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Those little tips and tricks you learn from Jane and weaving friends…..
We thought you might enjoy a few “handy hacks” using items that you might have just lying around waiting to be used in a new way. Some you might have around your home and others you can find at your local hardware store or another store in your neighbourhood.
Weaving Twill? Grab a sticky note, fold it in half corner to corner and use it to double-check your ppi by making sure you are weaving a 45-degree angle.
Removeable Tape or Stickers
Anyone weaving through School of Weaving episodes and watching Jane weave, knows how important these removable labels are for keeping your treadling in order. Note in this specific example – Jane puts her plain weave on the outside treadles and her Twill pattern treadles in the middle. Easy peasy to learn the rhythm of the pattern you are weaving.
Not sure whether you understand the draft for a project? Graph paper is the perfect way to look at your structure without having to get a warp on the loom. JST graph paper is included in so many School of Weaving PDFs – find one, scan copies and away you go!
These little LED light strips work wonderfully when you are threading your loom or weaving. They shed light where you need it most while threading and weaving. And you can find them in a hardware store or online in your own community.
Making A Repair Heddle
We have many little videos that help you fix or understand an issue you are having – this one is on making a repair heddle! Check out our YouTube channel.
Handy, Must Have, Tools
Winding a long warp with 2 or more threads in your hand but only have 1 or 2 cones of the yarn you are using? Wind a part cone onto one or two of these spools and you are all set to wind. What’s left on your spool can be wound off on bobbins and will be ready to weave.
Jane’s favourite scissors! We all need one really great pair of scissors to be used only on fabric. Do you have one or more people in your life who don’t understand the necessity of keeping these away from paper? Label them with a sticker saying fabric only!
Any member of the School of Weaving knows how “attached” Jane is to her Harrisvile Heddle/Reed hook. 😉 It leads a busy life – threading heddles, sleying the reed AND last but certainly not last – as her pointer in so many School of Weaving episodes.
The photo for this cone holder – tells the story. It will hold up to 8 cones and/or tubes of yarn waiting for you to quickly wind your warp with up to 5 ends in your hand. We aren’t suggesting that winding 8 at once would be the way to wind a good warp 😂
3 kits back in stock and Part 1 of In Praise of Good Selvedges
Fulford Mist Linen & Silk Scarves
Here on Salt Spring Island, we are so lucky to live near both the ocean and the mountains. At Fulford Harbour you can admire the two at once, especially as you approach the island on the ferry. Lovely deep ocean views complemented by misty mountain tops – so West Coast, so subtle and inspiring.
These elegant scarves are made with two colours of our 30/2 silk woven on our 40/2 linen in a timeless 2/2 twill. The combination of crisp linen and shimmering silk is exquisite.
These lovely scarves are perfect for spring and summer! Woven with silk on linen in alternating bands of 1/3 and 3/1 twill, they have gorgeous sheen and drape with a slightly crisp texture that will only get softer and more shimmery with wear. This pattern requires only 4 harnesses, but there are 8 different tie-ups required for weaving. If you have an 8 shaft loom, you’re stylin’, but if you have a 6 treadle loom, we’ve provided a tie-up system to ensure your success!
We always have spools of 30/2 silk kicking around so we did another version adding 2 more colours… Favourite Wine and Buddha Berry. Please NOTE that if you want to get these colours you must select the “Ganges Sunrise Scarf Kit with Additional Silks” from the drop down menu when ordering.
Kathy Ready is a fabulous weaver and weaving teacher from Victoria, B.C. Last fall Kathy wove our harvest splendour tea towel kit and this year she watched the log cabin episode from the Online Guild, Sassy Brassy is the result of blending those two ideas. Kathy graciously shared this pattern when I started salivating over it in the studio. I love the contrast between the brilliant check pattern and the dark/light colour and weave log cabin which is beautifully symmetrical and framed.
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate Weave structure: Plain Weave Material: 8/2 organic cottolin Each kit makes: 7 Towels
In Praise of Good Selvedges: Practical Tips for Weavers: Part 1
We’re all in search of that perfect straight edge, that golden selvedge, and there are many ways we get there. We employ special threadings, floating selvedges, denser edges. You can use regular shuttles, open bottom shuttles, end feed shuttles or temples to aid you in your selvedge journey.
A good selvedge shouldn’t be hard to find. I have trained a lot of weavers over the years, and selvedges are always (cough) on the table. Over the years, I have come to feel that some of the thoughts below are quite important, so I’m sharing them with you today.
Thought #1: The loom is my instrument! I always tell people that the loom is my instrument…it is my version of a violin. The shuttle is my bow and the cloth is my music. Any string musician will tell you that their bow needs to feel good in their hand, and so my shuttle needs to feel good in my hand too. My favourite “bow” is the Schacht open bottom shuttle because it allows me to tension my bobbin from underneath each time I handle the shuttle. My shuttle fits my hand perfectly—it is not too big or too small—and I use the same shuttles for all my weaving.
Thought #2: Bigger isn’t necessarily better! Sometimes we weave with thin yarns, sometimes we weave with heavier—and when we do we think we need to change the size of our bobbins in regards to the size of the yarn. If we use a bigger bobbin we can get more yarn on it and therefore weave for a lot longer. The choice of a longer bobbin necessitates the need for a longer and larger shuttle. Bobbin lengths increase by 1″ of length. When you stop to figure out just how much more yarn you can get on that 1″ longer bobbin, you will be surprised to find out that the answer is “Not Much”. However, you now have to put that bobbin in a shuttle that is 2″ longer than your favourite regular shuttle which fits your hand like a glove. A 4″ bobbin (the regular kind) fits an 11″ shuttle, 5″ bobbins fit a 13″ shuttle, 6″ bobbins fit a 15″ shuttle. (I’m glad they don’t make longer bobbins because then we would be wielding lengths of 2×4.) Any advantages we gained from those 1″ increases in bigger bobbin size are quickly and dramatically lost because now our “bow” doesn’t fit our hand as well and we can lose control of our technique.
Thought #3. Sequence of events. The sequence that you use to throw each pick is very important. I throw the shuttle and then beat on an open shed. I leave the beater against the fell of the cloth while I change the shed and then I bring it back to the castle after I have changed the shed. So this is the sequence: Throw, Beat, Change, Beater Back; Throw, Beat, Change, Beater Back. (See Thought #8 in the next newsletter)for the additional tug that could be given at this time if needed.)
When you beat on an open shed, you allow the shed to take what the shed requires. The beater actually pulls yarn off the bobbin and into the shed. It stops when the beater touches the fell of the cloth and it has taken just the right amount. When we consider the alternate way of beating in a weft yarn (which is to bubble and beat on a closed shed), we have created a closed situation where you must create the same scenario exactly the same way each time you throw the shuttle—and that is a very difficult thing to do. If your bubble is too high, then the excess yarn squishes out the side at the selvedge. If your bubble is too low then there isn’t enough yarn in the bubble to fit the shed and your selvedges draw in. Try the method above and see how this little sequence solves so many selvedge problems.
Thought #4: Wind a good bobbin! I know that everyone reading this will have had this experience. You are weaving away and you get towards the end of your bobbin and the yarn on your bobbin starts to jam up. When this happens all of our focus is on that stupid bobbin and yarn not coming off, but as we tug and pull we aren’t paying much attention to the fact the other selvedge is being tugged and pulled. One of the reasons your yarn is stuck is because you filled the corners of the bobbin when you first started winding it and those corners have now collapsed like a mountain slide of scree—I know! I know! We are all taught to do this. It’s in every book you open. Here is an alternate approach. It provides you with a situation where the yarn is able to leave the bobbin freely, right down to the last inch. If you need a visual demo, we have a video on my School of Weaving website from Season 1 Episode 3 – Good Weaving Technique, Bobbin Winding! Once upon a time, before there were plastic bobbins with end bits there was the paper quill. Paper quills were wound with a firm straight movement from side to side, slowing moving away from the edges and winding closer to the centre with each pass. Now, I love plastic bobbins with end bits, but I wind them the old fashioned way, like a paper quill. You wind straight across from side to side, filling up the bobbin until it is half full, then with each successive pass I come a little closer to the centre creating a ‘sausage’ shape. As the bobbin fills, you stay away from the sides and you wind them firmly with your fingers, guiding the yarn onto the bobbin, right up close where you have the most control.
Watch for next week’s newsletter when we’ll dig deeper into the tips on how to improve our selvedges.