Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lovely, Sunny, Southern Cal!!!

I am in Orange County, California visiting long time friends for a long weekend. We had a lovely lunch at Laguna Beach this afternoon, and we passed a bead shop that I just HAD to visit. Tomorrow I'm out with anothe friend who also happens to be a quilter, and we're going to an exhibit of Rose Hughes' work, visiting another fiber artist's studio, and a shop that is geared to art quilters. It should be a lovely full day!

Don't think I will have any photos to post until I get home Monday evening. But I am SO enjoying the warm weather, especially after flying out of Salt Lake in a snow storm. Sun, wonderful sun!

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's a Wrap

Dare I say it- it's done?? I honestly can't remember how long ago I started this quilt, but it's probably close to two years. And I am glad to have it done, just in time to enter it in the only quilt show we have in Salt Lake. I decided it was more appropriate for that venue than the gallery show our surface design group is doing in May.

This quilt presented both technical and design challenges- the technical I think I resolved successfully, the design challenges were more of a struggle. I think I've met some of them, but I can also see where I would make changes if I were starting over. I have one more batch of these Easy Pieces blocks in purples- maybe a spring themed quilt? (Not for awhile, I have several other projects on the back burner!)

Anyway, if you've read this far, what do you think? What would you do the same, and what differently? I'd love to know, and if you feel more comfortable, leave your comment anonymously.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Pile of Leaves

No, I'm not doing yardwork (heaven forbid), I am sewing on the piles of leaves I made Thursday and Friday. I have no more hand-dye that I could use for these leaves, every square inch of my golden yellow / gray run is gone. And all the medium values of my rust / green dye runs are gone too. All that's left is the very dark and the very light, neither one of which would make good leaves.

Here's a detail of the bottom left of the quilt.

There is now a pile of leaves under the tree, and I have to admit adding that visual weight opposite the tree helped. Right now most of the leaves are just pinned down- sewing them is going to be an exercise in managing the weight of the quilt, and making sure to sew them from bottom to top. Not to mention, avoiding the pins. Not quick work!

I'm about halfway through the pile, and taking a break to blog and eat dinner. If all goes according to plan, I'll get the bottom finished tonight, and do the top and center tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Last Wednesday, Shannon officially graduated from her year long massage therapy program. All that hard work has paid off!!

We had to wait awhile for the ceremony- we got there early to get good seats. Here she is waiting, with others from her class.

Walking to get her diploma--

And receiving it--

Can you tell I'm proud of her??

She's worked and studied hard, now she has to study more to take her national boards. Hopefully once that is done, she'll find a job using her new skills. In the meantime, I enjoy having a great stress-reliever right in my own home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day of the Dogs

While I had fun dyeing this weekend, I managed to produce more than one dog- or, more for the crap quota. I managed to dye a tee shirt for me the most ghastly shade of grayed green and yellow- when I put it on, I looked like a ghost with the flu. So it went in a navy blue dyepot early this morning. Now I have a summer tee that is very dark blue and dark green. I'm still debating hitting it with the bleach- nothing to lose at this point!

The red / golden yellow scarf in yesterday's picture? I used one of my thermofax screens and discharged it. I think I like it better now. And I added some gold Shimmer paint to the green scarf. The blue one is ok, I'm just deciding what I'll do to it next.

And I have been working on leaves- lots of them. Here's today's pile. The rusty orange fabric in back is the next to be made into leaves. I think I'm entering this into HMQS, so I only have another week to get this done and the entry sent off.

I think I am getting frustrated with the scarf dyeing. I've seen others, on Etsy and other blogs and websites, that have effects that are eluding me. I don't know if it's because I'm using MX dyes instead of acid dyes, or what. I certainly can't justify investing in more supplies- no room, not the budget- so I'm trying to figure out what I can to well with the MX dyes. Not dye painting, that has never been my strong point, either on silk or cotton. Maybe I need to break out the soy wax again, it has been awhile. And maybe I just need to slow down and take the time to develop a design to paint rather than just jumping in with both feet, willy-nilly. All stuff to think about. Once again, I am learning that my impatience is my own worst enemy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tie Dye!!

I spent most of yesterday dyeing. Shannon asked me to tie dye some shirts for the family in Switzerland she will be visiting and nannying for in May. I did single color spirals for the parents, and two color spirals for the young boys. They look great- hopefully it stays that way through the washout! The first one, a green spiral, is in its second wash now. The others are waiting their turn at the machine.

I also did a few silk scarves, tried out a new muslin I found at JoAnn's, and just for fun, tried dyeing some white on white fabric I had laying around. Lance also asked me to dye a couple of work shirts green, so he and another staff can wear them on St. Patrick's day. I had no idea how well these would work- the shirts are 55% cotton and 45% polyester, and they were light tan, not white. I knew they would come out lighter than my dye baths, due to the polyester. The first one got done last night, and the second is now in the wash. They are definitely green!

These are four of the five silk scarves I've done. I'm happy with the green and blue, although I may go into the green with some Shimmer paint and leaf stencils. The two red ones, not so sure. I like the patterning on the red and white one, although it is busy. I may try discharging the other red one and see what happens. I'm glad these scarves are so cheap, I don't feel as bad when I create a dog. Or when I learn that it is possible to melt silk if you nuke it too long!

I will be back to making leaves, maybe this afternoon. I've got three small pieces of rust fabric that will work, and am still trying to tone the orange fabric I found. Maybe I'll have pictures tomorrow. I'm heading back to the washing machine, and trying to clean up some of the mess in the studio.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Patience (is a virtue I don't always possess)

After a conversation with my brother last night, and reading Nellie's comment, I have to agree with them- it's not done yet. By the time it is, however, I believe I will be an expert in making leaves.

I combed through my stash, and I don't have any fabric that is quite the right color. So I took a couple of orangey fat quarters I dyed previously, and decided to try overdyeing with some turquoise I've had sitting around for a couple of months. What the heck, if the dye doesn't take I can just do it again.

What I thought was mostly orange, the turquoise decided was more yellow. I now have one piece that is bright green and rusty orange, and another that came out still too orange. I don't think the first piece is usable at all, but the second could be- with another overdye bath with a little stronger color. It's downstairs batching now.

And, I searched harder, and did find a nice piece of rust colored hand dye- so that should be enough to make another collection of leaves. I will do some rearranging of the ones I pinned up yesterday. I want the green-tinged leaves on top, and the rusty ones on the bottom. I may even put some more of the green-tinged leaves up on the tree.

As for where I show it, I'm still up in the air about that one. But, now I know that the AQS show this year is in Knoxville, not Nashville. I still have some time to decide that one.

So, til I post again- you know I'm hard at work on more leaves!!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Three Years

Yes, it is my three year blogiversary, or whatever the correct word is. I had not a clue when I started where this would lead, or if it would stick- but it's hard to imagine life without blogging now. I've gotten to "know" some wonderful artists out there thanks to blogging, and gotten feedback on the work I've posted. So, it would appear that y'all are stuck with me, since I've no intention of stopping now!

I've spent this afternoon making more leaves, from a different hand dye that has more color variations. I took it to WAQ yesterday, and Suzanne thought it would benefit from more orange. It got that, and then some. The first layer of leaves has been sewn on, and I've got the second layer pinned. I think I'm going to move some from directly under the tree, to more off to the left on the bottom. What do you think? Do I need more leaves, or can I call it done? I'll leave it up onthe design wall and keep looking.

And, I'm questioning where it should be shown. To me, it reads more as quilt than art- so maybe the gallery show isn't the best place for it. We have HMQS in May in Salt Lake, or I could maybe enter it into the Nashville AQS show. Again, I'm undecided.

I am ready to be done with this one. It has taken such a long time , and my style has moved away from blocks since then. I've about decided to gift the last set of blocks I have in this pattern!

My brain is already thinking about the challenge with WAQ. I've been trying to figure out how I want to interpret 'passages'- even reading some poetry, hoping something will grab me. The lyrics for the Al Stewart song 'Time Passages' keeps coming to mind.

That's it for now, dinner is about ready. Hope your weekend is a good one!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Amazingly enought, I have spent time the last three nights in the studio- after ten hour workdays. I am hard at work, making leaves so I can start sewing them on the quilt. Here's my progress so far--

Initially, I thought I would fuse the bottom layer of leaves to the quilt, then just sew the topmost layer. So, I made my first batch with fabric that was fused to Wonder Under. When I started playing with them on the quilt, it became obvious that the dimension I'm after would be lost if I fused the leaves. So I needed to revise my plans, and here's the process I've come up with.

I made scans of actual leaves a few years ago. I played with the image- made it smaller, and distored some of them. Then I printed it on my laser printer.

Then I cut out the leaf section, leaving a stencil. (Look close, that's my rotary mat under the paper.)

Then I trace the leaf image onto freezer paper, getting as many on as possible on the sheet..

I then cut out the leaves, and iron then onto double-sided fabric- two pieces that have been fused together.

That's as far as I got tonight, one leaf. It takes A LOT of time to cut out all those leaves! Tomorrow I'll finish cutting them out, iron them on the fabric, and start stitching around the freezer paper. The leaf edges will be raw, but I wanted some edge stitching to prevent most raveling. And, I'm adding stitching where veins would be. Not a lot, but it does add to the effect. I'll stitch over one of those lines when I sew them onto the quilt.

Hopefully, I'll get some sewn on Friday morning. My WAQ group is meeting Friday afternoon, and I'd like to get their reaction.

And, after several days of lovely, early spring weather, it looks like winter is making another visit. We're supposed to be stormy Friday, then a large storm should roll in Sunday night and Monday, leaving us snow once again. Let's just hope it disappears as fast as the last dusting did!