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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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February 2020 Newsletter

I don’t think I’m the only one wondering where February went…..like really…..I know they say time speeds up as you get older but this month flew by – at warp speed! I have been weaving away all month getting all kinds of things in order for March when we are filming more episodes of the Online Guild. We’ve also been busy writing a few new patterns and putting kits together to tempt you as you will see below. I know that winter is not over yet, but I feel so happy staring up at the sky, patiently awaiting Spring which is just around the corner. I picked up a glorious box of Dahlia bulbs from the post office last week and I’ve got a million seed packs in my cart at West Coast seeds. The garlic is sprouting in the garden and the hazelnut tree is loaded with catkins, one of the earliest sources of pollen for the bees. Next to weaving….the garden is where it’s at! 🙂

Ruckle Beach

Need a snuggle or perhaps a huggle….that is what my kids called a hug and a snuggle 🙂 Our wonderful Linda Pickett has shared her fabulous Ruckle Beach Harrisville Shetland Blankie with us. The kit allows you to weave 2 lovely shawls or one wider throw. Harrisville Shetland is one of our favourite yarns, it is easy to weave, fulls like a dream and comes in a stunning array of colours.

Ganges Sunrise Scarf Kit

Photo courtesy of Melinda Divers the Mama of Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs!
Need something to brighten up your days?
Ganges Sunrise……..orange and many times pink 🙂
The main village on Salt Spring Island is called Ganges, named after HMS Ganges, the flagship of the Royal Navy’s Pacific Station between 1857 and 1860. Now that you’ve had your history lesson let me tell you how pretty this harbour is at sunrise….it is gorgeous.

These lovely scarves are perfect for spring and summer! Woven with 30/2 silk on a 40/2 linen warp in alternating bands of 1/3 and 3/1 twill, they have gorgeous sheen, iridescence and drape with a slightly crisp texture that will only get softer and more shimmery with wear. This pattern requires only 4 harnesses, but there are 8 different tie-ups required for weaving. If you have an 8 shaft loom, you’re stylin’, but if you have a 6 treadle loom, we’ve provided a tie-up system to ensure your success!

Each Ganges Sunrise Scarf kit makes two scarves like the one below and contain 1 cone each of 40/2 Linen in Olive and Teal and 1 skein each of 30/2 Silk in Dragon Fruit and Coral Flame. These scarves are unbelievably beautiful 🙂

We always have spools of 30/2 silk kicking around so we did another version adding 2 more colours…..Favourite Wine and Buddha Berry.  We have provided a 2nd product that has these 2 colours in them.  The pattern includes both versions.

It’s The Little Things

Is your warp separator paper getting under your treadles?
Here’s a little trick for you 🙂

JST Online Guild

We forgot to link Fiberworks PCW Weaving Software website on our Online Guild newsletter last week! For those that were looking for the link, you can click here!

Remember, the demo software is free to try out! Download it while you watch the episode with special guest Bob Keates, co-creator of Fiberworks as he takes us through this introductory workshop for both Windows & Mac versions.

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November 21st Newsletter

Jane’s Essential Silks

Ten of Jane’s favourite silk colours,
perfect for your wishlist!

We asked Jane which silks she would want with her if she were stranded on a deserted island. She asked “how many skeins do I get??”….we said 10. Here is what she came up with:  

My favourite sample from Season 2 of the Online Guild was the Muted Colour Gamp (Season 2 Episode 8) so I choose 6 colours to match the colours in that warp….and my favourite part of weaving that warp was weaving the hot crazy colours from Parrot (Season 2 Episode 5) on top of the muted colour ways. So I chose 4 colours from that sample….I could weave these colours together forever!

This Colourway includes 10 skeins of either 30/2 Bombyx Silk or 20/2 Bombyx Silk in Ariel’s Voice, Autumn Spice, B.B. Blue, Buddha Berry, Dragon Fruit, Favourite Wine, Grantius Green, Lime Light, Starfish, Tiger Lily.

Heddles for Sabahar:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. What can I say but Thank YOU! I am so happy to forward this update below on our Heddle Drive for Sabahar. We had such a generous and heartfelt response to our request for help. Small gifts can make such a big difference in our world.  

xo Jane

Update from Sabahar:

Kindness makes the world a better place

Our weavers were the beneficiaries of 50,000 professional heddles, and they are so excited!

We are continually amazed by the collective power of kindness. Jane Stafford of Jane Stafford Textiles, has become a dear friend, mentor and advocate for Sabahar. She first volunteered with us in 2016. Jane and her son, Eben, spent two weeks in Ethiopia showing our weavers new techniques that would create different textures and save time. Jane returned in March 2019 for another 3-week stint with us. She paid for her own airline ticket and donated her time! We learned so much! The new texture of our tea towels and the Mescot scarf are direct results from Jane’s assistance.

Jane gets it. As a world-renowned weaver with so many years (or rather decades!!) of experience, she knows exactly what we need to improve our weaving. When she returned to her home in Salt Spring Island, Canada, in March, she was even more determined to help us! She wrote beautiful blogs about the work we accomplished together and then started a crowd funding campaign to raise money for the purchase of professional heddles for our weavers.

The handmade heddles that our weavers currently use often stick together and are time consuming and frustrating to weave with. High quality heddles reduce the time for warp set-up and speed up the weaving process. This means the weavers can produce more in a day and make more money for their household.

Through Jane’s efforts and generous donations from many of her friends and fellow weavers, Sabahar has already been able to buy 50,000 heddles and related equipment and will be able to purchase approximately another 50,000. The campaign raised more than Cnd$7,000. To give you an idea, a standard loom uses about 1,400 heddles and a wider loom uses 2,000. The availability of these heddles will make a huge difference for more than 60 of our weavers.

Words can’t express how amazing this support is, and how thankful we are.

Once Jane started this campaign, so many others joined with their kindness. Texsolv, a weaving product manufacturing company in Tosse, Sweden, offered us a discounted price for the heddles. We were able to buy significantly more through their generous support.

Helen Pankhurst, another great friend of Sabahar, then kindly offered to bring the 22kg of heddles to Ethiopia.

All of this happened really fast. The campaign ran in March 2019 and the weavers received the heddles last week.

Thank you to Jane Stafford, Texsolv, and Helen Pankhurst for your assistance. A huge thank you also goes out to all those who donated to the funding campaign. This critical intervention will give weavers not only the technical ability to earn a better livelihood, but also the feeling of being appreciated, connected and supported by the global weaving community.

Getting Help on the Website

If you’ve visited the website recently, you may have noticed a small icon that looks a bit like this:

Click on it and you’ll be presented with help documents relating to wherever you happen to be the website:

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for then click Ask, type in your message and we’ll try to reply as soon as we possibly can:

Finished looking, changed your mind or clicked on the icon by mistake? Just click the X:

If you see something in the documentation that’s incorrect or if you think that we should add documentation for other parts of the website, please let us know. We’d be super grateful! 🙂


A Few Weaving Project Gift Ideas

We are all so busy at this time of year making special gifts for the special people in our lives. Trusting in the end result gives us a bit of breathing space :). If you’re stretched for design time maybe one of the kits below will help you reach your goals a little sooner. Happy Weaving!