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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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Sabahar Part 3: The Weavers

Whenever I get home from India or Ethiopia I struggle to stay in the other place for as long as I can. I want to savour every minute of my time away but alas I get sucked back into my other world with all its demands and all my good intentions get put on the back burner. One of the wonderful things about working with Sabahar is that even when I’m not there, I stay in touch with Kathy weekly and that makes me think I’m still there 🙂

So here we go with the 3rd of 4 posts about the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers of Sabahar.  

Sabahar now has 2 weaving studios where 30 weavers work 5 days a week along with another 65  weavers who weave from their homes close by.  

Sabahar 1 is a bright busy studio that hums with the sounds of shuttles and beaters and produces 100’s of metres of handwoven cloth each week.

These are a modern version of a traditional Ethiopian style loom. The 2 harnesses are suspended from a metal frame
And the warps sit on the floor in their bundles.
Several yards of the warp are released from the big warp bundle where it travels around a post at the end of the loom approximately 7 feet away from where the harnesses and reed hang.
After it turns the post it is attached to the previous warp behind the heddles.
There is no tension device other than a hole in the end of the cloth beam and final tensioning is done by tightening the warp around a post.
The weavers weave as far as they can possibly reach by pushing the harnesses back on the frame above. The treadles are attached from the harnesses and they can be kicked back as well. It really helps to be tall working at these looms.
The warps are tied on to existing warps behind the heddles and pulled through. Well…they actually aren’t tied, they are plied.
This leaves a join rather than a knot.
This is the easiest way to thread the looms because they do not have heddle eyes like we do

The harnesses are purchased from the heddle maker who makes the harnesses for all the weavers in the area. When you think about how fine all the warp threads are…nothing heavier than 20/2 cotton…it really is awe inspiring to watch.

The other style of loom looks much more like our looms. A traditional frame with back beam and tensioning device. There are 4 of them fitted with makeshift flying shuttles. These looms are saved for all the wider fabrics like blankets and table cloths.

Some of the weavers work from home. Just like us, they give up space within their homes 🙂 Their looms are constructed with spare timber and are extremely simple.

The fabrics that are woven on these looms are extraordinary!

The pride of the weavers is so evident. I can’t find the words necessary to express my admiration and respect for all their achieve.

In this studio, warps criss cross through each other with a jumble of cords hanging from the ceiling. All very orderly 🙂

In another small home the looms are part of the furniture.

Sabahar 2 was created in an effort to provide some of these weavers with another option. Kathy has rented a house in a newer area that is close to the existing weavers. Here they can come to work in a bright, clean and spacious working environment with running water. This space eliminates some of the stress for the weavers working and living in such small quarters.

They have new looms and lots of bright light. A few of the looms are 4 shafts and they have more treadles 🙂

Both the weavers and winders are so happy.

I hope to finish my final post in a few weeks. It will be a summary of my time at Sabahar this past March and goals for the future.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Jane

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May 2019 Newsletter

Two custom colour ways in silk

I do believe Spring is here to stay. In honour of her return and because we’ve had so many requests for this colourway… we’ve done another small run Playing with Pastels and Cheryl, our wonderful hand dyer, has created a very small run of West Coast Wonder inspired by the water that surrounds and nourishes us.

New 16/2 Linen from Venne

Last month I dropped in on René and Mischa van der Venne in the Netherlands and spent a wonderful couple of days hanging out with two marvellous people AND exploring a warehouse of organic yarn. We are committed to expanding our line of organic yarn. This month we have added 16/2 GOTS certified organic linen in 21 colours. GOTS stands for the Global Organic Textile Standard. The aim of the standard is to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.

The process of making our sample cards

Why do we charge $5 for our sample cards? We thought we’d better explain why and the reasoning behind it. All sample yarn is cut by hand. All the sample cards are punched by hand. The length of the yarn is such that you can compare, side-by-side, any thread with any other thread. We don’t use sticky tape to adhere our yarn to the sample card – tape stiffens and becomes brittle over time – we thread the yarn into the sample card. Two Salt Spring gals are responsible for constructing our sample cards; let’s here it for Christine and Susan! 🙂

The JST Helpline is dead, long live the JST Knowledge Base!

If you’ve not used the JST Helpline before, it’s a compendium of as much knowledge about weaving as we could squeeze onto the interwebs. But it hasn’t been used as often as we thought it could be. So we’ve relaunched/revamped the JST Helpline. It is now called – cue drumroll – the JST Knowledge Base.

We want to make it the first place to go when weavers encounter a problem. Having a problem with your Jane loom? Check the Jane loom section of the JST Knowledge Base. Maybe you’re asking yourself can I wind two threads at a time? Or perhaps you’ve pondered the question, how do I tie-up a sinking shed loom? 

Or try searching the knowledge base. You should see suggestions appear and become refined as you type.

If you find the article useful, give it a thumbs up. If you felt like the article didn’t hit the spot, click thumbs down. Either way, leave some feedback and we’ll be able to refine the article for other weavers.

Linen spring cleaning

Spring is a great time to have a linen sale. The following are all 10% off, whilst stocks last…

16/2 Wet Spun Line – Bleached
16/2 Wet Spun Line – Natural
30/3 Wet Spun Line – Natural
33/3 Wet Spun Line – Bleached
40/2 Wet Spun Line – Bleached

And, we have some large cones of 5/2 warp twist cotton that need to find a new home. These are 10% off too 🙂 There is a lot of yardage on these puppies, it is a fabulous yarn but unfortunately we have to buy it on these huge cones and that seems to put weavers off… so if you’re interested in any type of production work that requires a lovely natural cotton at 2100 yds. per lb… this yarn is for you.

Warp Faced Weaving is up next on the Online Guild

You don’t want to miss the next episode which airs May 23rd. Warp Faced Kits are available on our website!

How heavy is cone?

It depends.

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Sabahar Part 2: The Dyers and Warpers

In my last post you caught a glimpse of the amazing work and skill that goes in to producing the yarns used in the cloth woven at Sabahar. Now it’s time to visit the dyers and the warpers… two more steps necessary to bring these amazing Ethiopian textiles to life.

Last year Kathy was able to construct two new buildings. One was for the dyers and finishers and the other was a beautiful modern shop where all these beautiful textiles are displayed for the appreciative customers of Sabahar.

The dying studio is fabulous. It has big washing spaces outside where the water is treated and recycled for watering the gardens. They have a fancy dye machine that is used for skeins of mill spun 40/2 cotton warp that is used as a base warp for many of the fabrics. All of the handspun cotton and silk are dyed in pots just like we do… but they just do so much of it.

Just taking my skeins for a walk… all scoured and ready to dye…

The new dye and finishing building

Sabahar’s new dye and finishing building, check out the great sinks out front…

They have one large mechanical dye machine… and several smaller dye machines…

All dye water is treated in a simple treatment system and the water is used in the gardens…

Everyday the lines are hung with different colours. These are skeins of handspun cotton and silk

The Warpers

After the yarns are dyed warping is next. I always say that there are a dozen ways to do something, well now I believe there are 13 :)! Before I went to Ethiopia the first time in 2016 I could never have imagined this type of warping. Or that it was possible to make such long warps with such simple equipment and with so many threads used in a single bout. Imagine warping with 30 threads at a time!

Thirty cones of 40:2 cotton

Thirty cones of 40/2 cotton are being used in this warp…

There are several warping stations… all pretty much the same. Nails along rough wood. That’s it!

Once the warp is made it is wound into something that resembles a giant cocoon… rather fitting really as they are surrounded by cocooning silk worms.  It starts just like we start a ball of yarn by hand they just don’t make it round. And the cross is at the end.
The 40/2 cotton is pretty darn fine but the 40/1 cotton is so fine I could barely see it and it is… yes a single strand. This only comes from the mill in skeins. They load up the skeins onto a wagumba which is a giant swift.  Thirty skeins are loaded on, thirty individual ends are found and then the warper carries the wagumba up and down the warping board while he is making his warp.
Another view of the giant swift
A 70 yard warp

This is what a 70 yard warp looks like on it’s way to the loom where it will be transformed into 40 towels.

The metal warping mill

And then they have one trusty metal warping mill which I felt right at home with. Ermias and Aiyelle made a new warp for us to use in the Research and Development Department.

Next blog post

Part three: The Weavers of Sabahar and their brand spanking new R&D dept.

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The Silk Producers, Spinners, Dyers and Weavers of Sabahar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Part 1: of a story about my recent trip to Ethiopia where I worked with the weavers, spinners and dyers of Sabahar in Addis Ababa. I did several posts about this trip on Facebook but I know there are a lot of you out there that don’t hang out on Facebook or other social media and you are important to me too… so here goes.

This story all begins with one amazing woman named Kathy Marshall from Beaver Lodge Alberta. Kathy has lived in Africa since 1994 working in the area of agriculture and development. Kathy’s desire to create a business that specialized and celebrated the rich textile traditions in Ethiopia began in 2004 with one weaver and several spinners working out of her home.

Fast forward 15 years and Sabahar now employs over 200 artisans. Weavers, spinners, dyers, silk farmers and finishers. It is an amazing success story that sits on top of a mountain of determination, dedication and above all, love.

There are so many parts to this story but it really should start with these lovely little critters… eri silk moths. By the way, Saba is the Amharic word for queen and Hari is the Amharic word for silk… a perfect name for Sabahar.

Sabahar is the pioneer of silk production in Ethiopia. Kathy brought her silk cocoons from Assam India where Eri silk originates. The name eri comes from the Assamese word “era”, meaning castor and that is exactly what these caterpillars eat. Ethiopia has an abundant supply of Castor trees which made it a perfect silk match for the country.

It takes five days for the eggs to hatch… they moult four times during their lifespan of approximately 45 days depending upon the temperature… this little guy on the left is almost full grown, the pair on the right are fully grown… when they get to this size and become pale in colour you hold them to your ear, rub their backs and if they sound hollow, they’re ready to spin… two caterpillars are placed in a paper cone, trays of cones sealed up ready to spin… it takes two days to spin and another seven days for the metamorphosis to occur…

A cup of caterpillars

I put two caterpillars in this glass mug and weighed down a piece of paper with my cell phone. It was amazing to watch them spin their cocoon. Their little heads circled round and round while they extruded the silk into the unique shape that Eri silk is spun into. They will fill any shape they are put into… the cocoons that come out of the paper cones are cone shaped. If they are put into a square container, the cocoon will be square… truly amazing.

Spinning

Cotton spinning on drop spindles has a strong tradition in Ethiopia and Eri silk has similarities to cotton. The caterpillar spins a staple silk unlike other silk worms which spin a filament silk, like Bombyx and Tussah. Eri silk cannot be reeled making it the perfect fibre to give to traditional cotton spinners. The cocoons are first boiled and the spinners spin directly from these cocoon masses.  Along with spinning Eri Silk, Sabahar employs dozens of cotton spinners who spin in their homes.  Everyday spun cotton is collected and delivered to Sabahar for sorting and quality control.

Cocoons are boiled and spun directly from these cocoon masses… the silk is spun on wheels, while the cotton is spun on drop spindles… every day deliveries of cotton arrive and are sorted into different grades… the cobs are turned into skeins ready for dyeing.

Spinning outside

Next blog post

The next blog post is about the dyers and the warpers of Sabahar.

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July 2018 Newsletter

Remembering Mary Andrews

Last week Alberta and all of Canada lost one of our most treasured weavers. Mary Garnham Andrews passed away at the age of 102 in Banff Alberta. Mary shared her love and vast weaving knowledge with weavers across this country for over five decades and she influenced my weaving path more than any other teacher.

I would not be the teacher I am today if she had not been my weaving master.

It was the Spring of 1981, I was 22 years old and living in Thunder Bay where I was born and raised. I was a ceramics major at Lakehead University and was having a secret love affair with a loom in my mother’s basement. There was a big poster in the ceramics studio advertising summer classes offered at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Banff Alberta… that was so far away ALBERTA! Multi Harness Techniques!!!!

I thought, why not… two weeks on a big adventure all by myself, driving across the country in my brand new Chevrolet Chevette rocking on to the Doobie Brothers… what could be better than that. And after all, I had woven a set of placemats, an entire Overshot coverlet without alternating tabby picks between pattern picks and a blanket that stood up in the corner all by itself. I was sure I could handle a Multi-Harness loom or anything else that came my way.

I should have realized that summer that I had an angel on my shoulder guiding my every movement because Mary Andrews accepted me into her workshop and my life was forever changed.

Mary was formidable. Her knowledge and her presence demanded respect and I held her in awe. I was very nervous… she was a tad stern and I was… well ‘me’!

She was dressed in a royal blue pant suit with her trademark Bob haircut and that wonderful smile. At that time Mary was many many things… a serious weaver, extremely disciplined, a technical perfectionist, a traditionalist but with intense curiosity about modern things and a superb and demanding teacher.

I was the youngest person in the room, an aspiring hippie and remember… had woven exactly one set of placemats, one overshot coverlet without any tabby and a blanket that could have been used as a sheet of plywood… I might add that each of those projects were the most remarkable weaving I had ever seen up to that point. Within moments I was scared to death.

Mary’s class was formatted so that she lectured in the morning and we wove in the afternoon. I learned so much in the next two weeks… Mary taught me how to do read patterns, how to do draw-downs, how to hemstitch, how to do name drafts in overshot and that overshot had alternating tabbies between pattern picks :A), she taught me how to sit at the loom properly, how to hold a shuttle, how to control my selvedges. She taught me what the numbers mean in 2/8, what cellulose and protein fibres were. She gave us graphs with so much information crammed into them, sett charts, yardage charts, reed charts. She taught me the Fibonacci numerical series and the Golden Mean. In two weeks she crammed everything she could into my little brain and I learned that I could weave anything if I could read a draft.

I made it through all 12 samples alive. I did not understand a great deal of it, but I had a binder full of notes that I continue to learn from to this day.
She taught me the four P’s: with Patience and Practice you Persevere for Perfection. I have quotes she shared with us all through my book, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand”.

Mary Andrews was a gem, she was the weaving worlds  national treasure, she was a flower of Alberta. Her greatest gift was her ability to share her knowledge which she did with grace and kindness.

Biography

Bom in Montreal Quebec in 1916, Miss Andrews affinity with the “Comfortable Arts” was apparent at an early age. At the age of 23 while working as a senior counsellor at Taylor Statten Camp in Ontario, she was exposed to the craft of handweaving. On her return to Oshawa in 1939 she immediately bought the first of her 11 looms and began a life long study. Through correspondence with Harriet Tidball of the United States, Mary studied textile theory and cloth construction.

In 1943, while in charge of Occupational Therapy at the Royal Edward Laurentian Hospital in Ste. Agathe des Monts, Quebec, she began a teaching career that spanned more than 50 years.

From 1943-1948, Mary set up the Ontario Government Home Weaving Service, an agency designed to revive handweaving and encourage a cottage industry. Along with two other weaving teachers she taught and developed the project throughout Ontario. During the last year of this programme Mary continued her own studies at the Penland School of Handcrafts in North Carolina, USA.

In 1948 Mary was appointed Assistant Programme Director for the YWCA in Oshawa. She spent the next six years teaching handweaving, leatherwork and metalwork to hundreds of students. It was during these years that Mary first travelled west to study at The Banff School of Fine Arts with two of Canada’ finest weavers, Ethel Henderson and Mary Sandin. It was during these visits that her desire to reside in Alberta was kindled.

Mary  joined the Canadian Red Cross in 1954 and served as a Rehabilitative Therapist in Korea and Japan after the Korean War. After working for 18 months on a Welfare Team she travelled through 13 countries working her way back to Canada in 1958.

On her return to Canada she was appointed Director of Handcrafts at the Grenfell Labrador Medical Mission. She travelled throughout Northern Newfoundland and Labrador teaching handweaving, embroidery and traditional rug hooking to its residents with the intent of developing cottage industries that could subsidize the fishermen’s incomes. She remained in Labrador until September of 1962 when she purchased her home in Banff and realized her dream of living in Alberta.

From 1962-1975, Mary taught at The Banff School of Fine Arts where she developed the programme from a six week summer course to a two year Diploma granting programme. Through her early guidance and insistence that Visiting artists be brought from around the world, the Fibre Department became a widely renowned centre of study for the Textile Arts.

Mary retired from The Banff Centre in 1975 and spent another five years teaching and lecturing all over Western Canada. In 1984 she developed a four year summer weaving programme for Olds College where her students prepared for the Canadian Guild of Weavers, Master’s exams.

One of Mary’s greatest personal achievements was earning her Master Weavers certification from the Guild of Canadian Weavers in 1972 and she later published her Master’s Thesis “The Fundamentals of Weaving” with book three finished in 1994. Throughout this massive three volume endeavour she was assisted by Ruth Hahn who provided all of her IT support.

She also spent a great deal of time serving the community of Banff by working in the Banff Library several mornings a week and donating her weaving for auction to raise funds for community projects. In her late seventies she was still taking courses in English Literature and Philosophy from Athabasca University.

Mary lived in her log home on Squirrel Street until 2013 when she moved into a Seniors Lodge and then on to Continuing Care at Banff-Mineral Springs Hospital. Mary Garnham Andrews passed away July 30th, 2018.

Mary’s recipe for Weavers’ cookies

Mary always served these cookies to her students on the last day of class.  I hope you’ll make a batch, brew a nice cup of tea and think of her while you enjoy.

She used to say… “Weavers sit at their looms all day long. These cookies are full of healthy fibre.”

Note: (4 dozen per recipe)

In a large bowl mix:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Sift together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt

add:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts)
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Mix wet with dry ingredients.
Spoon on to a greased cookie sheet, flatten and bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes (baking paper or butter).

Undulated Twill Tea Towel Kit

We have had so many requests for Sharon Broadley’s striped towel since it first had a starring role in one of JST’s Online Guild episodes, that she has consented to share her pattern!

This towel has a lovely striping sequence moving from charcoal to dark grey to light grey and then to white, all laid on a black background.

This tea towel looks very classy hanging from a stainless steel oven door.

This kit will make 8 beautiful tea towels.

More exclusive, very limited edition silk colours

We’ve been experimenting with dreamy colourways inspired by pistachios, flax and glaciers.

There’s only a handful of sets available, therefore stocks are limited.

New Online Guild sample kits

New Online Guild sample kits are now available:

Online Guild Sample Kit #6 – Muted Colour Gamp
Online Guild Sample Kit #7 – Primaries & Secondaries
Buy all 7 Sample Kits for Season #2

Exclusive, very limited edition silk colours

We’ve restocked last month’s lovely gradient pastel colourways.

Again, there’s only a handful of sets available, therefore stocks are limited.

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May 2018 Newsletter

Elizabeth has been honing her skills as a photographer and is doing a fabulous job. Check out our new Hand Dyed 20/2 Bombyx Silk and Hand Dyed 30/2 Bombyx Silk photos – I think the colours of the new photos are far more true.

What gets wetter the more it dries?

With the great weather comes great weavers dropping in for a visit, and show and tell. Anita Salman, Kathy Ready and Arlene Kohut are all regulars here at JST and they brought a great bounty of things inspired by the JST Online Guild lessons on Colour & Design.

From left to right, the alluring Jane is sporting Anita’s scarf inspired by Online Guild Sample Kit #2 – Colour & Weave Gamp woven in Cashmere and Zephyr. Beguiling Arlene is wearing one of her beautiful towels inspired by Online Guild Sample Kit #1 – Asymmetry and the heavenly Kathy is flouting a beautiful cotton and silk scarf inspired by the same sample. Iridescent Anita is wearing two dish towels.

🙂

Cottolin and cotton

Those cute little spools of Venne Cottolin and cotton are on the shelves now. We were admiring all the wonderful colours of tulips so we have put together some bulb colours to celebrate the great change in weather. I didn’t think the grey weather would ever end this year but it is definitely gone.

What did you want to learn about?

In a seemingly blatant attempt to garner information for the Online Guild curriculum, our previous survey asked, “What do you want to learn about?”

Cue the drum roll… the results are as follows:

Summer & winter – 18%
Lace weaves – 16%
Other block weaves – 15%
Rug weaving – 15%
Twill – 14%
Overshot – 13%
Plain weave – 6%
I don’t want to answer that right now – 3%

My question to the coy 3% is this: “if not now, then when!?”

Sample kit #5 – Stripe-tastic! is available

Stripes! Zebras have stripes and everyone loves zebras. I love stripes… fat ones, skinny ones… fat stripes with skinny stripes on them… stripes rock!

The stripe has an ancient textile history but hasn’t always been loved. For much of history the stripe was used to label you as an outcast of some sort a leper, a prisoner, a prostitute to name just a few. Stripes had to wait for modern times to be seen as loveable.

Online Guild Sample Kit #5 – Stripe-tastic!

Just answer the question!

Remember: this is a single answer survey. You might want to select more than one answer but that’s not how we’re playing this game. Do hockey players suddenly decide that the game needs more than one puck? No, that’s crazy talk. So on with the survey, the question is…

Which is your favourite yarn to weave with?

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February 2018 Newsletter

The Great Canadian Silk Sale of 2018

We’re having a sale on all natural silky things (not unnatural silly things). That means our 20/2 Bombyx Spun Silk, 30/2 Bombyx Spun Silk, 20/2 Tussar Spun Silk and Tussar Tweed are on sale… ten percent off, those savings add up when you’re buying silk. Sale lasts until March 2, 2018 PST 11:59 PM.

Note that this doesn’t include our range of dyed silks.

Fibres West

We’re off to Fibres West 2018 which will be on Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24, 2018 on the Cloverdale Exhibition Park Grounds, in the Agriplex building, Surrey, BC, Canada.

This show definitely won’t be baaaaaaaahd.*

* I am in no way responsible for the very low hilarity level of this pun.

Online Guild update

The first two episodes of Season 2 are up and it is so exciting to see what weavers have been weaving. You can check things out on Ravelry and on the JST Online Guild Forum.

Just a reminder that Season 2 is all about Colour and Design, which is our most sought after workshop and thanks to this wonderful thing I like to call, “the internet”, it will never go away… you can start it whenever you want and move at your own pace.

Kits for the first three samples are now available on the JST website.

Louet floor loom prices

Thanks to the miracle of competitive pricing I can now offer you great prices on all Louet floor looms. Hurray for market forces!

And rather shamelessly I’m copying an idea from the lovely Joan Sheridan and including a one year membership for the Online Guild with every floor loom purchase. Already a member of the Online Guild? Then you could gift your membership to your BFF (Best Friend Forever).

Introductions are in order

I just thought you’d like to know who’s answering the phone at JST now. Chances are you’ll hear the dulcet tones of Elizabeth – a weaver’s daughter who was utilised as child labour to produce warps – or Alastair – if there are computer problems, blame him! Or Grant, who is my own personal handyman. Or Joan, basket weaver extraordinaire. Or “Person Saturday”, Klare. Or even Jane, who does a bit of weaving now and then. Charlotte has now left to go back to school, or rather trades college – cheerio and good luck Charlotte, but remember you can’t escape the JST gravitational force field for too long.

Survey time

I’m currently planning for future episodes of the Online Guild and I would love to know which type of loom you use most, so I’m running a mini-survey.

Click here to go to the mini-survey.

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JST’s New Tussar Silk

We are so pleased to introduce you to our lovely new line of Tussar Tweed Silk that we are carrying at JST. Direct from India, this silk is a beauty to weave with.

 


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

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Introducing Tussar Tweed Silk

Look at this silk. This is a new line of silk that we have brought in from India and we are totally in love with it. We have it in three varieties: 30/2 Tussar, 20/2 Tussar, and a singles weight.

This is an unbleached Tussar silk that has been carded with two different shades, and when spun and plied, it creates a wonderful tweedy look. It has a magnificent luster, and reminds us of flaxen hair, yet it’s not linen. Our first samples will be combining our 40/2 Linen with this new silk.

We’d love to entice you to weave with this yarn, so we are offering a draw for a $100 gift certificate to anyone who buys this gorgeous new yarn until our draw date of August 15th.
Simply purchase at least one skein of this silk through our online store, and we’ll enter you in the draw! You’ll receive one entry for every skein purchased, so for example, you’ll receive five entries for the purchase of five skeins.
Winners will be announced on August 15th. Good luck!

Seat Sale – with the purchase of every David loom, receive a free bench.

Newer, wider, seat sale ends July 31

Those of you with a keen eye and with Louet bench experience will notice that this bench looks different. And it is. Louet has totally redesigned the bench that it sends to accompany its looms – and we have finally received some pictures so that we can show you what a FREE BENCH looks like 😉

This bench is a $425 value, and remember,
JST offers free shipping on all looms.
Click here to visit the David.

10% off Sale Ends July 31st

Just a reminder that our 10% off sale ends on July 31st. Thank you so much for helping us proofread our new website. Your help and comments have been invaluable.

Helpline Is Back!

We have worked tirelessly, and we can finally say that the JST Helpline is back up. It’s the best place on the internet to find the answers that you’re looking for – at least those that pertain to weaving!


 

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Silk and Cotton Revolution

Weaving Through India (aka) Inspiration from the Sari – 2 Spots Available

Last Chance to take this workshop with Jane in Vancouver!

 

October 20, 21, 22 & 23

In January of 2011 I travelled to India with the Maiwa Foundation and had the great privilege of observing some of India’s finest weavers. I visited again with Maiwa in early 2014. This workshop has been created based on the extraordinary pieces that I observed and brought back.

Students will need to have solid basic weaving technique and a four or an eight-shaft table loom for the workshop. Warps will be prepared in advance and sent to the students before the workshop. During the workshop students will migrate from loom to loom creating samples of six different exquisite fabrics, all inspired by the beautiful saris we saw on our travels. Students will also receive all their weft materials so that bobbins can be prepared before the workshop.

“India’s tradition of clothing itself with uncut cloth has created a weaver’s paradise. Everywhere I looked I saw magnificent coloured and textured cloths. Often the simplicity of the handloom techniques led to the most sensual and ingenious of fabrics.”

Students will learn about supplementary warps used to create patterned borders over a plain weave structure, stripes, and double weaves. In addition there will be unusual embellishment techniques such as the use of sequined yarns.

We will contrast India’s handloom techniques with the craft-loom approach taken in the west. There will be a slide show: a weaver’s perspective on an incredible tradition.

All of our warps are 2/16 cotton base with a 30/2 silk weft from our Hand Dyed Hot Line.

Good Reason for Trying Organic Cotton

 

Did you know that regular cotton production uses more herbicide and pesticide than any other single crop grown on this planet?  It’s True.  Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world’s insecticides.

These chemicals pollute the air and surface water.

Cotton is grown in many countries where there are no rules to protect the farmers who spray those chemicals.  The spraying often leaves them with severe health issues.

Residual chemicals may irritate consumers’ skin.

The cotton used in these samples was grown in Egypt where there is great momentum in regards to growing Organic Cottons.  It is certified by GOTS, The Global Organic Textile Standard which was developed through collaboration by leading standard setters with the aim to define world-wide recognized requirements that ensure the organic status of textiles.  From harvesting through manufacturing GOTS provides credible assurance to the consumer that the product they are purchasing was manufactured using environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.

If you feel you can’t afford to make your entire project out of Organic Cotton why not try to use organic cotton for the weft or make every 2nd or 3rd project out of Organic Cotton.

Blending delightful Organic Cotton with exquisite 20/2 Silk (Bombyx or Tussah!)

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I had never thought about blending cotton with silk until I went to India.  Over and over I saw fabulous fabrics made with cotton warps and woven with silk wefts.  I have been working with these blends since my return.  It allows us to take our 2/8 cotton out of the kitchen where we tend to use it just for towelling and more durable cloth.  The other thing I have come to learn is that we can open up our setts to create more drapey fabric and still have incredible durability and stability.  Have you ever tried to weave 2/8 cotton at the most recommended sett of 20 epi  and 20 ppi?   I don’t know about you but it is really hard for me to even come close.  We sett it at 18 and 18 and it is a lovely weaving experience and makes a great absorbent towel.   So….the next step was to take it down to 16 epi and 16 ppi and it was an even better experience and creates an even lovlier simple cloth.   So THEN…we changed the weft to 2/20 silk and oh my goodness….we have an exquisite fabric, with exquisite drape, cooler than 100% silk but with the lustre that only silk can add to a textile.