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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.