Wednesday, April 04, 2007


One day after my cataract surgery, and I am both amazed and grateful to be living in a time where such technology exists. The surgery went off without a hitch, despite the fact that I wasn't nearly as sedated (read, loopy) as I'd hoped and expected. If they gave me a sedative, I didn't much feel it. I'm pretty good at focusing and holding still when I need to- and all those skills were put to use yesterday. I head every word spoken in the operating room, heard the music and was tapping my fingers to it part of the time, and got a very interesting light show during the surgery. I was working hard to remember the colors and images- figured there had to be a quilt in it!!

But the best part- my extremely nearsighted left eye now has better vision than my right! My brain is still trying to figure out how to "blend" the vision from the two eyes, but it is pretty evident even this early that I will be seeing much better. Until the vision stabilizes, I'll be wearing older glasses with the left lens popped out. Looks weird, but it works!!

Just to be sure, I'm taking the week off from work. My vision may be funky at this point, but I was still able to color and wet another three bird of paradise postcards. This has been a real exercise in problem-solving. I've worked on what background looks best, how to blend colors in the images, what order to wet the colors to get the effects I want. Once the postcards are done, I'll take all that learning and do a journal-quilt size piece for my daughter-in-law's birthday this summer. She loves flowers, and I think she will like this.

Anyway, here's what the images look like after I color the fabric with the watersoluble wax pastels. I'm using pima cotton, which has a high thread count and smooth surface.

I don't wet the image all at once- I do the flower first, let it dry, and then wet the background. This seems to give me more control over the image lines. They bleed some, but not a lot. Here's some with the flower wet, but dry background.

Here's some after I've wet the entire surface, but before I begin threadpainting on the flower.

And, finally, here are some completed cards. I much prefer the lighter background to the dark ones I did on my first three cards. I did hand-stitching on these; the last bunch will have machine quilting on the background, with monofilament thread. I also found I'm less happy with the background quilting that competes with the central image- hence my decision to use monofilament on the last group.

I always seem to gravitate to flowers when spring hits. I love the colors, especially after our drab Utah winters. Since the bird of paradise is a tropical flower, I'll only see it potted indoors- but it's lovely nonetheless. And, I know Marly will like the bright colors.

If you have a yen to try these wonderful crayons, they are available at Dick Blick online. And, to see the different effects you can get with them, Holly Knott did a wonderful article in the Summer 2005 issue of Quilting Arts magazine.

Comments and critiques welcome!


Anonymous said...

What GLORIOUS strelitzias! I love the way you've brought a close-up view of these for he postcards - lovely work. They're just blooming here, too, and I often think I'd like one in my garden, but the bushes get so darn big!

diva of quilts said...

Oooooh, they're delicious! I must get some of those crayons. I know what you mean about the flowers. They're all I can think about too.