Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ho Ho Ho

We've been silent for sooooo long! It's so uncustomary for us. Believe me, if you'd been in the studio during this time, there was anything BUT silence! It's been a busy-busy time, dyeing beautiful yarns, finding new and lovely things, keeping up with your orders and requests, trying out new yarns. Yes, anything but silent.

We thank you for a tremendous year. You've made us feel loved and appreciated. We're very fortunate to be part of this wonderfully innovative and supportive community. We wish you all the very best of the season, and are sending "creativity dust" out into the universe to help us have a 2015 full of extra-breathtaking things.

P.S. There are a whole whack of new things being added to the website in the early new year. Keep an eye on us - there's a whole lot of newness coming. Eveything from new spinning fibres, to basic yarns, to uber-cool texturals. Can you tell we love doing this?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Knit City 2014

The Knit City conference took Vancouver by storm over the past weekend - Oct. 4 & 5. This year it moved to a new a much larger venue, having completely outgrown their original venue in just 2 years. Although everyone complained about the horrendous lighting, the spaciousness of The Forum at the PNE was much appreciated.

We had many-many visitors to the Sanjo booth. Lots of people buying silk for special projects, kits (so appreciated for their simplicity - all you need except the knitting needles, in one box), spinning fibre, and lovely silk bits and pieces. Lots of new customers, learning about Sanjo and silk for the first time; lots of returning customers, enjoying the plentitude of saturated colours we had this year to compliment the always-beautiful natural, undyed yarns.

We loved the diversity of the knitting crowd gathered at Knit City. There were young and old, steam-punk and handbag-ladies, traditional and uber-innovative. So great to have this mish-mash of creative minds in one place, all looking for that thing that would push the Imagination Button for them.

Thanks to everyone who came by to say hi. We had a great weekend. And thanks to Fiona and Amanda of Knit Social for another Herculean job!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Thank you, Handwoven!

Handwoven Magazine has included us in the "Goods" page of their brand new issue - yowzah! Thanks for that, Handwoven! We haven't even seen it yet, but we're already getting enquiries. If you don't know which yarn they're enticing you to investigate, it's this one: 10-006

This is a very unique yarn. It's a 20/2, but it's uneven spun; some parts are somewhat loosely spun, and others are more tightly spun. The result is a subtle variation in texture when it's woven. Lovely in both warp and weft, I often combine it with the regularly spun 10-007   Here's an image that shows how these look when woven together. 
 If you look closely, you can see, in the floats, that the yarns look different from one another. And that the texture is just a bit more varied than what you might anticipate when using regular 20/2. That's because of the uneven spinning. Cool, huh?

Also available in colours 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A Tweedy New Colour

We've got a brand new colour in our 100% Silk Noil Tweed yarn - 30-011. Previously we had the 2 delish browny-grey colours - Medium and Dark. Now we have the perfect partner, Natural undyed. All three are shown in the above photo. The Medium colour is on top, the Dark is the cream in the Oreo cookie, Natural undyed on the lower level.
the new Natural undyed colour

This yarn almost has to be seen to be fully appreciated. But we do our best to make our photos as close as possible to the being-there-touching-it experience. People buy a skein of this yarn, and then we see them racing back into the shop the next day to buy several more skeins before someone else buys it up. It has that effect on people.
 the subtle and quiet Medium colour...

We've also dyed and painted this yarn - absolutely scrumptious. We hand knitted it, machine knitted it, woven it. We can't say enough good things about it. Japanese origin. Simply beautiful.

the rich, moody Dark colour

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dreadlocks, mon

We've been waiting a long time for this yarn, and it has reggae-ed its way into our hearts in finest style. It's 100% Tussah silk, and of course, we call it Dreadlocks. Bob Marley would have been proud.

This crazy yarn gets more attention than any other yarn in the studio, hands down. Well, it's just so weird and wonderful, isn't it? Use your imagination for this one. It's stiff when you get it, but softens when you soak it in water; create in whichever format works for your creation. We'd love to see what you do with it. Email us with images at

See it on the Sanjo Silk website (40-017) for more images. Jah love, mon!

Monday, 8 September 2014

What do you do with those?

We're often asked, about many of our yarns and curiosities, "What do you do with those?" There is possibly no other item in our entire range that elicits this question more often than the Cricula cocoons. These are the beautiful little golden lace caps that are produced by the wild Cricula silkworm of Indonesia. They're most beautiful just the way they are. They don't spin well, and lose their gorgeous golden lustre when simmered in hot water, the way you'd prepare cocoons for spinning. What to do? What to do?

While on a recent trip to Japan, Lady D (Sanjo partner) went to a spectacular museum featuring an exhibition of woven yardage, hand-wrought pottery teabowls, and intricately made shifuku (teabowl pouches, usually handwoven).

Well, how about that? There was a shifuku made from Cricula cocoons! Isn't it stunning? Made with great skill by TSUCHIDA Hanshiro.

We're limited only by our imaginations.................

Sunday, 17 August 2014

New Paper Yarn

We have a pretty yummy new paper yarn in our stable. This one is a bit softer than "Russell" (our previous paper yarn). But we can call this one Russell too, as it rustles just as beautifully as the Old Russell. Because it's softer, it's more wearable. And it's really strong. The new number is 30-501, and it's available in 2 sizes: 25g and 50g skeins. These sound like small skeins. Don't be fooled! 25g of this yarn is over 300m! And all that fun costs only $3.75! 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Painted Loop Fringe Yarn

Oh my. This is the latest thing that has us quite breathless with adoration. We recently had one of our now-famous yarn painting sessions, and we painted some of the Loop Fringe yarn. Is this not gorgeous?

We're at the testing stage of a knitting kit for this yarn. It will be a drop-stitch pattern that takes great advantage of the looping, curving, sinuous qualities of this luscious yarn. We'll keep you posted of the progress with this project. But don't wait! Buy some yarn and play with it! It's so lovely, you almost can't make a mistake. The only way you can go wrong is to knit it too tight and too controlled. It's a yarn for playfulness and looseness. Let your inner goddess loose with this one.

Again, this is only available at the Silk Weaving Studio, Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada - not online, so sorry. The painted stuff is difficult for us to represent online, but we'll keep trying.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

E-Silk - Wonder Yarn

Hey, this is one of the yarns we sold out of at Convergence 2014 in Rhode Island. It was a bit viral... Once a few people bought it, word got around and before you know it, we were sold out! We brought a bunch of our handwoven pieces with us to the conference to show people how to use the more unusual yarns, and this e-silk - 10-205 - got oohs and ahs.

This is such an amazing yarn. We use it in the weft. I've used it in the warp, but it's not for the faint of heart - weft is a no-brainer. You can just weave it as though it was any old silk yarn. But when you wet-finish your piece, ooh-la-la, the texture!
This scarf shows wide bands of solid e-silk in the weft. This creates bands of very elastic weaving, which gives a very refined texture, as you can see. The contrasting yarns are forced up into relief, and create bumps, ridges, bubbles and all kinds of fun.
Here's another one, where elastic has been used in part of the scarf to create abundant texture.

We have it in 2 colours - Ivory and Black. The yarn is very, very fine, so we find that these 2 colours work well with all the many-many colours we use in our weaving. It comes pre-wound onto bobbins, so all you have to do is start playing! So c'mon! Get some!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Convergence 2014!

Wow! Sanjo was just at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference was from July 16-19, and we had a smashing time! Sanjo was something new for the attendees, something soft, natural, beautiful and completely irrestible. The result was that we sent a lot of people home with lovely new silk yarns to play with, inspired by the weaving and knitting we had to show.

The most popular yarns were 30-011, 20-090, 10-205 and 40-001. You can see that people were buying interesting yarns for creative pursuits - you people have good taste! We also sold out of our quality cards, which we will have on the website asap.

By the way, we have put the e-silk (silk-wrapped elastic; makes crazy textures. more on this later) to the website. This was such a popular yarn at the conference that we sold out almost immediately, so now you can get this great yarn online.
We're exhausted, but thrilled that you gave us such a great welcome. Thank you to everyone who came to Convergence and helped make out journey to Rhode Island such a success.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Colours are Coming

We've been promising that colours are on their way, and here's a sneak preview. These are yarns that have been dyed in prepartion for studio knitted pieces. The yarns are 30-006 Loop Fringe and 30-603 Mohair Silk  and the colours are Dusk Purple and Blue Ice. These are 2 of our Pale Range of colours, specially developed to be "Adult Pastels". Sophisticated and lovely, they look so beautiful in silks of all textures.

Stay tuned. We'll give you some more sneak previews. We're working at getting the colour range onto the Sanjo website. If you happen to be visiting Vancouver (or live here), pop down to the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island to see the colours filling the shelves. Ooh la la!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Spinny and Happy About It

What a great day we had! Kim McKenna came to the Silk Weaving Studio to share her silk-spinning expertise. She was there all day, which made for a comfortable, casual coming-and-going of spinners with their wheels. 
It got pretty crowded for a while, but we spilled out to other parts of the studio, and sat on whatever we could find. Wheels were finetuned, loads of handy tips were shared. Kim was terrific, tireless and generous.

There was lots of fibre, including Muga (the easiest for beginners), Tussah (next "toothiest", so #2 for the newbies), Bombyx (a bit more slippery, so a bit more experience required), and Silk/Camel (the Big Kahuna, so soft and luscious, for those with some spinning under their belts). We also have some beautiful hand-hewn drop-spindles for those who need portability, available at the Silk Weaving Studio.
Lucia (L) had never spun before; she was pretty excited to take home a little skein of handspun silk/alpaca that she'd spun herself. Carly (R) is a very experienced spinner, and honed her silk-spinning skills considerably using Kim's pointers.
Everyone wanted to be part of this fun event. Notice this lovely little girl's bracelet, which Kim made for her as she watched. I sense a future spinner here.....

Thank you, Kim! Everyone had such a good time. People were asking when the next one will be. Soon, I hope.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Join Us at Spin Day

Please join us for Spin Day at the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island. This Saturday, Apr. 26, from 10 until 4, Kim McKenna (spinner extraordinaire) will be there to demonstrate, help, give tips, and generally make us all better silk spinners. If you have a spinning wheel, bring it. If you have a drop spindle, bring that. If you don't have either, come anyway. There will be wheels and spindles to try.

It'll give you a chance to try all those luscious spinning fibres you've been wanting to spin: Bombyx, Tussah, Muga, and Silk/Camel especially...

Kim assures me that silk is easier to spin than it appears. I can't wait to learn the secrets!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Colour Trials

We're working hard here at Sanjo Silk coming up with a colour range for our luscious silk yarn. The colours are looking particularly delectible, and we thought you'd like to have a sneak peek at some of the spring greens we're working on. 

When we're finished, we'll have a range of Pastels, Neutrals, Brights and Darks. It's a concise range with lots of design possibilities; not a million colours, but every colour has earned its place in the range.

There are some colours available at the Silk Weaving Studio. As they get dyed, we put them out, so swing by to see the growing selection. Yarns in the photo include 10-006, 20-093 and 10-004.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sanjo Visits Japan

It's sakura (cherry blossom) season in Japan, and the trees are magnificent! And the textiles aren't so bad either... ;-) The textile tradition, both historic and contemporary, is so rich and plentiful in Japan, so there's always something wonderful to see. 

Diana Sanderson, of Sanjo, had the rare and honoured distinction to meet with Jun-ichi Arai, a living legend in the weaving world. He was so generous with his time and shared so much of his deep and fascinating collection, amassed over his many years of weaving and innovating. We are deeply indebted to him for taking the time to share his love of textiles with us.

We also met with our suppliers in Japan, so you can expect some tantalyzing tidbits in the next while. Woohoooo! Isn't spring wondrous?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Silk Casings

These things are not silk yarn. You caught us again.

In fact, as much as they look like something that was delivered direct from a silkworm, they're not. They're by-products of industrial silk-reeling. When the silk is reeled onto spindles, this is the part at the centre that is so tightly compacted and full of sericin (a silkworm's glue) that they can't unreel it. So they cut it off and create one of the world's exceptionally lovely things, silk casings. Some are smooth and some are ridged. Artistic people make them into jewelry; fibre artists embellish things with them. Aesthetes put them in lovely bowls to simply admire.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Sneaking in new stuff

60/2 Muga Silk Yarn by Sanjo Silk
We've been quietly sneaking in some pretty fantastic stuff onto the Sanjo Silk website. The first beauty on the catwalk is this stunner. It's Golden Muga Silk, which is a wild silk. Soft gold is the natural colour of this yarn, and it's yum-yum-yummy. It's a 60/2, which means that it's pretty fine, great for weaving or machine knitting. See our 40-004 on the website for photos showing how wonderful it is when it's machine knit.
20/1 Pedencal Tussah Silk Yarn by Sanjo Silk
Next up is this unusual yarn. Hey, we try to bring you things that you can't get anywhere else, and this is one of them. It's Pedencal Tussah Silk, another wild silk. The pedencus is the little stem that attaches the tussah cocoon to a tree branch, and this yarn is spun from the fibre in this little stem. The soft brown is its natural colour; it has a soft, almost cottony feel. It's a 20/1 Single, and like the above yarn, it's lovely for weaving and machine knitting. Again, we've got some great images of this yarn machine knit on the website on the 40-007 page.
Spun Recycled Sari Silk Yarn by Sanjo Silk
Another Sari Silk yarn. The two featured today are spun from the thrums (warp yarns) left from weaving silk saris. This one, 40-015, is a multi-coloured yarn; every time we get a new shipment, they're a new colour, and this time we're quite excited about how many colours each skein has. It knits up into a textural, heavy fabric and is a real showstopper.
 Last but not least is our other spun Sari Silk yarn, 40-016. Although it too is multi-coloured, it "reads" magenta, so we call it Mostly Magenta. This yarn is uber-drapey and lovely. It knits up into a luscious, heavy garment. 

We're still adding new stuff every week, and although we update the blog regularly, but don't forget to check the website often to be the first on your block with the latest goodies.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Sari Silk Ribbon!

Sari Ribbon Yarn by Sanjo Silk
It's worth the wait. The first Sari Silk is on the Sanjo Silk website. This is our Recycled Sari Ribbon yarn, 40-013. Why not start with a bang? The strips are about 1" wide, and are machine stitched together for secure joins. The resulting cloth is crunchy and textural. 
Sari Ribbon Yarn by Sanjo Silk
 Go big or stay home, Sistah. Imagine this with either jeans or a stunning black dress.

The skeins are pre-wound, so you need to contact us with your requirements. This garment was made using about 130 grams and an 8mm needle. It's big enough to be a wide cowl. Every skein is different; the variations are part of what makes this yarn so unique.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Paper Yarn!

Check out the latest addition to the Sanjo Silk website. It's a 100% Linen Paper yarn (14-007). It's so very cool, and works up like a dream. It's surprisingly strong; the Japanese have been making wearable paper for centuries, so they know what they're doing. I guess if we had to name this yarn, we'd call it "Russell" for the beautiful sound it makes (yeah, yeah, it's a play on words...get it?)

We're working on those beautiful Sari Silks for the website. They're currently available at the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island, so get the jump on them if you're in Vancouver-town. Stay tuned, they're worth the anticipation.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Studio Turned Shearing Shed... sort of...

We just received another wonderful shipment from India. Receiving parcels from India is always an adventure. This time there were 2 huge bales, with distinctive "ears" on each end which we used to drag them into place. It felt kinda like getting a sheep ready for shearing...

The contents are these bales are the most colourful, joyous yarns. Opening the parcels elicited some dancing and singing. I'll write about the yarns later, once I've had a chance to get a camera onto them.

Needless to say, the sheep has been sheared...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Fabric for New Year

We have something very exciting and new with which to greet 2014. 

We have 2 new fabrics on the Sanjo Website.

The first is a 100% Wool Gauze. This lightweight, gauzey cloth is delicious in its undyed state; it also dyes beautifully, and looks fabulous when painted. But the real fun comes when you shrink this fabric. You can use resists to limit the fulling to specific areas to get special effects. Play with it! It's irrestible!
Order it here. on the Sanjo website.

The second fabric is no less exciting. It's a 100% Wool Broadcloth. This fabric is so smooth and sleek and un-itchy that we can't believe it's wool. It has a slightly crisp drape and makes a stunning garment. Or you can paint a big piece and use it as a shawl. Go to the Sanjo website to see the details.