Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Florida . . . (and a wee bit of quilty content)

I've been home a month, and I still have not posted all my doings while I was there. So, here's a catchup. .

Sean had mentioned to me before I arrived that he'd appreciate some help redoing the garden planter than is in their front yard, under the dining room window. It was a big raggedy- we ended up tearing out everything except three bushes that were close to the house, and had lovely yellow blooms. Unfortunately, I neglected to take any "before" pictures!

And gardening in Florida - at least in the summer- is hot, sweaty work. I figured out very quickly that this is something one does early in the day, before the humidity gets overpowering.

Marly and I went to a neat nursery close to their home. Loads of fascinating plants, most of which were new to me, since they'd never survive in the high desert I live in. And the flowers on most plants are BIG!! We were trying to find mostly perennials, but ended up with a mix. After planting what we'd bought, I realized that it needed even more, the bed is actually quite large. So, on Monday I got up and returned to the nursery alone- I think I was there shortly after they opened at 8 am. I asked more questions, and got another truckload of plants. I really was trying for contrast in color, texture, and height- with, hopefully, minimal upkeep.

I got them in the same day, and was very pleased with the results.

This is what it looked like just before Sean put red mulch over the entire bed. When they say red mulch, they mean it- it is the reddest bark I've ever seen!

And here it is in all it's glory, after mulching--

Our timing was just right, that night we had the first big rainstorm since my arrival. So the plants got a good soaking shortly after being transplanted.

Clouds was something that fascinated me while I was there. It could be sunny in one part, and pouring rain in another part of town, with menacing black clouds. I took a bunch of pictures while we were traveling, and actually got some decent ones despite the freeway speeds!

More later. I've got some of my discharged pieces from a couple of weeks ago batching in a brown dyepot after I re-discharged with a stencil. It's a different brown than I used before, so this will be interesting. I hope it tones the orangey cast down. And, I decided to do the last part of my journal quilt differently than I did my study piece. Already auditioned some fabric for it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Parades, quilts, and art show. . .

Well, I never got around to posting about the holiday doings last weekend, so here it is, a week late. We got up in time to get a decent seat for the parade. It was nice out, thanks to a cloud cover that vanished as soon as the parade started. We eventually had to move to a shady spot, but still had a decent view.

The parade started with Civil War soldiers, who scared us all when they fired their muzzle loaders.

There were the usual horses- these draft breeds are huge!!

And high school bands, but this one was by far my favorite.

I wonder how many high schools across the country have their own bagpipe band? There were actually three pipe bands in the parade, but I figure two pictures is plenty.

And the "boys with their toys" that are so common in rural areas. . .

Betcha didn't know that Cinderella's coach was really an onion, not a pumpkin!!

There were baseball teams galore, and other assorted characters- but enough of the parade. There was also an art show in the park, with people's choice awards for the best kid, teen, and adult artist. One fiber artist entered three pieces, of course I voted for her. Here's the tent, photoshopped so you can see the inside--

There does seem to be an interest in the arts here, which is nice.

And, finally, the quilt show. It's traditional quilts, hung outdoors at a historic house on Main St. by a local guild.

And that was enough holiday celebration for me- I left the carnival to Bentlee and DJ.

I tried working on my Journal Quilt last weekend, but had to give up because my Juki kept acting up. It spent several days in the shop,and came back working great. I got all the quilting done yesterday! So, only the last element, and then the binding to do. I can't believe I got it done this early.

Hopefully, more quilty and Florida posts later this weekend. No, I still have not posted all my stuff from Florida!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dyepot Results. . .

were a mixed bag. I did three different blues: Sacrecron Blue, Pro Chem Teal Blue, and Pro Chem Indigo. These came out great! The first picture is the Sabrecron Blue and Teal Blue, the second is Indigo.

The reds, not so successful. I did value runs in Claret (left) and Burgundy (right).

I think I have here proof positive that Procion MX dyes have a shelf life. I have no idea exactly how old these dyes are, but I knew they were old. The Claret washed out so much, I couldn't believe it. And, in the 4 colors/one pot samples, the Claret didn't have much impact either. So, I'm chucking the rest of that dye.

These are the two 4 color/one pot pieces. In one I did four different reds: claret, raspberry, burgundy, and Cibracron Red. Once again, the Claret had the least effect on the fabric. The other side is red-blue-red-blue, using Indigo on the bottom, Claret, then Sabrecron Blue, and finally Cibracron Red. Interesting, but not spectacular.

Just goes to show that dyeing is art as much as science, and you never quite know what you are going to get. Some of these may get overdyed- maybe I could come up with some spectacular browns? Or get them more purple? I never seem to tire of this process, however, even when I don't get what I thought I would.

I had the brilliant idea to dye cheesecloth along with the fat quarters- I just stuck small cuts in the dyepots. I obviously wasn't thinking, because when I pulled the fabric out of the washer, this was what I had for my cheesecloth!

Well, I learned you just don't dye small cuts of cheesecloth, and expect it to survive the washer. So next time I will do much bigger lengths, and segregate the cheesecloth in it own mesh bag.

I also overdyed some of the pieces Bentlee and I discharged last weekend, with a rust brown. Some were definitely improved- and next will be discharged again, with another pattern.

I'd also hoped to get some quilting done on my journal quilt, but my Juki decided to get sick and is now in the shop. So, no quilting until next weekend- I won't fight the tiny space under the harp of my Bernina. And, tomorrow we have plans with Bentlee anyway.

If it's hot (and it is!!), I must be dyeing!!

I didn't get to the dyepots until Sunday, but I now have almost 30 batching. A friend gave me her collection of dyes when she decided she couldn't do it anymore. They are old, some probably at least 10 years old, but I figured it was worth a try. She had lots of mixed colors, which I do not normally buy, and they were mostly from Pro-Chem, so I got some colors I can't get at Dharma. It was a chance to try them out with minimal expense on my part.

Here's a part of what I left batching last night. Even though it has been warm, I wanted these babies baking, so I left my heat lamp on them. And, there are 18 more pots batching in the garage, where I know it stayed hot overnight.

Saturday night we participated in a western American ritual- we went to the rodeo, which is part of the Pioneer Day celebration in Utah. For those who don't know, Pioneer Day is a holiday that celebrates the Mormon Pioneers arrival in the Salt Lake valley. For those of us who are not part of the predominant culture/faith, it's a nice second holiday in July.

I had fun playing with my camera- it was dark for most of the rodeo, and I had to use action settings, which are slower shutter speeds. So there is lots of noise in most of them. But, I got a few I thought were worth saving!

Here you are, Shannon, since you won't be seeing anything like this until you come home!!

The steer wrestling--

And the calf roping--

I think this is saddle bronc riding, although the rider is walking away. Can't remember who won this one, the horse or the rider--

The trailer race--

And, the one that everyone waits for, the bull riding. I wish I could capture the action better, but it is just beyond my camera, especially in the dark.

So there you have it, the start of How I Spent My Long Holiday Weekend. I'll be washing out the dyepots today, and Bentlee and I will be doing more discharge with dishwasher gel. And, I overdyed some of the pieces we discharged last weekend, so we'll see how those turn out!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!


Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

Cool, now I know what house at Hogwart's I'd be in!!

More playing going on this weekend, more posts later---

Monday, July 16, 2007

More from this weekend. . .

Not only was I discharging this weekend, I experimented with some fabric paints and tissue paper. I read about this in Quilting Arts, the Summer 2006 issue. It stayed in my mind all this time, so when I was checking out the new Hobby Lobby in Salt Lake and saw bleeding tissue paper, I grabbed it.

The idea is to paint the fabric with Pebeo Setacolors, then put torn strips of tissue paper on top of the paint while it is still wet. Then you leave it out in the sun to dry, and voila! Tissue sunprints.

I did six pieces- here five are, baking on my front lawn.

I have several pieces of foam insulation that I use for a painting surface. I covered each one with plastic, then used thumbtacks for silk painting to anchor the plastic and then the fabric to the insulation. A word of caution, make sure you are using the blank side of the insulation, not the side with words printed on it. Trust me, you won't like the results if you don't---

It was 100 degrees, almost no humidity- so my panels dried quickly. Here's what one looks like dry, but with the tissue paper still on-

I was fairly conservative with most of the pieces I did, putting a similar color of tissue paper on paint. On this last one, however, I purposely put different color tissue paper on paint. Both results were interesting- one for the texture you can get, one for the color overlays along with texture.

Here's my favorite- on this one, I used squares of tissue paper instead of strips. The colors certainly reflect the heat wave we've been having!!

It has such spectacular texture, I decided to leave the tissue paper on and just add stitching- at some point, anyway!! Here's a closeup to give you an idea of the texture--

Here's the others-
First, a lighter, more pastel piece- I think I sprayed more water on this one.

Another one with hot colors--

Somehow, I'm going to turn this onto an abstract landscape--

And, the last two-- more cool colors.

If you'd like to try this, all the directions are in the Summer 2006 Quilting Arts issue. I'll be adding more elements to these pieces, but I like the effects I've gotten for a first layer!! Be warned- sometimes the tissue paper can be a pain to remove. I had the easiest time when I sprayed the paper with water after I'd patted it on top of the paint. The only way I got the paper off the first piece was by scraping away with a small knife. Or, you may decide like I did with one to just leave the paper in place. Your choice.

And, I also started the quilting on my practice journal quilt. I've tested some techniques and elements on this piece, before deciding how I will do my full size journal quilt. It has been helpful process for me, since I usually jump in with both feet- and sometimes get good results, sometimes not. Anyway, here's a closeup of the practice piece--

It felt good to just play most of the weekend. And, in Utah we have a second holiday in July, the 24th! So, next weekend will be a five day-er for me. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going--

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back in the groove!!!

I can't believe how much I got done this weekend!! I think I've been hesitating to get too involved in studio projects, for fear of having a huge mess if someone came to look at the house. Well, the house has been on the market for four months, the lookers have been few and far between, and not a single offer. It seems the real estate slump the rest of the country has been experiencing has hit Utah, and conversations with others in the real estate field confirm that. So I'm no longer planning on moving any time soon- and I'm going to enjoy my studio space while we are here.

I overdyed a piece of raw silk for the third time- I think this is it, I just need to figure out what tunic/vest pattern I'm going to use on it. I painted fabric, doing something that I saw in Quilting Arts a year ago. And, I discharged the two yards of different black fabric I had laying around. It felt good!! Oh, and I also quilted the practice piece for my journal quilt, and started quilting on the actual journal quilt.

So I have tons of pictures, too many for one post. So I'll start with the discharging experiments. I've done some discharging, and had minimal success. If I wanted a crisp pattern, expecially using a stamp or stencil, I had no luck with bleach. No matter what, I got drips and a very sloppy design. Then Liz Berg blogged about her discharge method in January, and I had to try it. No more bleach, but dishwasher detergent with bleach!! It's thick, the fumes are not overpowering, and I figured time wouldn't be quite the crunch it is with bleach, since the concentration is so much lower.

It worked fabulously. Granddaughter Bentlee and I had a ball trying different ways to discharge!! Here's our first attempt, using stamps:

And our second, just some freehand circles with a brush. Bentlee added some additional touches--

These were both done on cotton sateen, and discharged to a nice taupy brown- not quite as orange as the pictures look.

The next ones were done with more stamps, on a different fabric- sort of lighter weight Kona-

I used a stamp I carved awhile back on the second one- I'd actually tried discharging with it months ago, with absolutely no success. With the gel, it worked famously.

This morning, Bentlee wanted to try more. So I got out the last of the fabric, and re-read Liz Berg's posts about the discharging. She does monoprints this way, so I pulled out the plexiglass sheet I bought months ago to try monoprinting. I put the gel on the plate with a foam roller, and showed Bentlee how to make marks with some tools I had. This was the result of that experiment, mostly done by Bentlee--

I will definitely be trying more monoprinting, both with the dishwasher gel and with paints. I did another one with the same fabric, using a styrofoam test tube holder for a stamp. This one is my favorite--

On the last piece of fabric, we rolled the gel on with a rubbing plate underneath. I got two sets of plates with my Shiva Paintstiks at Spring Market, and now I have another use for them--

For the last one, I used a leaf stencil I had in my collection. We just taped it on the fabric, and move the orientation each time we stenciled. We used the foam roller to apply the gel on this one too. I think this one will make a great practice piece for quilting, and maybe a piece I'll finish and hang. These last two didn't have as much orange in them after discharging.

Bentlee said that Grandma's is a fun place to come when we can do stuff like this! I think I agree, and I have further plans for several of these pieces.

Next post, the tissue paper sunprinting---

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More Florida musings. . .

My second day there, Marly and I went to Venice to see a quilt exhibit I'd been told about. Venice is a cool beach town, about midway between Sarasota and Fort Myers. They have a lovely art center--

There were actually two exhibits, one by a local art quilt group that had some interesting pieces. The other was "Metrotextural", pieces done by a New York group that includes Paula Nadelstern. I loved her take on the Brooklyn Bridge. No pictures, but if the exhibit comes your way, be sure to see it.

After the quilts, we walked in the old part of town. Here's a bit of history on Venice, with Marly included!

We window shopped, looked in some of the interesting stores, and had lunch at an old-fashioned soda fountain- something Marly hadn't seen before. And then I found out that Sean hasn't taken her to the beach since she moved here!! What, you live right on the Florida coast and you don't take your new wife to the beach??? So, we drove the short distance to the beach. She sat and enjoyed the view, I couldn't resist getting at least my feet wet.

For someone who grew up on the California beaches, this was heaven. The beach was not crowded, and the water was 85 degrees. The only thing they don't have is waves.
What's not to enjoy about this???

There's plenty more, but later- I smell dinner calling.