I love designing fabrics. For me, it’s like opening a box of candy, or rather, an entire case of candy boxes: what yarn will I use? What weave structure? What colors? How do I want it to drape? What should it look like?
I’ll tunnel through my stash boxes and throw up mounds of interesting-looking yarns all over the studio. I’ll pull out dye samples, stack weaving books and magazines five high on the table, pull out the sketchpad and start sketching. I’ll rev up my software, play with drafts, and get so excited I actually rub my hands together in glee. This is one of the best parts of starting a project, to me: the complete freedom to decide what I’m going to do next.
So, after fondling all the yarns, squinting at all the drafts, and flipping through all those yummy books full of new and interesting weave structures, what am I going to do?
I’ve decided to do three fabrics for this wedding dress.
The first will be the double-happiness ribbon, the second will be the over-coat fabric, and the third will be for the dress itself. I think the coat will be an eternity knot pattern (if I can get that working), and the dress will be a heart design, but haven’t really thought that out yet. The coat will be woven in the 30/2 silk/cashmere blend, and the dress in 60/2 silk. I haven’t decided about the ribbon yet.
Needless to say, this will not all get tackled in the workshop. I hemmed and hawed and finally sent an email off to Sharon Alderman (the workshop teacher), who thought it was a splendid (if extremely ambitious) project, advised me on yarn weights, and also suggested that I sample the 30/2 silk in the workshop, largely because there’s no way I could get 60/2 silk threaded up and woven during a 2.5 day workshop.
So, the coat fabric it shall be. I’ve worked quite a bit with 30/2 silk, so I know the sett will likely be about 40-45 epi (4-end twill or 5-end satin base structure). Since I want motifs between 1/2″ and 1″ in size, that means 20-40 threads in each motif. Since I like symmetry, this suggests either a straight draw or point threading. So over the weekend, I will meditate on that…and play with drafts…and dance around in small circles gleeful over this new project. It promises to be an epic undertaking, and I just love a good epic…!
The great news is that Sharon has also offered to let me bounce ideas, thoughts, etc. off her during the progress of the wedding-dress fabric. It’ll be wonderful being able to get her advice; this project is definitely pushing the boundaries of my skills. But I hope the result will be worthwhile!