Friday, July 30, 2010

Quilting the Wholecloth

I started quilting on my entry for AQuA's exhibit at PIQF this morning, after piecing the back.  So far, so good.  I'll be using lots of thread colors- I'll need to figure out tomorrow if I have all I need so I can hit Dave's Bernina before they close.  No chance of finding quilting thread on Sunday!

This is what I have so far--

I'm trying to make smooth transitions between thread colors, and imply a sense of movement and the mountains behind the turbines.

I don't think I've ever done a quilt with this many thread colors. I'm trying to pay attention to how the choice of thread color impacts the color of the fabric.  I don't know if the trapunto I did with the wind turbines will be that obvious- the quilting around them may not be dense enough. 

There's also a lesson in this for me.  I do my best work in the morning, so housework just has to wait until later in the day!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This is what I spent the better part of last Friday dyeing while I was in Grand Junction---

It's an exercise I took out of Linda Knutson's book, Synthetic Dyes for Natural Fibers.  The squares along the outside of the triangle are mixtures of the two colors on the ends, and the squares in the middle are mixtures of all three primaries.  I did these in small containers and my fabric couldn't lie flat- hence, the interesting markings on them.  You still get the sense of color movement, however- and I can reproduce any one of these, since the formulas are percentages of each color, and measured by weight instead of volume.

Yes, I am missing the single color red (fuschia) in the bottom left corner.  I accidentally dyed two blues.  But I still have fabric, so I'll get it dyed this weekend.  I think I am going to sew these onto a piece of muslin- it is a fantastic reference, and was well worth the time and effort.

I'm also working on a wholecloth quilt, hoping to get it done for an exhibition with AQuA at PIQF.  The front is done, and I was looking for backs in my stash after I got home from work.  One piece I thought would work turned out to be just a little too small, so I'm going to piece the back.

These are value gradations I did years ago using Kona cotton and only fat eighths.  Can't think of a better use for them, beats having them sit in the basket in the closet!  As for the front, here's a sneak peek--

I'm doing something else I've never done before- trapunto.  I got the first batting stitched on and cut away last night.  If it works like I hope, I think it will be very effective.

So now I'm off to cut off the serging on all those fat eighths, so I can piece them tomorrow night.  That is mindless sewing I can manage after a ten hour day.  The actual quilting won't start until Friday morning, when I'm at my freshest.  More to come as I get that done!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Screenprinting and More

I got all the fabric I printed washed out this morning.  For the most part, I'm happy with the results.  On one piece the background seemed to wash out for reasons I can't fathom. Other than that, the fabric came out as I was hoping.

I love this deconstructed screenprint I made with a dish drainer Sandra Hoefner had.  I already have a use in mind for this fabric!

It was so hot and dry in Grand Junction that our screens dried very quickly after we put them outside.  This one had to sit with the clear print paste on it for ten minutes or so before I started getting any dye on the fabric.

Here's two more pulls from the same screen, and another image that I got from Jan Warren.  She made a flour paste resist on her screen, then drew into it.  I absolutely love the image!

I also just used some of my thermofax screens with thickened dye.  This one came out nice.  I'd tried to deconstruct an image of leaves, but it barely shows up- looks more like part of the original dye job.

This is another one I did with one of my thermofaxes.

I plan to add more layers with this one, so I'm actually glad the print lightened quite a bit- like a shadow.

This is the one the background washed out of.  Originally this really was a medium light shade of blue!  I did a deconstructed screenprint of a large stamp I made, then went over it with bubble wrap and red thickened dye.  Definitely not my best piece.

I did a couple of other things while I was there.  I took this rusty piece, wrinkled it up on a pan, and shredded steel wool over it and in some folds. 

 I left that for a couple of days, and took it to Junction with me.  Then Thursday night I dumped a cup of tannin water over it, and left that overnight.  I took it with me to Jane's studio Friday and left it outside to dry.  Then I washed it at Susan't Friday night- I couldn't wait to see it, it looked fascinating after I dumped the tannin on it.  This is what I ended up with!

I think it is drop dead gorgeous!  Can't wait to do more rusting while the weather is hot!

I now have two projects I have to get quilted and done by the end of August.  One is ready for the needle, the other is still in the design stage.  So I will be busy, no more trips planned.  And somewhere in there I also have to find time to work on a tee shirt quilt for a son- I want it done before Christmas!

I haven't disappeared. . .

I've just been in Grand Junction for a couple of days, playing with other AQuA members.  I dyed a 66 piece set of color samples, and printed fabric- some deconstructed screenprinting, some just screenprinting.  And I finished that large rust dyed piece of fabric- it turned out awesome!

I never seem to remember to take pictures when all the action is going on.  We had about ten women, most of whom had dyed before.  But Beth (in this picture), never had- and she left with some wonderful fabric.

This table has the color samples it took me all day to complete- 4 inch squares.  Once I get them mounted on muslin or posterboard or something, I will have an invaluable color reference.  Ironing these will be part of the work today.

That shelving unit behind hold the most wonderful rusty objects- Jane has lots of them.

So now I am cleaning up in the studio and washing out the printed fabric after steaming it last night.  Pictures will follow later, but now there is work to be done!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sewing for me, Part 2

I got another top done today- a lightweight jacket out of the cotton-linen I dyed and discharged.  I think I'll enjoy wearing this one!

It still needs to be ironed- I gave it a wash and rinse in Milsoft, since it was feeling pretty stiff.  That helped quite a bit.  All I have left to do is sew on three buttons!

I've also been working on a small piece from the fabric I rusted a couple of weeks ago.  I did some quilting, which was a bear- no matter what needle I used, it went THUNK.  I managed to get the bit quilted on the top, although I shredded some thread in the process.  I don't think I will use Kona muslin to rust again- it is just too finely woven to needle easily, and then you add the rust and it's a nightmare.  Fortunately, this one will be mounted on foam core and matted- so my back will not be inspected by the quilt police!

I'm going to do a bit more quilting after the hand work is done.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to quilt the light colored background.

I'm leaving Thursday for Grand Junction again for a couple of days.  No teaching this time, just a couple of play days at the Fabric Arts Studio with other AQuA members.  I'm hoping to dye some color samples to test out working from weight instead of volume with the dyes, and do some deconstructed screen printing.  And, I'd like to do some soy wax batik.  That should keep me busy for a couple of days!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Comes Out Doesn't Necessarily Fit Back In--

My fabric storage closet in my studio is now functional.  The carpet is dry and re-stretched, it has new baseboards, and the carpet was cleaned and sanitized.  So tonight I thought I'd put back all my bins of fabric that got hauled out.

It took me at least fifteen minutes to figure out how I'd placed the wooden shelves I built under the wall shelves.  Then another hour to figure out the bins.  They're in two sizes, so I could maximize the shelf space.  And then I had more bins of unfinished projects, sheers and lace, zippers- in addition to a small Elna sewing machine, and the Singer Featherweight I bought a few years ago.  How on earth did I fit all that in?

I finally decided that two bins of fabric would have to find a home somewhere else in the studio, and also found some other fabric I will freecycle.  I have a large bin full of plastic containers I use when I teach dyeing- I think those will end up in the garage, or maybe the other closet in the studio.  I still have lots of cleaning and organizing to do- but I'm tired, and I have to get up early for work.  So maybe it will get finished this weekend.  We'll see.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just Ditzing Around. . .

My studio is still in disarray  after the water disaster- but the closet carpet is dry, has been re-stretched, and new baseboards are in place.  I can't move my fabric back into the closet until the carpet cleaners come on Monday- and then I'll have to wait 24 hours for it to dry, so probably not until Tuesday night.

I have done some dyeing and surface design, however.  I dyed ten onesies for a friend who wanted them for gifts--

(Yes, I did a little stamping on some of them too!)

I got a 30" X 36" piece of acrylic at Home Depot so I can do large monoprints, not just fat quarter size.  I have the first part of one done- I hope it will be good enough to use for a whole cloth quilt for an exhibition with AQuA this fall.

I also overdyed the ugly scarf I discharged last weekend.  I went for dark, with navy blue.  It didn't turn out as dark as I'd hoped it would be, but it will work.  Then I screened a coffee bean print in two sizes on it with discharge paste, and used the steam iron to activate the paste.  I got what I wanted, a dark scarf with areas where the yellow and pale blue show through.  Next to that scarf are two more rust dyed scarves.  I gave the first one as a gift, and it was a hit.  So one's for me, and the other is for a friend who's retiring this week.  Lucky her!

I'm thinking about rusting the light gold scarf I discharged last weekend- do some strategically applied contact prints.  I also ordered some tannin- we'll see what that does.

We're off to a friend's for a barbecue tonight.  Hope your weekend is a relaxing and creative one!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Playing with Rusty Objects

I didn't just dye fabric while I was in Grand Junction in June- I started a nice collection of rusty stuff.  My friend Susan gave me some extras she had, and then we also went to a metal junkyard.  Piles and piles of large rusty objects, and bins and bins of small rusty objects!  I spent five bucks, and got more cool rusty stuff- like this. . 

I have circles in several sizes. some rectangles with neat texture, big bolts- and this is just the small stuff.  I also have a couple of large pieces with nice texture.  The pan I requisitioned from the kitchen- better it should be allowed to rust away than hold food anymore!

Sunday night I soaked a one yard piece of cotton, several smaller scraps, and a silk scarf in vinegar.  Then they got wrapped in different rusty stuff, left in a black plastic bag, and kept moist for about twenty-four hours.  I also sat the pan on top of the smaller fabric pieces, so they were getting rusty from both sides.

Last night I soaked them in salt water to halt the process, and tonight I washed them.  Here's what I have--

The silk scarf--

The larger piece of cotton, which will be further rusted before I'm done, and

the smaller pieces of cotton.  At least two of these are going to end up as smaller, matted pieces.

This is definitely fun, and something I will play with further.  My mind is already figuring out how to best enhance the designs on these small bits of cotton.

What I can't figure is why I have to go all the way to Colorado to get rusty metal.  I have never seen a metal junkyard here, despite the fact we had a steel mill a few miles up the road until a few years ago.  I guess I need to cultivate a few farmers around here to keep my rusty stockpile supplied.  And, contrary to what my dear BIL told me, apparently it isn't too dry here to grow rust!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Undyeing, Part 2

I got the cotton/linen fabric all washed out, dried and ironed.  I'm rather mind-boggled by the final result:

It's blue and white, for pity's sake!  The blue is definitely paler than it was before, and all traces of yellow or green are gone.  I decided that this is for clothing, I'm calling it good and cutting it out.

Since I had the thiox pot going, I threw in a couple of silk scarves I'd dyed before and didn't like.  Here's what they looked like when I dyed them last fall--

Ugly!!  I overdyed the yellow/orange one in red, and it was still ugly. So I threw them in the thiox pot, and left them in for about half an hour.  The one on the right turned out very nice, I'm keeping this one.

The patterning is really subtle, but I like it.  The blue/purple one is still rather ugly--

Honestly, I'm not sure if anything can salvage this one.  Just for the heck of it, I think I'll do some soy wax batik, then overdye it in very dark blue.  I'd do black, but I know you can't get black with MX dyes on silk.  What the heck, I'm only out a couple of bucks if it ends up in the trash!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Dyeing and Undyeing

I dyed this piece of cotton-linen blend fabric over the weekend.  I did it tray style, with lines of color across the scrumpled fabric.  I did not jump for joy when I was ironing it.

I wanted paler blues, and more limey greens.  The colors look dull, which I decided is mainly due to the fabric, not the dyes.

So, after looking at it on my table over the weekend, I decided to discharge it in a thiox bath.  I got everything out on the grill, and plunged the fabric into the bath.  Success! I thought.  The blue and green disappeared, the only color left was a bit of yellow- no problem!!

But wait- what's happening!!?  The fabric sticking up above the bath is turning --


The longer the fabric is exposed to the air, the more blue it turns!

I added thiox every fifteen minutes, stirred, but it didn't matter.  When I took it out of the bath, the blue returned.  Lighter than it was before, and now it looks like it's just blue and yellow.  No, it wasn't turquoise, it was Dharma's Cerulean.  So we'll see what it looks like after a hot wash in Synthrapol.

I've never had this happen with Thiox before- although my experience with it isn't extensive.  I don't remember reading anything about this phenomenon in any of my surface design books.  So if you have any idea what is going on, or if I should just forget about discharging Cerulean blue, please comment and let me know.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Two Days, Three Tops!

A six pm cup of coffee helped me power through past my bedtime last night.  I put the last stitches in the Radiance blouse around 10:30.  I'm pleased with how it came out, although I think I will go ahead and make the fabric belt that's shown on the pattern.

A good weekend's worth of sewing, I'd say!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sewing for ME!!

When I was a teenager, I sewed almost all of my clothes.  Now it's something I do once in a very great while.  I have to alter the pattern, I no longer have a body that fits what those designers are doing.  And since I don't want to spend a lot of time on clothing, I pick simple patterns which require minimal alterations.

I have been at it since Thursday night.  Remember this piece I dyed last fall??

It's that yummy Radiance, the silk cotton blend.  I knew I wanted a top out of it, and it took me til now to find a pattern that would both do the fabric justice, and meet my criteria of simple and uncomplicated.

So Thursday night and Friday I made a top out of cotton crinkle gauze I got on sale to test out one pattern.  OK, I'll wear it- but I wasn't sure if I wanted to use this pattern for the Radiance.  (And, it reminded me of why I hate sewing on crinkle gauze!!) I found another pattern I like even better but with similar lines and features, so I made that out of a commercial batik I bought over a year ago.  Bingo!  I like the way it fits, and it will definitely look great out of the Radiance.

The Radiance is now cut out, ready to be sewn.  This fabric is beyond luscious- the silk side has a sparkle and sheen to it that I just love.  The colors glimmer, glow, and shift with the light.  I can't wait to wear it.

I've also got a length of cotton / linen in the dyepot, batching in the sun.  It will make a lovely summer jacket, with all the greens and blues of the season- and a bit of yellow for good measure.  Hopefully I'll get that washed out tonight!

Friday, July 02, 2010

July Already???

I can't believe it is July already- summer's half over, and we've only just started getting our hot summer weather.  Hopefully this will stick around for awhile, it's feeling good!

We are taking a month hiatus on Interpret This!- most of us have rather crazy schedules in July.  We do have the next photo, however, with the reveals starting in late August.  This one comes courtesy of Shannon when she traveled to Switzerland, France, and Italy a year ago--

We've had food, nature, interiors- so I went for something architectural.  This was one of three I submitted to the group coordinators for consideration, so I had no idea which would be chosen until yesterday.  I do love all the lines and shapes in this photo- playing with them to come up with a final design will be fun.  I've already done some work in PSE.

I must admit a partiality to another one I sent.  It was taken on my son's recent trip to Colombia to visit his wife's family.  Just think what  quilter could do with this!!

Get out the beads and embellishments!  I may have to try this one anyway, although there's another picture from Colombia I'll be doing first.

Now that I have some time, I'm spending this weekend making a couple of blouses for me.  I have a wrinkled gauze one cut out, and it won't take long to make.  If that one fits well, I'm making it again out of the Radiance I dyed last year.

Hope your Fourth is a safe and happy one.  We'll be heading up to Scofield again- although I will NOT be sending my camera for a swim in the river this year!!