Another sample has arrived and it looks very promising. This time they just sent one (in black/red) I've got to check it over properly, but if I find nothing else wrong and if they can tidy up one or two (hopefully) small things before they send the rainbow and purple/teal samples, then I think we're good to move on to safety testing and then (fingers crossed) production. *squee*.
I'll post another update soon after I've checked the sample properly.
It's been a slow month. I was hoping to have the next sample in hand before this update but I didn't want to go too long being quiet. So here's where we're at:
All the handmade custom colour adult dragon bagons are now done. We'll be shipping out any remaining handmade custom colour orders that do not include manufactured dragon bagons over the next few weeks. Some of you should already have received final notices to confirm your shipping addresses.
On the manufactured Dragon Bagon front, we're making slow progress, but it is progress. The manufacturers have confirmed that they can make the changes I've asked for, they've found an alternative purple fabric and sent a sample to me (which I have approved). I'm now waiting for finals of what I'm hoping will be the final sample. After that they should send it to me, I'll go over them with a fine toothcomb, then it's safety testing, and *fingers crossed* production.
The delays are super frustrating, but you folks have been amazing.
Handmade rainbows - There's still a dozen or so folks who backed for a 'just in case' handmade rainbow and haven't gotten back to me about whether they want to switch to a manufactured rainbow. As we are now looking to start on the last half of the handmade rainbows, I need to know ASAP if anyone wants to change over. I've messaged and emailed these backers a couple of times now, so if I don't hear back by the end of this week I'll have to assume folks want to stay with the handmade option and process any outstanding costs on those orders.
I've been going over the samples and I have the following to report:
New fabric has been acquired, and it IS double sided, which is great.
The colours aren't as nice as the last lot they found *sigh*, but really only the purple is bothering me enough to ask them to find an alternative.
I'm not 100% sure but I think they're using a laser or other high heat method of cutting the fabric, and that would be fine if we didn't have cut edges showing on the scales and spikes. What it's doing is melting the core of the fabric slightly, which is giving it a slightly rough texture. I know it isn't just the fabric itself because I cut a tiny snip with hand scissors and the edge was soft. For me, being able to cuddle the dragons is a big part of their appeal, am I right in thinking that's important to you folks as well?
I'm going to ask them to look for an alternative purple fabric, and to find an alternative cutting method.
They've fixed the eye position, fixed part of the jaw line and the nose, and they've got decent detailing around the brows and nostrils.
The head is slightly too wide at certain points and a bit short at others, plus they've under stuffed it a bit, both those are much easier issues to fix.
I'm going to ask the manufacturer to fix up some minor stuff around the jaw line and narrow some spots on the head. The chances are that the stuffing has compressed in transit and it looked fine when they first sent it, so I'll ask them to add more stuffing to the head, especially around the nose.
For this round of samples we experimented with appliqueing the inner wings on (see the stitching around the edge?). It looks tidier I think. They also changed where the loop on the wings attaches, which doesn't really worry me.
They've changed where they attach the wings and moved them down lower, which makes everything else look off proportion wise.
I'm going to ask them to move the wings back up, and if that means losing the applique stitch I think that's a disappointing but acceptable trade off.
It works ^_^.
They've moved the scales down slightly, and I can see why they've done it, with the thicker fabric the channel needs a bit more room to close properly. It doesn't detract from the look of the bag so I'm fine with it.
The new fabric is thicker, which is making the bag more rigid and has lowered it's capacity slightly.
I'm going to ask them to make it slightly larger so it's a more comfortable fit for the 100 dice.
I'm also going to ask them to make the drawcords a little longer, this gives the option of tying them in a bow for extra security if you want to.
There's a few minor things like needing to move the drawcord knots in a bit, fixing up some minor loose threads etc.
All in all, we're not quite where I want to be yet, and for that I'm genuinely sorry. This is definite progress and there's nothing in this sample lot that seems unfixable or a huge setback. You folks have shown far, far more patience than you should ever have had to, so please know I'm still working on this and while progress is painfully slow, it is happening, and I'm so very grateful for you wonderful people.
In other news
Life has been slowly returning to normal after the terrorist attacks. We're still pretty nervous whenever we hear sirens. I'll admit to watching social media more closely than I used to, and honestly just being so angry when I see more of the rhetoric that fueled the attacks. The attacks in Sri Lanka, and the latest shootings in the US are just... I guess it's a bit closer to home now. The hate that fueled them is so virulent, it's hard not to just want to give up on humanity in it's entirety and declare myself a cat with alopecia. It's still pretty scary when there's large angry groups gathering now and then, but I hope the police are watching them closely. You don't usually see cops armed with assault rifles around here, but it became a pretty familiar sight in recent times. It's easing off now. Just gotta hope all the support for the victims and the kiwi Muslim community in general doesn't just fade away into nothing now that it's gone quiet.
Buddy the neighbour cat had surgery. He showed up one day with a small swelling on his face, by the next day his humans already had him booked at the vet and the lump had tripled in size. Turns out it was an abscess (most likely from fighting another cat) and it had been growing internally before it showed up on the outside, even getting behind his eye. He was very lucky not to lose the eye, as it was he ended up under house arrest for more than two weeks, complete with the cone of shame and a second round of stitches. The moment he was allowed out he came over to tell me his tale of woe (and demand treats). He seems to be mending well which is a relief, it could have gone very differently. He's looking a bit odd with several bald patches and he's very busy re-establishing his territory. Now that it's getting colder he's putting on his winter chunk, which is adorable. I asked him what's involved in joining the cat nation of Ulthar but he told me I'm too much of a pushover.
The manufacturers sent me photos of the next batch of samples. They're not perfect, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
They seem to be having trouble positioning the wings consistently, I'm not 100% sure what the solution to that will be, but we'll work on it. I think it's due to how they're attaching the wings, which is a bit different to my method.
I'm also not a huge fan of the new purple they've found. It's even lighter than the original purple I used for the samples. I've asked them to look for a darker option.
The head shape seems to have improved, but the nose isn't quite right yet. I'll need to see them in person so to speak before I can say too much more.
They want to adjust where the loop on the wings is positioned, it's not quite as consistent a flow for the colour, but I don't think it's going to make a big difference.
I'll be reviewing the photos closely over the next few days and talking about adjustments, then they'll send me the samples (hopefully with a better purple) so I can do more detailed checks.
Ok, so we're still pretty shaken after the terrorist attacks, and things are a bit all over the place, but I have some progress and (frustratingly) some snags to report.
We've shipped some orders
Pumpkin spice Dragon Bagon orders
Slack Wyrm Dragon Bagon orders
Drakeling only orders
Elder Dragon only orders
Dragon/Bagthulhu Dice only orders
Bagthulhu only orders
Any combination of the above
Plus Some of the adult dragon bagon only orders
Update on the manufactured Dragon Bagons
When I chased up progress on the sample, the manufacturer informed me that because of the Chinese New Year holiday period, they were not able to secure the fabric I had approved fast enough and now it's gone. So they need to find all new fabric again.
This is a setback, and I'm not happy about it, but I needed to let you folks know so you're up to speed. I've asked the manufacturers whether it would be quicker to focus on getting the construction/shape/pattern side right and THEN focus on sourcing fabric, or if they need to source the fabric first. To be honest I would prefer the first option, because it means there's still development in the actual structure even if the fabrics aren't right just yet.
Currently we're working on the custom Dragons, another batch of pieces should be arriving soon at which point my helper will start on the last of the Adult Dragons while I finish the custom dragons. I'll try to get some photos this coming week because dragons are cute. We'll be doing smaller rounds of fulfillment as the last of the handmade batches are completed.
I'm really sorry I don't have more progress to report, but I promise we're working on it and we're making progress despite the setbacks.