Learning new things

You think you have the idea for your next post.  Just a quick blurb about the thing.  Then you start to do some light research on the thing.  And realize, like Jon Snow, you know nothing.  Now, this is not inherently a bad thing.  It can be a VERY bad thing if you proceed to write on what you know nothing about.  If you’re smart, you’ll slow your roll, figure out how to pivot the idea.  I’m trying to be smart. I’m already certain I will be re-visiting several of the blog posts I’ve written during this trek.  Updating them

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Silk Knit

Silk Knit Sweater

When people think of knits, they think of wool sweater, or cotton knit athletic wear.  But much like any fiber can be woven, any fiber can be knit, including silk.  Silk knits range from very fine, single filament knits, to four or more ply strands available for home knitting.  Well, technically I guess you COULD knit at home with filament thread.  But even a rank novice knitter like myself knows that it would take a devilish amount of thread to knit a sweater from filament. Silk knit fabric is usually listed as Silk Jersey, so if you want to buy

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True Damask

True Damask is fully reversible

What is a True Damask weave?  The original luxury weave for silk, Damask is “a rich silk fabric with woven floral designs made in China and introduced into Europe through Damascus, from which it derived it’s name (Fairchild, p. 170).  The introduction to Europe was by way of Crusader’s returning from the crusades by way of Damascus, Syria.  More commonly known as Jacquard due to modern damask is woven on a Jacquard loom, damask is a combination of satin and twill, or satin and plain weaves, to form a pattern. So that is the simple explanation, But simplicity often needs more

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Cosplay

Cosplay

I think I mention cosplay as an option for silk in every product description.  And I’ll admit to a bit of bias there.  I mean…I SELL silk.  Of course I think it’s perfect for cosplay.  But seriously, lycra gets all the love in the Cos-community, probably because of the eye popping, hip hugging, curve loving choices available to cosplay as.  And Lycra is outstanding for curve hugging.  But it doesn’t breathe well, and after hours on a convention floor, you sweat.  And even the strongest deodorant will leave you with body stank after being trapped in non-breathable lycra all day. Know what

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Costume College

Costume College

This is an annual event held in Southern California at the end of July.  I’ve been twice, once just to go, then last year I taught.  And the class was so wonderful and open, I decided to teach again.  So, here is what I am teaching at Costume College 2017.  All three classes are on Sunday, July 30. 9am to 10am What’s in a Weave.  This class is designed to talk about different weaving techniques, specifically silk weaves; however many techniques are universal (plain weave, satin weave, twill). And this class will teach you which weave is which. 11:30am to

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Fools Rush in

Fools Rush In--Caesar being the fool

As the saying goes, where Angels fear to tread.  This was me the first time I worked with silk.  The fool, not the Angel.  I wrote in my blog on Working with Silk that fear is what keeps most people from working with silk.  For me it wasn’t fear that I would damage the silk.  By the time I had silk in my hot little hand to work with, I had researched just how resilient silk is.  My fear was that my skill wasn’t up to working with such fantastic fabric.  And I’d been sewing for 28 years by that

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The Humble Caftan

8th Century Caftan

So here is a garment that is as old as time.  With origins going back to Mesopotmia, this simple garment constructed entirely of squares was originally cotton.  When silk found it’s way to the middle east,  it quickly became a favorite textile for the Caftan.  So how did this humble, ancient garment, survive from antiquity to present?  By being eminently practical. Originally, the Caftan was the outermost garment worn by men throughout the middle east; however, in Morocco it is traditionally a woman’s garment, and even today enjoys a special place in couture of Morocco.  While worn throughout North Africa and

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Four-Ply Silk

Four-ply silk begins with the threads

One ply, two ply, three ply…Technically ply only becomes impractical when the yarns get two thick to weave.  Ply has several meanings, depending on the context, i.e. plywood, or as a verb, to work diligently.  Within the textile industry, a ply is “the number of single yarns twisted together to form a ply yarn or cord.” (Fairchild, p. 466). Now with silk, as the yarns are filaments, they don’t technically need more than one ply before being woven.  But, additional ply to the filament (meaning more than one spun together before weaving) adds considerable strength to the fabric.  It’s by

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Mongolian Clothing

Mognolian Clothing

In joining the SCA, the boyfriend and I were trying to determine persona.  This is a fairly common ritual for those who think they may be around for the long haul, and most people have a general idea of where they want to go with their character creation.  Vikings are common, as are 14th and 15 century knights, Elizabethan nobles, even Ottoman and Arabian persona are fairly well represented.  Less represented, at least in the West Kingdom, are Mongolians.  And the boyfriend, wanting to not follow the crowd, decided he wanted to be Mongolian.  And the more I learned about

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Silk in Warfare

The Great Kahn used Silk in Warfare

One of the many myths I am consistently confronted with is that silk is fragile and requires special care.  Part of the history of silk is the history of mankind…which means its a blood soaked history of brutal warfare.  Not just because the Chinese Emperors made the smuggling of silk worms and mulberry trees a crime punishable by death.  But literal warfare.  The Romans were first introduced to silk through warfare when they saw the silk banners of the Parthians in 53 BC.  And to this day, silk painting is a beautiful art form, with silk being a wonderful medium

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