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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!)


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.

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Gosh, Golly! Where is the year going?


The end of October brought with it the end of our workshops for 2013.  What a year is has been.  We have done 12 retreats, 3 fundraisers for the Maiwa Foundation, 3 workshops with guest teachers….a trip to Alberta during the big flood of 2013, Fibre’s West and a Louet Dealers Retreat….no wonder we are so tired.  Seeing it is only November 1st we actually did all that in 10 months.  To all my ladies on Ravellry, I’m sorry if you felt ignored.

Update on 2014 Retreats:

The first half of next year is completely full. However, there are still spots left in Pushing the Boundaries of Plainweave and Twills on Four during the second half of the year.  Check out Class Descriptions on the website and the Workshop Schedule.

Win yourself a spot in a 2014 Retreat!

We are having a special draw for the last quarter of 2013.  The winner will receive a workshop spot in Pushing the Boundaries of Plainweave or Twills on Four which includes Tuition and Farmstay.  A value of $1200.  All you have to do to enter the draw is buy some yarn.  The more times you buy, the more times your name gets entered.  We will draw at the end of December.


We did end the year in style with our first ever Deluxe Retreats.  We did 3 of them back to back and I must say I was blown away by the accomplishments of all participants.  Imagine spending 6 days with us here on Salt Spring and walking into a studio with 10 looms all dressed with projects and you get to weave 5 of those projects in 5 days.  What this all adds up to is 15 days for weaving for 3 groups.   21 weavers!  Net produce:  21 Baby Blankets, 21 Mohair Throws, 21 Silk Scarves, 21 Cashmere Scarves and 21 Linen Towels…..not bad huh!

In the afternoons if your project was finished you got to go and hang out with our chef Rosemary and play in the kitchen working with a different set of ingredients.  We toured the island, visited the Saturday market, hung out a Lorrie Irwin’s farm “Ewetopia Farm and Elf Leatherworks”, visited Salt Spring Cheese, got massages from our good friend Liz who brought her travelling massage table, went for walks along the ocean, drank a lot of wine, ate a ton of excellent food and generally had a wonderful weaving awakening.  Every singe participant was blown away with their achievement.

We plan to run another set of Deluxe Retreats in 2015.

Our third quarter winners are:

Cynthia Davies and MIchelle Parzentry!  They will both receive $125 Gift Certificates to JST!  Congratulations Ladies!


Spinning Fibre

Do you know that JST has fabulous spinning fibre?  We have lots of natural and dyed fibre.

Check it out online.  And to help you spin up some snuggly warm winter yarn, it’s all 15% off for the month of November.  In stock fibres only.






Hot Line of Hand Dyed Yarns

Our Hand Dyed Silks are phenomenal.  We have all 32 colours dyed in stock and ready to go out the door.  We have 30/2 Bombyx Silk, 20/2 Bombyx Silk and 20/2 Tussah Silks available.  They make wonderful scarves.  You can get one scarf out of a skein and if you get three, we’ll throw in one of the patterns from the deluxe retreats.

Weaving with this silk is extremely easy. It is beautifully spun in Switzerland, is strong and has superb lustre.  The colours of our pallete blend beautifully together.  The scarves to the left were woven in Buddah Berry, Persephone’s Pip and Chocolate Cherry in 30/2 Silk sett at 30 epi in a turned twill.  The block design allows for varying width in stripes so each scarf can look so different.







Shipping Free on Yarn Orders Over $200.

If you purchase $200 or more of yarn we will pay for your shipping costs.  Gather your friends together for a group order and if you buy $500 or more of yarn we’ll pay for your shipping costs and take off 10% before taxes.

Mailing List

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.

Remember the Helpline.  We are always there for you.

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September Newsletter


It’s been so long!  Can you even believe that it’s September?  Have you forgotten what we look like? So much has happened this summer, but first – what’s coming up next?!

2nd Quarter Contest Winners

Pam Barret and JoAnne Schneider!  You are the lucky winners of a $125 Gift Certificate!  Sorry it’s taken us so long to announce the prize winners – but we wanted to make sure you were good and excited.

We’ll be sending out Gift Certificates to the lucky winners tomorrow!

Upcoming Workshops

Joan Carrigan, one of our favourite guest teachers is back this fall to teach Honey Suckle Rib Basketry November 9 & 10 (Sat & Sun).


Learning with Joan is always fun and exciting.  You will be amazed at what you can create in just a few days.

To attend either of these workshops just give us a shout at the studio at 250-537-9468 or email

What We’ve Been Up To

We’ve had a million wonderful workshops since our last post.  Here’s two:

Pushing the Boundaries of Plainweave


Natural Dye Workshop

We had Charllotte Kwon and the  Maiwa team transform the studio into a natural dyeing extravaganza with pots, stoves, dyes, mordants, gorgeous materials and some beautiful items from their store on Granville Island.




Harvest Time

The Garden has just started to slow down after a very busy and productive harvest.


We are so fortunate to live and work in such a wonderful place.

Hand Dyed Hot Line

Our Hand Dyed Hot Line is now fully up on the store site!  We’ve got 30/2 Silk, 20/2 Silk, Tussah Silk, luscious Alpaca and two kinds of Mohair Boucle; Bolero and Orlando.  This stuff is practically edible.


2014 Workshop Dates

And last, but definitely not least, we will be posting our 2014 Workshop Schedule in our next newsletter slated to arrived in your mailbox on October 3rd.   We have over 80 people left on our wait lists from 2013! We will be offering spots to these folks first and then all remaining spots will be on the website for the next newsletter.  Remaining spots will be filled on a first come first served  basis so don’t wait too long if you want to attend a workshop next year.



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Hello Spring!


Ding Dong the HST is gone.  The Wicked HST is gone.

That means that from this day hence, there will only be 5% gst on your yarn.  You have 7% more to spend or save, as you wish!

Jane’s Hotline of Hand Dyed Yarns.

The JST Hot Line of Hand Dyed Yarns was launched at Fibres’ West in Vancouver at the end of March.  Hand Dyed by Cheryl Huseby Wiebe of Salt Spring Island, there are 32 exquisite colours to choose from.  We have been working on this colour line since last fall.



Our next big job is to scan those 32 colours and get them online. Each colour is available in 100g skeins of 11 different yarns from our Yarns to Dye For collection: 20/2 Silk,   30/2 Silk, Tussah Silk, Soie Naturelle, Prime Alpaca, Peruvian Tweed Alpaca, Orlando Boucle, Bolero Boucle, Mikado, Cuddles and Montana.


Here are a few yummy tastes: Shameless & Favourite Wine, Autumn Spice, Pistachio and Princess Pamuk.  Don’t you just want to eat them? (well, you don’t want to eat Princess Pamuk because she’s our dog.)


It sure was fun naming them.


The Time Has Come

Remember way back when Jane decided that she’d rather give her advertising budget to you instead of the corporation?  At first we were going to do a single prize worth $250 each quarter.  But then I got to thinking … those big lotteries … if only they spread out all the millions between a whole bunch of people.   Instead of screwing up one person, they could help 32.  So along those lines we decided to make two $125 prizes.

Drum roll please …….

The winners are:

Kathleen Walsh of Powell River!


Sharon Butler of Ladner!

Yahooo!  Your gift certificates will be sent to you in an email.

Remember, every time you order from us, your name goes in the draw box.  Next draw will be July 1, 2013.

Lovely Louet Fibre

Don’t forget that JST has an extensive line of exquisitely prepared fibre from Louet North America.

Just in case you are looking for a specific sheep breed, here is some of what we have in stock:

Blue Faced Leicester, Cheviot, Coopworth, Corriedale, Falkland, Gotland, Karkul, Jacob, Manx Loughton, Masham, Norwegian, Perrendale, Romney, Merino, Shetland, Swalesdale and Welsh.

Not to mention Alpaca, Mohair, Flax, Hemp, Cultivated Silk, Eri Silk, Tussah, Muga and a huge selection of exotics such as Yak, Cashmere, Bison and Camel.  Plus more and more and more.


What else have we been up to?

I know that it’s only April 1st, but these first three months have been stellar.

We’ve hosted a wonderful basketry workshop with Joan Carrigan,


an exciting spinning workshop with Cheryl Huseby Wiebe,


our first two full retreats on Colour & Design,



Fibres’ West in Vancouver,

the Louet Dealer’s retreat where Jane trains Louet dealers from across North America,

and our favourite past time … sharing stories of India and the incredible work that Charllotte Kwon and the Maiwa Foundation do in many parts of the world.

Here we have Kathy Fimrite hanging scarves at the Victoria Weaver’s Guild event and Pat Daniels happily setting up displays in Courtenay.


Our display on Salt Spring Island.

Through these three events and everyone’s incredible enthusiasm purchasing the fabulous works of artisans in India we were able to raise $16,000 for the Maiwa Foundation.

Customer’s Corner

Every month we have customers walking through our door sharing the wonderful creations made from the yarns that we sell.  It’s always fun to share their creativity.

Karen Lengyeltoti from Vancouver Island’s Tzouhalem Weaver’s Guild wove this stunning  Mohair Blankie from our Brushed Mohair.


Sharon Hatelt took this photo out of her window looking east over Drew Harbour on Quadra Island.

And this is the result of her inspiration in Zephyr Wool/Silk yarn sett at 24 epi.  Sharon created this original design called the Heriot Bay Local Tartan.  It was registered with the Scottish Registrar of Tartans at the National Archives of Scotland.  Congratulations Sharon!

And here we have the lovely Judy Moores from the Deep Cove Guild showing off one of her latest towels.  Judy has been pushing the lid off her colour box by taking a colour workshop with Jan Korteweg and by following JST’s Colour & Design article in the previous newsletter.

Pretty sweet Judy!











Mailing List

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.

Remember the Helpline.  We are always there for you.