you use this yarn sett it at 10 epi, weave it at 10 ppi and you will notice that your draw-in is much less.  Good luck, you are on the right road.

Abraiding or unplying broken ends

I will share another trick I have used many times to help prevent broken ends.  When you see a warp thread abraiding or unplying, get out your glue stick and give that yarn a little swipe.  I swipe my finger actually and then my fingers swipe the yarn.  Let it dry for a minute and then weave away…..nothing will happen to it now, you have avoided the dreaded broken end and the glue washes out when you finish the cloth.

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August 31, 2021 newsletter

New Bouclé Tea Towel Kit African Violet

Part 2 of ‘In Praise of Good Selvedges’ is at the bottom of the newsletter.

“Come to the weaving side, come come…chirped the little weaving bird.  And slowly, bit by bit she came :)” An excerpt from my new book entitled “How to turn your office manager into a weaver”.  ha ha ha. Elizabeth has designed her first boucle towel….and I’m over the moon. 

You may have seen this warp on the mill a few weeks back on FB and Instagram…well here is the end result. A lovely asymmetrical graphic with colour and weave on one side and a little check on the other side. Each towel uses a different colour and weave sequence in the weft. I don’t know….maybe there is something wrong with me…but I never get tired of colour and weave. 

Enjoy 🙂
Jane
Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: Cotton Bouclé
Each kit makes: 9 Tea Towels

Warping Sequence

2 Navy & 1 Nile x58
2 Navy
5 Magenta
20 Pale Limette
5 Magenta
20 Pale Limette
5 Magenta
30 Pale Limette

Total Warp ends 261

A note on hems…

We weave our hems 1.5” in a different colour before starting the towel, this makes turning our hems easy. Each towel is woven approximately 30” long.


Towel #1

20” 2 Navy/1 Nile
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 Picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
4.5 “ Pale Limette


Towel #2

30” 4 Magenta/ 4 Pale Limette

(Start the colours on opposite sides and let them scallop up the selvedge)


Towel #3

20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
24” 1 Navy /1 Nile /2 Navy /1 Nile (D/L/DD/L)


Towel #4

20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
17” 2 Navy /3 Nile (DD/LLL)
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette


Towel #5

24” 3 Navy /1 Nile /1 Navy /1 Nile (DDD/L/D/L)
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette
5 picks Magenta
20 picks Pale Limette


Lavender Lace Scarves

This linen scarf is so wonderfully light and luscious. It billows like a sail in the wind and the light shines through this delicious cloth. Woven in our fine JST 40/2 linen, making it strong and very easy to weave.

Canvas Weave, such a lovely delicate lace weave. It has an interesting characteristic, double threads coming out of the lace areas showing up in the plain weave areas in both warp and weft. The vertical lines are coming from the double 2’s and 3’s in the threading and, where you see them horizontally, they are from the 2 picks in 1 shed. See treadling units A & B. Canvas weave must have a floating selvedge so you can put 2 picks in the same shed.

Level of Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Weave structure: Canvas Weave
Material: 40/2 linen
Each kit makes: 2 Scarves

We can make this kit in any colour you like! Simply, put the Lavender Lace kit into your cart, on the checkout screen in the “notes” section let us know what 40/2 organic linen colour you would like us to make the kit in.


In Praise of Good Selvedges:
Practical Tips for Weavers – Part 2

Thought #5: Find the Sweet Spot!

It is so tempting to weave just a little further before we advance the warp. We all do this, but it is a bad habit and it is a habit that is detrimental to your selvedge. When you weave too close to the beater you force your warp into a situation where it has to open its mouth too wide. It is yawning, and when it yawns, it pulls on the weft yarns at the selvedge. You don’t notice this until you advance your warp and then you go—oh heck—look at that. My selvedges are messed up, it must be the tension on my warp, or maybe it is the yarn I’m using that is slippery or heck, it must be the stupid loom’s fault……WRONG! It’s a bad habit. If you get into the good habit of advancing your warp frequently you won’t be putting your warp into that stressful situation which makes your weft sloppy at the selvedge. SO CUT IT OUT already! Weave in the sweet spot…..that perfect little space in the middle where Goldilocks lives and everything is juussst right!
Thought #6: On Temples.

Now I don’t mean to be boastful and all, but if I may say so, I do know how to get perfect selvedges. People compliment me on my selvedges all the time. They might think I need a good haircut or some new shoes, but I always get the nod on my selvedges. I have never used a temple in my life. I appreciate their role in rug weaving and ikat weaving, but for the general run-of-the-mill type weaving that I do, they simply aren’t necessary. The temple’s main purpose is to prevent draw-in. Now, I think that a little bit of draw-in is desirable—and necessary to aid in even weaving…selvedge to selvedge. A little bit of draw-in is like having good firm walls holding up the roof of your house. Your selvedges are the walls of your cloth and the rest of the warp is the interior studs. Your weft is the floor of your house. Your beginning hemstitching is the basement, strong and tight for you to build on. I don’t use floating selvedges unless I absolutely have to, like in a twill. (Or in a basket weave or canvas weave—these two weave structures both have two picks in the same shed.) With some weave structures, you do need to employ different threadings to make the selvedge structurally secure, but in most weaving, you don’t need to do anything except use your good shuttle handling technique, a proper throwing sequence, good bobbin winding skills, and diligent warp advancement to get those great selvedges.
If you would like to see a demonstration on hemstitching click here to watch our little video!
Thought #7: Sibling Rivalry at the Edge!

One side of your weaving is often better than the other—and it is usually the side opposite your dominant hand. So, right-handed weavers often have a better left selvedge, and left-handed weavers often have a better right selvedge. The reason is, your dominant hand is often more confident and has greater control as compared to its non-dominant sibling. So, your right hand is controlling the left selvedge, and the left hand is controlling the right selvedge. (This is, of course, not always the case, but it often is.) If you want to get both selvedges the same, you need to pay careful attention to your hands, to see if one is doing something in some way different from the other. Maybe it is a little wrist action before you throw your next shot. Or maybe your finger sits differently on the bobbin on one side and not on the other. Your job is to patiently and quietly pay attention to what the good hand is doing, and try to send that—knowledge—to your other hand. Remember that your mind is controlling the whole show.
Thought #8: What should I be looking at?

When I weave, my eyes are moving back and forth between three different spots.
When the shuttle hits my right hand, my eye is watching the left selvedge. That’s because the right hand is controlling the tension on that left selvedge. My eye then travels to the centre of the loom and watches as the beater comes down with its weft yarn. (I am often looking at the negative space in my weaving to get the proper picks per inch. If you are weaving a balanced fabric, then the negative space should always be forming a square. It is easy to watch for those squares.) Just before the shuttle heads to the left, I give the shuttle a teeny weeny little tug. My finger works like a brake on the bobbin and this little tug pulls out any sloppiness that might be at the edge as the weft yarn turns the corner. While my shuttle travels across to my left hand, my eye is focused on that rightside. Then my eye goes to centre again to watch what the beater is doing. At the selvedge, I give that little tug, as before. (I actually have a name for this. I call it Intentional Weaving. That is, I’m not just sitting there, banging away, beating the living daylights out of my cloth. I am placing each weft yarn as its own event, carefully—and I am watching the selvedges form right before my very eyes.) In general, I don’t fart around with the selvedges, manhandling them with every pick. It is all done through controlling the yarn on the bobbin and controlling the shuttle with our hands— the most wondrous tools we have.
Thought #9: Pass the torch!

When I put a shuttle into any new weaver’s hand for the first time, I am mindful of how I do it. If you teach someone good technique right from the start, you are giving them one of the greatest gifts you can. We all know how hard it is to change bad habits. If you learn to weave with bad technique—well, changing it later on can be quite difficult. Palms to the sky! Hold your shuttle with your palms up. That is what I always say to my students. Use the shuttle that fits your hand well and feels good, because you will be more confident with it. Go slowly at first, gain confidence, and then bring up your speed. If you start to lose control, slow down until you find your comfort zone again. It is just like driving a car.
This is Molly who used to work here
after school when she was in grade 8.
In a Nutshell.

If you start with a good warp AND wind a good bobbin AND Weave Intentionally AND pay attention to sequence—you will have good selvedges—without the need of extra tools, expensive shuttles, or pirns. If I can get great selvedges out of a seven-year-old student within an hour, you can have good selvedges too. The easiest way to get there is to practice. Put on a narrow warp, about 12″ wide, with yarn that you have no to emotional attachment to and that you aren’t planning to give away as a present and try some of the techniques above. By the end of that warp, your selvedges should be perfect!



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August 24, 2021 newsletter

3 kits back in stock and Part 1 of
In Praise of Good Selvedges

Fulford Mist Linen & Silk Scarves

Here on Salt Spring Island, we are so lucky to live near both the ocean and the mountains. At Fulford Harbour you can admire the two at once, especially as you approach the island on the ferry. Lovely deep ocean views complemented by misty mountain tops – so West Coast, so subtle and inspiring.

These elegant scarves are made with two colours of our 30/2 silk woven on our 40/2 linen in a timeless 2/2 twill. The combination of crisp linen and shimmering silk is exquisite.

Level of Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Weave structure: 2/2 Twill Weave
Material: 30/2 Bombyx Silk & 40/2 linen
Each kit makes: 2 Scarves

Ganges Sunrise Linen & Silk Scarves

These lovely scarves are perfect for spring and summer! Woven with silk on linen in alternating bands of 1/3 and 3/1 twill, they have gorgeous sheen and drape with a slightly crisp texture that will only get softer and more shimmery with wear.  

This pattern requires only 4 harnesses, but there are 8 different tie-ups required for weaving.  If you have an 8 shaft loom, you’re stylin’, but if you have a 6 treadle loom, we’ve provided a tie-up system to ensure your success!

We always have spools of 30/2 silk kicking around so we did another version adding 2 more colours… Favourite Wine and Buddha Berry. Please NOTE that if you want to get these colours you must select the “Ganges Sunrise Scarf Kit with Additional Silks” from the drop down menu when ordering.

Level of Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Weave structure: 1/3, 3/1 Twill Weave
Material: 30/2 Bombyx Silk 40/2 linen
Each kit makes: 2 Scarves


Sassy Brassy Log Cabin Tea Towels

Kathy Ready is a fabulous weaver and weaving teacher from Victoria, B.C. Last fall Kathy wove our harvest splendour tea towel kit and this year she watched the log cabin episode from the Online Guild, Sassy Brassy is the result of blending those two ideas. Kathy graciously shared this pattern when I started salivating over it in the studio. I love the contrast between the brilliant check pattern and the dark/light colour and weave log cabin which is beautifully symmetrical and framed.

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: 8/2 organic cottolin
Each kit makes: 7 Towels


In Praise of Good Selvedges: Practical Tips for Weavers:  Part 1

We’re all in search of that perfect straight edge, that golden selvedge, and there are many ways we get there. We employ special threadings, floating selvedges, denser edges. You can use regular shuttles, open bottom shuttles, end feed shuttles or temples to aid you in your selvedge journey.
A good selvedge shouldn’t be hard to find. I have trained a lot of weavers over the years, and selvedges are always (cough) on the table. Over the years, I have come to feel that some of the thoughts below are quite important, so I’m sharing them with you today.
Thought #1: The loom is my instrument! I always tell people that the loom is my instrument…it is my version of a violin. The shuttle is my bow and the cloth is my music. Any string musician will tell you that their bow needs to feel good in their hand, and so my shuttle needs to feel good in my hand too. My favourite “bow” is the Schacht open bottom shuttle because it allows me to tension my bobbin from underneath each time I handle the shuttle. My shuttle fits my hand perfectly—it is not too big or too small—and I use the same shuttles for all my weaving.
Thought #2: Bigger isn’t necessarily better! Sometimes we weave with thin yarns, sometimes we weave with heavier—and when we do we think we need to change the size of our bobbins in regards to the size of the yarn. If we use a bigger bobbin we can get more yarn on it and therefore weave for a lot longer. The choice of a longer bobbin necessitates the need for a longer and larger shuttle. Bobbin lengths increase by 1″ of length. When you stop to figure out just how much more yarn you can get on that 1″ longer bobbin, you will be surprised to find out that the answer is “Not Much”. However, you now have to put that bobbin in a shuttle that is 2″ longer than your favourite regular shuttle which fits your hand like a glove. A 4″ bobbin (the regular kind) fits an 11″ shuttle, 5″ bobbins fit a 13″ shuttle, 6″ bobbins fit a 15″ shuttle. (I’m glad they don’t make longer bobbins because then we would be wielding lengths of 2×4.) Any advantages we gained from those 1″ increases in bigger bobbin size are quickly and dramatically lost because now our “bow” doesn’t fit our hand as well and we can lose control of our technique.
Thought #3. Sequence of events. The sequence that you use to throw each pick is very important. I throw the shuttle and then beat on an open shed. I leave the beater against the fell of the cloth while I change the shed and then I bring it back to the castle after I have changed the shed. So this is the sequence: Throw, Beat, Change, Beater Back; Throw, Beat, Change, Beater Back. (See Thought #8 in the next newsletter)for the additional tug that could be given at this time if needed.)
When you beat on an open shed, you allow the shed to take what the shed requires. The beater actually pulls yarn off the bobbin and into the shed. It stops when the beater touches the fell of the cloth and it has taken just the right amount. When we consider the alternate way of beating in a weft yarn (which is to bubble and beat on a closed shed), we have created a closed situation where you must create the same scenario exactly the same way each time you throw the shuttle—and that is a very difficult thing to do. If your bubble is too high, then the excess yarn squishes out the side at the selvedge. If your bubble is too low then there isn’t enough yarn in the bubble to fit the shed and your selvedges draw in. Try the method above and see how this little sequence solves so many selvedge problems.
Thought #4: Wind a good bobbin! I know that everyone reading this will have had this experience. You are weaving away and you get towards the end of your bobbin and the yarn on your bobbin starts to jam up. When this happens all of our focus is on that stupid bobbin and yarn not coming off, but as we tug and pull we aren’t paying much attention to the fact the other selvedge is being tugged and pulled. One of the reasons your yarn is stuck is because you filled the corners of the bobbin when you first started winding it and those corners have now collapsed like a mountain slide of scree—I know! I know! We are all taught to do this. It’s in every book you open. Here is an alternate approach. It provides you with a situation where the yarn is able to leave the bobbin freely, right down to the last inch. If you need a visual demo, we have a video on my School of Weaving website from Season 1 Episode 3 – Good Weaving Technique, Bobbin Winding! Once upon a time, before there were plastic bobbins with end bits there was the paper quill. Paper quills were wound with a firm straight movement from side to side, slowing moving away from the edges and winding closer to the centre with each pass. Now, I love plastic bobbins with end bits, but I wind them the old fashioned way, like a paper quill. You wind straight across from side to side, filling up the bobbin until it is half full, then with each successive pass I come a little closer to the centre creating a ‘sausage’ shape. As the bobbin fills, you stay away from the sides and you wind them firmly with your fingers, guiding the yarn onto the bobbin, right up close where you have the most control.
Watch for next week’s newsletter when we’ll dig deeper into the tips on how to improve our selvedges.

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August 17, 2021 newsletter

The Magic of Venne yarns

Venne’s organic 8/2 organic cotton, 16/2 organic linen and 22/2 cottolin will open a magic box full of colour and texture, as well as giving you the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping our planet in the process. It’s hard to put into words the difference in the “hand” of a cloth woven with the Venne organic yarns when compared with more traditionally manufactured yarn, you just have to feel it 🙂 

Ssshhhh – I know we don’t even want to think that far ahead either;)  However … imagine designing and weaving towels or table linens out of your choice of the rainbow colours of organic Venne yarns … tea towels, table runners, a scarf using silk as the weft??? You can create a very special, unique Christmas gift that will be cherished for years to come. To make your life easier, we have just created new colourways for our Spring & Easter Stripes Kits. You now can weave that kit as Fall Stripes and/or Christmas Stripes tea towels, substituting the new colours for the ones listed in the kit and create your own special cloth. See the new seasonal colour palettes below that can be overlaid on this adaptable pattern, then click on the original kit link to get started!

Our Christmas Stripes palette includes one 100g cone each of 8/2 organic cotton in Burgundy, Kentucky Blue, Gift Green, and Lt. Stone Grey along with two 250g cones of Linen White. With this option you’ll weave 7 festive Christmas towels by substituting these colours for the original palette in our Spring & Easter Stripe kit!

Fall Stripes – this option includes one 100g organic 8/2 cotton cone each of Flaming Red, Jaffa, Orange, Deep Red and three 100g cones of Cream.


Venne 16/2 Organic Linen

Sett Suggestion:

  • Plain Weave: 15 epi & 15 ppi
  • Twill: 18 epi & 15 ppi

Both setts give you a nice drapey fabric.


Venne 8/2 Organic Cotton

Sett Suggestion

  • Plain weave: 16-20 epi (ranging from gossamer cotton at 16 epi to firm cloth at 20 epi)
  • Twill: 20-24 epi (ranging from a nice drapey fabric at 20 epi to a firmer cloth at 24 epi)

*supplementary weft structures 16 epi


Venne 22/2 Organic Cottolin

Sett Suggestion
  • plain weave 16-20 epi (ranging from a gossamer fabric at 16 epi to firm cloth at 20 epi)
  • twill 20-24 epi (ranging from a nice drapey fabric at 20 epi to a firmer cloth at 24 epi)


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making a warp, dressing your loom, weaving techniques, all about sett, Project Planning 101, division of space, all about yarns & looms, finishing your handwoven cloth & how to weave a mohair blanket
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August 10, 2021 newsletter

In Case You Missed it!

We’ve all done it – an email comes in, we scan it quickly as we are just running out the door.  But a tea towel photo has grabbed our attention and we just can’t remember where we saw it 😉  Soooo – we decided to feature some of our recent kits “In Case You Missed it…” – here’s your chance!

Abalone and Ebony Towel & Scarf Kit

Treat yourself to a project that will have you mentally wandering a west coast beach. Something catches your eye; you pick it up, turn it over see the beautiful colours of abalone sparkling up at you hidden inside a clamshell. Look closer and you will see that it’s framed by the ebony black of the outside of the shell. As you know, I love anything that is nicely framed. It’s all happening here in the Abalone and Ebony Towel & Scarf Kit!

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Weave structure: 4 shaft Bronson Spot
Material: 8/2 cotton
Each kit makes: 3 Tea Towels & 1 Scarf
(20/2 Bombyx silk for scarf sold separately)

Sea Foam & Pebbles Tea Towel Kit

These towels are the result of a friend’s request for a thinner towel with texture. We often weave towels with Bouclé in the warp and weft. That combination sett at 12 EPI and woven at 12 PPI makes for a lovely drapey, textured towel. How to make them thinner….hmmm. Okay, I’ll change the warp to 8/2 cotton and keep the same EPI/PPI – I’m always up for a challenge! You’ll enjoy weaving Sea Foam & Pebbles!

Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: 8/2 cotton & Bouclé cotton
Each kit makes: 12 Towels


SweDISH Tea Towel Kit

SweDish towels in SweDish colours!

Swedish Lace is really Huck with an added thread in the warp and an extra pick in the weft  Easy Peasy. So, if you love the colours of Sweden and you love weaving laces, this kit is for you.

Level of Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Weave structure: Huck with Swedish Lace
Material: 8/2 cotton
Each kit makes: 8 Towels


Huck Lace Pretty Pansies Tea Towel Kit

One of our favourite kits is the Huck Towel kit designed by Arlene Kohut.  Seeing that it is Lace year at School of Weaving, we thought it would be fun to reissue it in a new palette. So guess what, we chose Granny Pam’s palette from our Boucle Towel Kit! They are a riot of purples and pinks drifting off to pale orange which reminds me of a bed of pansies. Elizabeth was given the task of adding more Huck & colour sequences to the pattern and voila Pretty Pansies….GP would be proud. 


Level of Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Weave structure: Plain Weave & Huck Lace
Material: 8/2 Cotton
Each kit makes: 8 Tea Towels


Ocean Cotton Boucle Tea Towel Kit

We have added an insert to the Ocean Cotton Boucle Tea Towel Kit detailing the warp and weft sequences for 5 towels. You can follow the sequences and explore your own designs all in one warp! Lots to play with 🙂


Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: Cotton Bouclé
Each kit makes: 9 Tea Towels


Granny Pam’s Inspiration Boucle Tea Towel Kit

Granny Pam’s Inspiration Tea Towels Kit includes the exact warping sequence and treadling sequence for 5 towels. I hope that Granny Pam’s Kit inspires you to explore and weave your very own designs using the rest of the warp!

Level of Difficulty: Beginner
Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: Cotton Bouclé
Each kit makes: 9 Tea Towels



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August 3, 2021 newsletter

Granny Pam’s Inspiration

Cotton Bouclé Tea Towel Kit

Here we have classic GP, nothing insipid about these colours!  🙂

As promised, here are a few more design options for our Bouclé Tea Towel kits, this time using Granny Pam’s Inspiration colours!

The pattern that comes with all our Bouclé tea towel kits is a great starting point to design and create your own patterns. Each kit weaves 9 towels in plain weave, on 4 shaft looms. We recommend using a 12 dent reed and having an available weaving width of 22″. If your loom is narrower, you can design your own warp to your required width by reducing a few threads as needed 🙂

Below are 5 of the towels I designed with our Granny Pam’s Inspiration Kit. This kit includes the exact warping and treadling sequences to weave them. I hope that Granny Pam’s Kit inspires you to weave these towels plus enjoy creating your own designs on the additional 4 towels that are possible on this warp.

Warping Sequence

18 Purple
60 Fuchsia
12 Peacock
60 Orange
40 Pale Limette
36 Purple
36 Peacock

Total warp threads 262

A note on hems…

  I often use a different colour for my hems so I can do an easy turn and fold at the pattern line. You can weave 1.5″ of hem at each end using the Orange Bouclé from the kit.


Towel #1

1″ Peacock / 3 picks of Pale Limette repeated for 30″ ending with 1″ Peacock

Towel #2

1.5″ Peacock
3″ Purple
3″ Pale Limette
2.5″ Peacock
3″ Purple
3″ Pale Limette
2.5″ Peacock
3″ Purple
3″ Pale Limette
2.5″ Peacock
3″ Purple


Towel #3

4 picks Orange / 4 picks Fuchsia
repeated for 10″ ending with 4 picks of Orange
3″ Pale Limette
4 picks Orange / 4 picks Fuchsia
repeated for 17″ ending with 4 picks of Orange

Towel #4

4 picks Peacock / 4 picks Pale Limette
repeated for 30″ ending with 4 picks of Peacock


Towel #5

1″ Purple
5″ Fuchsia
1″ Peacock
5″ Orange
1″ Purple
5″ Fuchsia
1″ Peacock
5″ Orange
1″ Purple
5″ Fuchsia
1″ Peacock


Design for Weavers:
Using Colour, Part 2

Weavers can’t mix on a palette like painters do, so it is important to play with combinations that might strike you as unlikely, because you’ll be amazed how some of them work in the cloth.

You can see in the sample work on the School of Weaving, that varying colours that have high and low saturation can give you the most amazing, complex colour in your finished piece. Sort of like having a party with your quiet family, and then the loud crazy cousins come in and it becomes a hootenanny.

I have some favourite moves I like to make when using colour, and I’ll share them with you here.

Gradations

I love gradation work.  This is where you can put all the tints and shades of one colour that you might have in your stash. A gradation builds movement across your weaving from light to dark.

If you then add an over-grid on your gradation, it makes an entirely new graphic:

You can shift through analogous colours, or in and out of one set of colours—for example, dark on the selvedge to light in the middle, or vice versa.

Analogous Colour Harmonies

I use analogous colour harmonies more than anything else in my weaving. They are the colours right next door to each other on the colour wheel.

Analogous colours flow into one another. Gaia uses them all the time: just start looking at flowers!

Some colour systems include four colours from the wheel in a row, others three. Personally, I think you can use as many as you want to create your own personal rainbow. If you are working directionally around the colour wheel, you can never go wrong.

Analogous colour harmonies are the perfect place to start if you are unsure about using colour. Then you can add gradations of light and dark.

Complementary Colours

Colours that are right across the colour wheel from each other are called complementary colours, or complements.

Complements for Zingers and Accents

Complements make great zingers and accents.

When deciding how you want your complementary colours to interact, keep in mind that colour plus its complement (in theory, anyway) gives you a muddied look. For example, if you use one colour for your warp and its complement for your weft, the resulting piece can be very muted, possibly more than you expect.

If you want that big contrast, keep blocks of complementary colours larger in both the warp and the weft, so that the eye does not blend them into gray.

Our plaid sample is a great example of this. We have big red squares and big green squares. Where they weave on each other, they look muddy. But because our eye is drawn to the solid square of each colour, we don’t even notice the muddy areas.

Split Complements for Pairing

For a split complement, we first identify the true complement of a colour. Then we select the colours on either side of it to pair with the original colour. For example, the true complement of green is red.


To find the split complement, we look at the colours on either side of red.

If you are looking at one colour family and want to find some nice pairings, split complements always work. They make great zingers, too. Start looking for split complements in nature and you’ll start seeing them everywhere.



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