Another Primary Source

I’ve been gravitating toward documentation any time I feel down about this project. The research makes me happy…specifically learning things makes me happy.

Very specifically, I’ve been trying to track down a source for a bit of knowledge rattling around in my head. At one point I knew the name of the particular floral lozenge pattern that is seen on the hitoe of the modelled outfit from the Costume Museum. I swear I learned what the pattern was and that all hitoe use that same pattern. I have yet to come across that tidbit again so I can document it properly. Grr.

But I found something else.

I found another late Heian period (second half of 12th century) image of an ichime-gasa! In one of my own books no less. You can see the image here. It’s a section of Lotus Sutra that depicts a street scene, specifically the market in Heian-kyo (now Kyoto). On the far left of the image in the link above, under the calligraphy, is a woman wearing an ichime-gasa with mushi no tareginu. This same fan actually depicts 3 of the hats, only one of which sports curtains. I’m thrilled.

It’s also fascinating that the lady depicted in the center of the image is wearing her robes over her head and wearing geta. The same outfit at the Costume Museum wears zori. A fair number of the people pictured are actually wearing geta. Geta are wooden thong sandals, frequently with 2 ha or teeth protruding from the sole. Zori are thong sandals that are made of some other material, modernly foam or rubber. This is a modern definition that I can not certify as accurate for way back in the Heian period though, so take it as you will. Hats and footwear.

When at once it seems / the darkness overtakes us / and all hope is gone, / revisit the beginning / find yourself in what you lost.

Waiting to Dye

I had the silk laid out on the table, prepped to measure and cut a chunk off to dye it.

And I stopped.

Stuck. Frozen in fear / unable to move or think / in white hot terror. / Is it continued failure / or success that holds me fast?

I had a big fat doubt holding me back. What if my dye bath is off? I asked my parter if I should give it a go and try or order more dye and repeat my process as close to the same as possible. Yeah, I heard the right answer as it fell out of my mouth too.

I have ordered the dye I need. It will be here between Friday and Monday. This means sleeves for the hitoe are on hold for a few days. For now I need to cut the actual okumi overlap panels and start stitching those on.

Another Costly Mistake

Yes. Another one. Instead of cutting my okumi overlap panels down, I cut my sleeves which look the same as the overlap except they’re 10 inches shorter.

I’ve been in tears off and on since I realized what I had done.

The solution is not perfect. I went to the fabric store again. They had the fabric, but not enough to remake it in it’s entirety. I bought all they had left. The chain fabric store was out of dye. So I can’t just dye the whole lot of it. Tomorrow, because you had better believe I’m stopped for the day, I’ll edge a section of fabric and dye it according to the proportions I used in the sample dyeing phase. Fingers crossed it comes out close enough.

I’m seriously considering skipping A&S Champs for this year. We’ll see how well I recover from this latest set back. It’s really looking like I cant meet the deadline for the entire ensemble, and I still don’t really like the idea of entering just one piece.

Another mistake / precious time and resources / lost, squandered on carelessness / Another day spent scrambling / in attempts to salvage it.

Tanka Challenge

Quiet journey’s end / a month long task complete / with satisfaction. / Habit formed through practiced / repetition carries on.

Today is officially the end of the #TankaChallenge. I wrote 37 poems in 30 days. And I have no intention of stopping.

I like the stretch of my writing skills that I’ve had this past month. I wrote something out for a friend today, and it was made more than it would have been because I used poetic language and lovely allusions. It made me happy. More importantly it made him happy. Writing tanka has made me happier. A few of my poems have spoken to some of my friends and increased their happiness. I’ll take every little bit of that I can get. So I will continue to write at least one tanka every day. My persona should be able to reel off a poem upon request. With enough practice, that is completely doable.

Side Seams and Fabric

The additional brocade to fill out what I already had has arrived. It matches. All is well.

Beautiful brocade / light gold with darker flowers / Has graced my table / How much more delightful will / it be sewn into a robe?

I’ve moved on to the side seams of the hitoe.

Inspiration After Hours

After I posted last night, I continued to work on documentation and actually started to tailor it toward the idea of a journey. It was an intriguing feeling turning rather matter of fact information into something closer to a narrative. And I’ve decided to include some of my poems in the documentation. I sifted through all of them last night and found a little less than half were directly related to the project.

Today was definitely productive. I ironed the dyed silk, marked out the pattern on it, cut out the pieces and managed to get the back seam finished.

Tomorrow I move on to side seams.

Have I mentioned that I’m pleased with the color? I’m really, really happy with how it turned out. Yes, it is exactly as I’d hoped, but that’s just it, it’s exactly as I had hoped. And that’s absolutely wonderful. I needed the win.

Appreciate the / calm times, the moments / without stress or care – / file them away for later / when turbulence needs be soothed.

Diving in to Documentation

In the light stupor / of having just awakened / I conjured a poem / It delighted me so much / I smiled and went back to sleep.

It took most of my day to recover the house and kitchen from yesterday’s festivities.

It may take me another day or two to recover me.

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family and friends (contactless pick up this year) but it really takes a lot out of me.

Onward to the travelling outfit!

This evening I’ve been reworking my documentation to adjust for the changes in fabric. It’s not in it’s final form yet. I have this idea of linking the journey of creating the outfit with it’s intended purpose of being an outfit worn for travelling, for a journey. I’m just not sure how to express that in the documentation. I suppose it would need to be in a narrative form. Perhaps a condensed version of this blog. Intensely condensed. I have it in my head that I should limit myself to 8 pages of documentation. I take this to exclude source images and bibliography. I’m also off down a rabbit hole trying to learn what I can about a lovely primary source for the hat.

I’m still holding out hope that I’ll be able to enter this into A&S Champs.

Partially to speed things along and largely because it is a synthetic fabric, I’ve decided I will absolutely machine stitch the upper/outer of the uwagi.

Tomorrow I cut out the hitoe (green layer). I’m looking forward to getting back to stitching.

Turkey Slows Things Down

Not really, but preparing and cooking our Thanksgiving feast certainly will. I’m Chef in my house, so I’ll be taking a little time off from my project. I’ll try to finish prepping the blue-green silk, and then may work on documentation tomorrow as I can. When I can manage to get the fabric ironed AND cut out, I can start stitching. Also a very strong possibility nothing happens.

But right now I have a last errand to run and then loads of veggies to chop and roast, pie to make, and a turducken to prep.

Other tasks undone / as preparations begin / for the coming feast. / The delicious aromas / waft with anticipation.

Dyeing a Little

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m filming this project. Well, I had my first big flub with that today. I carefully recorded precise shots to document the dyeing process, until the shot where I actually pour the dye into the washer and put the fabric in. I didn’t hit record. I’m tremendously disappointed. It’s kind of a pivotal shot. Oh well. C’est la vie.

At midway through the dye cycle, otherwise known as catching the wash cycle before it ends and resetting it, I pulled through the fabric, lifting and untwisting it from the dyebath before setting it back in for a second wash cycle in the blue green water. Long stretches of fabric get pretty snarled up in the washer. I read once that if you sew your fabric into a mobius strip it doesn’t tangle as badly. Today was not the day to test that.

It looked like the dye had taken evenly through the fabric, but I won’t know fore sure until it’s dry and ironed. I put the silk through the dryer. Probably shouldn’t have, but it’s done now.

The little thread misadventure…got the whole way there only to discover the green thread I have at home is the best match. Sigh.

Through carelessness and / a bit of bad luck, joy has / evaporated. / Will diligence and hard work / restore that elusive spark?