Post #3245: Summer Textile School Weeks 1 & 2


These posts may be of limited interest to some who read this blog, but since I use this space to document my own process, I will be posting “Summer Textile School” updates for the next couple of months.

To recap: I am spending the next 12-15 weeks with an intensive textile focus using study materials from The School of Sweet Georgia for Natural Dyeing and Jane Stafford’s School of Weaving for Colour and Design experimentation. In July and August I have taken additional days off work (mostly every Monday, with some others thrown in here and there) to spend focused time in the textile studio.

Each week I will find some time to post my activities here, with photos of what I’m working on. This is as much a record for me as anything.

Dyeing activities

Dye space and materials

  • Set up outdoor dye studio
  • Gathered all materials from my cupboard stash and organized them
  • Bought some second-hand pots and stainless steel spoons, a gram scale, and a laundry rack as well as some dowelling and PVC pipe which I will use to create a yarn-drying station.
  • Organized all natural dyeing books, dye and weave notebooks, and old textile course materials into one crate for easy reference
  • Ordered a bunch of bare wool/silk blend yarn for projects
  • Watched two of three modules of caitlin ffrench’s Natural Dye Workshop.

Materials prep

  • Scoured and mordanted with alum a number of mini-skeins of handspun Merino wool that were in the stash (Brian spun these several years ago)
  • Scoured, mordanted, and wound Cotswold wool warp for eventual hand painting
  • Next: Scour and mordant hemp/cotton yardage and some white/off-white cotton for experimenting with.

Rhubarb leaf mordant

  • Harvested rhubarb leaves and simmered them into a vat of oxalic acid.
  • Read about the dangers of ingesting oxalic acid so I would have a healthy understanding of the poison level. It’s very high! Made sure I used mask, gloves at all times and scrubbed the hell out of everything when I finished cooking and straining. 
  • Next: decant into glass jars and calculate percentage of plant to water.
Weaving activities
  • Watched Season 2, Episode 1 of JST Weaving School materials and inventoried 8/2 cotton for projects
  • Picked up old (and not awesome) J-made table loom from a friend who borrowed it two years ago and stored it in an outdoor shed over the winter. Cleaned it up with Feed n Wax.
  • Warped J-made loom to see if it’s usable – turns out it could work for sampling, and also I forgot that it’s one I like weaving while standing up (it has treadle attachment)
  • Currently watching Season 2, Episode 2 of JST Guild materials and working through exercises
  • Winding 6-yard warp for Episode 2 sample (Asymmetry)
  • Next up: Wind 6 yard, 400 end cotton warp for hand painting – in 50-100 end bouts

3 Comments on “Post #3245: Summer Textile School Weeks 1 & 2

  1. I’ll be interested to hear about your Jane Stafford experience. One of my weaving friends speaks super highly of it. I plan to do it one day, but right now I’m just following my own informal slow-paced learning journey. I’m weaving broken twill right now which is looks great, even when you make a treadling error. Kind of a mixed blessing in that the errors are hard to locate to fix but if you do miss an error it doesn’t stand out visually.

  2. I did the first season of Jane a few years ago and found it loaded with good info and tips – but then I stopped having time for weaving so I didn’t re-up for an annual subscription. Now she’s offering a month-by-month option which makes a lot more sense to me as I’m inclined to take a few months worth of classes, drop out for a bit, and then resubscribe. I purchase a lot of my weaving supplies from JST as they are just a couple islands over from us and I often get packages from them the day after my order. Gotta say, of all the weaver supply I’ve dealt with, hers is the best in terms of promptness, and customer service.

    • Thanks for the additional info. I love the idea of getting your yarn from a couple of islands over. My only option for that is to buy from Ashford in New Zealand but theirs aren’t my favourite yarns. I did discover an absolute treasure trove specialist weaving shop in Melbourne last week after our Covid travel restrictions were relaxed slightly. I will be doing what I can to get the word out about them as I really want them to succeed. Looking forward to your next post.

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