Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Goodie in the Mail

Today this arrived in my mailbox--

The ProScale 600 Luxe Digital Pocket Scale has a 600 gram capacity and a resolution of 0.1g, and weighs in 3 other units. This scale has a sliding display, tare feature and protective cover. Included with this scale is a VibraKill pad and 2 AAA batteries.

Cool, no?  Now I can really get serious about using weight measures in my dyeing rather than volume.  So much easier (less stuff to clean up!), more accurate, and if I want to, the color is repeatable.  This thing is half the size of the small postal scale I bought at Walmart a few years ago.

If you're looking for a scale, Old Will Knott's has more scales than I knew existed- for just about anything you could want to weigh.  Fast service, too- I ordered on Saturday, and had it in hand today.

I'm planning some dyeing this weekend, I'll let you know how it works!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

More from Grand Junction

We took a bit of a break the second afternoon to do some 'show and tell.'  Since we did overdyeing, everyone had to wash out fabric we'd done the first day in preparation for the second.  Some washed out more than the fat quarters for overdyeing- it was so much fun to see how everyone's fabric turned out.

Terri  shows off one of her parfaits.  She also had a talent for making fabric that reminded me of the tie dyes of my teenage years!

Another Terri with what I think is a parfait, also.  Do you see the three foxes that everyone in the group saw?

Mary got some lovely results with different ways of manipulating the fabric- larger pieces, too.

Susan, my hostess, is hiding behind her fabric.  I love what she got with grape and yellow!

I can't remember who did this gorgeous piece- Jeannette is getting a closeup look.

Gjeneve not only dyed fabric, she was throwing thread and other snippets into the dyepots.

I think Jan got this stunning piece of fabric.  It really looked like an adobe wall, and that orange just glows.

Christie did some wonderful large pieces of fabric.  She got markings on this one that were really unusual.

This is just a sampling of what was created the first day- everyone was exhausted, but happy with what they created.  I don't have any pictures of Carole's fabric, but she posted a lot on her blog- here's the link

As for the dyers- Betsy definitely got the prize for most colorful dyer at the end of the day!!

What better way to spend a couple of days!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Welcome Home. . . 

I finally got to sleep in my own bed on Thursday night-- but some of the "welcome" wasn't all that welcome.  Shortly before I left for Grand Junction, we had an appliance repair man come and fix the water and ice mechanisms on our frig that had broken about a year ago, and we'd disconnected.  Having decided that we wanted automatic ice again, we paid a nice chunk of change to have it repaired.  I made no bones with the repairman about how paranoid I am about another flooding incident.

Shannon called me late Sunday night, saying there was water in the furnace room in the basement, right next to her room and closet.  Further investigation revealed that the frig was leaking AGAIN, and had been probably from the day it was "fixed."  Her closet carpet was soaked, as was the carpet in my fabric storage closet under the stairs.  Not just wet, but soaked!  We did manage to get a second repairman out to the house on Monday, so at least the cause of the leak was fixed.  And he confirmed that the first job had been incorrectly done, a line was not properly connected.

So this is what I can home to in the studio- with a deadline looming, and a few bit left to do on my IT! piece--

The carpet is ripped up in both closets, the padding removed, and fans on the carpet so it will dry out.  The owner of the appliance repair company is supposed to contact me Monday.  All I know is that I'm not paying for the damage that the first repairman caused.  

So I've spent a couple of hours hauling my fabric and stuff into the adjoining family room, and stacking it up.  Maybe I'll take advantage of this to do some culling, who knows.  I can't move the fabric back to the closet til who knows when- so the family room will be looking like a disaster zone for awhile.  But at least I can work now.

More pictures later from the workshop in Grand Junction--

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home and Gone Again

I had a wonderful time in Grand Junction!  There were eighteen students in the class, some experienced dyers, others were newbies.  I think I wore them out with all the stuff we did, but all left after two days with fabric they were happy with- and ideas of what to do with the ones they weren't so crazy about.  They were enthusiastic, willing learners- a teacher's delight.  And they were forgiving of my goofs, and had good feedback about what I could do to improve.

Grand Junction is fortunate to have Jane Aldoretta and her Fabric Arts Studio.  She is doing what I want to do when I retire from social work.  She has a large classroom that can do both wet and dry processes, an HQ16 on a frame she rents out, and loads of supplies- most of which I have to mail order.  The room is bright and cheerful- a great place to teach.

I did manage to remember to take a couple of pictures.  I think these are from the second day.

Terri is on the right- looks like she is getting more dyes.  Christie is in the purple shirt, she did some wonderful large pieces of fabric.  Betsy is just to Christie's left.  She looked like she was having a blast, and left with the most colorful skin in the group!  Gjeneve is on the far left- she also did some wonderful fabric.

Jan was right up front.  She's had lots of experience at this, but seemed to be having a good time just playing.  Rita is in the black shirt.  Suzanne is behind and to the left of Rita- I owe her a big thank you!  Susan, my host, is in the back in the pink shirt and apron- I think she is talking to Carol.

Suzanne clued the group in on a local store that carries soda ash in fifty pound bags, and sold me one she had that she hadn't opened yet.  I have hunted without success for this in Utah, so I was thrilled!  Between this, and the fifteen pounds I already had at home, I won't be buying soda ash any time soon!

 We spent some time after lunch on Friday showing the fabric that had been made the day before.  I'll post those later this week.  Right now, it's pushing ten pm, and I need to be up early tomorrow.  It is going to be a long, intense week at work, so I need my beauty sleep.  But more from the workshop later!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hitting the Road

I have made my list, and revised it multiple times.  Shannon helped me check off everything to make sure I didn't forget anything.  The car is now packed, and I'm doing laundry.  The suitcase is mostly packed, just some last minute stuff to put in tomorrow morning.

Sunday I dyed the very last bit of muslin I had- another round with complementary colors tightly scrunched.  I used lemon yellow and grape.  It turned out yellow and brown, but cool looking nonetheless.  Now I am wanting to figure out- why did the green and red piece turn out with the colors relatively true, and the last one definitely turned brown where the colors mixed?  That also happened with the orange and turquoise, but to a lesser degree.  More experiments down the road, I suspect.

My IT! piece is almost completely done.  A few hits with glue, and some work with paintstiks, and I'll be done.  My picture will be the subject for July's challenge, I can't wait to see which of the three I submitted is chosen.

I'm thinking I will take my laptop to Grand Junction, maybe there will be wireless there.  If so, I'll have blog posts of the workshop!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's been a cool, rainy, dreary day here--

so I stayed busy inside.  I think I'm liking this list thing- it helped keep me on track, and it feels good to check off stuff as it's completed.  All the housework is done, laundry done, and I washed out the yard of fabric I dyed yesterday.  I worked on my packing list for Colorado, and got a lot of the packing done.  That means I will have most of tomorrow to finish my piece for IT!

I really like what came out of the dyepot, although it is very different from the red/green piece.  There the two colors stayed separate, there's no brown on it.  Not the case with this one--

I can see this in a Southwest inspired quilt.  The brown is a warm, earthy toned, and the turquoise just glows against it.  Look at some of the patterning--

I may have to try this on some pimatex, and see how that affects the colors.

Thought I'd share some photos from the Laura Cater-Woods workshop I was at Monday and Tuesday.  It was at the Pioneer Craft House in Salt Lake, a venue familiar to many USDG members, but I'd never been there.  They are in the process of renovation, but were very helpful in making the workshop a success.  Here it is from the outside--

And here we are in the room, some of us working with our sewing machines, others not.  It was a lovely, relaxing workshop, and I'd highly recommend Laura to anyone- at least anyone who likes process oriented workshops rather than project oriented.

Kind of interesting working in a room with all those historical artifacts.

It's getting late, I'm heading upstairs.  Shouldn't have too much on the list for tomorrow!

Friday, June 11, 2010


I have been busily running around and getting myself organized to leave Wednesday afternoon for Grand Junction.  I'm really looking forward to spending two days playing with dyes and fabric with AQuA members!  Saturday I'll get to attend the monthly meeting, then leave to come home.  It should be a nice respite from work and all that.

I do have one piece of fabric marinating in the dyepot today.  I was so fascinated with the results I got with the red and green piece, I had to try it with another set of complements- so I did turquoise and orange, which I toned slightly before adding it.  We'll see, just like the red/green pot, the dye liquid looks like mud.

I have finally made the last revision to my handout, and have most of the equipment I need for the dyes.  I've started my packing list.  One day into it, and I'm thinking the best 'take-away' I got from Laura Cater-Woods was the idea to write down every night what you need to finish the next day.  Then you don't need to worry about it any more, since it's written down!  My memory is such Swiss cheese any more, I know I've remembered something important in the middle of the night, only to forget it again in the morning.  We'll see if keeping this up improves my sleep!

I'm enjoying a glass of wine as I write this.  In a bit I think I will go downstairs (to the printers), print off my last revision, and put all the handouts in their baggies while I watch another episode of Upstairs, Downstairs.  That series is turning out to be every bit as addictive as I knew it would be.

Tomorrow, we'll see how the turquoise/orange piece turned out.  Til tomorrow--

Monday, June 07, 2010

More Hand Dyes

Here's the rest of what I got done this weekend.  I can't think of a better way to spend a day than getting messy with the dyes!

This piece is a yard, done (more or less) according to one of Ann Johnston's recipes in Color by Accident.  You bunch up the fabric, hold it with several rubber bands, and pour on dark green dye.  Let it sit for a bit, then unbind it, re-bunch it up and put on the rubber bands again, then pour on dark red dye.  She adds the soda ash with the second dye color, I waited again and then added the soda ash.

I was sure this one would end up like mud.  The color in the container was definitely mud!  However, as you can see- the colors are glorious and definitely NOT muddy!  Here's a detail shot showing the patterning-

I can't wait to try this again with some different complementary colors-I'm thinking turquoise and rust for starters.

I did a couple of yards with the fabric laid out flat on plastic.  On one, I was going for a value gradation, and that one didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped.  It will be fine with some patterning added, however.  With the second one, I was trying to use multiple colors and move them around the cloth.  I ended up with this rainbow which should make an interesting quilt back!

I also learned that I can't do this on my table in the wet studio.  I ended up with fuschia dye in one corner of the studio, and more on the dry wall.  If I want to do larger pieces this way, it will have to be in the yard or driveway on plastic- no chance for spills.

I roughly pleated two pieces of fabric, one yard each.  Then I rolled them up like a cinnamon roll, and stuck them in a lettuce container from Costco.  I poured yellow dye over one, and a paler value of lime green over the other.  After letting that sit for awhile, I poured dark green dye in the bottom of the container.  Here's one of those pieces--

Do those colors sing of spring or what!!

And finally, my spiral.  Here's another example of using all three primaries without getting mud.  

I probably won't be able to get back to dyeing until late in June- next weekend I have to get my June Interpret This! piece done.  Maybe I'll try some sox wax batik on the fuschia piece that needs more work, who knows.

Tomorrow, I'll try to post about my workshop with Laura Cater-Woods. 

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Hot and Dyeing

The weather has been perfect for dyeing since Friday.  I started early, got the first run of a two-step overdye started.  I used bright yellow, a mixed color which is something I don't normally do.  

I am also giving up US measures when it comes to dyeing.  So I weighed my fabric, weighed the dyes, and did concentrates of my colors.  So much simpler, fewer utensils to wash.  Once you quit trying to convert back and forth between metric and US, it is a snap- metric makes a lot more sense.  The math is a ton easier, too!

Other than the overdyes, I planned to work on texture, since those are the class samples I need for my workshop in Colorado.  I stayed up til 1:30 am last night to finish all the washing out, and I am very happy with my results!

I let the first batch sit all day in the sun in our driveway.  In the past I've washed out everything before I re-sort for the second dyebath, but I decided to see what happens if I just rinse.  Here's some of the yellows, ready for the blue dyebath.  I got those going Friday night, and let them sit overnight and all day Saturday.

I've been saving some bubblewrap to use.  I wondered what would happen if I rolled up a piece of fabric in it to batch- would the circles leave any marks?  So I did three of those--

Those simple dish tubs from Wallyworld are great- I'm thinking I'll need more of them. 

I pleated, swirled, scrunched, and laid fabric flat on plastic and squirted dye on.  Dry fabric is easier (IMHO) to manipulate than wet, so that's what I did.  Then I'd just dump on hot water, let it soak for a bit, and squeeze it out without  messing up my manipulations.  Worked great.

Saturday night I started washing fabric out, after kicking up the temperature on my water heater.  I wanted to see if that made any difference in getting all the unfixed dye out of the fabric.

The overdyes came out great.  As you can tell, I just can't get enough of green!

Plenty of blues and yellows too.  I massaged these quite a bit, but there is still lots of patterning.

The bubblewrap was a mixed bag.  Mostly they came out looking like solids- nice, but not much in the way of texture.  This was the one exception-

It's kinda-sorta visible in this picture- but look at the detail!

I had two pieces of fabric in the piece of bubble wrap, so I don't know what caused the differences.  I know I used lighter value dye on this one, and I think it was in the outer part of the roll.  So this is something I'll experiment with again.

And here's what I ended up with, all washed and ironed--

All told, I think I dyed between twelve and fifteen yards of fabric.  I am very happy with my results!  As you can see, the studio is a mess, and the wet studio a bigger mess. I'll have to get that cleaned up today, since I need to pack for a two day workshop with Laura Cater-Woods in Salt Lake tomorrow.  So a closer look at some of those yummy pieces will have to wait for another post.

Hope your weekend is a creative one!

Friday, June 04, 2010

I knew it!

We had a cold, wet spring- then today, wham!!  It's hot, and the weather report says we'll be in the 80's for the next week.  No spring in Utah!

One good thing about the heat, it is perfect for dyeing.  So I'm doing  nine yards of gradated overdyes today, using recipes I'm developing, nothing from a book.  And I'm trying something new to see what kind of texture it gives me.  Hopefully pictures of beautiful fabric tomorrow.

We have the new picture for June's Interpret This!  I have to jump on it, June is a crazy month for me.  I've already dinked around in PSE with the picture--

Love all the green, don't think I will ever tire of the color.  And the gradated overdyes I'm doing will be greens, so some might work for this.  I also see a chance for embellishment with those flower spikes .

I also have to pick my picture and send it to Libby by mid-month.  Sean and Marly posted some cool photos from Colombia, so I may use one of them.  We'll see.  With 6000- plus photos on my hard drive, I don't lack for choices.

That's it for now, time to start dinner.  Hopefully more tomorrow.