Monday, August 22, 2011

After the Workshop

I have been working on getting my Dye Bible completely put together.  I only have three envelopes to finish, and then I will need to go through the book carefully and identify those swatches that need to be redyed.  Here's where I finished last night.

I apparently left my double-stick tape up in Heber, so I had to go buy another couple of rolls.  The stuff is expensive!!

We had some fabric issues when we dyed the swatches- some of them were heavier than the rest, and came out paler than they should have as a result.  It also meant our stacks of swatches were short!  Fortunately the print cloth I brought was the same weight as the rest, so we used some of that to make up for the shortage.  The swatches that dyed paler, however, I will want to re-dye.  Good practice!

I've also decided what I will be overdyeing first.  I did this piece of rayon/linen a couple of months ago, intending to make a jacket.  I wasn't very happy with how it turned out.

The pale background has a sort of peachy cast, and that was the color I compared to my dye swatches to determine how I want to overdye it.  Yes, it will affect the swirls- change the color somewhat and darken the valued- but mostly, I want to get rid of the peachy background.  I think I know my color, but probably won't decide for sure until this weekend when I dye it.

In the meantime, it's time to tape down some more fabric swatches!

Oh- and in the midst of all that, the second reveal for Tangled Textiles was last week while I was in Heber.  Take a look at all the wonderfully varied interpretations of 'Celebrate!'

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Keys to the Kingdom

After spending five days learning from Carol Soderlund, I think I can now say I've been granted a set of keys to the Kingdom Where the Colors are Made.  My brain is spinning, there was so much to take it and so many ideas!!  I will be purging the dye studio of all my measuring cups and spoons; my dye colors will only be measured with my nifty little digital scale.  And as my dye colors are used up, I won't have to replace all of them; I'm betting I'll have ten to twelve colors at most.  Think of the space I'll be gaining!!

One of my classmates was another member of the MX Dyers Yahoo Group.  It was so much fun getting to know Cherie!  I got to see some fabric she did as a part of the Ugly Cloth challenge, and it was gorgeous.  Here we are on the last day of class with Carol, who's holding the Color Bible that we all now have.  Mine is on-third put together, and I hope to finish it by the end of next week.

Carol is a fantastic teacher- generous with her time and knowledge, and just plain nice.  We've already asked her to come back next year to teach Color Mixing 2.

I only dyed a couple of half-yard pieces as part of an exercise, but learned a lot from that and from watching what others were doing.  On the last afternoon, we looked at everyone's fabric and talked about the variables that contributed to the differences.  Here I am with Carol, holding my two pieces.  (Ignore the fact that my eyes are shut in the picture, please!)

Would you believe that both pieces were dyed with the exact same color?  True!  The one on the left was done with a pale value, flag folded.  I poured the dye on dry fabric, and added the soda ash after the dye color.  It is a lovely shade of lavender, with marks where the fabric was folded.

The second was done with a medium dark value of that color, but it was soda soaked first, and the color added to wet fabric.  What a difference!  The red struck quickly, but the blue poked along, and finally bonded in the white areas of the fabric.  You can also see green where the blue and yellow mixed.

What does this mean?  I can now control the effects I get on my hand dyes, by understanding what process produces what result.  This was only one of the many pieces of dye wisdom I acquired this week.  Some of the others, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the possibilities.

So now I'm off to finish the grocery shopping for the week, so I can get down to the studio and do some organizing and cleaning.  Hopefully by this afternoon I'll be back to putting my Dye Bible together!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dyeing Up a Storm

Two days with Carol Soderlund, and that is what we have done- dyed more than 1000 colors.  I cannot believe the color book I will leave this class owning.

Carol is a wonderful teacher, generous and giving.  We worked until 7 pm on Monday, and 6:30 yesterday.  And she calls Wednesday the 'late' day!!  I'm staying up in Park City the next two nights so I don't have to drive home til class is over.

Needless to say, I am having a blast and learning a ton.  Pictures when I get back!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Birthday,Bentlee

Today we celebrated Bentlee's eleventh birthday with family and friends.  We enjoyed burgers, corn, and potato salad- quinessential American summer food.  And I delivered on the cupcakes!

I think I've made progress from the first sorry batch I made a couple of weeks ago!  A little more practice with the pastry bag and tips--
The chocolate ones were my first experience with ganache- the best frosting I've ever had.  But then, what could be wrong with cream and bittersweet chocolate?  I also piped some raspberry cream into the middle of the chocolate cakes.  All I can say is they were YUMMY!!  Bentlee got the kinds of presents an almost teen would appreciate- earrings, bath essentials, and gift cards, so she seemed happy with her celebration.

No sewing this weekend, I have spent my time collecting everything I need for five days with Carol Soderlund.  I can't wait- I'm expecting to be exhausted and exilarated at the same time.  I have three composition books ready for my notes, and a 'new' set of dyeing clothes from Saver's.  If I'm not too tired, I'll try to post during the week.

And, Thursday is the reveal for the second Tangled Textiles challenge, 'Celebrate.'  Be sure to visit the blog and see all the wonderful creations!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Injured on the Job

Sewing, that is.  Yes, today I joined that select group of sewists who have sewn completely through their finger with the sewing machine!

Doesn't look that bad, does it?  And amazingly enough, I've had more painful injuries.  I wasn't even sure what I'd done until I saw that I was attached to my machine.  DJ had to pull out the part of the needle that was still embedded in my finger.  I suspect it will be very sore for awhile, and my funky nail will look even funkier after this- but hey, at least I didn't hit the bone.

And I still managed to get this tee done, using the blue dyed and printed knit I did a couple of weeks ago.

I now have no projects on the horizon, which is just as well since all next week will be an intense dye workshop  I hope I have enough brain cells and energy left with warm weather to get some fabric dyed using my exponentially expanded dye knowledge!

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Sometimes I do achieve perfection when obsessed.  I made my third batch of strawberry cupcakes in a week, and this is the one- perfection!!  The strawberry taste is strong without being overwhelming or fake-tasting, and the frosting is fantastic.  So, I know what I will be making next weekend for Bentlee's birthday party.  The batch I made today will go to work for a staff member farewell.  And if you want to try them yourself, the recipe is here.  The only thing I did differently was to omit the jam- didn't think we needed it.  And I got the shape cupcake I wanted!!

And, I have discovered a new grain, healthy, high in protein, and quick cooking- quinoa.  I used it in a salad last weekend, and to my amazement EVERYONE- even the picky eaters- liked it.  This weekend I decided to try something a little different.  I mixed white and black quinoa, then after cooking it, mixed in blanched cauliflower and asparagus, grape tomatoes, and some sweet onion.  I dressed it with olive oil and white wine vinegar and minced parsely.  Yummy, and heakthy!!

Lest you think I haven't been in the studio- my piece for Tangled Textiles is done.  I'm considering mounting it on a canvas or stretcher frames, but that is still in the thinking stage.  I've got another tee cut out and ready to sew.  And I'm starting to gather all my equipment for the one workshop I'm doing this year, a week with Carol Soderlund in Heber.  I can't wait- one more week of work, then a week in the dyepots.  I am planning to have my dye knowledge expanded exponentially!

Monday, August 01, 2011


That's what my daughter says I have, a new obsession.  All because of this.

Is that not a pathetic excuse for a cupcake?  No nice rounded top, and those extensions on the side- ugh.  They stick like glue to my ancient muffin tins- which makes getting them out in one piece a bit of a challenge.  And I have a lot to learn in the cupcake decorating department.

I must admit to a new guilty, time-wasting pleasure- the show Cupcake Wars on the Food Network.  They come up with creations that make my mouth water!  So when the granddaughter said she wanted strawberry cupcakes for her birthday in August, I said I would be happy to make them.  And, not wanting to have a disaster the day of the birthday, I decided we needed to do some test runs well ahead of time.

I surfed the net, and found all kinds of cupcake recipes.  The first go was an unmitigaged disaster- thin batter that did not rise properly, and made cupcakes that looked more like flat pancakes.  I didn't even frost them.
The second run tasted much better, but was misshapen, like the one in the picture.  But I am now determined to figure out why my cupcakes refuse to look like the ones on the show!  I have been baking from scratch for years- this shouldn't be rocket science!  I think my lousy, ancient pans are a large part of the problem.  I also think I may have put a tad too much batter in them.  DH says that my batter was too thick- I don't think that makes sense, since the first batter was very thin and the shapes weren't that different.

Today Shannon brought me a present- a silicone mini muffin tin.  Hah!  So I can test my theory, and try the third recipe I've found for strawberry cupcakes.

No, I have not fallen off the wagon when it comes to food.  I am learning that I can enjoy guilty pleasures in moderation, and cupcakes are the perfect, portion controlled sweet.  I indulge on the weekends, and eat healthy the rest of the week.  It seems to be working great, because I am maintaining my weight loss without counting every single calorie that I eat.  

And if you think I'm not doing anything in the studio, you'd be wrong.  My next TT challenge is almost done, I just have some hand sewing.  But I can't show that until the reveal on August 15.  So until then, you'll just have to bear with me on my quest to bake a perfectly shaped cupcake!!