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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Inventory Reduced!

The inventory reduction sale was a success! Between the weavers and spinners of Blacksheep Guild, and the nice folks at Serendipity Spinners (both located in the Silicon Valley area), I managed to find homes for lots of yarn and fiber. That means fewer cartons to pack when it comes time to move.

I apologize for the lengthy gap between posts. The process of getting a house ready to sell turns out to be a very time-consuming one, and not only have I not had time to blog, but also I haven't had much time for any fiber projects.

One project that's been on a [very] back burner for a long time is the kimono project. A number of years ago (I hate to think how many!) I went in on one of those kimono bale deals. Someone in the area bought an entire bale from a company called Texuba, and got a group of fiberholics to go in on it. The organizer unpacked the bale and spread all the kimono and obi out on her patio. The participants each drew a number, and then took turns picking out goodies to take home, until finally the last of the kimono and obi were gone.

My share of the loot was 7 kimono. At the time, I envisioned a pieced garment of some kind, so I had selected kimono in coordinating color schemes. The kimono then went into a closet (you know, kind of like a wine cellar - things go in, age for a certain while, and then come out again) and didn't see the light of day again until last week.

I decided it was time to unstitch the kimono, launder the cloth, and put it all away in a box to be ready for moving. I knew there wouldn't be time to plan, cut, and sew a garment, but I wanted to pack the cloth away clean. I don't know what the vendor puts in the bale before shipping it from Japan to California, but whatever it is, it's fragrant, and not in a nice way.

Anyway, kimono are traditionally hand-stitched, so the unstitching part was pretty easy. Although, several of the kimono are old and the cloth had become a bit fragile and shreddy. But I did my best, and now have a box of clean, less fragrant, much more appealing cloth with which I will someday have a lot of fun making a jacket or vest.

One of the kimono in particular turned out to be a real treasure. Instead of the usual printed rayon or cotton I expected, this one is a very beautiful double ikat on silk! The background colors are a very deep indigo, and a very dark brown. The threads that were tied to make the pattern were then dyed dark brown. These threads were then interspersed with threads that were dyed a solid deep indigo.

I've made a couple of scans of the cloth, one an overall shot and one a close-up showing a single design motif. Because the dye is very dark, it's hard to distinguish the blue from the brown except in bright sunlight.





In addition to this one, there are a couple of very interesting jacquard double weaves, and one of the kimono was partly lined with a piece of floral jacquard cloth that is absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, being white-on-white it isn't very photogenic. You'll have to take my word for it. It's a small piece of cloth, torn and stained (which is why it was relegated to a lining) but will be a source of inspiration. The structure is turned satin, with areas of warp-dominant satin and areas of weft-dominant satin. The design is a very simple, elegant pattern of leaves and blossoms. Only the difference in apparent luster between the warp-faced and weft-faced areas shows the pattern, and only in the right light - otherwise it's just white cloth. But it's the most gorgeous white cloth I've ever seen.

By the way, Texuba is still in business, but only just. According to the website, the owner is retiring shortly - here today, gone to Maui!

1 comment:

beryl said...

Glad to see that you found some interesting textiles in your kimono buy from long, long ago.

I still have a photo someplace, of Ruby (from Textuba) and I sitting on a bales of kimono in one of her storage facilities. It was great fun.