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August is a month of harvest around here….we are so busy, picking, freezing and processing food from that big garden out there. Some of the first signs of fall are peeking out like the Virginia Creeper and the temperature is perfect 🙂 I know that a lot of weavers are also gardeners and the first signs of the fall are so welcome because we can put that garden to bed and put our feet up.
Sending tons of love, Jane
Majestic Maple Silk Colourway
Fall inspired silk colours in 20/2 Tussah Silk, hand dyed right here on Salt Spring Island just waiting for your loom 🙂
4 skeins of 100% Silk Spun in Switzerland 5000 yds/lb, 1100 yds/skein C$196.00
Selected Bambu Colours – 20% off Sale
We’re making some room on our shelves and discontinuing some Bambu colours. Get them soon before they are all gone!
Regular C$20.00 – Sale C$16.00 on selected colours
Don’t worry, we still carry a lot of colours in Bambu 7 & 12 🙂
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!
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.
This month we shine the weaver spotlight on Jae Koscierzynski from Michigan. Like so many students that came here over the years, Jae was an inspiration to me. Throughout my career as a teacher I have been so blessed to have such wonderful students.
Doing towel or sample exchanges was always a big part of the retreat scene here at JST. When students did exchanges based on the overlaying of ideas in the workshops the results were fabulous, unique and so inspiring. The whole was always greater than the sum of the parts.
Thank you to Joan Sheridan of Heritage Spinning and Weaving for being such a wonderful friend and for sending me so many talented students. You must be so proud of Jae, I sure know I am.
I was introduced to weaving several years ago by Joan Sheridan. She owns Heritage Spinning & Weaving where I teach knitting. As an engineer by trade, she thought I would enjoy weaving. I’ll admit I didn’t take to it at first. I loved everything about weaving a project except the actual, well, weaving. Figuring out the amount yarn needed, love it! Warping, beaming, threading, sleying, and hem stitching – love all that too. It wasn’t until I took Jane’s Colour & Design class that I learned to love throwing the shuttle. Until then, I couldn’t follow someone else’s pattern without boredom setting in about 2 inches into the project, but I didn’t know where to start or have the confidence to try my own ideas. After Colour & Design, I am always weaving. I now have more ideas to try on my loom than I will ever be able to weave in my lifetime!
I wove this scarf after a sample exchange with several other class members from one of the last in-person Pushing the Boundary with Plain Weave I sessions. We had been together the year before in Colour & Design and did a towel exchange. We enjoyed taking what we had learned from C&D to make towels and wanted to do it again. However, we admitted that perhaps Cramming and Denting, Rep weave, and the like weren’t well suited for towels. Instead, we all committed to providing 3 samples at least 24″ long. The “rules” were to take something from Colour & Design and combine it with something from PBPW.
I gave away my samples and apparently did not take any photos before I did! The scarf is warped with 16/2 cotton – black. It is sett and woven at 20 epi/ppi except at the edges which are crammed at 40 epi. This sett is the same as the warp that is used for Season 3 – Episode 8.
I used 30/2 Bombyx silk for the supplemental threads and for the warp, Black Magic, Violet Ice, Ariel’s Voice, Lime Light, Gold Rush, Tiger Lily, and Persophone’s Pip.
The ratio of each color for the supplemental threads is based on the Parrot Sample from Season 2 – Episode 5. I started with colors I had in my stash to create a color gradient, similar in concept to the Parrot Sample as well.
I originally thought of using black as the dividers and natural as the back ground. I’m glad I went the other way as the bright colors pop more against the black background. If I were to do it again, I would perhaps pick a different color for Gold Rush or Lime Light. In the skein, they look distinct but in the actual warp, the colors are very close and I would aim for more contrast.
I chose to keep the middle section simple since that portion is scrunched up around the neck and isn’t easily seen.
From my sampling, I also realized that the floats had to be kept short to avoid snagging while wearing.
At each end I wove the colors to be square – one with a pattern of “bricks” and the other solid colors with small dashes from the supplemental warp. Choosing how to weave the ends was the hardest part. I had several more ideas that I wanted to try using this graphic and warp structure. As always, the warp ran out before my creativity did!
With every episode that Jane presents, I learn something new. But the best lesson she has given me is to be fearless and just see what happens. It may not turn out as I expect, but I still end up with a piece of cloth that has something to teach me.
Division of Space In my colour and design workshops, we always look to the world around to gain our initial source of inspiration. Photographs, gardening, travel, and fashion magazines can provide you with images that make your heart sing. I have a huge stash of magazines for students to thumb through, and once they find the right one we get started on the second step of the design process.
It starts with division of space.
The weaver has a canvas in my mind—perhaps a tea towel, blanket, or a scarf. They have already decided what yarns they want to use, what the EPI/PPI is, and the overall size of the canvas. Then they divide up the space on paper.
You can divide a canvas any way you want, but I usually start with a division of two and build from there. I draw vertical lines first that represent the warp and then I play with horizontal division of space which represents the weft. You can add a frame, you can imagine a darker line or zinger. It’s playtime!
Sketching should be fun, fast, and quick. Leave your rulers in the drawer; this isn’t about straight lines.
Our guiding light for division of space is the Fibonacci numeric sequence. Basically, it works like this: Start by counting 1, 2.
Now add those together. The sum is your next number: 3.
1, 2, 3
Now just keep going: add the last two numbers in the sequence to get the next number.
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21
…until you want to stop. —Sounds a bit contrived, but this sequence underlies some of the most stunning designs in nature—including your own DNA, the spiral formed by the hairs on your head, the leaves of a lettuce, the seeds of a sunflower, and the shell of the nautilus snail.
Now that’s magic in design. And we can leverage that magic to help us make decisions in weaving.
There are so many ways to use this numerical series. My first decision is the big division of space. I can divide the canvas in 2, 3, 5, or whatever number I want.
I use it to help me create striping sequences, like in the example below.
1 end of yellow
2 ends of orange
3 ends of red
2 ends of orange
1 end of yellow
I use it when I’m working with block structures and it helps me create with unit weaves, like in the example below.
2 units of A
5 units of B
8 units of A
5 units of B
2 units of A
I use it when I trying to figure out how many inches…..hmmmm,
1” of green
3” of blue
2” of purple
3” of blue
1” of green
The numbers don’t have to be used in sequence. Use them however you want.
I never let it lock me in a corner. Say I have a perfect gradation of 7 reds…..and they all move beautifully into each other, I don’t worry that it isn’t a 5 or an 8. I just put them all together.
But if I can’t decide how wide a border should be, then I trust that it will be either 2”, or 3”, or 5” depending on the width of the entire piece. It gives me peace of mind when I need to make decisions and I don’t get analysis paralysis.
After the initial division of space, I think about other words…
I can add any of these things to the big division of space. It is a development.
Look at the photos below and see all the different ways the Fibonacci Numerical series has been used.
Plain Weave: Division of Space in 2 with a black zinger. Weft stripes are 3’s with a little zinger between them.
Plain Weave: Stripes are 2,3,5,3,2. Division of Space in 2 with a border and stripes. Weft colours are 3’s and 1’s in the colour changes.
Log Cabin: 5 Blocks of Log Cabin, 3 grey stripes.
Repp Weave: Asymmetrical Division in 3: Solid Left, Centre developed into 3, Right hand 3 blocks.
Repp Weave: Asymmetrical Division 5: Log Cabin Blocks of 3 and 1, Zingers of 2 and 1.
I start every Colour and Design Workshop off by explaining to my students that there are hundreds of different ways to tackle the subject of design. Every designer has their own particular way of working, of organizing thoughts, and of bringing ideas to fruition.
All I can do, as a designer and a teacher, is to share my own system. It isn’t necessarily better than any other system. But it works for me, and it seems to provide my students with a good strong solid foundation around the process of designing.
I didn’t always work this way, early on there was a lot of hit and miss. But gradually, I paid attention to things that worked, I analyzed why they work, and I developed my system. I’m still refining it, and hopefully I will be able to work on it until the day I die. I want to weave forever. I will never ever tire of making beautiful simple cloth.
We all have pivotal moments in our lives, and one such pivotal moment for me was having the opportunity to be the Teaching Assistant for Jack Lenor Larson at the Banff School of Fine Arts in 1984. Jack and Randall Darwall taught a course called “The Consummate Cloth.”
It turned out to be three weeks of doing nothing but studying sett and finishing our cloth. We wove everything mostly in white yarn and in 2 structures: plain weave and four-shaft twills. We sampled. And sampled. And sampled. And sampled. —And over a three-week period, the 12 students attending created hundreds of samples striving for our teachers’ vision of “the consummate cloth.” Their criteria were simple⎼the end product had to have all of exceptional drape, hand, and bias.
This experience formed the basis of my design process. I break this process down into three main components, which I identify as Architecture, Graphic, and Colour. In today’s post, I’ll start with Architecture. When I think about the architecture of a piece of cloth, I liken it to the architecture of a building.
Buildings have good foundations; cloth has hemstitching or a straight header upon which to build.
Buildings have studs; cloth has warp threads.
Buildings have floors; cloth has weft threads.
Buildings have a strong beam structure for exterior walls; cloth has a selvedge.
I build a piece of cloth the way I imagine a carpenter builds a house. And I feel that the most important decision that I make—the very first decision I have to make, right at the outset—is what my ends per inch (epi) are going to be. Ninety percent of what I weave is balanced cloth, because I generally make simple items—scarves, stoles, towels, blankies—things that we can wrap ourselves in. Highly functional and useful. Now, all of these items need to have optimal drape. And what I know is that a 50/50 piece of cloth will have the best drape possible, because it will have perfect bias. (For any newbies out there, a 50/50 cloth has the same number of ends per inch and picks per inch.)
I have spent the last 35 years weaving with many of the same yarns over and over again and I have learned that there is not just one sett for any one yarn even if the structure never changes. For instance, consider the number of setts possible for a 8/2 cotton:
For our visual learners, these photos of finished pieces should give you a better idea of the many possibilities for handwoven cloth:
8/2 cotton warp and weft sett at 22 EPI /22 PPI woven in twill
8/2 cotton sett at 12 EPI woven with boucle cotton at 12 PPI woven in PW
8/2 warp and weft sett at 18 EPI /18 PPI woven in PW
8/2 warp and 20/2 silk weft sett at 18 EPI/18 PPI woven in Twill….crazy huh!
8/2 warp and 20/2 silk weft sett at 16 EPI/16PPI woven in PW
8/4 cotton warp and 7 gauge bambu weft sett at 36 EPI for Repp Weave and then resleyed and opened up to 12 EPI/ 12 PPI in Plain Weave….two dramatically different fabrics from one yarn.
Two things of note….
We can only weave the open setts if we have great technique and know how to control our beater.
As our sett increases there will come a point when we will no longer be able to weave the cloth balanced no matter how hard we beat because the fabric is heading towards warp-predominance. That’s not a bad thing, and under some circumstances might be just what you’re looking for.
At 40 EPI, 8/2 cotton will be totally warp faced. So if you want to use this yarn to weave Repp….you got it baby! One yarn, many different setts and many different types of fabric. How cool is that! So many possibilities hidden in one yarn and it is knowing how to use your reed that makes it all possible.
I sample in plain weave then twill and finally explore supplementary weft structures.
From this testing, I develop what I call my “canvases”—and once I have those canvases I get to add graphic and colour, which I’ll get into in greater detail on the next blog post.