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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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A Weaver’s Challenge: 30 Tea Towel Designs in 30 Days

A few days before we broke for Christmas one of my dearest friends and longtime JST employee Susan Brown (25 years) called to say she was coming in to show me something.  She told me a wonderful story and Susan has graciously agreed to share some of it with you.  Once again, it reinforces the lessons in the previous few blogs.  I hope you’re inspired by Susan’s story and you give it a try yourself 🙂

30 Tea Towel Designs in 30 Days

For the month of October an artist friend of mine, Gail Sibley painted 31 paintings in 31 days. Yes, one per day! I was so inspired but I am not a painter. I decided to draw 30 tea towels in 30 days for November. It turned out to be a very worthwhile endeavour. First I went out and found a lovely little square (don’t you just love square) sketch book and then gathered all my pencil crayons. I loved the discipline of drawing one tea towel a day but must confess there was a night or two when bedtime came and no tea towel had appeared in my sketch book for that day. I am happy to tell you that every night but one, I managed to make it happen.

Having taken Jane’s Colour and Design workshop the previous year, I drew on what she had taught in the class. Often I selected a few colours to start with, sometimes outside my usual pallette and then proceeded to work on the graphics. At times I forced myself to try layouts that did not come from my ‘go to’ designs. That was hard but very rewarding most of the time. While drawing a tea towel, the ‘what if’ question often came up which usually led to the following day’s design. Coming up with a different design each day was not always easy but when it wasn’t, I asked myself ‘what if I just changed one element of a previous design’ and presto, there was a new design.

A Weaver's Challenge: 30 tea towels in 30 days

Drawing 30 tea towels in 30 days was fun, challenging, educational, interesting and (as I said), very worthwhile. There are designs that I don’t like so much, but there are definitely designs that I like and some that I can’t wait to try. Who knows, I may do it again or something like it!

-Susan Brown

A Weaver's Challenge: 30 tea towels in 30 days

Ready to sketch?

The best part of this challenge is that you can start it any time you like! Don’t be afraid to customize it to fit your own preferences – for instance, if you aren’t  ready to commit to 30 days, try sketching 7 Tea Towel Designs in 7 Days. Who knows, you might enjoy it so much, you decide to keep going!

We’d love to see your design ideas, feel free to share them with us in our Ravelry group or on Instagram using the #janestaffordtextiles hashtag.

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A Weaver's Challenge: 30 tea towels in 30 days