Remember how I was racking my brain about how to get more motion into the kimono? And was thinking about gradients, diagonals, etc?
Today I realized I was being dumb. I can cross-dye the woven fabric, and if I use a mercerized cotton for the heavy thread, I can dye the background however I want without affecting the pattern thread. So I can do things like this:
and (with considerably more difficulty) this:
(Photo credit: the fiery background is the result of monkeying with this photo tile, designed by suicidecrew on deviantart.com. Used with permission.)
I’m particularly excited by the possibilities of the second design, which is simpler and has more movement than the first one. However, it may not be technically feasible – I can get the single line of phoenixes or I can get the inferno background, but I’m not sure I can get both. I need to think about this some more.
(I could do this quite easily by resorting to inlay, but the idea of doing inlay for six yards of fabric at 40 epi gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m nuts, but not quiteÂ that nuts.)
Meanwhile, I have started laying out the pattern for the kimono muslin. Holy bejezus, but uchikake kimono are oversized! By my calculations, about 8″ of the back will trail on the ground. I’m thinking I will shorten it to ankle length, and will likely do that in the first muslin.
I also think I know enough about the sample warp to start planning it. I think it will be white 60/2 silk warp, woven with a white 60/2 silk ground weft, metallic gold embroidery thread as accent weft, and a yellow 20/2 mercerized cotton pattern weft. I’m going to make it ten yards long, I think, to give myself plenty of room to experiment with surface design on the finished cloth. I haven’t worked out the width yet – I need to finish the muslin first, so I understand the layout of the pattern pieces.
Meanwhile, in jam-land, I made two more batches of jam this morning: crabapple jelly (technically a marmalade, since it has bits of crabapple floating in it), and damson plum jam. I still have five or six pounds of pears ripening on the counter, and I might make pear-lavender jam with that. Or I might not. Life is full of uncertainty.
Finally, I am very pleased to say that I have acquired this widget:
This is a confectionery guitar, which is used for slicing slabs of ganache into neat squares. You put the slab on the bed, bring the wires down to cut the slab, then turn the slab sideways and cut again. Voila! Perfectly square, exactly even chocolate centers. Neater, quicker, and much more professional-looking than cutting the chocolates with a see-through ruler and a drywall spreader, which is what I’ve been doing for the last twenty years.
I’ve wanted one of these for years, but never expected to have one. They cost $1700-3000 (!) for a new one, which is way more than I can justify for something I’d use once a year. And used ones are typically $1000 or more, which is similarly out of budget.
However, I was idly searching on Craigslist a few days ago, and found one for sale very cheap – in Chicago. Ack!! Fortunately, my parents-in-law live in Chicago. They were not only nice enough to go pick it up for me, they’re giving it to me as an early Xmas gift! How incredibly generous of them. They are wonderful people. (Well worthy of extra batches of chocolates.) Hopefully it will arrive in the next week or two, just in time to practice before chocolate season.
And that’s What I Did With My Weekend.
Off to work on that kimono muslin!