The dress has become somewhat less theoretical: Mike and I have agreed that, sometime after the dress is done, there will be a wedding! We haven’t set a date yet – that will come after the dress is a little closer to completion – but that is good news indeed. We’ve been together for just over three years now, and I feel more certain every day that he is the one for me. So I am very happy.
Needless to say, the coat project is going on hold and I am moving full steam ahead on the wedding dress!
The workshop was amazing and Sharon was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly; I spent most of my free time hanging around with Sharon and we really hit it off; I’m hoping to see her again soon. Sharon reviewed my ideas and made a few suggestions, but said the idea was basically sound. So I launched into weaving up samples.
I warped up with 30/2 silk/cashmere warp, and tried a couple of different wefts. What I rapidly discovered was that, in wet-finishing, the eternity knots tended to collapse. (Sharon looked at the draft and said that portions of it resembled a crepe weave, which is why it was collapsing.) However, the metallic gold yarn had enough “tooth” to it that it did not move much in wet-finishing, and the eternity knots stayed legible. (The metallic gold yarn is a metallic filament wrapped around a rayon core, so it is both flexible and significantly rougher textured than the silk/cashmere and baby alpaca wefts I tested.) It also produced a golden beige color in the overall fabric that I thought was pretty, prettier than the other wefts and also much more appropriate to a wedding dress than the other wefts.
Around then I started having problems with the loom. Shaft #17 started firing sporadically, then finally failed. I managed to continue on after a fashion by manually checking whether 17 was supposed to be raised and dropping the shaft if it wasn’t, but (as you can guess) that didn’t work very well, so I gave up after weaving an 8″ sample. I turned my attention to fixing the double-happiness draft (there were some over-long floats in the warp near the edges of the draft). Miraculously, the next morning the loom worked for a short period again, so I wove a second sample of the double-happiness characters.
Here is what it looks like on the dress mockup:
I’m pleased! The characters are the right size, legible, and look good. If you look at the closeup you can get a slightly better idea of what the eternity knots will look like:
I want to weave more samples of the gold eternity knots to get a better idea of what they will look like on the dress, but I think the basic idea is sound.
From here, there are a few next steps before I can make more progress:
- Find about 3 lbs of metallic gold yarn, roughly the same size as 30/2 silk. I bought my sampling yarn at a fiber shop in Illinois when I happened to pass by it while visiting Mike’s family; there’s enough of it to weave the ribbon but not the main yarn. Sharon recommended calling the guy who runs http://www.iloveyarn.com , so I did, and he’s sending me samples.
- Get the loom fixed. I called AVL and they thought the problem was with the solenoid, so they’re sending out two new ones. (Have I mentioned how prompt and friendly AVL’s customer service is? They are certainly not the cheapest of loom manufacturers but their service is impeccable.) They should arrive towards the end of the week, so I can start sampling again.
- Figure out a draft and a sewing pattern for the dress underneath the coat. The original dress is a spaghetti-strap, sleeveless dress, which won’t do for me and my cycling tan lines (I’d look like I was afflicted with a rare skin disease!). So I need to dig through my extensive collection of evening gown patterns to find one that has sleeves and will work with the coat. I also need to work out what draft I want to use for the dress – all I know right now is that it will be woven in 60/2 silk, because it’s the right weight and I have gobs of the stuff!
Unfortunately this week is going to be extremely, extremely busy – I am way behind on work and Weavolution both, and am going on ANOTHER road trip this weekend. (My mother is having her 70th birthday and retirement party – go mom! – and I am flying to Maryland to help out with the party.) So the next two days are going to be mostly devoted to catching up. I won’t get back from Maryland until next Wednesday, and it will probably take me the rest of the week to catch up from THAT. So it will probably be weekend after next before I can really launch into the dress again.
Nonetheless, I made tremendous progress this weekend, I’m very pleased.