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November 30th, 2021 newsletter

JST Wishlist

If all you want for Christmas is “stuff” for your weaving obsession and your family knows…then we understand and have you covered 😉

Make your own Wishlist on our website and share it!


A few of our Favourite Things

Stocking stuffers!


Mary’s Tunic

I was blown away when I saw what Mary had done with the Canvas Weave sample this year. The story behind it touched my heart. We asked Mary if she would be willing to write a blog post about her weaving journey and the tunic she wove after her husband asked her the simple question “What are you going to make with it?”. Read her interesting and touching story below.
Jane
 My first experience of weaving took place when I was given a small Spears weaving loom for my 10th birthday.  I loved that little loom and seem to recall weaving a variety of striped, wavy edged samples on it in the bright, primary coloured acrylic yarns that came with the loom. Fast forward many decades (more than I care to remember) and I’m once again weaving lots of samples but now they are rather more sophisticated, less irregular, and the yarns are usually made from natural fibres.

Spear weaving Loom

I started spinning about 18 years ago and weaving seemed a natural progression. At the time there were very few weavers in the guild to which I then belonged so I set about teaching myself to weave using every resource I could find; books, magazines, videos and YouTube. I actually spent far more time reading weaving books and studying pattern drafts than reading novels. Then a few years ago a fellow weaver, Ian, told me about the JST online guild and I joined that same day. It was the start of Season 2 Plain Weave and now 4 years on I am still following Jane’s classes and learning so much from her.

I was really pleased to discover that Season 5 was devoted to lace weave as it was a structure I had not previously explored. Here in the UK, it’s not always easy to source similar yarns to the ones Jane uses and I often find it quite a challenge to find suitable substitutes. For lesson 2 on Canvas Weave though, I used yarns that I already had in my stash hoping they would give satisfactory results. The warp was a cotton and linen mix 28 wpi that I purchased on eBay some years ago and the other yarn I incorporated was pale blue Bockens linen yarn 30 wpi that I was given just before lockdown.

I warped up my Louet David loom with the suggested 6 yard warp at 16 epi and set about weaving the sampler as per Jane’s instructions, finding the labels attached to the treadles especially helpful when trying to ‘own the structure’ as Jane puts it.

I was delighted with the way the yarns were weaving up and loved the patterns that were emerging. The more I wove the more I felt that the fabric deserved to be more than just a sampler. The glimmer of an idea began to develop as I continued to weave the 20 samples, trying to square them up consistently. There was quite a lot of warp remaining which I used to create a length of ecru  plain weave throwing in random double picks throughout.

When I showed the finished fabric to my husband his immediate reaction was to ask what was I going to make with it. When told it was just a sampler his response confirmed my original thoughts entirely, it was crying out to become something more. Sadly this was the last piece of my weaving that my husband saw as he passed away shortly afterwards.

Some months later though on a miserable rainy day I decided it was the right time to put my idea into action rather than mope around the house. I had planned to make a tunic top from the sampler. First I took photos of all of the samples so I could refer back to them if need be.

Images of some of the samples

The pattern I used was a Butterick pattern 3383. It was one that was recommended in a Handwoven magazine some years ago as being ideal for using with handwoven fabric. It consists of just three very simple pieces with no darts or facings.

Normally when I am sewing with handwoven yardage I make a mock up first but there was no need on this occasion as I had made up this pattern twice before with some handwoven plain weave (Season 2) so I already knew what tweaks I needed to make to the sizing and neck line.

I carefully selected and cut two lengths of fabric from near the beginning of the sampler to form the centre panels of the front and back. I then cut the plain ecru strip in half lengthways. The selvedges of these strips were machined to either side of the centre panels so there was no need to over-lock the edges of the seams. The front and back pieces were cut out and immediately over-locked all round the edges before seaming them together. With the body made, I then set about the sleeves.

There was not sufficient width to cut out the sleeves along the length of the grain so they were cut out across its width, two pieces of fabric for each sleeve. I carefully positioned the pattern so that the dominant lines between the samples were similarly positioned on each of the sleeve caps as this is what the eye would go to. Likewise with the bottom half of each sleeve. The edges of all four pieces were over-locked to secure them before joining them together, the assembled sleeves were duly inserted and the armhole seams over-locked. The final step was to machine stitch all of the simple hems.  

I was delighted when, at the end of the day, I put the garment on a coat hanger and stood back to look at the final result. Everything had fitted together perfectly and I couldn’t really find much fault with it which, for me, is almost unheard of. I usually see something I’m not entirely happy with! I think I must have had a helping hand that day and I’m sure I heard a voice say “Well done kid”. Hardly a kid but it’s what my husband would have said to me.

Making this tunic has set me thinking about how I might use future samplers. I love sampling different weave structures but a lot of time, money (I often purchase yarn specially to produce the samplers) and love goes into making them and it always seems a shame to assign them to a box or drawer rarely to see the light of day again. It was really satisfying to produce something wearable from the sampler and I can still refer back to the patterns whenever I need to.

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We are pleased to offer free shipping on all Louet looms within Continental North America. We also offer the option to pay a $1000.00 CAD deposit on your loom with the balance due when the loom ships out to you. This allows the flexibility to make smaller payments towards your balance at your convenience.
With exciting advances made to both the Louet Spring Loom and the Louet David Loom,
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October 26th, 2021 newsletter

Weaving for Babies

I know some of you will already know why I love this blankie sooo much. My youngest son Daniel was given such a blankie when he was born, soft, luscious and always there to wrap him in love and warmth. He always wanted to know where ‘she’ was when he was little. (I was given permission to make this public knowledge :^). Blankie doesn’t look quite this good anymore but even though she’s been washed and thrown in the dryer about 10 million times, she’s hangin’ in there.

We thought it only fitting to put blankie into a pattern for other schnookums in our lives – especially now that I’m an absolutely delighted grandmother!

Canvas Weave Baby Blankie

Level of Difficulty: Beginner

Weave structure: 4 shaft canvas weave
Material: Monte Cristo cotton & 8/4 cotton
Each kit makes: 1 blanket

Loom requirements: Shafts: 4

Weaving Width: 35″

Reed: 12 dent

Each kit includes: Weaving instructions (including draft)
1 1lb cone of Monte Cristo cotton, 1 cone 8/4 cotton in nile, 1 cone 8/4 cotton in periwinkle

We can make this kit in any colour we have in stock! Check here to make sure we have your colour in stock then simply, put the Canvas Weave Baby Blanket kit into your cart, on the checkout screen in the “notes” section let us know what colours of 8/4 cotton you would like us to make the kit in.


Monte Cristo Baby Blankie

Level of Difficulty: Beginner

Weave structure: Plain Weave
Material: Monte Cristo cotton
Each kit makes: 1 blanket

Loom requirements:

Shafts: 4
Weaving Width: 35″
Reed: 8 dent

Each kit includes:

Weaving instructions (including draft)
1 1lb cone of Monte Cristo cotton


We are so lucky to have Sharon Broadley on our team of creators. She always shares her amazing talents so generously, sharing patterns with us for our ongoing Maiwa Foundation fundraising, weaving for our show and tells in the School of Weaving and this time an extremely special blog post. Sharon and I have both become first time Nana’s this year and as all you Nana’s out there know…..it is a very special moment in our lives. If only I could have done this for my little Freya…..but she knows she is loved and thank goodness I have time ahead to create some lovely things for her.
I know you will enjoy Sharon’s post 🙂

If you would like to see more of Sharon’s weaving, give her a follow on Instagram @colour.woven.


Grandma Sharon’s Weaving for Baby

Once upon a time, a weaver found out she was soon to be a grandma. So she did what all good grandma-to-be weavers would do: she dusted off her loom, pulled all her yarn out of the cupboard, boxes and (ahem) from under the bed and began to plan what her new grandchild might need.


A couple of cotton bouclé hooded bath towels in rubber ducky colours were woven just like a regular tea towel using 12epi/12ppi except they are about 40 inches square on the loom. An extra 12 inches was woven to create the triangular hooded part. A quick trip to the fabric store ensured that the handmade binding coordinated well. The corners were rounded using a bowl as a template so that none of the binding would need to be mitered.

This grandma-weaver also had some leftover waffle weave fabric and some hand printed Maiwa cotton which were shouting to be put together so a vintage pattern was found. And because this stuffie ended up much larger than remembered from when she’d been a sister-crafter over 50 years ago, she renamed it a Pillowpotamus.

And then when she was told that this new baby would be a girl baby, the grandma-weaver was over the moon because, as all this grandma’s friends know, pink is her favourite colour.


Huck lace woven 41 inches square with two thirds of the warp in baby pink 8/2 organic cotton and the other third in cream organic cotton, playing with these two colours for 2 blankets and adding some other stripes for the 3rd. The sett is 16epi/16ppi.

Plain weave towels in the colours requested by the mom; added light stone grey and pistachio to the pink and cream. Some of these blankets were hemstitched off the loom and some had machine sewn hems. These blankets have become the go-to blankets for all things baby: swaddling, covering, drying, draping…


After weaving some samples on a very long warp and (finally) getting bored, re-sleyed to a narrower sett and made a series of smaller weavings that were planned as samples to refer back to but then, being in grandma-weaver mode, decided to make the best baby wash/spit-up/whatever cloths. The sheep was supplied by the new mom.

Finally, this grandma-weaver wants to share this knitted sweater she made for her first born which will now be worn by her granddaughter. Four children in the family have worn it so far and because my sister carefully wrapped it in acid free paper almost 30 years ago it looks brand new.

Oh and they all lived happily ever after.  
The End.


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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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Weaving Architecture: Step 1 of the Design Process: Part 2

Our featured scarf was woven with 8/2 cotton & 20/2 Bombyx Silk
from Season 2 Episode 6 – Designing Plaids
which eventually branched out and moved into stripes 🙂

Hey Kids,

In our last newsletter I told you a bit about an experience that changed my life and sent me running down many paths of exploration. Each path has provided me with the skills of testing, comparison, observation and have given me a lot self confidence around decisions I make. Many of these paths have also enhanced my sense of humour. I’ve had many opportunities to laugh at myself and my choices but now I realize nothing is the end of world,…..it is all a joyful journey, missteps and all. You could say that a mistake isn’t a mistake…it is a success in a different direction:)

Sending you all tons of love,
Jane

Weaving Architecture: Step 1 of the Design Process: Part 2

The experience of spending 3 weeks weaving samples formed the basis of my design process. I break this process down into three main components, which I identify as Architecture, Graphic, and Colour. In today’s post, I’ll start with Architecture. When I think about the architecture of a piece of cloth, I liken it to the architecture of a building.

  • Buildings have good foundations; cloth has hemstitching or a straight header upon which to build.
  • Buildings have studs; cloth has warp threads.
  • Buildings have floors; cloth has weft threads.
  • Buildings have a strong beam structure for exterior walls; cloth has a selvedge.

I build a piece of cloth the way I imagine a carpenter builds a house. And I feel that the most important decision that I make—the very first decision I have to make, right at the outset—is what my ends per inch (epi) are going to be. Ninety percent of what I weave is balanced cloth, because I generally make simple items—scarves, stoles, towels, blankies—things that we can wrap ourselves in. Highly functional and useful. Now, all of these items need to have optimal drape. And what I know is that a 50/50 piece of cloth will have the best drape possible, because it will have perfect bias. (For any newbies out there, a 50/50 cloth has the same number of ends per inch and picks per inch.)

Next time we’ll dig into the magic of sett and how knowing the right sett you need, to get the cloth you want, will change your weaving life forever. For our visual learners, we’ll have photos of finished pieces which will give you a better idea of the many possibilities for your handwoven cloth.


Sea Foam & Pebbles New 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 and that combination sett at 12 EPI and woven at 12 PPI makes for a lovely drapey, textured towel.  Bouclé is such a treat to use in your kitchen or bathroom – nothing can beat it for practical use when you want softness and absorbency.

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. The beat was very light and I watched the negative space in the web more than I watched the actual fell line. I was looking for little squares at the interlacement points and that really helped. After the first few inches, my beat was bang on and these wove up very quickly.

Once washed, they fulled beautifully and have given my friend exactly what she wanted. The colours she chose reminded me of pebbles on the beach. It was so much fun to play with colour and repetitive sequencing in the weft. I thought I had made a 13 yard warp but it turns out it was only 10, so I just got 9 towels…but if you make it 13 yards, you’ll get 12! You’ll have plenty of yarn in your kit.

Sea Foam & Pebbles Kit
C$114.00


Bouclé Cotton

An amazing selection of 50 colours to choose from when you dream of creating your own soft and absorbent towels


Here to help!

You can always find us on the Jane Stafford School of Weaving Forum or on Weave with Jane Stafford at Ravelry.

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Weaving Architecture: Step One of the Design Process

Hi kids, I thought I would share a bit of my journey with you. It’s my story of how I learned and adopted design elements that enabled me to become a professional weaver and teacher. Each week we’ll go down a different path, starting pretty much at the beginning. Some of you may have read this series before – but it doesn’t hurt to revisit the basics of design, opening doors and giving you an aha moment. So – away we go down memory lane 😉

Part 1 into Weaving Architecture:

I’ve started every Colour and Design Workshop off by explaining to my students that there are hundreds of different ways to tackle the subject of design. Every designer has their own particular way of working, of organizing thoughts, and of bringing ideas to fruition.

All I can do, as a designer and a teacher, is to share my own system. It isn’t necessarily better than any other system. But it works for me, and it seems to provide my students with a good strong solid foundation around the process of designing.

I didn’t always work this way, early on there was a lot of hit and miss. But gradually, I paid attention to things that worked, I analyzed why they work, and I developed my system. I’m still refining it, and hopefully, I will be able to work on it until the day I die. I want to weave forever. I will never ever tire of making beautiful simple cloth.

We all have pivotal moments in our lives, and one such pivotal moment for me was having the opportunity to be the Teaching Assistant for Jack Lenor Larson at the Banff School of Fine Arts in 1984. Jack and Randall Darwall taught a course called “The Consummate Cloth.”

It turned out to be three weeks of doing nothing but studying sett and finishing our cloth. We wove everything mostly in white yarn and in 2 structures: plain weave and four-shaft twill. We sampled. And sampled. And sampled. And sampled. And over a three-week period, the 12 students attending created hundreds of samples striving for our teachers’ vision of “the consummate cloth.” Their criteria were simple⎼the end product had to have all of exceptional drape, hand, and bias. 

Next time I will share with you what I took away from that amazing experience – other than my commitment to sample, sample, sample 😉


Ocean Bouclé Towel Kit

You asked for it – we listened 😉

We’ve been asked for more design options in our Bouclé towel kits. The pattern that comes with all the Bouclé Towel Kits is just your jumping off point to create your own design. Each kit weaves 9 tea towels on a 4 shaft loom using a 12 dent reed. Weaving width requirement is 22″ wide.

Below you’ll find a more detailed approach to one version I did using the Ocean Kit … I have provided the exact warping sequence and treadling sequence I used in this set of towels. More to come in future newsletters.
There are 262 warp threads in each Bouclé Towel Kit…you can use this graphic with any of the kits.  Play with the colours in the kit 😀 All towels were woven 30” ish in plain weave. Some a little shorter, some a little longer. 

Warp Colour Sequence:
6 Royal
60 Pale Limette
4 Royal
38 Alternating Turquoise/Limette 
4 Royal
38 Alternating Limette/Turquoise
4 Royal
38 Alternating Turquoise/Limette
4 Royal
60 Peacock
6 Royal

2” Peacock (includes hem)
4 picks Royal
4 picks Peacock, alternating with 4 picks Pale Limette for the entire towel
I started each colour on opposite sides and let them scallop up the selvedge.
4 picks Royal 2” Peacock (includes hem)


2” Limette (includes hem)
3” Peacock
5” 3 picks Limette/1 pick Peacock
1” Peacock
2” 3 picks Limette/1 pick Peacock
1” Limette
1” Peacock
16” Pale Limette (includes hem)


4” Peacock (includes hem)
4 picks Royal
3” Turquoise
4 picks Royal
3” Alternating Turquoise/Limette
4 picks Royal
3” Limette
5 picks Royal
3” Alternating Turquoise/Limette
4 picks Royal
3” Turquoise
4 picks Royal
5” Pale Limette
4 picks Royal
4” Peacock (includes hem)



2” Royal (includes hem)
2” Peacock
4 picks Royal
20” Turquoise
5 picks  Royal
5” Limette
2” Royal (includes hem)


JST Cotton Boucle Tea Towel Kit
Colourways


Here to help

You can always find us on the School of Weaving Forum or on 
Weave with Jane Stafford at Ravelry

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May 2021 Update on Maiwa Foundation

& New Pay What you Want Tea Towel Pattern called “Inspiration from a Sari”

Maiwa Foundation logo

As the news spreads of the disastrous toll that Covid is having on India – we know that Maiwa needs our support even more. Please read this brief update by Charllotte Kwon – the founder of Maiwa.
Jane

The majority of the artisans that we work with have been able to live in their small village communities, following COVID-19 safe practices, and at the moment, they are well and are able to continue working at their particular craft. 

However, one of the groups has required crisis assistance – that is Jawaja, the leatherworkers and weavers.  All the money raised from Jane Stafford Textiles has been used to support this entire village.  The commercial branch of Maiwa, is finally in the position to donate $10,000 to the Maiwa Foundation.  

In Canada, when the pandemic first started, the Canadian government offered something called the “Canada Emergency Response Benefit” or CERB as we all call it. The Maiwa Foundation has been able to offer its own form of CERB to Jawaja – with a huge thanks to Jane and her weavers.  With lockdowns and restricted international travel, this group (The Artisans Alliance of Jawaja) could not sell their goods through their normal channels in India – via craft fairs, where their work is sold through craft alliances and in airport boutiques.  Maiwa has been unable to find ways to sell their work at the same rate we did before COVID-19.  The Maiwa Foundation stepped in and, for the first time in our history, provided funding for basic living expenses to an entire group of artisans.  We are actively looking for ways to turn this situation around and are hopefully optimistic that it can be done, but it will take more time.   We need to do what we can to help them keep this “CERB” funding in place for at least one more year. 

In addition, Maiwa has just started to fund the Jiwaja group and all the artisans we work with by paying for their two vaccine doses.  We realized that they were waiting for the free vaccines but because of caste, religion or status, they have not yet been made available to them. The Maiwa Foundation Vaccine Program is just starting but is being hugely appreciated.  

Inspiration From a Sari

The warp colours for the Inspiration From a Sari warp come straight out of the muted colour gamp from my Colour and Design workshop. When I presented that project to the Online Guild, I wove the bright saturated colours from a sample called Parrot on top. That took me straight to India where I had noticed that muted warps with brilliant wefts were extremely successful, and if you threw in peacock you get 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 🙂

All proceeds from this pattern will be donated to the Maiwa Foundation to support their work with artisans of Jiwaja in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can also purchase the Inspiration From a Sari Kit with the pattern draft and all the yarn you need to weave 12 towels!


More From Our
Maiwa Fundraiser

All proceeds from the Pay What You Want patterns will be donated directly to the Maiwa Foundation.

I also want to take a minute to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have already given.  JST was able to send another $10,000.00 to the Maiwa Foundation in April from the continued sales of these patterns and in particular our last pattern so generously designed and donated by Sharon Broadley. 
Please feel free to share this post with anyone you think might be interested in helping our dear artisan friends.  xoxo Jane
 

Mai-what-ta Lovely Towels & Scarf

Tea Towel Time With Jane

Stash Crackle Pop!

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JST Blog October Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids,

This month we’re shining the weaver’s spotlight on Rebecca Logan from Stony Plain, Alberta. Rebecca is a fabulous weaver, an animal lover extraordinaire and I love her for her gardening skills. I love how she takes the seeds I sow and grows an entirely different garden from each packet of weaving seeds 🙂
Yes, we sow weaving seeds at JST and the end result is why I love to share ideas….it is such a joy to watch gardens spring up all over the place. Important take away…..be inspired by things you see around you and then take those ideas and gently guide them to your happy place.

I hope you enjoy Rebecca’s take on Tea Towel Time with Jane….

Sending tons of love

Jane


When I saw Jane’s Tea Towel Time towels, I was immediately hooked. They were all so beautiful and colourful, and yet each was uniquely fascinating. I had to try them!  

Although Jane’s colour choice was gorgeous, I was feeling spicy at the time, and substituted hot colours for her cools, sticking with similar values.  Her black became my chocolate, the light bright green was substituted with cayenne, and the purple and peacock became merlot and magenta. 

I made a mistake while winding the warp chains, missing a few repeats of the four-end sequence, so then had to repeat the error with a later warp chain for symmetry.  

A run of twelve towels, each different, was like freedom at the loom. With each towel I could try something completely different, or play upon something I liked about an earlier towel. For example, I wove three towels with the same border sequence, one in straight draw twill, one in basketweave, and one in turned twill, just to be able to enjoy the subtle differences. 

Another favourite was what I called the wiggles. Jane wove them as point twill treadling, but I wanted them to be more wiggle than zigzag, so played about in my weaving software to find the correct rosepath treadling that gave me those desired wiggles. That towel was so much fun I wove it twice, with different weft colours.  

That towel was so much fun I wove it twice, with different weft colours.  

Everyone who sees the finished towels understands how much fun they must have been to weave, although that may be my gushing enthusiasm in talking about them. I know that such long warps (12 yards, as long as I could make) no longer intimidate me. Now I see them as an opportunity for play!  And maybe that was Jane’s intent – to encourage the freedom of playing at the loom.  

I was lucky enough to have five different in-person classes with Jane before she went digital, and consider those weeks some to the most important in my development as a weaver.  Now that the guild is available, I’m diving even deeper into the most joyful details. Weaving is a gift that will keep me interested for a lifetime, and hand woven dish towels have become my art form.  

Learn more about the JST Online Guild Weaving Lessons!

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JST Blog August Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids,

It’s so wonderful to once again be able to share another weaver’s exploration of the lessons learned in Colour and Design. Gail Maier has taken that knowledge and layered structures from Twills on Four to create her own unique cloth. It makes my heart sing 🙂

Check out Gail on Instagram @nesthandwovens to see more of her amazing work.

Jane


My name is Gail Maier, and I live in Victoria, British Columbia. The weaving “bug” bit me about 7 years ago – when I was lying on a woven beach towel and noticed that it was completely different on one side vs. the other. My curiosity was triggered, and I had to learn how to do that – my passion for weaving was launched!

I have been a member of the Online Guild from the start, and I have also been fortunate to take several workshops on Salt Spring Island with Jane in the past. But that didn’t include twills on four, and I was super excited when this season began.

Both threading gamps were my inspiration for this project. I wanted to show pattern possibilities by using multiple threadings in one project, without it getting too busy. So, I went back to my all-time favourite lessons from the Online Guild, Colour and Design, Jane’s first lessons. I wanted to use a strong graphic to organize the different twills and chose a three-stripe design with wide-ish borders and edges. My studio shelves have been recently restocked with luscious Venne organic cotton, and I wanted to use some of my new stash. The warm warp colours I choose were havanna, brick red and brass, set off by frames of curry which resulted in some good colour play.

I knew I wanted to fill each big stripe with a different twill, and I also thought it would look cool if the curry-coloured edges and borders could be a different twill too. So, after studying the gamps I chose 3 different point twill threadings and a straight draw threading for the borders. This allowed me to make the intersections where the twills meet have clean, sharp lines.

Twill sett used was 20 epi; I find that I can beat this sett at 20 picks per inch consistently and the resulting cloth is still sturdy enough but also has some nice drape.

The point twills are my favourites, and I selected these – #4 and 5 from the small threading gamp, and M’s and W’s from the large threading gamp. So I then figured out threading repeats by section and drafted so that the big stripes were as equal as possible in size. The warp was 450 inches long, 474 ends, enough for a dozen towels that are 33 inches on the loom and 23 ¾ inches thru the reed. 

Weaving the first towel as drawn in is a great place to start. Treadling each section trompe as writ, or following the threading, resulted in some interesting different patterns. I especially liked the design created by treadling 1234 – 321 – 234 – The “wall of troy” threading. I knew I wanted to play with lots of variations, so I decided that when I overlaid ideas from prior classes I should keep one treadling throughout. Otherwise it seemed the design would get too busy.

In the next few towels I used just one treadling sequence, except when I was adding framing borders in the warp colour, curry. In these cases, they were also treadled in a straight draw, which made the frames and borders more distinctive.

My favourite technique to play with is to use colour and weave sequencing options to produce some horizontal stripes, using Fibonacci sequences. This created some really interesting variations, making the cloth look totally different – almost as if I had rethreaded it. Very cool, and this effect was most interesting when the treadling sequences were an odd number, like #5 (1234-1-4321). I used either 2 or 4 picks per stripe so two shuttles were easy to manage – one on each side of the cloth. These stripes inspired me to use this idea in a plaid, and it worked well. The resulting patterns are not traditional plaids, but it’s still plaid-like. These are some of my personal favourites, especially the purple one.

I switched out colours and pushed the combinations so that the cloth wasn’t warm anymore, using purple, deep red and turquoise weft colours.

Lessons learned from this project include the following:

  • small twill patterns need to be “held” in a strong graphic to make them more interesting and sophisticated looking. 
  • proved to myself (again) that purple and turquoise can work with almost any other colour – magenta too
  • applying Jane’s concepts in the Colour and Design lessons are the most important to me. Learning weave structures is interesting and gives options to create cloth with different hands and for different uses, but the design lessons are always my foundation. 

This was a really fun project and the resulting dozen kitchen towels are lovely; a great study in how simple little twills can make big bold statements. Great learning, and I look forward to doing another 4-shaft twill project very soon!

Learn more about the JST Online Guild weaving lessons!

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JST Blog June Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids,

This month I’m happy to introduce you to another member of our Online Guild – Arlene Kohut. Arlene is a wonderful weaver who enjoys the design possibilities of layering elements into the fabric that she weaves. You may recall Season 2’s episode on Stripes where I showed you 2 tea towels that Arlene designed layering striping and Bronson Lace. In this blog post she takes us on her journey exploring this season’s Twills on 4’s Simple Two Stripe sample.

If you would like to see more of Arlene’s weaving, you can follow her on Instagram @inkohootsweaving.


My name is Arlene Kohut. I live in Victoria, British Columbia. I started weaving 10+ years ago after my son’s Grade three teacher brought a rigid heddle loom to class for the students to weave a class project. I was able to weave a couple of inches since I was a class parent helper. Once I realized that cloth could be created from fibre woven on a loom, I was hooked. 

In the past I had taken ‘Twills on Four’, the in-person class with Jane. So in January 2020 when Jane posted her first Online Guild class of the year, Season 4 – Episode 1 – Introduction to Twill & Simple Two Stripe Sample, I watched the videos and took notes. Once the video session was complete I reviewed my notes and doodles and had an ‘a-ha moment’. I kept seeing “borders” and I was intrigued with mixing plain weave and twill together. I just wanted to play on a warp ASAP.

I decided to skip the samples for this guild session and go right to weaving towels. My stash did not have enough Charcoal 8/2 Cotton but there were two cones each of Olive and Natural. My brother is having a big birthday later in the year and he likes green so why not make towels? I made the warp wider than suggested by Jane and wove a couple of inches of each technique that she demonstrated on her loom video (so I would have a condensed sample for myself). Then I started playing with what I learned from this episode.

My first sample where I could see borders and different patterns that I could incorporate into a towel.

Then a towel woven in Olive and using a fibonacci stripe sequence, continuing in the 2/2 twill pattern throughout. Just the colour changes in the stripe sequence:
 

2 Natural
3 Olive
5 Natural
3 Olive
2 Natural

Another towel using Olive weft and a natural for the border. Then changing the twill direction every one inch for the centre part of the towel and finishing off the towel with the same border on the other end.

This towel has the same border as the towel above but I used natural as the main towel colour. In the centre of this towel I used a direction pattern change every four picks creating a zig zag effect in the centre of the towel.

For this towel I played around with colour and design. I have a graphic below in my notes.

Lastly, I found some matching 2/16 cotton in a similar dye lot and switched to a slow clasp weft weave. This idea came from a fellow weaver, Kathy Ready. The two us throw ideas at each other so I gave Kathy’s idea a try. I found this design appealing and it gave me more ideas. So………

I made a second longer warp of 2/8 cotton. Going back to my stash I chose Chocolate for the dark side and a strand of Ivory and Beige alternating for the light side (because I only had a cone and a bit of each). Then I started to play again…….

These are some of the towels from this second warp. I used basket weave for the border on the top left towel, which I will try again. I like the colour that was created by using a strand of the Ivory and Beige. Unfortunately, I could not capture this colour on a photo. So you will have to take my word. 

AND I played some more. I am not use to just weaving with neutral colours so I had to add some colour in this lot of clasp weft towels.

What have I learned from this session? Weaving these towels were fun while trying to decide where to put a border and what type. I love the texture that occurs when using plain weave in between four picks of 2/2 twill. Changing twill direction makes its own zig zag pattern. Basket weave for a horizontal border, who would have thought. This session has given me lots of new ideas to play with and I still have more ideas to try in the future.
 
Below, I have included my rough notes for the second sets of towels and a photo of three stripes that I wove on the last little bit of warp. I will keep this bit of weaving for future reference.



Learn more about the JST Online Guild Weaving Lessons

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March Blog, Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids, it’s that time of month again when I have the privilege of featuring a member of our Online Guild. This month, I’m delighted to introduce you to Kate Watt, who lives and weaves in northern Maine. Kate has given us a window into her story and her journey using “what if” as her guide. I was delighted to find her posts on Instagram where I could see the imaginative structures she has created combining Clasped Weft and Log Cabin.

My name is Kate Watt and I live in northern Maine. I became mildly interested in weaving about 10 years ago. An attractive online ad for a used 4 shaft counterbalance loom caught my eye and I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t live near any guilds and I didn’t know anyone who could teach me to weave. Instead, I started learning what I could through books, videos and online forums. There were many frustrating moments, but there was something different about weaving. With weaving, both sides of my brain are in full use. I love the math side of weaving but I also get joy from playing so creatively with color! I was puttering along trying to learn the basics, but still feeling like I was “playing” and not actually weaving. I averaged about one warp per year. That all changed after joining the Online Guild. I now feel like a real weaver. I’m still playing, but it’s with a lot more skill thanks to Jane! I never realized how much fun and excitement I could get from plain weave!

One of the projects that I particularly enjoyed was one based on the Log Cabin samples featured in Season 3 Episode 3. I wound the warp with 8/4 cotton, as Jane did in her samples with colors I had in my stash. Clasped weft has always intrigued  me, especially after watching the Parrot episode (Season 2, Episode 5). Jane demonstrated how to get a clean line with clasped weft and I had never thought about using it in that way. I had this beautiful warp in 8/4 cotton and matching colors of 8/2 cotton. Then I started asking myself “What if?!?!”

I started with the idea of just weaving the log cabin on the one side of the warp and leaving the other side all one color. In order to do this, I wove one pick natural 8/4 cotton. The next pick was  black 8/2 cotton clasped with natural 8/2 cotton. In order to keep that clean line, I made sure to beat on an open shed and pull a little to the right or a little to the left to get that clasp to line up just under the red divider line. Jane demonstrated this really well in the Parrot episode. I continued to alternate the 8/4 pick with the clasped pick in the log cabin pattern. This was slow weaving, but it was so exciting to get a pattern like this with “plain weave”.  

If it worked so well on the log cabin section, why couldn’t I do the reverse? This time I wanted to weave the solid black grid lines, but keep the log cabin side all natural. This was easier than the log cabin sequence. It was just 5 picks with the clasped weft followed by a square woven of 8/4 natural, repeat.

I used both clasped weft experiments on one of the samples. It’s not the best division of space, but I can see several ideas I would like to explore in the future. 

A third section of clasped weft that I experimented with is my particular favorite. I wanted to incorporate the log cabin with a similar spacing to the black grid lines. I started with a pick of 8/4 black. Then I clasped 8/2 natural on the left with 8/2 black on the  right, hiding the clasp under the red divider line. I repeated these two picks to create a log cabin block on one side and a solid black line on the other side. Then I did a section of natural in 8/4, and then went back to alternating the clasped weft pick with 8/4 in black.

After looking at the finished sample, I think this clasped weft section would look great on the end of a scarf. I think I would widen the black stripes in the warp to match the log cabin squares. There are really so many possibilities.

The selvedges are a little uneven in the clasped weft section, but with practice I think they could look better. Or if you were using the end fabric for something sewn, it wouldn’t matter what the selvedge looked like. The clasped weft technique really slows the weaving down, but  it opens up so many creative options. And because this was all “plain weave” it could easily be accomplished on a rigid heddle loom as easily as a 4 shaft loom! 

With the rest of the warp I played with sequences from  the Colour and Weave gamp: DDD/L, 4D/4L, DLDDL. And for the last little bit of warp I wove 2 samples with 8/2 boucle. 

Most of my weaving with the guild projects are just samples for my education in weaving. All of them could be functional, but they are really just experiments. If I were to weave them again I would be more careful about planning my division of space. I find them a little busy for my style, but there is so much potential for future projects contained in these sample. I’m trying to add to my “body of work” as Jane has referred to it. This keeps me from looking at a project and being disappointed, but rather I am still trying to find my unique “style”. I’m getting closer with each warp!

You can see more of my Guild projects on Instagram @worrywattweaving.

Learn more about the JST Online Guild