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JST July Newsletter

Ah, July – the month of road-trips, workshops, and garden bounty. See what we’ve been up to here at the studio this July. Newsletter begins after the Jump. Happy Weaving!


Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself. – Chinese Proverb

Throw * Beat * Change * Beater Back

Dispatches from the Studio

Hi kids. We’ve just finished another fantastic workshop with ten happy weavers from all across North America. As I write this, they are getting on ferries and float planes with their heads full of new ideas, and their suitcases even more full – with yarn!

Traditionally, summer isn’t the time of weaving – it’s the time of laying the foundations for the winter weaving months. Historically, we tended the sheep and the lambs, we tended the fields of flax and cotton, and we grew what was needed for the winter months ahead. In the studio, we find that we are always trying to stay on that pattern, preparing what we can to best support our weavers through the long winter season.

So, although it’s warm and sunny today, I find myself thinking about the winter. I’m traveling to India again this year, and I’m very excited to visit with friends, both old and new. We are planning a new cozy kit to release for all your snugly winter plans. We are even starting to think about Knit City, which is a massive show that we are attending in October. Even when I wish the clock would just stop so I could weave all the projects I have in my head, it seems that time marches on regardless.

Enjoy your summer, and if you are weaving, we would love to see a project that you’ve been inspired to create this summer. Even if I’m not finding time to weave, I love to be inspired by your progress.


10% Sale Extended until the end of July

We would really like to thank those of you who took the plunge and tried our new webstore. We are certainly pleased with how things are going, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those of you who pointed out errors and glitches. We are extending the sale until the end of July – please use code MIDSUMMER.

Remember orders over $200 are shipped for free, and if you’re shopping from the US, you can take about another 30% off the price for the exchange rate! Shop Now and Save.

Hope for Korah Update!

Things are really progressing at the weaving program at Korah. Some of you may know that Jane was in Ethiopia for the month of January this year and spent sometime with an organization called Hope for Korah. She helped a few of the program leaders and participants become familiar with weaving techniques as a way to branch out into another area of re-training and hand-craft that allows people to earn money and that fosters growth. Here are a few of the most recent pictures we’ve received from Hope for Korah.

Rosemary’s Corner

It’s time for another delicious recipe from Rosemary!

Citrus Shortbread – Makes 2-3 doz

1 tbsp Lime Zest
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
1 tbsp Orange Zest
1 tbsp Orange Liqueur or Juice
3/4 lb Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Sugar
3 Cups Flour, plus 2 tbsp
1 tsp salt
In a small bowl, combine the citrus zest with the liqueur.In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and not grainy. Add the zest and liqueur.

Gradually add the flour and salt just until well combined. Scrape the bowl a couple of times while mixing to make sure everything is incorporated.

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces, and roll each piece into logs about 2 inches in diameter. Roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove logs from the fridge and unwrap. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and place on oiled or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until just golden around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets before removing.

For special occasions, you could drizzle these cookies with melted white chocolate, and decorate with candied violets. They may be stored in an airtight container for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.


Free Bench with David

Our David (loom) is so handsome, that we thought we’d offer a free bench to entice you to spend hours sitting together! Contact us for more details and we’ll arrange for a brand new David Loom and bench to join your weaving adventure.

In the meantime, you can click here to head over to the shop and explore our David looms.

And finally, a pattern.

We thought we’d like to give you a little something to offer some inspiration for your summer project planning. If you’re anything like us, we spend so much of our summer in the garden and on our porches, that our looms can feel neglected.

We’d like to offer this free pattern that uses 8/4 cotton as a way to get the creative juices flowing and possibly allow for jump-start on your fall projects. Please click here for your free place mat pattern download.


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Weaving in Ethiopia – Part 2

One of the wonderful things about travelling is being able to share ideas. I have learned so much from the weavers of India through my trips with Charllotte Kwon from Maiwa Handprints and I was able to share some of these ideas with the weavers at Sabahar.


Kathy arranged for us to have a meeting on our first day and I asked the weavers if they had any frustration with their process and warping did come up.

The wagumbo is heavy, so we looked at supporting it in a cradle so the warpers didn’t have to carry it and I also encouraged them to try the warping mill that they were using as a drying rack.

We looked at warping techniques from India on my i-pad….that was so much fun. Everyone had great ideas.


The warps used at Sabahar are extremely fine cotton singles that get cooked in flour to starch them. Then they are hung outside to dry.


We added weights to the skeins while they are drying to stretch out the over twist…or block the skeins while they dried.


The two harness loom does not prevent these weavers from creating beautifully elegant inlay. They hold their inlay sheds at the back of the harnesses and then insert a wide shedding stick to create the shed.


That’s it for this week kids. Episode three comes out in a week. Thanks for reading ~ Jane

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Jane’s return from Ethiopia and Pricing News

2015 prices in 2016

It’s finally happened – we have to get with the times and the strong US dollar, and make some changes to our prices.

The great thing about being a subscriber to our newsletter is that you are the first to know 😉

Starting March 1st, we are increasing our yarn prices to 2016 levels. Take advantage of the lower prices now before they increase. Here’s a handy link to the shop to get you on your way. By the way, we’ve added a currency converter to our website, so if you’re shopping in US dollars, you can now see the true US prices on our website.

This is a screenshot of our banner on our store. See that little place in the top left centre-ish? That’s where you can select either US or Canadian dollars.

Limited Edition Hatbox Wheels

JST has three Hatboxes in-store and ready to ship. These are honestly the sweetest little wheel and are numbered and signed by Jan Louet. Here’s a little bit about the wheel – it truly is a wee gem!


First Installment of my Ethiopia Story

I have just returned from 3 remarkable weeks in Addis Ababa Ethiopia where I had the great privilege of working with the warpers, weavers, spinners, dyers and eri silk worm rearers at Sabahar. The added bonus, if all that weren’t enough, is that I was able to share this adventure with my son Eben.


Sabahar is the 15 year creation of Kathy Marshall from Beaver Lodge, Alberta. Kathy has spent most of her adult life working in developing countries, helping to create meaningful reliable employment opportunities for traditional artisans and rural farmers.

Sabahar all started with the introduction of Eri silk production into Ethiopia from Assam, Northern India. Eri provides her spinners and weavers with a marvelous product which is turned into exquisite fabric for the body and home but it also provides diversification of income for rural farmers. Eri silk worms a
Sabahar is the 15 year creation of Kathy Marshall from Beaver Lodge, Alberta. Kathy has spent most of her adult life working in developing countries, helping to create meaningful reliable employment opportunities for traditional artisans and rural farmers.

Sabahar all started with the introduction of Eri silk production into Ethiopia from Assam, Northern India. Eri provides her spinners and weavers with a marvelous product which is turned into exquisite fabric for the body and home but it also provides diversification of income for rural farmers. Eri silk worms are relatively easy to raise. They eat castor leaves which are plentiful in Ethiopia and Sabahar buys every cocoon raised by their producers. It is a win win for everyone.

From the first glimpse of the weaving process I was blown away. I have never seen warping like this in my life. The warpers carry a wagumbo which is a giant swift that can hold as many as 50 fine skeins of #60 singles cotton at a time. They warp with a massive number of threads carrying the wagumbo back and forth making warps anywhere from 40-80 metres long.
Their traditional looms are basically 2 harness looms where the warp anchors around a centre post approximately 2.5 metres from the weaver. It is similar to back strap weaving except they don’t sit on the ground and their post is their tree. The front beam is anchored to frame. They tension their warps by wrapping a length around another post and their warps sit in huge bundles off to the side of the loom, or hung up so they don’t get dirty.
Getting perfect tension on the warp can take a bit of work so they don’t like to retension too often. They get around this because their harness hang from the frame above. When they get too close to the harnesses they just move the harnesses further away from themselves and they lean in further so they weave farther.
It is absolutely amazing to see the skill in their hands, the cloth they produce, the pride in their work while creating all this on such simple simple looms.

We will do another installment next week….it is a long story and lot happened in 3 weeks. I have so many wonderful pictures of all the weavers, dyers, spinners, and seamstresses that work to bring the magic of Sabahar to life. Thanks for reading.


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JST’s April Newsletter

 Happy Spring: Fibre Sale!

 20% off all spinning fibre

JST is offering a discount coupon to all our loyal customers!  Visit our online store to see available colours and fibres. Enter your coupon code on the checkout page in the lefthand bottom corner. Coupon only valid on in stock fibre.

*Coupon Code: woolies (valid until April 30, 2015)


Louët’s 40th Anniversary is Celebrating with a Limited Edition of the Hatbox Spinning Wheel (S40)

\Louët is bringing back the classic portable hatbox spinning wheel this summer! The wheel feature some small improvements, but is essentially the same as the original (see original description below). The price will be $895.

 Send us an email or give us a call at (250) 537-9468 to reserve your hatbox today for delivery in August.

Original description: For people who like to spin outside (on holidays, with friends or just out there) Louët has developed a spinning wheel that can easily be carried around. The small size (30x40x17 cm) and hat box design makes it very portable. It is a right foot, single treadle wheel with a delta orifice and Scotch tension flyer. The wheel is comes with three bobbins and a built-in lazy kate.

Meet Cheryl, The Co-Creator of JST’s Hot Line of Hand-Dyed Yarns

Cheryl Huseby hand dyes all of JST’s Hot Line of Hand Dyed Yarns which includes 32 gorgeous colours of  four weights of Silk, Mohair Bolero, Orlando Boucle, Alpaca, and Cuddles, a wool/alpaca blend. Here are some pictures of her studio where she creates her magic. Cheryl is truly a talented dyer and we are so happy she works for us.

Ethiopian Weavers

We’re always on the look out for weavers around the world doing great things. There is an organization called Sabahar in Addis, Ethiopia run by fellow Canadian Kathy Marshall of Beaver Lodge, Alberta. We love the philosophy that drives Sabahar:

“We are proud to use our hands for every step of the process, from the spinning of the thread to weaving the cloth and even finishing the details on each of the products.

Based on a philosophy of indigenous simplicity and purity, we only use silk and cotton to create our richly textured fabrics. All of the cotton is sourced in Ethiopia and we may be the only company in the world making products with Ethiopian silk.

We love to experiment with natural dyes we find around us to create our luxurious colors. Most of our silks are dyed using local plants and herbs and some tried and true natural products from around the world.

Our celebration of ancient Ethiopian craftsmanship combined with our mission to have a positive impact on the lives of artisans, results in the creation of beautiful handmade products for the global market.”

Please visit their website to see what they are doing and to find a place to purchase their fair trade products.

Weaver’s Corner

Another gorgeous piece of weaving has made its way into our inbox and we thought we’d share it with you. If you have beautiful pieces that you would like to share, please send them along and we’ll include them in our newsletter when we can.

Judy Mould of North Vancouver sent us this photo of her recently finished deflected double weave scarf. Judy adapted the pattern from Handwoven. It was woven from our  2/20 silk on her 8 shaft loom.


Don’t forget that we offer FREE SHIPPING on yarn orders over $200.

Thinking about placing a large order? Ask about our group and guild discounts.

We want to expand our mailing list.  If you like getting the Old Ladies with String Digest, even if you’re a young lady or a gentleman, please spread the word.