Posted on 1 Comment

JST Blog June Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids,

This month I’m happy to introduce you to another member of our Online Guild – Arlene Kohut. Arlene is a wonderful weaver who enjoys the design possibilities of layering elements into the fabric that she weaves. You may recall Season 2’s episode on Stripes where I showed you 2 tea towels that Arlene designed layering striping and Bronson Lace. In this blog post she takes us on her journey exploring this season’s Twills on 4’s Simple Two Stripe sample.

If you would like to see more of Arlene’s weaving, you can follow her on Instagram @inkohootsweaving.


My name is Arlene Kohut. I live in Victoria, British Columbia. I started weaving 10+ years ago after my son’s Grade three teacher brought a rigid heddle loom to class for the students to weave a class project. I was able to weave a couple of inches since I was a class parent helper. Once I realized that cloth could be created from fibre woven on a loom, I was hooked. 

In the past I had taken ‘Twills on Four’, the in-person class with Jane. So in January 2020 when Jane posted her first Online Guild class of the year, Season 4 – Episode 1 – Introduction to Twill & Simple Two Stripe Sample, I watched the videos and took notes. Once the video session was complete I reviewed my notes and doodles and had an ‘a-ha moment’. I kept seeing “borders” and I was intrigued with mixing plain weave and twill together. I just wanted to play on a warp ASAP.

I decided to skip the samples for this guild session and go right to weaving towels. My stash did not have enough Charcoal 8/2 Cotton but there were two cones each of Olive and Natural. My brother is having a big birthday later in the year and he likes green so why not make towels? I made the warp wider than suggested by Jane and wove a couple of inches of each technique that she demonstrated on her loom video (so I would have a condensed sample for myself). Then I started playing with what I learned from this episode.

My first sample where I could see borders and different patterns that I could incorporate into a towel.

Then a towel woven in Olive and using a fibonacci stripe sequence, continuing in the 2/2 twill pattern throughout. Just the colour changes in the stripe sequence:
 

2 Natural
3 Olive
5 Natural
3 Olive
2 Natural

Another towel using Olive weft and a natural for the border. Then changing the twill direction every one inch for the centre part of the towel and finishing off the towel with the same border on the other end.

This towel has the same border as the towel above but I used natural as the main towel colour. In the centre of this towel I used a direction pattern change every four picks creating a zig zag effect in the centre of the towel.

For this towel I played around with colour and design. I have a graphic below in my notes.

Lastly, I found some matching 2/16 cotton in a similar dye lot and switched to a slow clasp weft weave. This idea came from a fellow weaver, Kathy Ready. The two us throw ideas at each other so I gave Kathy’s idea a try. I found this design appealing and it gave me more ideas. So………

I made a second longer warp of 2/8 cotton. Going back to my stash I chose Chocolate for the dark side and a strand of Ivory and Beige alternating for the light side (because I only had a cone and a bit of each). Then I started to play again…….

These are some of the towels from this second warp. I used basket weave for the border on the top left towel, which I will try again. I like the colour that was created by using a strand of the Ivory and Beige. Unfortunately, I could not capture this colour on a photo. So you will have to take my word. 

AND I played some more. I am not use to just weaving with neutral colours so I had to add some colour in this lot of clasp weft towels.

What have I learned from this session? Weaving these towels were fun while trying to decide where to put a border and what type. I love the texture that occurs when using plain weave in between four picks of 2/2 twill. Changing twill direction makes its own zig zag pattern. Basket weave for a horizontal border, who would have thought. This session has given me lots of new ideas to play with and I still have more ideas to try in the future.
 
Below, I have included my rough notes for the second sets of towels and a photo of three stripes that I wove on the last little bit of warp. I will keep this bit of weaving for future reference.



Learn more about the JST Online Guild Weaving Lessons

Posted on 1 Comment

March Blog, Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids, it’s that time of month again when I have the privilege of featuring a member of our Online Guild. This month, I’m delighted to introduce you to Kate Watt, who lives and weaves in northern Maine. Kate has given us a window into her story and her journey using “what if” as her guide. I was delighted to find her posts on Instagram where I could see the imaginative structures she has created combining Clasped Weft and Log Cabin.

My name is Kate Watt and I live in northern Maine. I became mildly interested in weaving about 10 years ago. An attractive online ad for a used 4 shaft counterbalance loom caught my eye and I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t live near any guilds and I didn’t know anyone who could teach me to weave. Instead, I started learning what I could through books, videos and online forums. There were many frustrating moments, but there was something different about weaving. With weaving, both sides of my brain are in full use. I love the math side of weaving but I also get joy from playing so creatively with color! I was puttering along trying to learn the basics, but still feeling like I was “playing” and not actually weaving. I averaged about one warp per year. That all changed after joining the Online Guild. I now feel like a real weaver. I’m still playing, but it’s with a lot more skill thanks to Jane! I never realized how much fun and excitement I could get from plain weave!

One of the projects that I particularly enjoyed was one based on the Log Cabin samples featured in Season 3 Episode 3. I wound the warp with 8/4 cotton, as Jane did in her samples with colors I had in my stash. Clasped weft has always intrigued  me, especially after watching the Parrot episode (Season 2, Episode 5). Jane demonstrated how to get a clean line with clasped weft and I had never thought about using it in that way. I had this beautiful warp in 8/4 cotton and matching colors of 8/2 cotton. Then I started asking myself “What if?!?!”

I started with the idea of just weaving the log cabin on the one side of the warp and leaving the other side all one color. In order to do this, I wove one pick natural 8/4 cotton. The next pick was  black 8/2 cotton clasped with natural 8/2 cotton. In order to keep that clean line, I made sure to beat on an open shed and pull a little to the right or a little to the left to get that clasp to line up just under the red divider line. Jane demonstrated this really well in the Parrot episode. I continued to alternate the 8/4 pick with the clasped pick in the log cabin pattern. This was slow weaving, but it was so exciting to get a pattern like this with “plain weave”.  

If it worked so well on the log cabin section, why couldn’t I do the reverse? This time I wanted to weave the solid black grid lines, but keep the log cabin side all natural. This was easier than the log cabin sequence. It was just 5 picks with the clasped weft followed by a square woven of 8/4 natural, repeat.

I used both clasped weft experiments on one of the samples. It’s not the best division of space, but I can see several ideas I would like to explore in the future. 

A third section of clasped weft that I experimented with is my particular favorite. I wanted to incorporate the log cabin with a similar spacing to the black grid lines. I started with a pick of 8/4 black. Then I clasped 8/2 natural on the left with 8/2 black on the  right, hiding the clasp under the red divider line. I repeated these two picks to create a log cabin block on one side and a solid black line on the other side. Then I did a section of natural in 8/4, and then went back to alternating the clasped weft pick with 8/4 in black.

After looking at the finished sample, I think this clasped weft section would look great on the end of a scarf. I think I would widen the black stripes in the warp to match the log cabin squares. There are really so many possibilities.

The selvedges are a little uneven in the clasped weft section, but with practice I think they could look better. Or if you were using the end fabric for something sewn, it wouldn’t matter what the selvedge looked like. The clasped weft technique really slows the weaving down, but  it opens up so many creative options. And because this was all “plain weave” it could easily be accomplished on a rigid heddle loom as easily as a 4 shaft loom! 

With the rest of the warp I played with sequences from  the Colour and Weave gamp: DDD/L, 4D/4L, DLDDL. And for the last little bit of warp I wove 2 samples with 8/2 boucle. 

Most of my weaving with the guild projects are just samples for my education in weaving. All of them could be functional, but they are really just experiments. If I were to weave them again I would be more careful about planning my division of space. I find them a little busy for my style, but there is so much potential for future projects contained in these sample. I’m trying to add to my “body of work” as Jane has referred to it. This keeps me from looking at a project and being disappointed, but rather I am still trying to find my unique “style”. I’m getting closer with each warp!

You can see more of my Guild projects on Instagram @worrywattweaving.

Learn more about the JST Online Guild

Posted on Leave a comment

February Blog, Weaver Spotlight!

Hi kids – it’s time again to introduce you to another weaver who has delighted me by taking lessons learned from our Online Guild and turned her cloth into her own unique design. This month, please meet Linda Fleming from Texas. Linda’s shawl incorporates Log Cabin, Clasped Weft and Colour and Weave – all from Season 2, Colour & Design. It is indeed a wonderful amalgamation of techniques representing one Online Guild season. Thank you for sharing your process with us Linda – the results are stunning.

I have always been fascinated with weaving; however it was not until about 15 years ago that I met someone who knew how to weave. I learned to weave from her and once I started, the weaving bug hit me hard! I love to see the pattern develop on the loom when first starting to weave a project. It always feels like magic.

I was inspired to make this shawl after watching Season 3, Episode 3 on log cabin. I had woven a shadow weave baby blanket in the past, but had never woven log cabin. I was intrigued by how simple it was, but what an impact it made. I chose some yarns from my stash that were just looking for a project. They are 8/2 American Maid Naturally Colored cotton from Lunatic Fringe. I love how the colors darken over time with each washing. I used the dark brown and the natural with a sett of 18 EPI.

I made a sketch of what I wanted the two ends of the shawl to look like and then I was going to just wing it for the rest. I divided the warp into sections with log cabin on the ends and the stripes in the middle. I also added a purple zinger on each side of the stripes.

I started weaving using my schematic and then I thought, hmm, what if I do some clasped weft?

I wove further and decided I really like an asymmetrical look on scarves so I started putting in small stripes using the weaving sequence dark, dark, light, dark. They were so much fun that I just finished off the shawl with the stripes.

This warp was so much fun that I was sorry to see it end! This is what I have enjoyed the most about the Jane Stafford Guild. I have realized that I do not have to follow a pattern to the letter. I can play with the warp, and it makes the final product so much more interesting.

Learn more about the JST Online Guild