Sunday, September 24, 2006

I finished up two more postcards for Virginia Spiegel's Fiberart for a Cause this weekend! I haven't done the quantity that some others have managed, but happy that I can contribute something. My Journal Quilts have kept me busy, but they are now safely in the hands of the International Quilt Festival staff in Houston.

Here's the two I completed: First, Tropical Heatwave II. This time I remembered to put the beads on before I backed it!

And the second: Moonlight Gingkoes.

Both of these used pieced fabric I constructed in Judith Trager's workshop this summer. I stared at it on my design wall for a couple of months, and then decided that I couldn't imagine what I would make with it- so I cut it up for postcards. I think it was a good decision, I've been happy with the ones I've made with it.

I owe thanks to some quilters who have posted on the QA list about satin stitching around postcards- I think Gerrie Congdon was one, I honestly can't remember the rest. I've always done just one pass with the satin stitch edge- sometimes it looked good, sometimes just ok. This time I did a multiple zigzag first, then a less dense satin stitch, and finally a dense satin stitch. I think it looks better. I also learned to do the sides separately on the last pass, not try to turn the corner. That way you can use the thread ends to tug on when you are getting started on the next side. That too worked better than what I'd been doing previously.

On a not quilty note, Sadie and I took a very long hike yesterday- from Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon, all the way down to the mouth of the canyon at Borders. I figure it was about a four and a half mile hike. We had to share the path with lots of bikers, runners, and roller bladers, but it was fun. Just next time I won't go on a Saturday afternoon. It was perfect for walking- sunny, but not hot. The mountains still have snow on them from last week's storms, and had a lovely mistly cloud cover when we started.

I can't stop noticing weeds, after basing most of my Journal Quilts on them. I've never seen these before, wonderfully "hairy" weeds!

I think these are rose hips, the leaves look like the wild roses we see around water here.

This part of the Provo River Trail isn't as scenic as the upper part I did last time. The noise from traffic on the highway up to Heber is fairly loud, and you don't have that feeling of being away from it all in the woods. And, this is what you see as you come out of the canyon:

I'm sure if I looked at this as lines and shapes, I might get an interesting abstract design out of it. But, I much prefer the lines and shapes I see away from urban landscapes!!

It was a nice walk, though- I figure I got in 10,000 steps, and then some. Sadie was definitely pooped and ready to get in the car when we got to Borders! And the drive home took about as long as the walk- the BYU football game ended while we were walking, so traffic was a nightmare.

I've found a drawing in my sketchbook that I'm going to try using for my luminosity "assignment". Next step is to scan it into the computer, so I can play with it on EQ5. If I get anything interesting, I'll post them. Now to get ready for the work week. . .

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It hasn't turned out to be as gloomy and stormy a weekend as the weatherman had predicted- it has been cool, but sunny today- perfect walking weather.

But, I had promised to post the results of my most recent dyeing foray. I did another group of sequenced overdyes, but instead of using one of Katy Widger's color recipes, I did my own. I am still fascinated with what happens when you overdye complements. so I went with a yellow to violet group. First I dyed my fabric in five values of yellow- I used Dharma's Bright Yellow, which is a switch for me since I normally prefer to use single-shade colors, and this yellow is a mixed dye. But, what the heck. Here are the pots ready to go into the washer after the first dye run.

I have the groups of six fat quarters each in mesh laundry bags, ready to wash. This was another epipany I had with this dyeing session. Katy's instructions tell you to mark each piece with a code to tell you which it is. That never worked for me, because the dark values always made it impossible to read the markings anyway. So I have tried putting each group together with safety pins, but always had tons of loose threads to cut and untangle by the time they were washed twice and in the dryer. This time I tried the bags, $1.32 each at Wallyworld. It was worth every penny, I had minimal untangling to do.

Next, you re-sort the groupings, and run them through a violet dyebath in five values. I used Fuschia Red and Sky Blue from Dharma. And, I changed one other thing with this dyeing session: instead of using the low-water mottled way, I did it in buckets, as one would dye a solid color. However, I didn't spend hours stirring the dyepots- I put in the fabric, gave it a few stirs, and let it sit from there. I found I got patterning, but generally more subtle, especially in the lighter values.

Anyway, here's the pure shades of yellow and violet-

And, here are the other 25 fat quarters in various tones of yellow and violet-

I also did my first dyeing from Ann Johnston's "Color by Accident" book. I did three pieces, in a "color parfait." First you put one piece in a smallish container, and pour in a gold color dye, then a soda solution. Let it sit for a few minutes, then put in another piece of fabric, pour in a red-violet dye and soda solution, let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, put in the third piece of fabric, add some blue-violet dye and soda solution, and let the whole melange sit overnight. When I had finished washing and drying my fabric, this is what I had, from bottom of the container to the top:

The colors and textures are marvelous, I especially like how the gold and red-violet blend in places. I liked this so much that I tried dyeing a tee shirt the same way. It's a bit harder to manage this with one pice of fabric rather than three, but it came out ok- check out my new picture at the top of the blog!

I had a couple of nice comments from Karoda and Diane with suggestions on how to keep the creative juices flowing with the end of the Journal Quilt Project. I won't be totally bereft of inspiration: I'm part of a new group of about twenty art quilters, who met for the first time in August in Salt Lake. It looks like it will be a fun group, with some very talented people. In fact, our first "assignment" was what made me decide to dye this particular batch of fabric. We are to make a journal-size quilt to show the illusion of luminosity. I have the fabric, I'll be using the computer to develop my design. So, there is September's project. And it's not like I don't have a bunch of UFO's waiting to be finished!

We don't get much in the way of national-level teachers here in Utah. The Utah Surface Design Group, of which I'm a member, did bring in Judith Trager for a three day workshop in late June- I posted about that. The state quilting guild brings in national teachers for the annual meeting every fall- but they tend to be much more traditional than I am. I'm not even going this fall. Unless you have the budget for travel, there aren't a lot of options. And, my budget is limited.

I've rambled on long enough. I'll post my luminosity design when I have something interesting.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Well, I think summer is officially over here. We've had 3 storms roll in this week, leaving us plenty of rain (for Utah, anyway). And, yesterday it was cool enough that I put shoes on my feet for the first time since May. We'll probably get a few more sandal days, but no more just grabbing for one of my many pairs without worrying about it. If you haven't yet figured it out, I'd much rather wear sandals than shoes- old lady feet and all.

In between storms, Sadie and I managed to get a nice hike in yesterday. We drove up Provo Canyon to Bridal Veil Falls, where I thought the Provo River trail ended. The falls are a beautiful landmark not too far up the canyon.

I found out I was wrong, the trail extends all the way up to Vivian Park- but it made for a beautiful walk. As we started out, the trees cover the trail. It was cloudy most of the day, so that added to the gloom. It really reminded me of places I've been in the Pacific Northwest.

The mountains are displaying all sorts of fall colors, but trees at lower elevations are just starting to change. I could get glimpses of the mountain through the trees as we walked--

Farther along, the trail follows the Provo River, which is a top-notch fly fishing river. We saw some ducks, and I was fascinated by the display of colors under some crystal clear water that looks more like a pond than a river.

All of those colors in the foreground are underwater lichens, or moss, or some underwater plants- only the twiggy thing sticking up is above water!

And here's the reward, the view from Vivian Park--

The day got a lot grayer and wetter after Sadie and I got home- this was the view that greeted me from our back patio this morning.

Yes, that is snow half way up the mountain. Mount Timpanogos, which we can usually see from this vantage point, is totally covered with clouds. I'm sure there will be even more snow on it. And I am definitely not ready for it!!

I'm also dyeing again this weekend, but will save the posts for when it is all done. My Journal Quilts are safely on their way to Houston- soon enough that I could ship them ground, hooray! Time to clean up the studio and figure out what projects need to be finished!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

I feel like I have been negligent, not posting for over a week. And, I have been busy- I finished my last Journal Quilt this weekend, and am now in the process of sewing on the labels and selecting the five to sew onto the sleeve. So, no photos to post of all my work. But, I promise to post pictures of all nine of my Journal Quilts after the Houston show starts.

It will be interesting to get back my 2005 JQ and compare them with this year's. I think my work this year has been more coherent, more focused, and just plain better. I was less concerned about trying every new technique out there, and more concerned about making a strong statement.

And, I'm beginning to wonder what I'll do to fill the void left by the lack of a Journal Quilt Project. It truly has helped me focus and refine my art. I know I have a long way to go, but I'm on the right path. I don't want to lose that focus the the Project has helped give me. Any bright ideas out there?

I do have one "art event" to look forward to this week: Wendy Huhn is giving a lecture on her quilts at the Salt Lake Art Center Wednesday night. I think that's worth a couple of gallons of gas!!