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November Blog, Weaver Spotlight!

It is such a pleasure to shine the spotlight on Barbara Mitchell this month.I have known Barbara for many years and have always been blown away with how she takes an idea and runs wild with it. Her weaving is a journey of discovery, she is a master of same, same but different, overlay, overlay, overlay, pushing the boundaries of all she weaves. Thank you Barbara for sharing your thoughts 🙂

xo Jane

My name is Barbara Mitchell, and I have been weaving continuously for more than 30 years. Some years more than others as my life circumstances changed from being a stay-at-home mother with three pre-schoolers, through working full time, moving several times across Canada, and now living happily in retirement from outside work. Guilds have always been a big part of my creative journey, so it was a no-brainer to join Jane’s Online Guild, particularly since many of my local home guilds are also participating and we can share our creative experiences, and support and celebrate each other. 

I have been blessed with boundless curiosity, layered with a mathematical/scientific approach of investigation, and a pragmatic determination to create items that are both beautiful and useful. Like Jane, my weaving journey follows a path of planning, weaving, finishing and reflection.   

It is the reflection phase that spurs my curiosity on to the question “What if . . ., what if . . ., what if . . ?” and the scientific approach that says, “Keep the constants and change one variable, now change another variable, and so on” building on top of the known and venturing into the unknown. 

I love this season of the JST Online Guild “Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave” and it led me to work on a series I call “Pushing it Further”.

After completing the given exercise in Episode 1: Denting, I thought, “what else can I do?”  What if I created two layers of denting, where the open areas on one layer, are layered over the woven areas of the second layer, and vice-versa? No empty dents in the reed, but the warp threads of one layer sitting in the empty dent space of the other layer?

My first sample with Bambu 12, put a dark layer over a light layer, sett to an open 20 ends per inch. It was a disaster great learning experience: the warps just floated out into the open areas, and it looked like a poorly sett piece of cloth, with very little structure. I also felt like the contrast between the light side and the dark side was too stark. I also realized that the only thing holding the two layers together were the crossed threads at the selvedges, and the floats over the open dents of the edge layers contributed to the lack of structure in the cloth.

Learning from this I made my next piece using Zephyr wool/silk, sett at 20 ends per inch. I still put the woven cells of one layer above the open dents of the second layer. I also interlaced the layers, bringing first one layer to the top and then the second layer to the top to add structural integrity, and offset the layers by letting one layer start on its own for the first block, double layers across the rest of the warp finishing with the second layer on its own at the opposite selvedge. This produced a wonderfully squishy ribbed-like fabric when finished, very light and airy.

Finally, I opened up the fabric to sley 10 dents of warp for layer 1, leave 10 dents open, sley 10 dents of layer 2, 10 dents open and so on across the warp. Woven as interlaced layers, leaving open spaces in the weft, and fulling well in the finishing. The result is a beautifully open lacey scarf.

For Episode 3: Log Cabin, the nice, square grids prompted me to add little huck lace squares inside the white squares in the centre of the towel. I love how the warp and weft floats of the huck lace echo the horizontal and vertical lines of the log cabin. Squares layered on squares, inside the log cabin frame.

Then I thought, what if I could isolate the log cabin cells, so that they look as if they are not attached to the selvedges, but seem to float in the centre of the cloth? And what if these cells could be side by side, but act independently of each other? Then I layered in another element, supplementary warps threads from Episode 8, which gave me this:

So, why would an experienced weaver choose to follow the videos and exercises in JST Online Guild? 

  • Because as I watch the videos and try out the projects, I learn something new or I am reminded of something I used to know, or I see a different way to do something that I just have to try!
  • Because Jane’s enthusiasm is so contagious!
  • Because it gives me the perfect platform to spark creativity and challenge myself. It takes me from the known to the unknown, and pushes me to become a better weaver.

As I write down my “What if” questions in my idea journal, I have a frame of reference to continue to plan, weave, finish and reflect.

You can read more about Barbara’s weaving on her website!
https://spinweaverbarbara.com/

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October 31st Newsletter

It’s Kitsmas Time!

Handwoven gifts are GREAT gifts! There is still time to weave lovely, personal items for the special people on your list this holiday season. Here at JST, we make this easy for you with our selection of beautiful kits. Whether it is a beautiful and useful tea towel, cosy scarf or a stunning mohair blanket, there is something here for everyone on your list!

Wishlists

Wishlists are the perfect way to let your loved ones know how they can support you in your craft this holiday season. The fun part of these lists is that you can also ‘share’ them on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter as well as email them to your favourite people. Simply go to your JST account to start creating your wishlist!

E-Gifts

Not sure on what to add to your Wishlist? How about a JST E-Gift, this way you can pick your own gift!

Wanting to get a friend an E-Gift? Choose your $ amount and we’ll send it off for you in an email addressed to them or you can print it out to give yourself! 

Stocking Stuffers

Here are some great stocking stuffers! And yes, with a very large stocking, that umbrella swift will fit! And don’t forgot about those little wee ones in your life that has been watching you weave, this is a perfect time to introduce them to your world of weaving with one of our Purl & Loop looms! 

Need to fill your own Christmas Stocking? Add them to your Wishlist and share!

Shuttles
C$72.00 – $85.00

Heddle/Reed Sley Hook
C$19.95

Leclerc Swift
C$103.00

Double Ended Electric Bobbin Winder C$295.90

Fringe Twisters
C$18.00 – $26.00

Purl & Loop Looms
C$36.00 – $61.00 

Here to help

You can always find us on the Jane Stafford Online Guild Forum or on Weave with Jane Stafford at Ravelry.

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October Blog, Weaver Spotlight!

This month we shine the Weavers Spotlight on Sharon Broadley! Sharon has taken the ideas from last episode, Season 3 Episode 8 (Simple Supplementary) and overlaid them on all she learned in Season 2’s Colour and Design. Her exploration netted her 7 amazing scarves woven on 2 warps.

It is truly amazing to see where our members have taken the online lessons and created their own designs.

I am so happy to share her beautiful work with you. 

Enjoy reading Sharon’s blog!

I got my first loom along with some ‘how to weave’ books 25 years ago and completed Level 1 of the Canadian Guild of Weavers Master Weave Certificate. I was largely self-taught until moving back to Victoria in 2008. Since then I have taken many workshops through my local Guild, at Maiwa (Vancouver) and with Jane Stafford. Recently, I’ve even had the pleasure of graduating to Jane’s assistant in a couple of her workshops.

I love everything about weaving. If I have to pick just one thing, it is colour interaction. I am fascinated with the way seemingly clashing colours often make the best palettes. Currently I spend most of my weaving time working in plain weave and playing with colour. I like the rhythm of weaving this simple weave structure but I also like that it can be made to look more complicated with a few warp and weft ends added in strategic places or by mixing a number of different fibres together.

Kitchen towels are my go-to project: they provide an excellent canvas for experimentation and in the end they still dry the dishes even if they don’t turn out quite as expected. 

You can find me on Instagram @colour.woven

Using the colours from the Muted Colour Gamp on Natural Ground from Season 2 – Episode 8, I used 16/2 cotton with 7 gauge Bambu for the supplementary warps sett at 20 epi, I experimented with supplementary ups and downs as per Jane’s lesson.

At the same time I wove square in places and wove with various striping sequences in other spots. 

Sometimes my design ‘decisions’ are based upon the fact that my bobbin ran out and I was too lazy to wind another, so just grabbed a bobbin with a different colour from nearby. Having said that, I most often use the Fibonacci numbers. I hemstitched on loom and twisted fringes before washing.

For my second set of scarves, I had just made some towels that reminded me of licorice all-sorts and I really liked the hot pink and orange combo with the tiny black and white stripes; I added apricot for the third main colour.

I made this set of scarves a little wider in the reed and spaced the supplementary warps further apart using watermelon and cerise 7 gauge Bambu.

After I wove 2 scarves in varying striping sequences, I changed out the supps for some fancy ribbon yarn I’d bought on a trip to Linton Tweeds in Carlisle, UK.  
This is a mill that weaves fabric for many couture designers, including Chanel, so it is entirely possible that this ribbon once appeared in one of Chanel’s creations.

I used the ribbon warp in a few spots as weft and I love the way the ribbon-y bits got caught in between the wefts and formed teeny tiny loops. 

After I’d woven for 20 inches or so, I was worried that the ribbon yarn might be getting too loose and I was also concerned that the ribbon warp might run out before I got the length woven. So several times I got off my bench, went to the back of the loom and gently pulled on the groups of ribbon supps to stretch them out just a bit.  Afterwards I noticed that there was one spot where I might have pulled a little too hard as it seems tighter than the rest of the scarf…but ultimately I don’t think it detracts from the weaving.

I usually weave the first scarf on the warp using the same colours as the warp, but after that anything goes. Many times, as I’ve been weaving, I think oh-oh I’ve gone too far this time but by the time the scarf has been washed and pressed, what looked potentially ugly or just plain wrong on the loom, ends up being my favourite.

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October 17th, 2019 Newsletter

Charlie’s Scarf

This month we’re giving away a free pattern, Charlie’s Scarf! 

This beautiful scarf was designed by our very own Charlotte Holmes. It is a simple two stripe design with log cabin patterning, half the warp is threaded dark/light, and the other half light/dark. You can play with your stripes however you want.

You’ll need two skeins of Tussah silk for this pattern. We used one skein of natural Tussah and one skein of chocolate cherry for our scarf. Or, if you want to choose your own colour way, click on this link for your colour palette. Print your free pattern here.

Warping up is fast and easy because you get to warp with two ends in your hand.

Majestic Maple Limited Edition Colourway

When I saw the maple helicopters twirling in the wind, it inspired me to create this Majestic Maple Colourway for Fall. Imagine a beautiful scarf or shawl wrapped around you in these stunning JST hand dyed colours!
 20/2 Tussah Silk 1100 yds/skein. (5000 yds/lb.)

It’s the Little Things

Floating Selvedges & How to Add One

A Few Favourite Fall Kits

Mother Nature gives us a splendour of colour at this time of year. We’ve put together a few of our favourite Fall kits with patterns for you! Wrap yourself in a cozy, warm Mohair Blanklet or our Canvas Weave Baby Blankie for that special little one. Decorate your kitchen in splashes of autumn colours or treat yourself to a drapey Pucker Up Scarf during these cooler days!

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September Blog Weaver Spotlight!

We are so happy to share some of the beautiful work of our Online Guild members.

It is truly amazing to see where they have taken the online lessons, how they have adapted them to suit themselves and their technique. When members have the courage to change my drafts, change the colour, change anything they want… it fills my heart to overflowing.  When I see these posts on the Forum and Ravelry I know why I love my job so much and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop teaching.

So…..it is with great pleasure that I share some of the beautiful work from one or our Online Guild members.  This month we bring you Clare!

My name is Clare Cunningham (diveblue on Ravelry) and I have been a member of the guild since the first season when a friend suggested I have a look. I had started weaving a year or two before and had a couple of floor loom classes under my belt. From the beginning, I loved the pace of learning with the videos. It was also nice to get a fresh viewpoint in that first season on the mechanics of weaving. Jane’s aesthetic appealed to me from the get-go. I am a graphic designer and her clean, graphic sensibility and fearless use of color were very appealing to me.

I came to weaving by way of being an avid knitter. I loved the idea of using up my stash which had tipped the scales to the “more yarn than one can knit up in a lifetime” side. I also found the processes to be very similar. There is a catharsis to all that counting, threading, and sleying. I was once told that knitters have to be somewhat OCD and that is probably also true of weavers! I love all stages of the process, including the design work, and rarely follow a commercial draft.

I wanted to remain true to the workshop drafts and follow them to the letter, but I’ve made a few tweaks along the way, mainly for ease in winding and warping. I like to hold two threads in my hand which I find easier to keep straight in the cross when peeling threads off the lease sticks and I also like to begin and end at the same point on the board so I always hold a minimum of two threads in my hand and keep the numbers in the draft to multiples of four. I therefore have to round up or down any odd number instructions in the draft. Not very Fibonacci-esque at times but I try to keep the proportions the same. 

In the first project, the Asymmetry draft, I swapped out the red for a deep pink which was readily available in my stash, a color I knew would work well with the greys. In planning the subsequent pieces for this project I tried to make my weaving “deliberate” and have a finished piece in mind. In the past I have tended to weave to a firm plan as far as the warp and structure goes, and would then get bored, changing up the weft as I went along. I’m finding that the more intentional a project is the more I like it. I make an effort now to dial back on the randomness. This towel is woven as written: 8/2 in warp and weft and a sett of 18. 

The second piece was inspired by Swedish weaving that I had been looking at. I made use of repetitive sequences, something I keep in mind regularly these days. I find the pieces that have an asymmetry and appear to be random hold together much better with some repetition— either in the pattern of the weft or in a color turning up again later, if only briefly. It is the 8/2 cotton warp with 8/4 Maysville cotton rug warp as weft. The sett was opened up to 15 and it makes for a very thirsty bath towel. 

Below is the preliminary sketch that I “poured the detail” into. It is a division of space in 5s.

In the last piece I opened the sett up to 12 with the 8/2 cotton as both warp and weft. It is very gossamer and light as air. I tried some sampling at this sett and had great success with Zephyr Jaggerspun.

The Color and Weave sample colors were chosen from a distant memory — a woman’s outfit I saw on the street as a child. I have loved them since. Chartreuse, to my mind, is a neutral and goes with anything.

I greatly admired Jane’s shawl with the beautiful drape from the first season and I was trying to come close to its fluidity. The piece is sett at 15. The warp and the crepey green stripes in the weft are in 8/2 cotton. The rest of the weft is 5/2 bamboo. The cotton stripes shrank differently to the bamboo and look like seersucker. The bamboo was a success in achieving the drape I was after. 

I used the full draft and have to confess that I struggled with holding multiple warp threads in my hand. I had wound off a number of balls and they didn’t play well with one another! The final outcome was worth the warping struggles. The patterns are magical as they appear.

I had a great deal of fun with Parrot and loved the color play. I was missing one of the pinks and swapped it out for another blue. As I started to weave it was the colors created by the weft on top of the warp that really caught my interest. The layers of transparency added depth and the more complex and murkier the color the better. In this piece I especially like the brown, earthy tones created by those overlapping colors. 

I thought about Fibonacci numbers with all the divisions of space in the weft. This piece reminds me of the spaces on a Parcheesi board!

I had a Piet Mondrian grid in mind when I started this piece. I focused on “making squares” and planned for a pure color square of each of the warp colors as I approached from either side by using the clasped weft technique. The only color that could not be reached was the red square in the center so in this instance I used the inlay technique described by Jane in the episode. 

My favorite piece from this series is an overlay of the asymmetry sample from lesson one. There is so much saturated color in this warp that a white “zinger” seemed like the best choice. 

I find that my biggest successes are the pieces in which I’ve pushed myself to go outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes I get an idea and immediately dismiss it as being a little too “out there.” I challenge myself to follow through with these because these are the pieces that often end up being the most successful, and if not, give me the most satisfaction by way of the effort. Jane has given me the courage to take that leap!

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Weavers of Sabahar Part 4 – Heddle Fundraiser, Please Help :)

Welcome back to the last of 4 posts about the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers of Sabahar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

If you have been following this story in previous posts, you are no doubt amazed at the cloth that comes from the looms at Sabahar. So much love and labour goes into every inch of fabric and I feel so blessed to be able to work with these artisans and help in any possible way.

The bulk of Sabahar’s business comes from international buyers outside of Ethiopia who support members of the World Fair Trade Organization of which Sabahar is a member. Kathy has a small marketing team who go to WFTO trade shows to exhibit Sabahar’s fabrics and get orders.  

While planning for my March visit Kathy asked me to help her set up a Research and Development Team with 3 of her weavers. The goal was to develop some criteria around the design process that would encourage new ideas, develop creativity and solve problems with the resources at hand.  

For someone like me who loves to sample and loves the question “what if”….. it was the perfect job. 

Our first job was to define what a R&D department does.  I explained that is pushes limits, looks for new ideas, it assumes very little and tries everything it can think of.

We started by sampling with their staple warp yarn, 40/2 cotton grown and spun in Ethiopia. My question was …”what can we do with one yarn, plain weave and a reed”.  Colour was not a problem because of those wonderful dyers you’ve met in previous posts.

Beliefs around what can be done with one single yarn are the same in Ethiopia as they are in other parts of the world.
A yarn is sett at such and such ends per inch or cm and with small variations and there they live. It was time to challenge those assumptions.

I arrived in Ethiopia armed with samples. We put our first test warp on the Jane Loom that Louet had provided to them a few years back on my first trip. We wove, resleyed, wove some more and resleyed. We used different wefts and combinations of wefts, cotton with some recently acquired wool and linen, cotton with handspun cotton and handspun silk weft, singles, doubles, triples, changed the sett again, tried clasped weft and….we learned a lot.

We washed everything, played with water temperature, gentle swish, big squoosh, hard wash, and we learned a lot.

And at the end of this first warp we had 14 different samples and everyone, including myself, learned a lot.

Kathy had a request from a buyer for linen fabric. Linen is not grown in Ethiopia but she was able to obtain several weights from a mill in India. The weavers were having a lot of difficulty working with this new yarn. It was sticky, abrading in the heddles (remember those heddles do not have an eye) and it took so long to weave. Thanks goodness there are tricks that can be learned about weaving linen and good warping techniques that are vital for its success.

The first thing we did was change the way the warp was made using only 2 ends at a time. You can see the linen cones on the steps, they travel up to a reed hung from a tree and down to the warper. No cones tipping over with this method 🙂

Degu chaining a very long and perfectly wound linen warp.

The next thing we did was open up the sett of the linen so the warp wasn’t so dense coming through eyeless heddles! The abrasion was greatly reduced and this meant that we had one very happy weaver who wove the entire warp off in two days. Fewer ends per inch, fewer picks per inch, no sticking, less abrasion…happy happy.

Our next challenge was trying to create a heavy fabric with that 40/2 cotton. We couldn’t make the cotton fatter no matter how much we fed it…so we used multiple ends as one. Another way to get a thicker fabric is to use a weave structure with a longer float. We decided to have a crack at twill.

There are always challenges, like how to turn a traditional 2 harness loom into a 4 harness loom. Kathy had asked me to bring some texsolv heddles from Canada so that is where we started. Texsolv heddles have eyes….yes….wonderful, easy to thread eyes!

We finally got everything on and the warp threaded but, we were having a heck of time getting everything balanced.

Then creativity shone its face upon us! Someone came up with the idea of using wide elastic, like the kind that hold up your undies. These elastic bands were all the same length, had the same stretch, and worked like a hot damn managing our harnesses.
So funny 🙂

Oh yeah baby, we did it 🙂

We treated 8 ends of 40/2 cotton as one end, threaded it to an alternating extended point twill (Goose Eye) then played and played. I know how to count to 4 in Amharic so I sat beside Ermais and counted out 1 und, 2 ulet, 3 zost, 4 aret for the threading and when he treadled, it became, und/ulet, ulet/zost, zost/aret, und/aret. Going backwards was a little harder but they were so patient with me and we laughed a lot when I blew it.

After we played with twill, I suggested we try other techniques on this warp. Heck, why not try denting and clasped weft..we had tried that on our first warp and it was pretty cool.

On our last day together, Ermais, Anteneh and Ayele presented our sampling to the greater body of weavers at Sabahar. They were so empowered as they shared what they had learned with their fellow weavers. These weavers will then share with the outside weavers and the learning will continue to seep beyond.

Below is Kathy Marshall, the founder and owner of Sabahar with Degu, the Weaving Production Manager.

Kathy started all of this 16 years ago in her kitchen with a basket of Eri silk worms and a dream. A dream filled with hope to make a difference in Ethiopia. She now employs over 100 artisans working at Sabahar 1 & 2 with weavers, spinners, dyers and finishers in addition to over 100 families working outside of Sabahar raising Eri silk worms, weaving and spinning. When I think of all she does every single day, I am truly overwhelmed.

The Texsolv heddles I brought made such a difference to the weavers who had them installed on their looms…however, there was only enough for 3 looms.  

It would be GREAT if all the weavers at Sabahar and the outside weavers could have texsolv heddles and guess what… We can help with that! JST has created a category on our website where you can purchase HEDDLES FOR SABAHAR. 100% of your purchase will be sent to Texsolv in Sweden so that they can supply the weavers at Sabahar with new heddles. Small gestures of many create great feats!

I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts. If life goes as planned, I will return to Sabahar again next year and share more stories with you 🙂

Love Jane

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August 2019 Newsletter

Happy August Kids!

We are enjoying such a gentle summer here on Salt Spring…not too hot, we’ve even had some rain and we are surrounded by flowers. This summer I set myself a goal to practice my photography skills and my focus is flowers. Some gals might like flowers and wine but I like flowers and silk. I gave myself a flower budget and started visiting all the different farms on the island that grow great flowers. Gaia has always been my greatest source of inspiration and she has had me jumping with joy the past few weeks. Sweet Peas and Buddleia with Old Man’s Beard, Natural, Princess Pamuk and Margaretta Violetta 🙂

Tide Pool Silk Colour Way

Flowers are not the only thing I’ve been looking at. Tide Pool is a limited colour way that found its way out of our dye pots last month for the ANWG Conference in Prince George. We have 2 sets left in 30/2 silk. It was so beautiful that we have recreated it in Tussah with 3 colours….oh my, oh my, oh my….we have 5 sets of the 20/2 Tussah and we’ve called it Low Tide.

Bolero Boucle Blanket Kits

This is it! The last bit of inventory in our soft & cuddly Bolero Blanket Kits, never to be made again! These really are the most amazing blankies I have ever made but our bolero yarn has been discontinued by our supplier 🙁

Limited stock of Yarns to Dye For!

Last year I thought about adding these exquisite yarns to our hand dyed silks and our fine linen line but we can barely keep up with our regular dying so I got Grant to wind the big cones down into 100 gram cones so I could share them with a few of you. If you really like them we will make them part of our regular inventory in natural.

A Little House Cleaning

We accidentally ordered 20 cones of 16/2 Venne organic cotton in the colour Anemoon. We currently do not stock this yarn so if anyone out there is looking for a exquisite fine organic cotton here you go. Someday we will stock all these yarns but we have to make room.  You know how it is 🙂

JST Master Sett Chart

Jane’s Master Sett Chart has been revised. We’ve added a few more yarns and more options. It encompasses more than 40 years of weaving experience, trial & error and extensive sampling with many of our yarns. This chart is an invaluable treasure trove of weaving advice. You can download your free copy right here!

It’s The Little Things

Egads I have a knot in my warp! No worries, we’ll show you how you can fix it on the loom! You can also use this technique for a weft skip.

We love to hear from you!

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July 2019 Newsletter

Summer is definitely here on Salt Spring. We are starting to harvest a bit of the garden. I say a ‘bit’ because we have been sharing the biggest part of it with the deer. These deer have been training for the Olympic high jump. I was able to grab this beautiful cabbage before they got it and they apparently don’t like zucchini. The tomatoes and basil are on the front deck and they can only access that through the dining room….ha ha…we’ll have lots of tomatoes and basil. Mind you, we better not leave the back door open. 🙂

50 Best Summer Songs of All Time That You Should Listen To – Time Out

Travelling Looms!

We have 2 Louet Erica 30 just waiting to be taken on a trip this Summer. We’ve reduced the price hoping they can travel along with you! Erica is a sweet little loom with a large shed of 4.5 cm (1 ¾”), built in raddle, comes with a 10 dent stainless steel reed and weighs 7.7lb (3.5 kg) at 2 shafts. She’s super compact and easy to use!

Planning on sampling this Summer? Check out our lovely wee Purl & Loop looms that are perfect for using up some of your stash. They won’t take up much space in your luggage!

Minute Weaver is for the absolute beginner! A teeny micro mini loom that is designed to self teach the very basics of weaving in 30 minutes or less. It is teeny tiny and super quick. The results are micro 2” squares that can be stitched together for a larger project. Might be considered a shot glass or demitasse coaster. 

Wee Weaver is designed to demonstrate the basics of weaving in less than two hours when using a dk, worsted or bulky weight yarn. Each loom comes with a colour photo instruction pamphlet, a wooden tapestry needle, small metal tapestry needle, a wooden comb and a pick up stick that all store in a little reusable cotton carrying bag. How great is that!

Stash Blaster 8 EPI is the next step up from the Wee Weaver. It is very similar to the original loom except there are 8 slots per inch for the warp. This lightweight loom is made of 1/8″ birch wood. The loom measures approximately 6″ x 7 1/2″ with a work area of 5″ x 6 1/4″. 

Stash Blaster Placemat The largest of all Purl & Loops looms is the Placemat loom. The grooves are cut at 4 EPI so you can make thick absorbent placemats with this puppy. With this open sett, you could weave mini rag rug placemats or use it for tapestry technique. The loom itself is 18 x 13 and will give you a finished project approx. 16 x 12. 

Swatch Maker 3 in 1 The most versatile of all the little Purl & Loop looms is the 3-in-1. It offers 3 different ends per inch 8, 10 and 12 all from one single portable loom. It has a handy little ruler along one side and comes with a wooden tapestry needle, metal tapestry needle and a threading needle that all store in a reusable cotton carrying bag. 

Huckleberry Waffle Kit has been restocked!

We’ve replenish the Huckleberry Waffle Kits with our favourite GOTS certified organic cotton from Venne in Holland with our 2 colour ways, Spring & Fall. Each kit comes with 8 cones of organic cotton to weave 9 towels! It also includes Jane’s design process and all the tie-ups and treadling sequences to create some pretty wonderful patterning.

Summertime Weaving Projects

JST Cotton Boucle Tea Towel Kits are a fun and quick weaving project to put on the loom with these summer colours Summer Sea & Delphinium. Each kit inclues 5 cones of cotton boucle to weave 6 beautiful & absorbent towels in Plain Weave. Pattern included!

It’s The Little Things

This month’s installment of ‘It’s The Little Things‘ Jane demonstrates how to count your warp threads at the cross. Easy peasy!

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Sabahar Part 3: The Weavers

Whenever I get home from India or Ethiopia I struggle to stay in the other place for as long as I can. I want to savour every minute of my time away but alas I get sucked back into my other world with all its demands and all my good intentions get put on the back burner. One of the wonderful things about working with Sabahar is that even when I’m not there, I stay in touch with Kathy weekly and that makes me think I’m still there 🙂

So here we go with the 3rd of 4 posts about the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers of Sabahar.  

Sabahar now has 2 weaving studios where 30 weavers work 5 days a week along with another 65  weavers who weave from their homes close by.  

Sabahar 1 is a bright busy studio that hums with the sounds of shuttles and beaters and produces 100’s of metres of handwoven cloth each week.

These are a modern version of a traditional Ethiopian style loom. The 2 harnesses are suspended from a metal frame
And the warps sit on the floor in their bundles.
Several yards of the warp are released from the big warp bundle where it travels around a post at the end of the loom approximately 7 feet away from where the harnesses and reed hang.
After it turns the post it is attached to the previous warp behind the heddles.
There is no tension device other than a hole in the end of the cloth beam and final tensioning is done by tightening the warp around a post.
The weavers weave as far as they can possibly reach by pushing the harnesses back on the frame above. The treadles are attached from the harnesses and they can be kicked back as well. It really helps to be tall working at these looms.
The warps are tied on to existing warps behind the heddles and pulled through. Well…they actually aren’t tied, they are plied.
This leaves a join rather than a knot.
This is the easiest way to thread the looms because they do not have heddle eyes like we do

The harnesses are purchased from the heddle maker who makes the harnesses for all the weavers in the area. When you think about how fine all the warp threads are…nothing heavier than 20/2 cotton…it really is awe inspiring to watch.

The other style of loom looks much more like our looms. A traditional frame with back beam and tensioning device. There are 4 of them fitted with makeshift flying shuttles. These looms are saved for all the wider fabrics like blankets and table cloths.

Some of the weavers work from home. Just like us, they give up space within their homes 🙂 Their looms are constructed with spare timber and are extremely simple.

The fabrics that are woven on these looms are extraordinary!

The pride of the weavers is so evident. I can’t find the words necessary to express my admiration and respect for all their achieve.

In this studio, warps criss cross through each other with a jumble of cords hanging from the ceiling. All very orderly 🙂

In another small home the looms are part of the furniture.

Sabahar 2 was created in an effort to provide some of these weavers with another option. Kathy has rented a house in a newer area that is close to the existing weavers. Here they can come to work in a bright, clean and spacious working environment with running water. This space eliminates some of the stress for the weavers working and living in such small quarters.

They have new looms and lots of bright light. A few of the looms are 4 shafts and they have more treadles 🙂

Both the weavers and winders are so happy.

I hope to finish my final post in a few weeks. It will be a summary of my time at Sabahar this past March and goals for the future.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Jane

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June 2019 Newsletter

Huckleberry Waffle

Have you ever made a warp that seems to get the better of you? It seems like an awesome idea when it is an idea, but then it makes its way to the loom and you stand there saying….what was I thinking?

It all started with The Harvest Splendour Tea Towel Kit from last fall. It is a 3 stripe design with 2 side sections threaded with alternating curry and brass from our organic 8/2 cotton collection with a centre of lovely stripes in reds, plum and burnt orange. While I wove those towels I got so excited about the colour and weave patterns that popped out in the side sections. My next warp was an entire warp of alternating brass and curry from selvedge to selvedge….wow….what a lot of brass and curry! I tried to love it but it was too much.

After a couple of weeks of doing nothing I added a few zinger stripes of plum, but it still seemed wrong. Around the same time my friend Sharon was weaving waffle weave. She had woven an entire yardage for a bathrobe. It looked great so I went home and rethreaded my loom to a waffle threading and started to play with all kinds of sequences and different treadlings and tie-ups, it was just what this warp needed…some texture to go along with the colour.

Three towels later I noticed that I was running out of warp….how that happened is beyond me….I never make short warps. I was just getting in the zone and it was over….so I made it again playing with different colours and another 8 yards later I had 9 new towels…each one different, using repetitive sequences in Waffle, Plain Weave, Twill and Huck all on one threading.

I have written the pattern describing the design process and it includes all the tie-ups and treadling sequences to create some pretty wonderful patterning. They are all woven in organic 8/2 cotton which was so fitting as I wove them over the Easter weekend and it was Earth Day.

We love Venne’s GOTS Organic yarns, here’s more kits!

It’s The Little Things

We’ve had weavers ask us how to read a draft so we’ve made a little video explaining the basics and the different types of drafts you might come across.

ANWG Conference 2019 – Prince George, B.C.

JST is coming to ANWG with armfuls of silks! We’ll have a booth in the Market Hall, come by and say hello. Market Hall will be open from Thursday June 13th to Saturday June 15th. 

JST Online Guild members’ meet-up is on Saturday the 15th at 12:30pm. We’ll meet at the Prince George Civic Centre’s outdoor Plaza. Grab a lunch and come meet Jane and fellow guild members. Everyone is welcome!

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