Striding forward

Yesterday I woke up with good energy for the first time in a week and a half, as the asthma flare-up is subsiding. So I ran out to the garage and got to work on my project for the Handwoven magazine article. The warp is quite narrow, about 12″ wide, and I got it wound, beamed, and about half threaded this morning. I need to wait for a few parts to arrive before I can actually weave it, though, so I probably won’t be able to start until early next week. So instead of working further on it this morning, I got back to my year-long obsession, phoenixes.

I wanted the phoenixes in the kimono to be glittery. Maybe not gaudy, but glittery. At the same time, though, I wanted the phoenixes to transition from scarlet at the bottom of the kimono to yellow at the top…so how to get that effect? I had been thinking of putting the metallic yarn in the warp, but after Bonnie Inouye suggested it might be more manageable in the weft, I decided to pursue that direction.

So I spent this morning drafting up ideas. At the moment, the most promising idea looks like this (click to enlarge):

Phoenix draft, tied weave on a double two tie threading, three wefts

Phoenix draft, tied weave on a double two tie threading, three wefts

This is a tied weave on a double two-tie threading, with two pattern wefts: a thin metallic gold machine embroidery thread (to add glitter), and a heavier-than-usual thick weft (which makes the pattern). If you look at the full-size image you’ll be able to see it more clearly. It should, at least in theory, produce a nice glittery phoenix.

(Note that the double two-tie threading doesn’t show in the photo, due to the very zoomed out view in my weaving software.)

But, of course, this is a three-shuttle weave. And I only had one of those gorgeous plate-tensioned Bluster Bay end feed shuttles. Clearly this travesty couldn’t be allowed to continue, so I fixed it. See what arrived on my doorstep today?

Two more Bluster Bay plate tensioned end feed shuttles!

Two more Bluster Bay plate tensioned end feed shuttles!

Click for the larger photo – the small one really doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the wood. The top one is marblewood, the bottom one African wenge. The wenge in particular has wonderful marbling/striping, and looks a little bit like what would happen if you made mokume gane with milk and  dark chocolates. This is more obvious when seen from the side (click to enlarge, or you’ll miss out!):

bluster bay end feed shuttles, side view

bluster bay end feed shuttles, side view

The shuttles are, of course, made with the fantastic workmanship and superb finishing that I’ve come to expect out of Bluster Bay, and I squealed with delight when I saw them. I can’t wait to use them! Such beautiful tools will make multi-shuttle weaving fun.

Meanwhile, I stumbled across this excellent book (in a needlepoint shop, of all places!):

Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style

Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style

This book is fantastic! It shows the fashion styles and silhouettes of every era, starting with prehistoric clothing and going right up to the modern era. I’m looking forward to many hours of enjoyable reading.

And, finally, work has been having a week-long extravaganza that they are nicknaming “Skystock”. This being Silicon Valley, of course, every celebration has to involve handing out suitable swag, and this was no exception. So they gave out Skystock T-shirts, which look like this:

T-shirt swag!

T-shirt swag!

Since Skystock is named after Woodstock (of course), someone made the inevitable comment, “This should be tie-dyed!”

And, by a curious coincidence, I have not one but TWO tie-dye parties this weekend…I’m hosting a small tie-dye get-together on Saturday and am going to someone else’s tie-dye party on Sunday. So, of course, the inevitable will happen…

…I’m thinking that a red/orange/yellow flaming star on a black background, centered on the round logo, would be most appropriate. We are talking about launching satellites into space, after all! So I will do that on Saturday. Of course I’ll post photos once I’m done.

What’s on tap for the rest of this week/weekend? Well, aside from the two tie-dye parties, I’m also going to pit another 6 lbs of sour cherries for making into candied cherries, make another big batch of tomato soup, finish getting the Handwoven magazine warp onto the loom, and chat with the person who’s going to help me figure out Creating Craft. I’m also working on revamping my website (no changes to the template, but a fairly large-scale reorganization), and may start work on a kimono muslin. I’m going to start with the pattern for a Japanese uchikake (ceremonial outer kimono), but I expect it to evolve from there.

And I’m looking forward to next week – I somehow managed to score ten pounds of fresh bergamot! which I will pick up on Tuesday. Bergamot is the citrus whose aromatic peel is used to flavor Earl Grey tea, and it is positively divine when candied, especially if dipped in chocolate. And my prior source dried up this year, seriously worrying me – I had enough candied bergamot peel stashed away to get me through the this year’s chocolate season, but wasn’t sure where I could find more. It’s not easy to locate! But I managed to score ten pounds of it, so I’ll be making more candied bergamot peel (and maybe even some bergamot marmalade!) next week.

And that, (honest!) is all to report. I’m glad I finally have some energy again. :-)

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  1. Margo
    Posted August 23, 2013 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Good Morning and so glad you are feeling better. Just curious about classifying Bergamot as a citrus… grows in our Central Illinois restored prairie as a beautiful wild flower in the mint family and is also called Bee Balm. Competes wonderfully for survival on the Prairie with Big Blue Stem, Compass plant, Joe Pye Weed, etc. We were told it was the basis for Earl Grey Tea and the dried leaves do make good tea. Different plants with same name??

  2. Posted August 23, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    They’re different plants. See for the list of things named “Bergamot”, and for the citrus. A friend of mine looked them up in the Oxford English Dictionary; apparently the use of “bergamot” for the citrus predates the use of “bergamot” for the herb by a couple hundred years, so I’m guessing it was used first. Per Wikipedia, the citrus is the basis for Earl Grey tea, but I’ve never had bergamot-the-herb so I don’t know which tastes more like it.

  3. Brucie
    Posted August 23, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Good grief Tien. You get about 100 times more done when you are feeling bad than I do on one of my best days. Though now at 75 years the best days are not what they used to be. You do sleep don’t you? I think any efficiency expert should pay to follow you for a few days.

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