After three years of fiddling, I have a design for Phoenix Rising that I am happy with. Behold!
I’m very pleased with this muslin, though many details still need to be worked out. The dangling flames flutter beautifully in the breeze, the color gradation gives the sense of flame igniting, and the dark blue really “pops” the fiery colors. After years of fiddling with this and that, I have a design that really speaks to me, that I think is worthwhile. Hallelujah!
I am still on the fence about the sleeve (which would actually be shredded at the bottom, to continue the flame motif). Here is the sleeveless version:
I like the idea of the sleeve because it gives a natural ending point to the piece, and balances the longer part of the skirt. The sleeveless version feels unbalanced to me, and also my eye gets “stuck” at the shoulder. The sleeve lets it flow down. It may not be the length in the photo – there are many twiddles yet to go – but I like the idea.
A second happiness, as you may have noticed, is that I have finally gotten the photo studio set up to the point where I can take pretty darned good photos. You would laugh if you saw how ridiculously compressed the photo studio is, but it works! Lieven helped me fine-tune it this afternoon, and showed me some Photoshop tricks. I wouldn’t call the resulting images professional grade yet, but the raw material is good enough to be publishable after some better Photoshop tweaking. After I find a publisher, I’ll worry about tweaking it properly.
What’s next after this muslin? Well, now I’m going to weave fabric samples. I have some ideas for making more interesting color-gradient cloth – echo weave is a distinct possibility, but there are others. I also want to try weaving with finer silk thread (120/2 or 140/2 silk as opposed to my usual 60/2) to see if I can produce the floaty fabric that I’m envisioning. And I want to weave samples of a crinkled blue-black cloth for use in the undergarment. (Sharon and I are envisioning the blue undergarment as a close-fitting pair of pants, to give the flames the most flutter.)
We will probably not do more muslins for a good couple of months, though. I’m working on losing weight – lost ten pounds so far and want to lose another thirty or forty pounds – which would play havoc with a closely-fitted garment. So the next few months will be about weaving fabric samples and yardage. I’m looking forward to finally doing something with all that fine-threads yarn I’ve been accumulating!
Other plans for the coming week include putting the fly shuttle attachments and the auto-advance mechanism onto Emmy. I’m missing one or two minor parts for the fly shuttle (which I purchased used), so will be ordering them from AVL tomorrow morning. The auto-advance should be a piece of cake, but since I’m halfway through adding the fly shuttle, I don’t want to mess with the loom until I have that completed. After that I’ll probably use the color study warp to test out/fine-tune the fly shuttle and auto advance. And then, I’ll work out a new draft for Phoenix Rising, and put a sample warp onto the loom. (The sea turtles are on hold for now.) I’m also going to create my examples for the book’s chapter on visual design. That’s overdue, because I’ve been too busy setting up my photography studio! But time to get back to it now. My plans may be delayed, but they are not totally shredded. Phoenix Rising is fun, but the book is important too.
Speaking of shredding, I rather unwisely left a roll of paper towels on the dining room table a few days ago. Several hours later, Mike came into the dining room and was greeted with this carnage – complete with red-handed (red-pawed?) culprit:
I’m not 100% certain that Fritz was the perpetrator, though. Tigress is usually the one who shreds paper towels, so perhaps Fritz was merely the fall guy for her misdeeds?