Sunday, August 26, 2012

Counting Down

I'm counting down the days, in more than one way.  In less than three weeks I will be on a plane to spend one week each in Florida and Chicago with my two sons.  I am SOOO ready to hit the road!!

It's also clear that we are counting down the last days of summer, even though the calendar still says August.  On my walks on the river trail, the signs are definitely there.

I love the variety of wildlife I sometimes see on my walks.  On a recent one, we saw these roosters, having a good time grubbing in the irrigation canal,

this snake slithering off the trail,

and this buzzard up in the trees along the trail.

We took a chance today, deciding to walk even though the weather was a bit iffy.  On the way out on the trail, I was rewarded with this rainbow. . .

and on the way back, with these awesome clouds over the mountains.

I've also been in the studio. although sewing on clothes instead of quilting.  I got this cute A line skirt done- we should have enough warm weather left that I'll get to wear it a couple of times.

When I not thinking about what I will be packing for visits to two very different climates, I'm considering what to do for the next TT challenge- new beginnings.  Vicki gave us lots of starting points, and I have some research to do.  It would be nice to have it well  on the way to completion before I leave!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good-bye God, We're Going to Bodie

If you've never heard of it, Bodie was a boom gold mining town in the east side of the Sierras.  It's now a California state park, and since it is close to Bridgeport where my brother and I camped in May, we decided to go there on our last day.  I'd been there before (1990), but I do not remember being as entranced with the place as I was this time.

Bodie is remote, even by today's standards- it is at least twenty miles off Highway 395, and seventeen of those are dirt road.  The first thing that struck me was the intensity of the blue sky.  This is the church, one of the few buildings that visitors are allowed to enter.

Here's the inside of the church--

Paul and I wandered the streets for hours, peering into the interiors which have been kept in a state of "arrested decay."  Some of the buildings house park employees- obviously, we weren't peering into those.  But it was fascinating looking at the relics of years long gone, even through glass.  Those are my favorite pictures from the trip.

The general store looked like I could walk in and place an order- although it would be extremely dusty!  Many of the windows have been replaced with modern glass, but some of the buildings had the original.  

 This is a photo looking into the pool hall/casino- I think this one is through original glass.  We figured out we could get good photos by placing the camera lens flat against the windows, which is how most of these were taken.

The three photos above were taken in the only residence that allowed visitors inside.

My favorite photos, however, were surprises.  Look closely at these next ones.

 In the first, you can see my shadow, peering into the bar.  In the second, you can see me and Paul, looking into the pool hall.  But the best one has no people at all in it.


I love how the interior and exterior are juxtaposed on this one.  It has some quality that I am having a hard time finding at word for, but I find it mesmerizing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


or, computers from the perspective of a fiber artist!  Our theme was 'Architecture', but I knew from the outset that I wanted to do something other than a building.  When I stumbled on a definition of architecture that included information technology, I knew I had my inspiration.   My son suggested I google 'gaming computers' to find an inspiration photo, and I found several that I thought would lend themselves to interpretation in fabric.  Here's my inspiration. . . 

and here's my finished piece.

I embellished with actual computer parts I got from my brother, who had built computers.  I liked what the text fabric added- to me, that represented communication- and computers have become a huge part of communication just in my lifetime.  I quilted it all over with a straight line kind of stipple, which was a challenge to keep the scale somewhat consistent.  And, I did a skinny (1/8") binding, something I've wanted to try for awhile.  

It was a fun one to do- I think I will mount this one on painted canvas.  Who knows, maybe one of the techies in my family will end up with it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Counting Down

until I can reveal my latest piece for the Tangled Textile challenge.  Have a look at the blog on Wednesday the 15th to see how everyone interpreted the theme 'Architecture.'  I spent a lot of last weekend and most of this past Friday finishing my piece.  It's not my usual, but I had fun with it!

No fiber pictures, but I'll leave you with this picture of reflections on the river walk trail where I take Shiloh most weekends.  I love this trail, it is so peaceful.

I will be away from home most of this coming week for work- I leave Tuesday morning, and I'm not home until Friday afternoon.  Although I always mourn the end of summer, I'm also counting down the days until I leave for a week each in Florida and Chicago with my sons.  Just a month away!!

Monday, August 06, 2012

More Dyeing. . .

I signed up for a class at Craftsy- The Art of Cloth Dyeing with Jane Dunnewold.  Honestly, I was less interested in the chemistry of how she dyes, and more so in how she approaches layering and creating patterns on the cloth.  She talked about maybe having more classes on Craftsy- I hope she does one that is more surface design oriented.

She showed various ways to fold the cloth, and I fell in love with her flag fold.  I can't remember if I've done it before, but I got some tips to make the folding easier.  One piece I did was the rayon bamboo scarf that I bleach discharged a few weeks ago.  The other was a piece of "ugly" cloth I got from Barbara on the MX Dyers group.  Here's the piece as I got it--

I had a hard time seeing it as ugly- it had lovely patterning on it, and luscious shades of green, yellow, and brown.  The white didn't bother me at all either.  But in the spirit of the ugly fabric challenge, I played along.  First I flag folded it, squished it between two pieces of plexiglass held with rubber bands, and dunked it in a bleach solution.  I left it a bit too long, because there wasn't much color left.  Here it is as I'm flag folding it again--

You can kind of see the flag folding marks on this one, and you can see how little green is left.  After I got it back between the plexiglass, I dunked it in grape dye.  I only used a 1 percent solution, I wish I'd used a 5 percent.  I didn't leave it sitting in the dye, I just dunked the three edges and then left it to batch for several hours.  And this is how it turned out--

Very different from the original fabric.  I'm still considering what to add with additional layers, it doesn't feel done to me.  The one on the right is the rayon bamboo scarf, you can just see the old patterning under the flag fold lines.  I think this is a vast improvement.

I am itching to spend another day waxing and dyeing, but I suspect it may have to wait a couple of weeks.  I have a little bit of quilting to do on my Tangled Textiles piece, and then I need to get it faced.  Maybe if I can find the energy to get the quilting done after work this week?  We shall see. . .

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Waxing Eloquent

Well, maybe not eloquently, but I was busily waxing this weekend.  I spent several hours at fellow USDG member Robin's home, playing with soy wax and dyes.  Some I got done there, some I finished up at home.  

The last time I tried using soy wax, I remember having issues- like, it wouldn't soak into the fabric.  This time the wax behaved perfectly.  I'm guessing that I didn't have it hot enough the first time.  

I took some white Pimatex fabric, and some pieces that were already dyed.  The results told me that it really does matter what kind of fabric I use.  The smooth, tightly woven fabric (like Pimatex) seem to hold the wax better, which means less dye seeps under the line.  Since I was doing multiple dye baths on some pieces, that makes a difference.  So here's the fabric I ended up with--

The two on the right were done on yellow fabric, the one on the left started with white Pimatex.  I absolutely love that one.

The one in the upper left is on white Pimatex, the others started with yellow fabric.  I used three different potato mashers, a pastry cutter, and a small brush.  I did three different dye baths, then waxed after each, then I waxed the entire piece and put thickened dark blue dye on.  I probably crackled the wax a little too much, but I love this piece anyway.

What's not to love about all that texture?

The last piece is really different- I wanted to see what would happen if I just put brushstrokes of wax on the cloth, then paint different colors on.

I wasn't sure about this one at first, but it is growing on me.  I really like the movement I got with the brushstrokes.

I had more dye adventures this weekend, but they will wait for another post.  Time to wash the dye out of my hair!!