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Textile Travels

Well howdy everyone.

I’m just ending my first week here in the studio without Jane. It’s been weird and I miss her a lot. I was pretty nervous at first but am actually finding out that I know a lot more that I thought I did. Whew!

I’ve heard from her a couple times. As most of you know, she left for India on Sunday and is travelling with Charllotte Kwon and the Maiwa Foundation for the next 3 1/2 weeks . She won’t get into much detail this week because of the limited internet connection but did say that her first 24 hours in India have already completely blown her away. Her first stop is Bagru, Rajasthan in western India. A village famous for it’s intricately designed wooden block printing and natural dyes using indigo, pomegranate, madder root and turmeric. I can’t wait to hear about what she gets up to! I bet you can’t wait either!

We’re working on the warps for our next workshop coming up fast at the end of February: An Exploration of Colour and Design . There’s one spot available! If you were hoping to take this course, now’s your chance. The other Colour and Design workshop in April is already full. I’m having a blast working on these warps, the colours are all so happy! As I continue to learn about weaving I’m able to absorb more and more information from each workshop – I’m really excited for them to start up again!

So, we’ll do our best to keep you posted on the stories from Jane’s travels, and the goings on here in the studio. And if anyone has a burning desire to share their thoughts and feelings, fire away with your comments.

Until next time ….

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It’s been 8 months since I started to work at JST! Wowee! It’s been fun, scary, exciting and very fulfilling.

I have met many kind and inspiring people so far: Jane and her family, my wonderful co-workers and Jane’s students and customers. It’s such a treat to be getting to know all of you.

I have watched the seasons change from spring to summer to winter here in this lovely studio tucked away amongst the trees and flowers.

As Jane’s studio assistant I have learned how to write (a bit) in 2 different programming languages, use design programs to create patterns and newsletters, manage an online store and just how much yarn you really can cram into one little shipping envelope.

As a brand new weaver I have learned what the heck a warp is and how to wind one, how to calculate SETT and loom loss, how to read patterns, combine colours, dress looms and all of the other wonderful details of the weaving world.

Working here has been and I’m sure will continue to be inspiring, challenging and fun. I so look forward to learning, growing & celebrating with everyone here in the studio and in our wider community of weavers and friends.

Have a very cozy winter filled with steaming cups of tea, warm fires, close friends and flying shuttles.

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Visits and Upcoming Sale


We’ve got one spot left for our November 8-12 Lacey Places workshop for intermediate weavers. Lace weaves are a time-honoured tradition, appreciated for generations. You will learn: Canvas Weave, Huck, Swedish Lace, Spot Bronson, Bronson Lace and Blended Lace, the structural differences between these often similar looking weaves and why one might be more suitable than another.


One of our greatest joys is when old friends drop by. Joan Churcher from Ladysmith, a weaver and long time friend of Jane’s paid us an unexpected visit on Tuesday and made Jane’s day. She gets all kissy when she sees old friends.

On Monday we also had the Victoria Weaver’s Guild come by. We had a lovely time discussing yarns and patterns. What a treat to have so many friends around!

We’ve just heard that the Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild are having a month long sale at the Loft Art Gallery in Mill Bay just above the ‘Valley Wines to Vines’ in the Mill Bay Shopping Centre. There will be on-site looms to try out as well as demonstrations of Japanese braiding, inkle band weaving, spindle spinning and basket weaving, for the four Saturdays in November. Great timing for beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts.

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Weaving, Workshops and Contemplations

Jane left Wednesday for Vancouver where she is teaching her Weaving in the Maiwa Tradition workshop. Her students are learning double weave, cording, double width, fringe on four sides, denting with elasticized silk and some contemplations on the Zen of plain weave. Her inspirations come from Maiwa’s elegant and ingenious textiles.

In November we have two Lacey Places workshops here in the studio. The last of the year!  We have been winding the warps and threading the looms for all of the beautiful and exciting samples soon to be woven.

Our October Newsletter went out last week, with information about our discount policy, the JST Towel Exchange on Ravely, some talk about potatoes and Jane’s much anticipated teaching schedule for 2011!

Who knows what we’ll be talking about next week! Stay tuned.

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Fall is a Festival of Colour


Well, the Equinox has come and gone. The days are getting shorter and colder and the studio driveway is strewn with the burnt orange of fallen leaves. We are surrounded by the yellows, reds, greens and browns of the changing season.

So much material for inspiration!

One of our dear friends, Rita John sent us this beautiful photo of seaweed that had washed up after a storm. It was amazing because I had just been putting together a similar colour combo.


Our Honing Your Basic Weaving Skills class was a lovely day of warping, bobbin winding, shuttle throwing, selvedge control, beating and tie-up. Oh, and delicious food too. We had home made onion soup and fresh vegetable sandwiches compliments of Jane’s garden. Yum! It makes me excited for the two Lacey Places workshops that we have planned in November.


Our October Newsletter will be coming out shortly – look for new patterns and the 2011 class schedule!

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Weaving Community

Well, Jane’s back from the Peace. She had a wonderful time teaching her Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave workshop in Fort St. John. Twice a year weavers and fibre enthusiasts from all over Northern B.C. and Alberta gather to meet somewhere in The Peace. They gather in the spring and the fall, some driving for up to 4 and 5 hours to have their mini-conference. Jane really felt honoured to have so many women coming from such distances to study with her.

At the end of the workshop the ladies presented Jane with a beautiful book of stunning photography showing The Peace in it’s four seasons.

All the warps for the Weaving in the Maiwa Tradition in October are wound and sent out. They should arriving on doorsteps soon.

That’s all for now, happy weaving!

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Well, Gibsons Fibre Festival has come and gone. For a while it seemed that this might be the last one too, but from the sounds of it, the word went out at the right time. Before the festival everyone knew they might never get the chance to come back which seemed to create concern and excitement for the cause and hopefully drew in a new generation of fibre enthusiast volunteers.

From my position in the background, I helped Jane get all the books, yarn and fibre accessories loaded into the van for her to head off.   She came back, exhausted but brimming with stories, photos of the booth, the rest of the show and her smiling students from the Principles of Colour and Design workshop.

Everyone had a great time and learned a tonne of inspiring techniques.

So, we’ll miss it next year for sure, but here’s hopin’ that we haven’t seen the last of it.

Jane’s next teaching venture is a Pushing the Boundaries of Plainweave workshop Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Fort St. John. She’ll also be teaching a Warping with Sticky Threads seminar on Friday evening. All this means she’ll come back on Monday totally pooped and in need of a good snooze. However, the garden, the studio and the fam will be calling and I bet she won’t stop for one second.

Our Monthly Newsletter went out yesterday.  For anyone that’s not on the list, click here to read about the latest shenanigans at JST.  If you’d like to be on our email list, send us an email and let us know you want in on the fun.

And, guess what! I made my first warp and dressed my first loom last week! I made towels out of bouclé cotton at 12 epi and 12 ppi in plain weave on a Jane Loom. I’ll have some finished pics once I’ve taken it off the loom. For now, look at this!
Until next time, happy weaving! Charlotte.

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Shake Hands with Charlotte

Well, hello there. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you lovely weavers already, but not everybody. So, I thought I’d give myself a little intro.

I landed the dream job of working with Jane in her studio about 4 months ago. She told the universe that she needed someone who had office experience, was willing to cook retreat lunches, wash dishes, weed brassicas and climb the ladder up into the storage space. The universe came through, for both of us. I was looking to continue my newfound profession of ‘fibre/textile worker of some sort’ and wanted an employer who knew what they were doing. And you all know that Jane knows what she’s doing.

I have always been a yarn person. I started knitting 28(!) years ago, spinning and dyeing 2 years ago and my weaving education has just begun! I made my first warp and dressed my first loom ever last week! So, I’m a total newbie weaver. But just you wait, with one of the best teachers around, I bet I’ll knock my own hand spun/dyed/knitted socks off. There’s something about the textures and colours of yarn, all the different fibres and textile techniques that I just can’t get enough of.

I spent 10 years working as a corporate legal assistant on the 55th floor at King and Bay in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. The view was great, the people and pay were great, but there was always something missing. In 2008 I moved from an apartment in Yorkville to a tent on Salt Spring spending the next year or so working in various gardening and fibre related jobs.

My growth in this position will mean that Jane gets more time at the drawing board, on the loom, in the garden, in the kitchen and with the fam. For me it means I spend my days in a creative and beautiful workplace, learn to weave from Jane who is so passionate, fun and knowledgeable and get to participate in a business that excites, challenges and inspires me.

Hooray! I hope to have the pleasure of meeting all of you over the coming years and shake you warmly by the hand.

Nice to MeetYa, Charlotte


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A Few notes and a Joke

Last week was awesome. On Monday, 7 students participated in a one day seminar called “Honing Your Basic Weaving Skills”. We went over making warps quickly, efficiently and most importantly, VERY WELL. Then we dressed a loom Back to Front and discussed the pro and cons to the many methods of warping looms. Bobbin winding which is often under-rated was demonstrated and good shuttle handling, posture, and shedding sequence was practiced by everyone.

By the end of the day everyone’s selvedges were straigthening out and weaving was much faster and fun and the cloth more even.

On Tuesday, some of the same gals returned and we added some new ones to look at “Project Planning 101”. We went over all the questions you need to ask yourself when designing your projects, starting with…

1. What do you want to make?
2. What do you want to make it out of?

….and then we went from there. Everyone provided a scenario and therefore we learned a great deal answering everyone’s questions. The math is not so daunting when you think about it in a logical sequence.

Wednesday was a wild and wooly affair. We made a 4 yd. brushed mohair warp and had it on the loom by noon and then we beamed another 45″ brushed mohair warp that was 7 1/2 yds. long. That was rolled on by 1 p.m. After lunch we went over winding bobbins so that yarn doesn’t stick and exits the the shuttle easily. Again good posture, shuttle control, shedding sequences were demonstrated and then everyone sat down and wove on the mohair warp. It is amazing how easy it is to manage difficult yarns when you know a few tricks and are willing to adapt your technique a little bit to suit the situation.

We just can’t weave everything one way. Just like cooking, sometimes you have to change ‘this a little’ and ‘that a lot’ for the recipe to work.

Thursday was a very special day. Susan Brown and I led 5 women through a day of self-discovery based on readings from “The Creative Habit”, “The Four Agreements”, “The Path of Least Resistance” and several others books that have meant a great deal to Susan and I. It was a very powerful and personal day with a goal of addressing our creative needs.

Thank you so much to Sasha, Crystal, Sally, Lynne and Susan.

This week we are getting revved up for Cheryl Wiebe’s “In Pursuit of the Rainbow”, dyeing workshop this weekend. Looms are getting squished into corners so dye tables can come out. It should be a very colourful 2 days, even if the sun doesn’t shine.

Well, that’s what we’ve been up to in the last few weeks. The studio is a wonderful place to host these workshops so let us know if you want to learn something specific and we’ll try to rustle up a workshop for you. Actually, more than a workshop. We are trying to create wholesome learning experiences that feed the soul on many levels.

My friend Dawn Russell is always sending me great jokes and I have to leave you with this one. Read it with all the theatre you can muster.


A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.

Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

‘Careful,’ he said, ‘CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD!

You’re cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW!
We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?

They’re going to STICK! Careful . CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER
listen to me when you’re cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you
CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don’t forget to salt them. You know you
always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!’

The wife stared at him. ‘What in the world is wrong with you?
You think I don’t know how to fry a couple of eggs?’

The husband calmly replied, ‘I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I’m driving.’

Have a great week,

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On creativity:

This week I thought I would write about my most requested seminar topic. Some of you have heard me drone on and on about this topic, but some of you may not, so I’m writing this for you. It starts with a question I am often asked “How do you get it all done, you seem to do so much!”

I smile, because I don’t get it “all done”. There are a million things I haven’t gotten done but I do seem to keep my nose to the grind stone a keep plodding along. Over the years I have read every self help book known to woman or man. Books like, “Helping Your Child Sleep Through the Night”, “Siblings Without Rivalry”, “How to Deal with your acting up Teenager”, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” and I have always planned to write the best seller “You don’t always have to be an Outlaw with your Inlaws” (although I did). Now I’m reading “Understanding Menopause” and “The Silent Passage” only I’m not being too silent about it.

Of all the self help books I’ve read, one of the best is called “The Creative Habit: Learn it and use it for life” by Twyla Tharp. Found within is a recipe for understanding creativity. I have never really had trouble being creative, my efforts mind you were not always successful, but I always kept going. When I first read “Developing a creative habit” I found out why. It is because I have Discipline which has given me the ability to Focus, they have become a regular Routine and thus have led to Productivity.

These are some of main concepts that Twyla Tharp writes about in her book:

I was raised by a mother who was 41 years older than me (my whole life). She was a woman who had lived through hard times and she was disciplined and had disciplined habits that she drilled into her children. So, the idea of working hard has never been foreign to me. Hard work, seems to be one answer. I have worked hard to be a weaver for 30 years. I did not learn what I know overnight. I have made every mistake known to a weaver. I have made more ugly cloth than you can imagine (it is hidden away). But every mistake and every piece of ugly cloth has given me an opportunity to solve a problem or to weave it again, only better. I have woven things over and over and over and each time the cloth, the design, the hand, the drape, gets better. I have focused on one thing until I get it right and then I move on to a new problem.

The thing about focusing on one thing: be it weaving mohair blankets for 20 years, or weaving 100’s of scarves in just one structure is that you have the opportunity to interpret with colour or a type of yarn over and over again. This way of creating has allowed me to push the lid off the box, so to speak, on many different aspects of weaving. Many weavers have asked me if I ever get tired of weaving mohair blankets and my answer is always “how could I, I have 50 colours of mohair and in my garden a million different sources of inspiring colour, all of which I create with on the same canvas. That canvas never changes but the colours do, A painters canvas may not change but their colours do. At last count I have woven almost 1000 blankets with almost 300 different graphic designs all in plain weave. 1000 blankie’s to keep people warm and bring comfort. I will always weave mohair blankies.

Over the years I have focused on many different weave structures. I think I spent 1 entire year drafting overshot name drafts and weaving them in many different yarn combinations. I have spent several years drafting Bronson Lace starting on 4 shafts, then working on 8 and and then 12 and then 16 etc. and now I sometimes wish I had more than 32.

So my message for the day is Don’t be afraid to weave the same thing over and over. Try to change one element each time and you will learn more than you can imagine. When it is time and you will know, you can move on to another canvas or weave structure and push it until you really understand it. Through repitition we learn so much. Another analogy would be with cooking. When we learn a new recipe, we often have to refer to the cookbook many times. The second time we make that recipe, we proceed with a little more self assurance. The third time we make it we find that we are making subtle changes to the spices and baking times. It is becoming more familiar and more “ours”. After a few more times you have completely re-invented it and you understand it at a whole new level. It works in the weaving world as well. If you need a good self-help book, check out Twyla’s. It was great to have a little more understanding as to why I appear to get so much done.

I’m always looking for a good joke and Susan sent me one this week that had me laughing for days. It is perfect, as I am the third woman in the Sauna.







Have a great week,