Third time’s (almost) the charm

I finished the last piece on this warp yesterday. I made some changes from the previous phoenix rendition, adding an orange-red shade to the dyeing and using a bamboo weft yarn rather than silk. I really like the results:

third rendition of phoenix

third rendition of phoenix

Adding the red-orange back into the mix produces much better depth of color than rendition #2, which was entirely yellow and orange:

Phoenix #2, next to original stencil

Phoenix #2, next to original stencil

And the darker background in #3 is definitely better than the first iteration:

finished and overdyed sample

finished and overdyed sample

Finally, using different fibers for warp and weft reveals the woven pattern in the phoenix section – the two fibers take the dye differently, so the pattern shows more. Consider these two closeups – one in silk warp and bamboo weft, and the other in 100% silk:

Closeup of second phoenix rendition, silk warp and weft

Closeup of second phoenix rendition, silk warp and weft

Third phoenix - closeup. Silk warp, bamboo weft.

Third phoenix – closeup. Silk warp, bamboo weft.

There is much more pattern definition (and a richer texture) in the silk/bamboo version.

Unfortunately, there are two stains on this phoenix rendition – one in the background at the middle of the piece, and a more serious one on the phoenix tail:

Stained portion of third phoenix.

Stained portion of third phoenix.

It’s still a beautiful piece, but it’s not a show piece. But this is not entirely a bad thing – the phoenix still feels kind of flat and uninteresting to me, so it will give me something to experiment on. I am considering either embellishments or quilting, leaning towards quilting. That will add some three-dimensionality and allow me to mark subtle lines via the quilting stitches, without drawing attention too far from the fabric. The trouble with embellishments is that as soon as I start adding them, people will look at the embellishments rather than the cloth. I did pick up a book on beading for quilts that I hope addresses how to manage this, and will read it on my flight out. I am also reviewing some of my earlier design exercises from the quilt design class in hopes of sorting out more.

And that’s it for now! I’m flying out to Minneapolis today to pack up the loom. I’m really looking forward to seeing my prize in person. I’ll be in Minneapolis for a few days, flying back to the Bay Area on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, your kittens for today:

Puss 'n Boots?

Puss ‘n Boots?

A friend came over, and the kittens were ecstatic over her long boot laces.

This entry was posted in Blog posts, dyeing, textiles, weaving and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. marion
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    oh yes, this is gorgeous. I am fascinated at the idea of how to add 3rd dimension to a piece of woven fabric without surface embellishment. Wondering if supplementary warp would assist, but also aware of how much extra work is involved.

  2. Ilene Smith
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Following your work makes me realize how much goes into the designing and implementing of fabric. I doubt I will ever go as far as you are (I am only a spinner of basic wool so far) but it is inspiring to see.

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