Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doing Devon

It may be cold outside, but I'm taking advantage of the studio's window seat. It's fluffy pillow and sunny window (when there's sun) makes it the perfect place to supervise our studio projects. The cooler weather keeps Bogie inside too. The rain interferes with RWV production and doll pouring. (Resin foams up when it's exposed to high humidity. So during rainy weeks like this Bogie tends to focus on sewing.

Ahhh, nothing like a dreary day to lay around and watch Bogie work.
Bogie is making good progress on our Devon project. She first introduced Clea in this fall ensemble at IDEX 2003. Like many of our projects, China never produced this item so we are now making it in studio. Our biggest slow down was producing the simple knitted sweater. We had several artists lined up to assist us but each had to bail out due to family or job issues. 

DeeDee helps Bogie learn how to use her Studio 700 knitting machine.

After two years Bogie finally got her hands on a Studio 700 knitting machine. This machine is AWESOME! Not only does it knit, but it's fun to attack the yarn ball as it rolls around behind it. (I'm still not sure why this upsets Bogie.) There is a huge learning curve. Not only do we have to learn how to use the machine, but every yarn has it's own special issues. We began testing yarns Bogie found at JoAnn's. The "Sensation's TRULY" wool yarn (the beige yarn below) has produced some really nice results. But, JoAnn's is canceling this item. Bogie found a very high end yarn store in Santa Rosa. Some of the yarns there are so refined they are $80 a skein!! Even as a kitty I know that's a lot.

Bogie spent most of February making knitting samples. These are just 5 of over 25 samples tested.
L-R: Green baby yarn works great for "bulky knit" simulation, Beige Truly yarn is perfect for Devon, Cream
Knit Picks Sure Gloos will be great for fair isle sweaters, burgundy alpaca and wool yarns working for Devon.
Our favorite so far is the varigated burgundy "Malabrigo" fine baby merino wool. Sooooo soft. It's a bit too fine for the Devon project. The darker burgundy "Berroco" Ultra alpaca fine yarn is a perfect miniature representation of Devon's "bulking knit." Both yarns are expensive. So, we'll have to see how much we can get out of each skein to determine which we will use in final production.

Bogie is also testing other yarns. Most of the baby yarns also work for "bulking knit" but the cream "Knit Picks" Bare Gloss marino wool & silk blend yarn is looking to be the most hopeful for our upcoming finer knit fair isle sweaters. It also has a material price that makes production affordable for our collectors. 

First round of Devon pants finished. Burgundy pants will come with a cream or tan sweater,
the green pants will come with the burgundy sweater.
One of the advantages of not working with China anymore is that we don't have to purchase 500 of just one item. We can take a design and do variations on it. This was a big hit with our finished Milk Maid doll project. For Devon we are doing the original green pants design as well as a new burgundy alternate. This week Bogie finished enough pants to fill our prepaid orders. After filling a few costume orders Bogie plans to cut out the capes tonight.

Time to take a break from napping and go outside before it rains again. Have a great day,
Sammy Kat