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September 21, 2021 newsletter

Need Help with Warping?

This week, we are including the PDF link to a basic document that will help you with a multitude of warping questions. Warping Jane’s Way is a document that was a handout at a workshop that I used to teach in person, called “Honing Your Basic Weaving Skills“. It walks you through the process of making a warp, and warping your loom. We hope that the step by step instructions and photo essay will help guide you on your journey.

This document is now 10 years old but the information in it is timeless, and we thought that having this with you as you practice warping your loom, might be useful for those of you who aren’t members of the School of Weaving. After many years of experience I have settled on certain weaving tools that help make my warping and weaving experience a lot easier. 

Here are a few of my favourite things (put the list to the music if you can hear it in your head 🙂


Help … I’m getting skips in my cloth!

I’m a fairly new weaver with a Leclerc Nilus 4 shaft.  I wove a tea towel kit from Jane’s store using cotton boucle and it went well. Now I’m weaving tea towels from a kit using organic cotton. Every inch or two I’m getting small skips over just one extra thread. We adjusted the treadles so they rose more uniformly, then I cleaned up a few heddles that had lint in them, but the problem persists. Have you any idea what I can have done/am doing wrong?

There are several possible reasons. I would try increasing your tension a titch. If they are only on one side then you should watch how you are putting the shuttle inside the shed. You might be diving a little as you throw. Make sure your shuttle is flat (horizontal) as it goes into the shed. I would also check to see if your warp is sitting on the shuttle race or if it is riding high on it (that is assuming you have a shuttle race). On some looms you can raise or lower your beater so that the shuttle race is in the proper position. If you have a shuttle race on your beater it should be sitting right under your warp when the shed is open. The shuttle race should support the bottom of your warp which helps prevent skips. Sometimes floats can be caused by not getting a clean exchange of warp threads which is why I always leave the beater against the fell of the cloth until after I change my shed. Once I’ve changed my shed I return the beater to the castle so I can throw my next shot. By bringing the beater back at this point it can clear up anything that might be sticking.

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December 19th, 2019 Newsletter

Happy Holidays

All the kids at JST wish you a holiday season filled with joy and laughter. We wish you health and happiness in the coming year and look forward to going on new weaving adventures together in 2020. 
Thank you for all your amazing support and enthusiasm.

Holiday Closure

We’ve had a very busy 2019 and all our staff are looking forward to a much deserved break over the holidays.

The studio will be closed December 24th to January 5th.
 Cut off for shipping is December 23rd at 1pm PST.
Orders received over the holidays will be processed on Monday, January 6th

It’s The Little Things 

Chaining Your Warp

You’ve made your warp and now you need to get it from the warping mill or board onto the loom. Learn how to chain your warp and keep all those threads in place!
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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.