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June 2019 Newsletter

Huckleberry Waffle

Have you ever made a warp that seems to get the better of you? It seems like an awesome idea when it is an idea, but then it makes its way to the loom and you stand there saying….what was I thinking?

It all started with The Harvest Splendour Tea Towel Kit from last fall. It is a 3 stripe design with 2 side sections threaded with alternating curry and brass from our organic 8/2 cotton collection with a centre of lovely stripes in reds, plum and burnt orange. While I wove those towels I got so excited about the colour and weave patterns that popped out in the side sections. My next warp was an entire warp of alternating brass and curry from selvedge to selvedge….wow….what a lot of brass and curry! I tried to love it but it was too much.

After a couple of weeks of doing nothing I added a few zinger stripes of plum, but it still seemed wrong. Around the same time my friend Sharon was weaving waffle weave. She had woven an entire yardage for a bathrobe. It looked great so I went home and rethreaded my loom to a waffle threading and started to play with all kinds of sequences and different treadlings and tie-ups, it was just what this warp needed…some texture to go along with the colour.

Three towels later I noticed that I was running out of warp….how that happened is beyond me….I never make short warps. I was just getting in the zone and it was over….so I made it again playing with different colours and another 8 yards later I had 9 new towels…each one different, using repetitive sequences in Waffle, Plain Weave, Twill and Huck all on one threading.

I have written the pattern describing the design process and it includes all the tie-ups and treadling sequences to create some pretty wonderful patterning. They are all woven in organic 8/2 cotton which was so fitting as I wove them over the Easter weekend and it was Earth Day.

We love Venne’s GOTS Organic yarns, here’s more kits!

It’s The Little Things

We’ve had weavers ask us how to read a draft so we’ve made a little video explaining the basics and the different types of drafts you might come across.

ANWG Conference 2019 – Prince George, B.C.

JST is coming to ANWG with armfuls of silks! We’ll have a booth in the Market Hall, come by and say hello. Market Hall will be open from Thursday June 13th to Saturday June 15th. 

JST Online Guild members’ meet-up is on Saturday the 15th at 12:30pm. We’ll meet at the Prince George Civic Centre’s outdoor Plaza. Grab a lunch and come meet Jane and fellow guild members. Everyone is welcome!

We love to hear from you!

Like what you bought from us? We’d love to hear about it and you can do so by leaving us a review right below the item!

You may have noticed that all of our products, newsletters & blogs can now be shared through Social Media or sent via email. Simply click on your favourite way of sharing and pass it on!

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Septober 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to Septober

Fall is my favourite time of year. It brings cooler weather but with bright sunshine; the garden is overflowing; the apples are pressed into juice (this year we did our apples and pears together and it is fantastic. Just sayin  ).

And of course with autumn comes Thanksgiving Day. I usually do feel thankful every day of the year, but on the Thanksgiving Weekend (which we just had in Canada) I do reflect a little more deeply on all the blessings I have in my life. I have so many:

  • I have a wonderful and supportive family,
  • I live in a wonderfully supportive community,
  • I have an amazing staff running my business.

And, not least, I have been able to spend my life weaving and fostering our little business.

Few of us would be doing what we get to do (weaving and spinning and knitting) without all the farmers who grow the fibre in our yarns. When I think about it, we have silk rearers, flax growers, cotton farmers, and shepherds shepherding all those beautiful hoofed beasties – the alpacas, the angora goats, the numerous breeds of sheep – all working for us. Then there are all those hard-working folks who turn the fibre into yarn and all the dyers who pour their colourful hearts into it. An army of artisans stands behind every cone of natural yarn, and I am thankful to all of them.

A few weeks back I was cleaning up some really old files and I came across my very first order to Henry’s Attic back, in January of 1992. I was reading the list of yarns on that order and I realized that we still sell all those same yarns. Now, I have never met either Henry or Samira, but I feel like I know them somehow after all these years and I’m thankful to them because they have been at this forever, too. Then I started to think about all our other yarn suppliers and the mills we have been dealing with for all these many years and there are so so many. I am grateful for all these long-lasting partnerships, alliances, and connections.

And then there are all my students and customers and members of the Online Guild, we would not be here without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting in me and supporting me personally and JST as a business. I am so grateful.

Harvest Splendour tea towel kit

A few weeks back Joan and I were wandering around the yard marvelling at all the fall colours. We started to collect little piles of leaves, twigs and Japanese maple helicopters  , it was such a beautiful pile. When we got back to the studio I was looking at all the amazing colours and decided to design the Harvest Splendour Organic Tea Towel Kit.

I started with a 3 stripe overall division of space but after I wove them I decided to make the sides a bit narrower and the centre stripes a bit wider. I know this will give you more curry and brass to play with while weaving and I love those zinger accents in the weft.

I also decided to weave these in Venne Organic 8/2 cotton, it was a no brainer… it was Mother Earth who provided such brilliant inspiration and therefore I needed to honour her by using the kindest yarn we sell. Organic cotton is kind to the earth, plain and simple.

Blog

We’ve started a blog – I have it on good authority that they’re quite the rage. Here’s the first two posts:

In Praise of Good Selvedges: Practical Tips for Weavers
Weaving Philosophy: Find What Works For You

If you want to subscribe to the blog, you can do it here:

https://jst.link/blog-signup

Mohair price increase

The price we’re paying for mohair has increased. We’re going to hold off increasing our prices until Nov 1.

If you were thinking of making one of our mohair blanket kits – Spring StripesThree Stripe or Two Stripe – then now is the time to buy it… unless you foresee a slump in the worldwide price of mohair.

 

Jane appears on the Weave Podcast

Jane chatted with Weave Podcast host, Sarah Resnick, about the Online Guild and weaving in general.

Listen to Episode 36: Online Weaving Guild with Jane Stafford.

 

 

Online Guild price increase

When I first envisioned the Online Guild I budgeted to present one hour of video each month. All the filming we have done in 2018 and for 2019 has produced videos that are 2-3 hours long! I have completely blown my budget. But how can I cut anything out? I just can’t!

Alas, after much number crunching the Online Guild dues are going up to $99 (Canadian) starting December 7, 2018.

If you’re not already a member Online Guild, you can Join the Online Guild before December 7 at the original rate. If you are a member, unfortunately our system doesn’t allow renewal in advance.

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August 2018 Newsletter

Oh it’s a long while from May ’till September

To celebrate the upcoming legalization of cannabis in Canada we’re having a sale on all things pot related: Potholder Loom Deluxe and Lotta Loops. Potholder Loom Deluxe makes six technicolour potholders whilst Lotta Loops is a 1 lb bag of cotton loops that fit the Potholder Loom Deluxe and makes approximately ten gaily coloured potholders. Get bonged up to your eyeballs and get weaving!

We’re also celebrating the close of the cricket season – who really understands the difference between silly-mid-wicket and a googly – by putting on sale the Stand for Schacht 15″ Cricket Loom, the Schacht 15″ Variable Dent – Rigid Heddle – Reed and the Schacht 15″ Cricket/Flip 10 Dent Reed.

Free stuff!!!* *with purchase

Buy a Louet Erica 30 Table loom (2 shaft) and we’ll throw in a free Louet Accessory Kit which consists of:

  • 2 stick shuttles (30 or 50 cm)
  • reed/heddle hook
  • warping posts
  • weaving instruction manual

You know you want it.

New tea towel kit

Taking inspiration from the greys and white seen on the mountains in Garibaldi Provincial Park in beautiful British Columbia, I’ve created two tea towel kits. The Garibaldi Flats Tea Towel Kit- 4 shaft version is great for beginners whilst the Garibaldi Flats Tea Towel Kit- 8 shaft version provides more of a challenge.

Undulating tea towel kit back in stock

We underestimated the popularity of the Undulating Twill Tea Towel Kit and sold out almost immediately.

Fear not, we’re back on our game and have loads more in stock.

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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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Colour & Weave Inspiration : Plain Weave and Twill

Colour and Weave Inspiration

During the past few weeks some great cloth has walked through our doors and I just have to share it with you. All of these pieces are based on Colour and Weave Technique…. basically working with dark and light colour combinations in simple cloth. In my workshop Colour and Design we do a Colour and Weave Gamp…. Dark/Light over and over, Dark/Dark/Light/Light over and over, Dark/Dark/Light over and over. There are 7 different combinations of Dark and Light. That is what Colour and Weave is all about. As striped fabrics with all the colour in the warp and just one simple weft you get amazing striping sequences but the real magic begins when you weave with dark and light in the weft. In our camp we basically follow the striping sequence in the warp to get the weft sequence. Charlotte had a opportunity to weave a very special gift and we wove the gamp exactly how it is in class but without the dividers. She choose JST’s 2/20 Tussah Silk in Double Chocolate and Glacier sett at 20 epi and woven at 20 ppi. to create this amazing scarf.  The hand and drape of this cloth are evident in the photos below.

Tea Towels

 

I am the lucky recipient of yet another tea towel…. that must make around 500…. but who’s counting and no one can ever have enough tea towels. Not when they are as beautiful as the ones I have….. I don’t mean to brag…. just sayin!

This towel was designed by Sharon Broadley after she saw a flock of White Sussex Chickens at Salt Spring Cheese during one of our workshops. Inspiration lurks everywhere on Salt Spring Island. This towel just makes you smile. Sharon’s borders are Dark/Dark/Light/Light in the warp & Dark/Dark/Light in the weft with a couple of red zingers all on a bed of beautiful white cotton. Plain Weave kids…. just perfectly wonderful plain weave. JST’s 2/8 cotton sett at 18 epi and woven at 18 ppi. Take a look at that corner, looks like little chicken foot prints :^)

The Benefits of Sampling

Sampling is one of the best things a weaver can do. In the end you gain knowledge that you can use again and again. You save money by spending to a bit to learn and practice on and in the end you are generally very happy you did it. There are many different reasons to sample but the most important in my mind is getting your sett correct. Nicole Onetto is a new weaver who has taken sampling to heart. She sees the benefit of sampling in her end products.

Recently she has been weaving blankets…. first just Harrisville Shetland and then Harrisville Shetland Warp and Mohair Weft and now she has sampled to get the best fabric possible using Shetland and Alpaca. Nicole’s goal was to create a very special blanket for her son and she has done it.  Her journey took her through many samples, testing for sett and ‘colour and weave’ ideas on Twill. What happens when you take all those wonderful dark/light sequences you’ve played with in plain weave and overlay a 2/2 twill on top. The results are stunning.

We have draped Nicole’s beautiful blanket on Mary our lovely mannequin. You can see how this fabric would make a stunning coat or poncho.

Nicole’s sampling provided her with the knowledge she needed to make the best use of the yarns she wanted to use. Harrisville Shetland at 12 epi, JST’s Prime Alpaca at 12 ppi. 2/2 twill weave structure.

I want to thank all my wonderful students for sharing their fabulous work. Bang On, Far Out, High Five, Gold Star to my wee Charlotte, Sharon and Nicole. You kids make teaching a joy!

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JST’s December Newsletter

JST’s December Newsletter

We’re sitting around here stunned that it is December already. We finished our last retreat with a stunning group of ladies in Units, Blocks, and Profiles. Retreats start again in February, so we have a little break from warping looms and keeping the house and studio clean! Phew!

 

It has been a while since the last JST newsletter, so we thought that we would give you a peek at some of the new additions to 3 of our cotton yarns lines.  Hopefully these new colours will  re-invigorate your weaving design (and be a good excuse to weave more and stay indoors!).

For those of you starting to panic about Christmas gifts, never fear, we have a whole bunch of new kits in new colour ways – a great gift for any weaver.

Read on for more information….

 

New Cottolin Colours

JST has brought in new colours for Organic Cotton, Organic Cottolin, and Mercerized Cotton!  Time to try some new colours in your weaving or else to branch out into sustainable fibres. Our Organic Cotton line has grown the most, with 11 new additions there are now 45 colours to choose from. Organic Cottolin has 6 new colours and Mercerized Cotton 4. Both the Organic Cotton and Cottolin are certified by GOTS, which not only requires stringent environmental standards at all points on the textile supply chain, but sets social standards as well

 

New JST Scarf and Tea Towel Kits

Heavenly Checks Bambu Scarf (aka Eben’s Scarf)

This simple classic scarf in 12 gauge bambu is fun and fast and easy to weave.  The scarf was designed by Eben (Jane’s son!) and has long been a studio favourite – now finally available as a kit in three beautiful colour ways!

New Arlene Tea Towels

We have two new sets of tea towels from Arlene Kohut and Kathy Ready.

 

Huck Lace Tea Towels

The first is a brand-new colour way of the popular Huck Lace Tea Towels. The rich browns, reds, and oranges remind of fall and are a beautiful warm accent to add to your kitchen (or your hoard of tea towels!). We have named the new colour way “Falling Leaves”.

Bronson Lace Tea Towels

The second is a brand-new design that includes beautiful Bronson Lace patterning down the edges. This Organic Cottolin tea towel was inspired by a traditional design. The kit is available in two colours, the traditional “Antique” and  the richer “Burgundy”. Arlene’s Tea Towels are another stunning example of lace in the kitchen!

New Swift from Schacht

The Schacht Ultra Umbrella Swift is such a brilliant new swift from Schacht that we just have to bring your attention to its many new and novel features. It does everything you ever wanted and more, making skein-making or ball-winding effortless. Especially worthy of note is the one-handed loading by pushing down on the swift (yes, it works just like the video, we tested it!).

 Hatbox Spinning Wheel

Louet’s classic Hatbox Spinning Wheel is arriving at JST next week! These are a limited edition, so a one-time offer! We have just four left ready to go under someone’s tree.  You can order your Hatbox today at our online store.

 

 

Last Shipping Day Before Christmas

December 21st, 2015 is the last shipping day before Christmas! All orders must be placed by noon on the 21st to guarantee that they will go out that day. The JST studio will be closed from December 22nd- January 3rd, and will resume shipping on January 4th.

Last but not least

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

Thinking about placing a large order? Ask about our 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.

 

 

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JST’s August Newsletter

Back to the  Loom

We have had a busy summer here at JST, as many of you who participated in the myriad of workshops will know. In this newsletter, we want to share with you the stunning results of those workshops and some of the projects that have kept us busy. With summer winding down, no doubt many of you already have a list of fall weaving projects running through your head. Here is some inspiration, new patterns for fall, and very important information if you have been considering the purchase of a loom….

Considering a Louet Loom Purchase?

We have been holding our prices steady despite the decline in the Canadian dollar, but we can’t do it for much longer and I doubt our suppliers can either. If you are thinking about purchasing a new Louet Loom, I would recommend that you do it before September 15, 2015. I can guarantee the present Canadian prices until then, but I am not sure if they will hold after that. All loom orders will need to be prepaid. Shipping by the end of October, in time for Christmas. To discuss a loom purchase call us at (250) 537-9468 or email or order online.

New Tea Towel Kits!

We are introducing two new tea towel kits just in time for fall! Tea towels are a great way to play with colour and design. These kits offer you a basis to begin experimenting and creating your own unique towels. The towel to the left was designed by Kathy Ready and Arlene Kohut from Victoria. They designed this wonderful Huck towel after their Lacy Places workshop here this spring. Thanks for sharing your pattern ladies!

The second is plain weave in organic and regular cotton, a beautiful zinger for your kitchen. Mixing organic cotton with regular cotton is a great way to begin supporting yarns that are respectful of the earth and the farmers that grow them, while still maintaining a wider range of colours and reducing the cost. To purchase these patterns & material, please visit our store.

10 New Colours for the JST Hotline of Hand-Dyed Yarns!

We are adding 10 new colours to our Hotline this fall. Cheryl, who does all the hand-dying for JST, has been hard at work getting the new colours ready. They will be officially unveiled at Knit City … Stop by and visit our booth!

 

Summer Retreats … Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave Even Further, Maiwa’s Natural Dyeing, & Deluxe Weavers

There has been so much happening at the JST studio, its hard to keep track of it all. So many amazing creative students have been through our doors. Here is a peek at some of the workshops…

We began the summer with two retreats, Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave Even Further. For those of you who have taken the first Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave, this workshop took it to a whole new level, beginning the exploration of double weaves and collapsible fabrics. It is phenomenal what can be done! Forget complexity, plain weave is stunning. 4 shafts can inspire a lifetime of weaving.

 

 

At the end of August, we hosted Charllotte Kwon of Maiwa, her daughter Sophena, and Linda Spence for a 4-day workshop on Natural Dying. We had a full house, with 16 students at the JST studio from far and wide!

 

Finally, we are finishing the summer with our popular Deluxe Weavers’ Retreat. Students spend 6 days creating stunning mohair blankets, silk and zephyr scarves, cashmere scarves, linen tea towels, and soft Monte Cristo baby blankets.

It’s Almost Time to Register for 2016 Retreats

On October 13th, we will be announcing the retreats for 2016 and opening registration. Watch you inbox for our next email with all the details or keep an eye on the schedule on our website.

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.

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The Tea Towel as a Canvas

As so many of you know, I (Jane) love to teach and  I try to teach skills that will help weavers develop their own design sensibility, encourage them to try out their ideas and most of all become independent thinkers and problem solvers.  I love to work all this out with tea towels, simply because they are a small and inexpensive way to  experiment without the financial stress of expensive yarns.  If you have an idea that you might like to try but you’re going to weave it in silk or cashmere, you get pretty darned stressed out about getting it right. However, if you have an idea and you make a warp with 2/8 cotton and things go wrong, you’ve really only blown around $10.00.  A small price to pay for a great deal of learning.

Learning what not to do, is just as important as learning what you should do. And so……….I encourage tea towels.

Once you have a successful towel you can look at it as a design sketch for a blanket or a placemat or a piece of yardage.  A stripe in it could become a scarf…….the possibilities are endless and tea towels make wonderful gifts.

We had the tea towel wall in my studio which  became the tea towel corner, which has recently  had a 2nd layer added to it.  I have over 200 tea towels now and they have all been woven by my students who have taken the Colour and Design workshop or Twills on 4.  Students in these workshops often do exchanges between themselves to share what they have learned and sometimes I get lucky and get one for the wall.

Several of them came from the 2010  “Twills on 4” groups who had to create their own twill threadings during the workshop………they took their threadings home and interpreted them in these towels……..pretty darn awesome.

Thank You to Marianne, Jennifer, Karen, Sasha and Linda for helping our towel wall grow!  and thank you to all the weavers who have contributed to the wall for many many years.