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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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