Friday, April 30, 2010

^%#@/_$% Snow!!!

Can I just say I have had enough, I am sick of the white stuff??  This is what I stepped out to this morning when Shannon and I went to the gym--

It's cold, it's windy- after the gym, a perfect day to stay inside in the studio.  I managed to get two holsters made for a couple of massage therapists at Shannon's work.  Her's tore, and wasn't fixable, so I took it apart to use as a pattern and made her one with hand-dyed fabric.  She came home with three or four requests for more.  Once we got through the pricing issue (no, I am not willing to make and sell them for five bucks, sorry), I had orders.  So now they are done.

I'm waiting for the photo reveal tomorrow for Interpret This!, I'm thinking about how I want to be thoughtful with this one, try to move a little slower and more in the sketchbook.  We'll see how that works.  I'm in Salt Lake next Friday volunteering at the Home Machine Quilting Show.  Two hours volunteer work, and I get in free for the day.  On Saturday the 15th, I'm at a workshop for CEU's.  So I already know that my weekend time this month is limited.  And I know that June will be even worse.  Maybe I will just have to punch through the fatigue at the end of a ten hour workday and spend an hour or two at night during the week in the studio.  Or take a mental health day off work- I like that idea!

It has been a good week for the gym- I made every day except Wednesday.  I love it when my work schedule is free enough that I can do it during the afternoon instead of after work!  I've learned that the gym is pretty empty then.  I'm just trying to approach this as healthy, not weight loss- although that would be nice too.

I think I'll dredge up some energy and get some housework done so I don't have to worry about it tomorrow.  Hope your weekend is a creative one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shifting Sands

20" X 31", commercial and hand dyed cottons, hand dyed cheesecloth, beads

Here's my completed piece for the April Interpret This! challenge.  If you want to know more about my thoughts during design and execution, head over to the challenge blog for a look.  Look at the other pieces while you are at it- this group does amazing work.

I'm glad we get the next photo Saturday.  I'll feel lost over the weekend without a piece of art to work on!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April Reveals, and a Book Review

The reveals for April's Interpret This! challenge started Monday, and there is some amazing work posted already.  If you haven't already, head over to the blog and have a look.  Mine goes up tomorrow morning.

I've gone on a mini-book buying binge the last couple of weeks.  Now that I have a lot more dyeing experience under my belt, I decided  I wanted to look again at Adriene Buffington's book.  I found it cheap from a seller on Amazon, and got it Monday.  I'm also waiting impatiently for Linda Johansen's Fabric Dyer's Dictionary, along with Malka Dubrowsky's book on dyeing.

 I was in Barnes and Noble Sunday, and spotted Traci Bunkers' Print and Stamp Lab.  She has 52 ideas for stamps and stencils using items you have at home, or repurposed, inexpensive items.  She has some fabulous ideas, including how to make your own roller stamps!  If you like to print your own fabric, this book is a wonderful resource.  I can't wait to start playing with it.

Back tomorrow with my Interpret This! reveal!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Twelve by Twelve

I can now show the twelve by twelve piece I completed for the theme Green.  This is the one I actually did two iterations of, since I wasn't happy with the composition of the first.

I wanted to use a fabric I'd dyed, discharged, and screen printed with an image of the wind farm that is close to my home.  It started out as a 'butt ugly' fabric I took to the workshop with Rayna Gillman a year ago- and it became a raving beauty after that week!  I grabbed other hand dyes from my stash, and completed this--

I liked how the colors played together, but the piecing was just so- predictable.  And I wasn't entirely happy with the programmed stitch, it was a bit tighter than I'd envisioned.

So I looked at my stash again, and decided to add some printing to some fabrics.  I also eliminated some, and chose others.  Here's the second version-

I do miss how the dark green adds a nice border to the piece, but overall, I prefer this version.  I like the repetition of the windmill image, and the programmed stitch looks better stretched out.

I have my Interpret This! piece photographed and ready to post.  It feels good to have that one done as well!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Colors

I love this time of year.  It is balm for my eyes to see color after a long Utah winter where all you see is shades of brown and gray.

I made my annual trek to photograph Paul and Marjan's garden.  Paul was my boss years ago, and lives just a couple of miles down the road from me.  Marjan loves to garden, and it shows.

You can also tell it's spring in Utah when there's snow on the mountains, and green below the snow line.  We had more snow on Wednesday morning- thankfully, it was gone by afternoon.  But there's still plenty on the mountains.

I've been in the studio quite a bit.  My Interpret This! piece is done for all intents and purposes.  I'm just trying to decide on the edge finish.

This monthly challenge has been interesting.  I have ended up changing my design almost every month, and April was no exception.  It doesn't look anything like my initial ideas, and probably strays the furthest from the photo of any we've done thus far.  There's part of me that likes what I've done, and part that is not so sure.  I'm obviously at the point where I can no longer be objective about my own work- I'll be interested in the feedback I get.

I'm also struggling in the Elizabeth Barton online class I'm taking.  Part of it is just lack of time- but part of it has to do with her design system, which is radically different than how I've worked up to this point.  My friend Sidney plans to take the class in June- I may wait until then, and do the exercises again along with her.  I still think I can learn a lot from her, but I need to be in a place where I can slow down and just focus on the drawings and value exercises.

It's getting close to dinner time, we are having steaks and artichokes.  Yum- off to the kitchen!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Busy Week-

and now I'm wondering where the weekend went.  At least the allergy attacks have gone for now, I feel much better than I did last weekend.

Shannon and I joined a gym last week.  We'd been spinning two evenings a week through a community education program since late last summer.  Then in April they canceled the 7 pm class we'd been attending since a lot of people dropped out.  I knew I couldn't handle spinning at the 8 pm class- I'd be laying in bed awake for three hours trying to wind down.  So we joined the gym, which has a lot more options for just a little more money.  In addition to using the cardio machines, I'm hoping to find a stress relief kind of class I can do. I tried yoga last Thursday night, and it about kicked my butt.  A couple of times I honestly thought I was going to heave my dinner right up on the floor.  So I'm not so sure about that.  They have Pilates on Monday and Wednesday nights, I'm going to try that out this week.  Another nice thing- it is one block from my office, and I can spend half an hour exercising three days a week and count it as work.

I am trying to NOT approach this as a weight loss venture, but as a healthy choice.  If I lose some weight, great- but it's not my primary motivation.

I dyed a couple of shirts for Michelle, I will get those off in the mail tomorrow.  I got both the blanks from Dharma- I sure hope they fit her, she is growing like a weed!  Here they are--

Yeah, I bit the bullet and stirred the dyepots I had these in.  The parents are more conservative than me when it comes to Michelle's clothes.  The yellow one has ruffles, and I stamped the flowers across the front with Tsukineko inks.  The other one is a polo, specially for my son, who loves to golf.  I asked him what color he wanted one shirt, and he said Chicago Cubbie blue.  This is probably too light, but it's blue.  Then I took it to an embroidery place in town, and had them do this.  I love it!

Put a headband on her, she already has pierced ears- everyone will know it's daddy's darling daughter in the golf cart with him.

I got more done on my Interpret This! piece.  I've changed directions again, that seems to be par for the course for me.  I like how it looks, but I'm not getting the sense that it's a masterpiece or anything.

I've also been trying to work with some photos for the design class I'm doing online with Elizabeth Barton.  She has some good ideas, I just wonder if I've found the right photo to work with.  I started out with Marly's flower from Colombia.  I got some good drawings, but some just didn't work.  Then I found some pictures from the Moab car show last year, and played with them.

I thought this one would work great for one idea, but it didn't pan out at all.  So now I'm trying this one--

Couldn't resist the Oldies sign over the car!  I'm going to try different crop options and see if anything develops.

Finally, I had a nice surprise when I walked out onto our patio tonight- my daffodils are finally starting to bloom.  So I'll leave you with this bit of spring color- hope your week is a healthy and creative one!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The sneezing has lessened, which is a good thing.  I still feel drained from all this- don't think I've ever had allergies affect me so strongly.  Whatever I'm allergic to, I hope it goes away soon.

In between lazing on the couch, I did audition fabric for April's IT piece.  If I'm feeling any better tomorrow, maybe I can start some sewing.  I'm taking a page out of Nellie's book, we'll see how successful I am.  I have pieces of tulle in lots of different colors, and it was interesting seeing how the different colors affected the fabric underneath.

I also printed on a onesie I dyed for Michelle.  I won't show the whole thing until her parents get it- but here's a detail.  

I'll also be trying to develop more designs for my QU class with Elizabeth Barton this week- so I have plenty to keep me busy.  Hope your week is a good one!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My head

feels two sizes too large, my nose is alternately plugged or running like a fountain, and I am spending an inordinate amount of time sneezing- loudly, I might add.  I do not know what pollen count is off the charts, but it is making me miserable.  Can I find any allergy medication in this house?  I cannot, not a single stinking pill.

Before it got really bad this afternoon, I managed to get the cheesecloth, scrim, silk organza, and hemp cloth I dyed yesterday washed out.  And, I picked up my first lesson in Elizabeth Barton's design class at QU, and did some of the exercises.  I'm working with the picture Marly took of an anthurium on her last trip to Colombia.  I still want to make a quilt inspired by that photo.  And, speaking of Colombia- Sean and Marly are traveling there in May so her family can meet their son-in-law and their new granddaughter/niece/cousin/whatever.  I expect Sean to take lots of interesting photos for his mother.  Hopefully I will travel there myself with them in the next couple years.

I think I know where I am going with my Interpret This! piece.  I hope it is not trite or pedantic or predictable or any of those other adjectives.  It's what I keep coming back to, and my time is running out.  Lots of handwork with this one, which I actually will enjoy- at least if my thumbs don't give me a lot of grief.

More sneezing- signing off.  Here's hoping your weekend is allergy free--

Monday, April 05, 2010

Good Grief!!

We are officially sick of winter, but he doesn't seem to care.  We woke up to this Easter morning-

and now this is what I'm looking at out that same window.

The only good thing about spring snowstorms is the snow melts quickly.  We're supposed to be in the 60's by Friday- I sure hope the weatherman is right!

I have been doing some drawing for the April Interpret This! challenge.  I've set myself some challenges with this one- I will not trace off the photo, I will choose one design element and work with that.  I do have some ideas percolating, I just hope they aren't obvious, trite, or banal.  Being not literal does not come naturally to me when it comes to visual design!

Elizabeth Barton has a wonderful blog, mostly about design.  She really makes me think, and her recent post about working in a series resonated with me.  So I'm trying to take that approach with this photo.  Repeat after me- I do not need to tell the whole story in one piece.  I do not need to throw every technique I know or want to know into this piece.  It is ok to tell one part of the story.  I'm signed up for her Quilt University class which starts this Friday, I'm really looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I'm ignoring Old Man Winter who doesn't want to head for the southern hemisphere, and picking up my sketchbook.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Sneak Peek

I got two 12 X 12 pieces done today, which frees my mind up for the rest of the month for the photo challenge.  It was worth the time to quilt both pieces, I learned something from each.  Here's a detail of the first one I did--

This one is evidence that I've gotten much braver with color- a few years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of pairing the gold print with the turquoise.  Look at the stitching- I decided to try a programmed stitch on my Bernina, and I'm thinking I could use this again.  

Here's a detail from the second one I did today--

 Similar fabrics, although if you look at the green and blue, you can see what I was doing before I started sewing.  I screen printed the same image on the green, and discharged the dark blue fabric.  It's the same thread and stitch for the quilting, only on this piece I elongated it.  I think I like this version better.

I also used a satin stitch finish on both quilts- the same one Terry Grant wrote about in Quilting Arts a year or two ago.  It works really well, the best looking satin stitch edge I've ever done.  I will definitely use her method again.

The sneak peek is all I'll post of these until late in the month, when the others reveal theirs.  But it does feel good to have them done.

I hope your Easter is blessed.  We'll be celebrating double, the Easter holiday and Lance's big 30th birthday.
Two Challenges This Month,

so I started working on one yesterday.  I actually got it to the point of sandwiching when I decided it was just too boring and predictable.  I think I will go ahead and quilt it, since I can experiment with threads and maybe a programmed stitch.  But I've already been printing some of my handdyes this morning, since I decided one of the things that made the first piece boring was my use of plain handdyes.  We'll see.

We have our first 'outdoor' photo this month, one Nellie took in the Tetons.  I'm not in a panic like I was with March's photo- and don't know if that's a good thing or not.  Here it is--

I am still staring at it, and I think I will make a viewer to try to find an area that interests me.  I'm sure hoping I can make this one play to my strengths!

I'm going down to heat set the prints I made earlier- maybe some pictures tonight.  It is cold, gray, and cloudy outside, so playing in the studio sounds good.