Monday, May 31, 2010


Shannon and I had a wonderful time in Moab, visiting my friend Phyllis and just enjoying the sun and warmth.  The weather was perfect- sunny but not too hot, and just enough of a breeze to feel good.  DJ missed all this- he's been fighting off a sinus infection, and just didn't feel good enough to come.

You could tell it has been a wet spring here- there were wildflowers and green in the desert on the drive down in places that are usually bone dry.  It made it very easy to just relax and not rush while we drove, let the other holiday maniacs pass and leave us behind.

Saturday morning we went to the art festival.  It was nice, we had fun walking around the different vendors- but I did not take any pictures.  There was the same lady with tie dye clothes from last year (she needs to learn about values, everything she makes is intense or dark colors), and another pair who did some nice discharge on black clothing from Dharma.  There was lots of jewelry, none of which jumped into my hands, and a few painters.  I ended up buying a picture from a young lady who does layered photography that was quite cool, and another photograph from a glass artist who has macro photos of his process.  That's it.

Sunday we drove out to Red Cliffs Lodge, fifteen miles off the highway next to the Colorado River.  The drive is spectacular, and the ranch is spectacular too.  We had their barbecue lunch, the walked around some.  They also have a winery, so we sampled a fews and each came home with a bottle.

We had lunch just to the right of the teepees- this picture is taken from the deck of the lodge restaurant, which has fantastic food to go with this view.

This is the wine tasting building, with vines next to it.  That building is new since we were last here two years ago; they used to have the wine tasting in the lodge.

After the wine, we walked down to the river and watched some people take off in kayaks or inflatable rafts.

Can you think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon?  Although I wouldn't have wanted to end up in the water, it was cold.

I couldn't resist getting a picture of this cactus in bloom next to the lodge.

Even something as dangerous looking as this cactus can have beautiful flowers!  And how about this globe mallow- they were growing all along the side of the road.

Just a wonderful, relaxing two days.  Today, I've been trying to get started on a sewing project, and get the last bit of laundry done.  The insanity that my June schedule is begins tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My May Interpret This! Piece

was posted this morning, so now I can show it here--

'In the Pink'- 18" X 17.5"
Wholecloth, painted with Setacolor transparent paints and bleeding tissue paper, fusible applique

I really had fun with this one.  I've used the tissue paper before, and enjoyed the results.  I was hoping that the tissue paper would stick to the fabric so I could just quilt through it, but no such luck- it started peeling off while it was drying outside.

A couple of detail shots so you can see the neat effects the tissue paper gives-

I had fun with this one, the colors make me happy, and I succeeded in getting the sense of movement with the quilting lines.  And I love the fact that I finally did an abstraction that definitely references the photo without being literal- without strip piecing!

Now go take a look at the Interpret This! blog and look at the others that have been posted.  The reveals go on all this week- it's always such fun to see how different the finished works are.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekend Musings

Well, the garage sale went off less spectacularly than in past years, largely due to our decidedly un-springlike weather.  I woke at 5:30 am to the sound of rain- and it didn't let up much until 10 am or so.  We'd already planned ahead to set up in the garage instead of the driveway, so that's what I did. It was COLD- I brought a little space heater into the garage to keep from freezing, and had a coat on until afternoon. I think lots of folks in the neighborhood just didn't bother because of the weather.

I still had earlybirds at 7:15 am, though.  And, I was happy that I sold almost all my 'big ticket' items- a desktop computer, a couple pieces of exercise equipment- in addition to a lot of smaller items.  I had my Electric Quilt 5 software program and books out- they didn't sell, but I listed them on KSL classifieds, and heard from a buyer this morning.  We're meeting tomorrow to close the deal.

The HOA board may decide to have another one later this summer since the weather didn't cooperate- but I took all the leftover clothes and the two sets of golf clubs DJ wanted to sell to DI yesterday afternoon.  It felt good to get all that cleaned out!

We're going to Moab next weekend to visit a friend, and to see the arts festival there.  Moab this time of year is gorgeous, and with all the rain we've had, should be really green.  Can't wait.  Then it will be the homestretch preparation for my class in Grand Junction in mid-June.

The Interpret This! reveals start tomorrow.  Mine is Tuesday morning.  I got the photography done this morning, and have it all ready to go.  Now I'm going to get the stacks of ironing I have accumulated done, while I watch another couple episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs.  Hope your weekend was a good one!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I finished my IT! piece last night, while I enjoyed my Mother's Day present- the complete set of 'Upstairs Downstairs' on DVD.  Let's see, 24 discs, 80- some epidodes.  I think it will take me awhile!

Saturday we have a huge community wide garage sale, so I will be getting ready for that Friday.  What a relief to not have to worry about getting it done on time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grandma Update  (and the last of HMQS)

They have their luggage- got it this morning.  So now they are off to the mountains, where Sean is looking forward to some cooler weather while he enjoys getting to know the 'real' Colombia.

He posted some pictures on FB from their first day- it is so neat to be able to see some of what they are doing while it is happening.

I am excited- I found the dyeing book that explains metric in a way I can both understand and use.  Who would have thought that book would be 24 years old, and long out of print?  I got it through interlibrary loan, and then decided to heck with it, and ordered it off Amazon used books.  They got here on the same day.  Interestingly, the library book is the 1982 edition, my copy is the revised 1986 edition- so I've been looking to see what changes the author made.  What book is it?  Linda Knutson's Synthetic Dyes for Natural Fibers.  I now GET how to make a stock solution, and determine how much to use depending on the depth of shade wanted and how much my fabric weighs.  So now I am planning a whole new round of dyeing this summer, trying to develop a system that works for me for low water immersion with reproducible colors. 

As promised, here are the last of my photos from HMQS.  These are the 12 by 12 Project exhibit, one of several special exhibits at the show.  It was fun seeing my three pieces up there with the others.

The 'Blue' quilts are on the left, and mine is on the far left center.

These are 'Cold' and 'Frog'.  I don't have one in 'Cold'; my 'Frog' is on the bottom left.  Definitely different than the other interpretations!

And my favorite, Chaos'.  Mine is in the center, hard to see because it is so dark.

Since I actually got work hours on Saturday, I'm coming home early tomorrow.  I hope to get my IT! piece faced and done.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Grandma Worries (and a few more HMQS)

My son and his family flew to Colombia yesterday- his first trip there to meet Marly's family, and their first chance to meet baby Michelle.  Judging from the last 24 hours, this is not going to be an uneventful trip.  My first clue was the phone call I got yesterday morning asking me to access some information online.  The issue with Marly's ticket got straightened out, since I know they all got there late last night.  No thanks to me, I might add, since I never did figure out what Sean wanted me to see in this email.  Dumb mother.

Today (yes, Saturday) I was at a workshop related to my job.  Hey, it was very cheap CEU's, and I need them to keep my license current.  I got two phone calls from Shannon, which I did not answer.  Then on break I had a voice mail from someone I did not know, but who said she works with Sean- needing me to get on Facebook.  Ah, can't do that until afternoon when I am home.  At least she said she would try to get that message to Sean.  Apparently their luggage did not make it to Colombia with them- and one of the bags had all the baby's formula.  She has acid reflux, so it's not just any formula, I think.  Yikes!!

I'm home, I've been on Facebook.  There is a message about their luggage, but not much else.  And nobody there is online- so I have not a clue how all this is turning out.  I'm sure Marly had a lot of clothes and stuff for her and the baby, since they are staying til the end of June.

So while I sit here and worry and wonder, I will post more quilts.  Then I can make the frosting for DJ's birthday cake- we're celebrating tonight, although his birthday was two days ago.  And hopefully by then I will get some information.

This was my favorite of the two Barbara Barrick McKie quilts at the show.  The combination of the printed flower and the shiboried fabric just sang!

This one was part of an exhibit.  It's called Circling the Drain, and is her take on what is happening to printed newspapers.  I love the graphic quality of the red, white, and black.  Unfortunately, I don't have the artist's name.

Cynthia England (she of the incredibly intricate pieced quilts) had this in the show.  The detail is just amazing.

The rest of my photos are from the 12 by 12 project exhibit, the only thing I had at the show.  But I'll save that for the next post.  Time to frost a cake.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Happy Mother's Day!  I had a nice relaxing day, capped with a salmon dinner and strawberry shortcake.  Yum!

So I finally got the pictures from Shannon's camera to my computer.  Here's some from HMQS--
Best of Show, by Anna VandeMark.  And that lighter stripe going down the quilt is not the camera, it is the quilt.

My friend Suzanne won second place in the Art/Innovative category with this quilt.  

Another USDG member, Ann Munoz, entered this in the same category.  Ann does wonderful batik.

Some of these I don't have the name of the artist.  I was floored to see this Obama quilt, with a ribbon no less.  

Just down from the Obama quilt was this double portrait.  I loved it!

I got more photos, but that's enough for tonight.  It's getting late, and the workweek starts tomorrow.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dyeing and HMQS

I am always on the lookout for fabric I can purchase locally that is suitable for dyeing.  I got a belated (very!) birthday present not long ago- a gift card to Joann's.  I went up to the larger Draper store last weekend, and must have walked the entire place 3-4 times.  But in the end, I decided to go with a bolt of cotton-bamboo fabric.  It's bleached, 200 thread count, and looked and felt as good as the Kona muslin I've dyed in the past.

I scoured it, and then tore off two half-yard pieces to dye in shallow trays.  I was also using up the last of the dye solutions I've had in my little studio frig since late last fall- at least five months old, and probably older.  Here's what I got-

The fabric on the left was roughly pleated in the middle, then scrunched on each end.  I turned my leftover lemon yellow dye into lime green with the addition of turquoise, then poured on stripes of the lime green, turquoise, and cerulean blue.  To make sure the bottom of the fabric was in contact with the dye dregs, I tilted the tray.

The second one was just scrunched in to the tray.  First I dumped light red and a bit of fire red over it, and waited a few minutes.  Then I poured charcoal gray dye into the bottom of the tray, and around the edges.  I tilted this tray also, then covered both with plastic and left them to batch overnight under the heat lamps.

The colors were a lot darker when the fabric was wet, but given the age of these dye solutions, I'm pleased with how they came out. I'm also pleased with the fabric.  It has a nice hand, nicer than the muslin.  So I think I will be getting this again.  I'm going to have to figure out some smaller shallow trays- I rarely do pieces larger than a yard, and even the little dishpans I was using here could have taken two yards easy.

Yesterday I was at the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake.  I did a two hour volunteer stint, walking the quilt exhibit with gloves.  So I got to see everything in the judged competition, and the exhibits too.  My 12 by 12 Project had and exhibit of our pieces, which was nice and drew some good comments.

There were some good entries in the art/innovative category, and my friend Suzanne was very happy to get a second place ribbon with her quilt.  I also saw some names I recognized- Barbara Barrick McKie had two quilts, and Cynthia England had one also.  Anna Vandemark from Wisconsin took Best of Show.  We must be coming up in the world to attract quilters from that far away.

My feet were aching after my two hours, but I spent another hour or so walking the vendor mall.  In the end, I didn't get much.  I renewed my subscription to Machine Quilting Unlimited, I bought Magic Genie Bobbin Washers from Sharon Schamber, and I got a black Hobbs Heirloom batt.  I tried Sharon's Quilt Halo on her Juki, then tried another similar gadget that a local fabric store had- on their sit-down HQ16.  In the end, I got the gadget from the fabric store.  I liked the way it handled better, and it was cheaper and discounted to boot.  Bottom line, I did not go crazy.  No thread, no fabric, no surface design stuff.

I did take pictures, but I borrowed Shannon's camera and can't download them to my computer because the camera is a Fuji and I don't have the right software.  So I'm waiting for her to burn them to a CD.

My package from Dick Blick arrived today, so I am working on my IT! piece.  I really hope what is in my head looks good in fabric, because I don't have the luxury of time and redoes this month.  Two members are already done with theirs!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

More Book Reviews

I got a package from Amazon yesterday, with one book I've been dying (ha! pun intended!) to lay my hands on ever since I read the description online, and another I got just to get to $25 for free shipping.  And, I lucked out at Costco and found a book that has been on my wishlist for awhile.

The book I've been lusting after?  Fabric Dyer's Dictionary, by Linda Johansen.  I won't be sending it back, but I was disappointed.  I've about decided that the dyeing book of my dreams doesn't exist- except in my head.

The dictionary does have a nice set of colors with recipes for them.  What do I think it lacks?  First, a solid background in dye chemistry.  I've been dyeing my own fabric for about eight years now, and I've learned just how important this background is.  I can't think of a single dye book that details the differences between soda soaking, soda ash after dye solution, or soda ash with dye solution.  She doesn't explain the difference between single shade and mixed dye colors.  She doesn't talk about differing strike rates.

She does have lots of colors with recipes, but even those could have been better.  There are value gradations of each color, and gradations between complements.  There's also some with black added to the color.  But what about gradations between analogous colors?  What about using gray or brown to shade colors?

It's a book that will work for those who want recipes, and don't want to venture out on their own.  I'm pretty sure that anyone could dye decent cloth with this book.  But they would be a cook, not a chef with the tools and knowledge to cook without the book.

While I was disappointed in the Fabric Dyer's Dictionary, I got another book that turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  Malka Dubrawsky's Color Your Cloth has good information about using wax resists, and some wonderful ideas for making your own stamping tools out of cardboard and other common household items.  I wouldn't use her recommendations for neutralizing bleach after discharging, but at least she acknowledges that her use of vinegar is contrary to what others recommend.  Malka's batik designs are bold and graphic, and remind me of designs from the 50's.  I'm looking forward to trying out some of her ideas this summer.

All this has got me thinking that I have probably moved beyond any of the dyeing books out there- and trust me, after re-acquiring Adriene Buffington's book, I have 'em all.  And I use most of them- a bit from this book, another bit from that.  I pull out Ann Johnston's book when I want to do parfaits, or Holly Brackman's book when I want to vat dye a solid shade.  But I find myself more and more relying on my own hard-earned expertise, and less on the books.

I'm going to start with some new experimentation- using weight instead of volume measure in low water dyeing.  I have scoured the internet and all my books for anything I can find on this- and it's not much.  So I'll play, and keep records.  Who knows, maybe I'll be the one to write the dye book in my head!

Oh, yeah, the book I found at Costco?  It was Bryan Peterson's Understanding Shutter Speed.  I already have Understanding Exposure, Understanding Close Up Photography, and Learning to See Creatively.  Bryan is able to explain photographic concepts in a way I can understand, with lots of cool pictures in the bargain.  I'm sure that's a relief to my brother, who got tired of me calling him with camera questions.  I'd recommend any of his books.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Challenge

Since it doesn't seem I'm going to get much spring at home, I'll take it in this beautiful photo.  I've already done some playing with filters in PSE, and started drawing.  I'm aiming for abstracted, but not non-representational.  I will have fun delving into my stash of greens, my favorite color.  And those pinks and blues make the greens sing. 

I'm hoping I can settle on a design rather quickly, and then figure out construction quickly.  In my list of stuff I have going on this month, I forgot to add the community wide garage sale on Saturday the 22nd.  We actually have stuff to try to sell, so there's another weekend morning I won't be in the studio.  If I can get over the hump of figuring out what I'm doing, hopefully I can break it down into bits I can do for an hour or so at night.

I have chicken-vegetable stew on the stove, ready to go over couscous.  All those spices in the stew are making me hungry!