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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lyon

I was almost that person that gets left from the trip because they oversleep. Im not sure if my alarm went off at 5:17 am or not, but I heard Caitlin knock on my door at 6:07 and somehow made it, dressed to impress, down to the cafe at 6:11. Not sure how it happened, but we were off to Avignon to catch the TGV to Lyon. We were lucky enough to be able to visit Prelle's silk weaving studio after we had visited their beautiful showroom in Paris. It was an incredible experience, and I have beautiful pictures of their amazing woven silks if you are interested in seeing them, but we cant have them floating around the internet so people dont copy what this company has been doing since 1752.

We were first taken into their hand weaving studio, where they have many large Jacquard looms dating back to 1807 and tons and tons of bobbins. We were shown by a master weaver how they weave these patterns that take 2 years to complete following a binary code pattern that you can see hanging above the loom. It is AMAZING how beautiful these fabrics are, and how fast Sebastian can weave! video
These weights are hung on all the threads to keep the tension! crazy.After the hand weaving studio we were taken into the computer room where they showed us the programs they use to do all the math that goes into the weavings. They take weavings from their archives, scan them in, figure out the color, repeat, and all of the elements needed to recreate them. Then they are able to calculate how many kilos of each color silk they need, how long it will take to thread the warps, and how long it will take to hand weave them. Pretty impressive. We were also shown where they keep their archives, and then we were shown some of their most impressive works and some very old recreations that are from the 1800s. All were so beautiful, and if you are interested in seeing pictures of the fabrics themselves let me know!Next was downstairs to the factory part where they have crazy computerized looms that can weave an inch an hour and have 18,000 warps threaded through them! It can take 3-6 months just to prepare the loom to begin weaving! There were also some crazy machines that wind the bobbins, which you need hundreds of to weave each color.
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After Prelle we had the whole afternoon to explore and enjoy Lyon. We got lunch and sat down for awhile, then I just walked around, shopped a little, and got some sweet pictures. We saw what looked like the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame, all the way from Lyon! Went to a great trim store and got some ribbon, the lady gave me two extra meters, think she liked me. They had a crazy wall of embroidery floss!There were some interesting sites in Lyon as well... like this window display in a store that sold fur coats. Its a scary bear, with a scary bear in its hand, holding some fur coats?
And outside the train station was this sign... apparently you cant take your Christmas tree skateboarding... sad.Anyways, it wound up being a great day after my not waking up on time incident. I'm glad I made it!

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