Sunday, August 27, 2006

I have been on a dyeing binge this weekend- since I am having a very difficult time coming up with postcard ideas that I like and can complete, I just went with it. I think it started when I re-organized my stash last weekend. At least now I know the holes in my stash!!

I've always loved saturated colors, and my hand-dyes reflect that. So, I decided to try some more toned colors. I also need to expand my value range. Hopefully, what I did this weekend will be a start at accomplishing both tasks.

So here's the results. Two violets, one a simple value gradation, and the other a value gradation-color modulation. Katy Widger's small book "The New Color Wheel Fabric Dyeing" has more good information packed between its covers than most dyeing books twice its size. It also has some of the most interesting dyeing ideas I've encountered anywhere. The value gradation/color modulation is one of them. In this, the amount of violet (actually, light red and cobalt blue) is constant in every piece. What changes is how dilute the solution is, and how much gray is added. In the lightest piece, there is only a whisper of gray, and the solution is diluted by about 50% with water. By the time you get to the darkest piece, there is four times as much gray as red/blue, and the dye solution is full strength. I like the toning effect it has, although it is not as obvious with the violet as it is with others.
I also prefer the mottled look when I dye, not solids- which also can make it more difficult to discern value differences. I did get some awesome mottling on many of the pieces, they will read like a print in a quilt.

Next I did a simple value gradation of the charcoal gray, and a value gradation/color modulation of fire red and charcoal gray. I've never used the gray dye before, and wanted to see what it does alone.

I think I will do another value gradation of the red, with gray added as a constant. In other words, mix the red and gray dyes at the beginning, and dilute it in steps. That will give me tones across the value spectrum, instead of just at the darker end.

And, finally, my favorites. I did value gradations/color modulation with lemon yellow and gray, and then with golden yellow and gray. I love the greens I got, even more so than the greens I've made with two primaries. And the mottling on these was spectacular, these small portions of the fabrics don't do them justice.

I think I will be doing more dyeing next weekend, maybe the sequenced overdyeing I love so much. There are several I haven't done that will give me the toned colors I'm looking for, like red-violet to blue-green.

Now it's back to postcards. I have to get these off to Virginia this week. And the deadline for my journal quilts is looming- I think my last weed will look a little different than the ones I've done thus far. Maybe use some of these hand-dyes. . .

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Nothing earth-shattering this weekend. . .

After spending more hours than I care to count on Friday waiting for a court hearing that had been re-scheduled - with no notification to me-- I did get to do a little bit of playing at the sewing machine. I finished my August journal quilt- which means, of course, that I can't post pictures. I'm happy with how it came out, and can't wait for the day I can post all nine of them. I think I've done a much better job of creating a coherent series this year than last.

And, because creative inspiration has been so lacking lately, I decided to pull out my whole stash and change how I sort it. I've always kept my hand-dyes separate from the commercial fabric I buy, but decided that just sorting it by color might make life easier when I need to pull fabric. It also would give me a better idea of which colors I need to add to my stash, and how my value range is in all the colors.

Keep in mind, my stash is tiny compared to many quilters. I'm lucky enough to have a decent size studio that is also set up for dyeing, but I don't have huge storage capacity. I've got a closet that is under the stairs, set up with shelving. I've got it filled as much as I can and still leave room to get into it. . .

Even the floor is filled to the brim. The large storage container is where I keep my cuts of fabric that are 1 yard or larger.

I sorted all my fabrics by color- and, surprise, surprise- I have a ton of greens. Too many for one tub, so I sorted them by warm (yellow) and cool (blue) greens. Everything else fit in my bins- I'll just need to get one to stash the hand-dyes that don't fit any particular category.

So here's my stash after sorting. . .

The bin in the lower left corner has my sequenced overdyes, something I learned from Katy Widger's book Color Wheel Fabric Dyeing. Small book, but tons of good information. And the sequenced overdyeing is fun to do. If you can't tell, I'm drawn to more unusual combinations, not something like red to violet!

And, finally, my tan/brown bin. For someone who doesn't normally wear this color, I sure have a lot of it in my stash. What to I need to add to my stash? More yellows, and more values in just about every color except green and blue. You can tell I really like the deep, rich colors, and am not so fond of pastels. But I know the pales can add a lot to a quilt when used right.

So maybe all this will get the creative juices flowing again- they have been markedly dry lately.

We did spend a nice evening Friday at the Salem Pond. DJ caught some little blue gills- here he is showing Shannon how to bait her hook. I grew up fishing with my father and brother, so when she said she'd never been fishing, I realized I have been significantly derelict as a parent. Never been FISHING!! How could I be so lax???

If you've noticed the change in my template, I'm trying to individualize my look. Like an idiot, I deleted the old template without printing it out first. So, now, I can't get the FFAC button to load. And, I'm not having any luck getting the banner I designed to load either. I'll keep trying- I've already learned more html than I ever figured I would, but it hasn't helped me yet!! So, if you blog, and decide you want to change stuff- do yourself a favor and PRINT out all the coding for your old template BEFORE you change it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Absolutely no quilty content. . .

but this week was Bentlee's sixth birthday, and Sunday was our family celebration for her. So, Blogger willing, here's loads of photos commemorating the occasion!!

Shannon and I were up early in the morning to make the cakes: two sheet cakes, one vanilla and one chocolate, and a couple dozen cupcakes for the kids. Shannon is not a morning person, but we got them going and done in record time. Here she is pouring the cupcake batter. . .

After waiting for everything to cool, Shannon decorated-- pretty pink for the pretty princesss!

Some of the family got together for lunch before the party. Hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, and of course, DJ's famous bean dip- yum! And, best of all, it's easy to make!!

Dad and Grandpa manned the grill- while Sadie tried to talk Jaden into a game of catch-- unsuccessfully.

Jaden could hardly get his mouth around his hamburger- but don't get in his way trying to help!

After lunch, we all headed over to the pavilion-- and the rest of the birthday celebrants showed up. Bentlee had fun opening all her presents- and there were LOTS!!
Bentlee got a lei in one of presents, and treated us to a demonstration of a hula. . .

After the presents, all the kids got a chance at the pinata. . .

and Hannah
and Jaden, who gave us lots of verbal enthusiasm, but not a dent in the pinata. . .
After candy, cake, and ice cream, the kids all headed off to cool off on the the slip and slide. . .

Even the big kids, here's Dad hitting the water!!

A good time was had by all. HAPPY SIXTH BIRTHDAY, BENTLEE!!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I've been in a bit of a creative slump lately- I've been having a hard time concentrating, and feel the weight of multiple deadlines looming. I've got two more Journal Quilts to finish, a journal-size entry for the Quilting Arts abstract contest, and postcards for FFAC. A rotten time to go ADD!!
I did finish two postcards. One is an attempt to use the strips I cut for my aborted abstract challenge quilt. I didn't even get beyond the strip piecing- I decided it would just be too busy, and not convey at all what I was hoping. So, here's the first attempt with the strips:
I also played with various values of green sheers- it was fun, and something I'll do again. Some parts of this work for me, some don't. But don't worry, I've got plenty of strips and sheers left!

I ended up cutting up the piecing I made in Judith Trager's workshop last month, and using the same theme I did with the first piece.

This one works a little better for me. I ended up thread painting the seahorse, after none of the paints I tried would show up to my satisfaction.

I actually didn't spend that much time in the studio this weekend. This morning, we took the grandson to Salem Pond so he could feed the ducks- which he did with great enthusiasm!!

We had a regular feeding frenzy going until the popcorn bag was empty. . .

I'd never been to the pond before, and had no idea it was as large as it is. I beautiful setting in which to spend a Sunday morning.

And now, to try to summon up the fortitude, discipline, and concentration to get all my projects with a deadline done. They're all small, so this should be doable---