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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!

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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.