I’m pleased to say that I have a new project! This one is my first commissioned piece – a dragon and phoenix scarf!
After I finished Ode to Joy, I got an email from Kathy, who mentioned how much she loved the dragon in Ode to Joy, and would I consider weaving a scarf for her? We bounced design ideas around for awhile, and finally I sketched this:
The knotwork is a Celtic “E” that Kathy provided. The dragon is a smaller version of the dragon in Ode to Joy, and the phoenix is a smaller, monochrome version of the phoenix in Goodbye, Ma.
Kathy liked this overall design, but asked that the “E” motifs all open the same direction, so that (when worn) they would open consistently to the outside of the scarf. Because neither of us is very good at spatial visualization, I did a couple of sketches that showed what the scarf would look like when worn. I did a series of sketches showing the front and back of the scarf, and Kathy finally settled on these:
These are actually not quite reverses of each other (the phoenix and dragon should both be flipped horizontally) – but they’re close enough to get the general idea.
Kathy likes this design, so my next step will be cleaning up the Photoshop file and converting it to a loom-ready file. Simultaneously, I’ll also be preparing to weave samples. I need to test out several things – weave structure, yarn choice, and color. Because the warp is a mix of 20/2 silk, 10/2 unmercerized cotton, and 16/2 mercerized cotton, it may be a bit heavy for a scarf. So I’m going to start with a relatively thin and supple weft – 30/2 silk, I think. I plan to weave the scarf with one warp and one weft, in a 5-end satin. That is a dense weave, but it drapes well, and will give good color contrast between front and back.
Because I actually have a warp meant for triple weave on the loom, and the scarf will only be 8″ wide, I can potentially weave three scarves simultaneously across the 29″ width of the warp, each on a different warp layer. (Actually I could weave NINE scarves simultaneously – three independent layers of cloth from top to bottom, and three scarves side by side across the width. And I could make every one of them a different design, with the magic of jacquard weaving. Isn’t that mind-blowing? But I am not quite crazy enough to try weaving with nine shuttles….yet. 🙂 )
Since I can easily weave multiple scarves on the same section of warp, I offered to weave a second and possibly third scarf of the exact same design but in a different colorway. Since no additional design time would be involved, and very little material, I could offer the second and third scarves at a substantial discount. Kathy decided to order two scarves, one using a red/orange warp and another using the blue/purple warp. The red/orange warp will be paired with golden yellow; the blue/purple we’re not sure about, so I’m weaving samples. I plan to test out turquoise, fuchsia, and (just for fun) orange-red. It will be interesting to see what happens!
The other thing I need to do is some loom maintenance and tweaks. I was having difficulties with several threads that would not lift for some reason, so I need to figure out what’s wrong with those heddles and fix them. I’m guessing the module just needs a good vacuuming, but I may have to replace a few valves. That is probably a half-day’s worth of troubleshooting.
Fortunately, I have new (and beautiful!) toys to keep me company while I engage in loom maintenance/repair. My Bluster Bay 11″ end feed shuttles, which I otherwise adore, are a bit too tall to pass easily through my very dense shed. So I ordered some Bluster Bay Swedish shuttles to work with. Here they are: tiger maple, curly red oak, and red marblewood.
May I say once again how much I love Bluster Bay shuttles? Not only are they marvelously functional tools, but they are flat-out beautiful. And, at only 3/4″ tall, they will work very nicely with this very dense warp.