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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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Jane Stafford School of Weaving

Choose to watch any of the videos from any of our 5 seasons,
so much to choose from and for weavers of all levels!

Season 1 – Foundation
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
Season 2 – Colour & Design
asymmetry, division of space, colour and more colour, Colour & Weave, Fibonacci designs, stripes, plaids, muted colour gamps, primaries & secondaries colours plus basket weaving
Season 3 – Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave
denting, cramming & denting, Log Cabin, weft-faced, warp-faced, simple collapse, double width double layers, supplementary warp, plain weave with supplementary warp & weft
Season 4 – Twills on 4
simple twill, weaving small & large threadings, Point Twill, Colour & Weave with Twill, Basket Weave & Twill, Shadow Weave, weft-faced Twills plus Fiberworks PCW
Season 5 – Laces
Canvas Weave, Huck, Huck with Colour & Weave, Bronson Spot, plus Turned Twill and still to come – Bronson Lace & Blended Laces

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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.


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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