Tuesday, February 24, 2009

5-Part Gradation Dyes

ProChem Colors used on this dyeing day :
Antique Rose
Bark Internet Special
Gun Metal Gray

Antique Rose 5-Part Gradation

Gradation 2 of 5 in full view

Bark Internet Special - 6-Part Gradation

Bark - Gradation 2 of 6 in full view :

Gun Metal Gray 5-Part Gradation :

Gun Metal Gradation 2 of 5 in full view

I decided that the #6 of these gradations usually came out too faint to bother with (as in enough color to look like a stained rag), so I only did 5-part gradations this round.

This time, I stuffed and dumped and kept from mashing the fabric around much. The bark came out with some dramatic mottling. Very nice!

Gun Metal Gray looked almost black in the cups, but washed up to more of a stoney/mossy green.

Parfait Dyes - End of February

Parfait Dyes - I'm pretty happy with this set! The colors are more vibrant than the snow dyes from the same day.

I want to get better about picking the color combinations that will go together in the parfaits without turning to mud.

ProChem Dyes used :
Antique Rose
Bark Internet Special
Gun Metal Gray

The colors really seem to have separated on this one. The fuschia is overpowering everything else. This one might be thrown back into the bin to be over-dyed another day ...

Another Round of Snow Dyes

Colors in this batch (ProChem) :
Antique Rose
Gun Metal Gray

I have to say I'm a little disappointed with this batch. I used plenty of dye this time around. Things looked rich and dark in the tray after the snow melted--and then all the color seemed to wash down the drain. These look kind of dull. Sigh!

Troubleshooting :
? They sat wet in the tray for more than 24 hours. I did not pop this batch in the microwave to heat set it before washing. I didn't think Procion worked that way, but I have heard of other snow dyers heat setting the color in microwave ovens.

? The Soda Ash Soak water was room temp. when I started -- a cozy 40 degrees F in my basement wet studio. Is that too cold to properly activate and open the fibers?

? I added the usual amount of Soda Ash and salt to the dye concentrates. Was it too much soda ash with the the pre-emptive soak as well?

? I ran out of the Dharma Soda Ash and am using grocery store Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. Could that be the problem?

? Maybe I forgot to use hot-hot water on the pre-wash with Synthropol?

? Maybe there's extra chlorine in the city water today?

The other dyeing that day looked pretty good by comparison ...

I've come to the conclusion that dyeing is kind of like a gambling addiction--You get 1 or 2 lovely pieces ( a lucky break) and you keep trying to get that back ...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What Have You Lost? Journal Quilt


You will arrive

at a point
when you realize
that you have been missing
from most of your life ...

You will search ...

and you will find
pieces that fit together
and pieces
that aren't there

someone took them from you
without the permission
you never knew you had

you will glue the pieces together
and the cracks will leak
you will break open
fall apart
and I will help you
find you

we will wait till May
and dig a hole together
bury the pieces you have
and don't have

and I will lie
next to you
on the ground
until you grow
--Andy Young, in What Have You Lost

Andy Young (She's a woman--It just didn't work in my mind when I thought of this poem written by a man.) wrote this poem called "Sister." It appeared in an anthology edited by Naomi Shihab Nye called, What Have You Lost?

This poem hit me like a ton of bricks when I first read it, and I knew that one day, I would spell it out in fiber and stitch. My friend Sandy was this kind of Sister to me. How many days did we spend sitting out on the dock at Cherokee Marsh .. laughing, walking, canoeing, supping, crying ... quiet times, too, just being together.

She helped me pick up the pieces after many a broken heart. She helped me plant them, and stayed right by my side to watch them grow into something strong and beautiful. She taught me to stand up for myself. She made me understand and believe that I was a worthy person, not a doormatt.

Sandy died unexpectedly 2 months before my son was born. It's been 8 years now, and I still miss her ... I am the person I am today because I knew Sandy. I have not forgotten you, my Friend. Now it's my turn to help someone else pick up the pieces ...

Detail of the shattered pieces at the root of the tree.

The page from my notebook, holding the idea until I could make it real ...

Someone recently gave me a set of "trade blocks" (You make a set of blocks along with everyone else in your group. Then you trade so everyone has a complete set - one of everyone else's blocks.) One of the blocks had this green and blue tree painted on it. It looked a lot like the trees I tend to draw ... It was a kick-start to make this project happen.

Techniques : It's a small journal quilt. Journal Quilts are not necessarily meant to be beautiful. They are usually small works (9x11 inches, or so) to try out a new technique, or in this case, work out a spiritual quandry. This one is in the spirit of the Diary Quilts by Susan "Lucky" Shie.

I put excerpts from Andy Young's "Sister" poem in the background.
Sandy's words of wisdom over the years are in the branches of the tree.
I added the ground and the shattered soul pieces in the roots of the tree.
In that womb of earth, the pieces are safe enough, warm enough, close enough to pull together and regenrate into something new. Stronger. Self-assured.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Few Other Works in Progress from Quilt Camp 2009

I got a good start on this baby quilt, made from a Crayon Box of strings.
The next step is to quilt it (or tie it--kids seem to love the yarns to play with and chew on ...)
This can be the drag-around, constant companion for my sister's Baby #2 in Japan.

I got a good start on this Salmon wall-hanging, too. I was able to get this far with it on Friday night. He's all stitched down. The next step is the quilting and binding. It always takes me a while to decide just what designs I want to quilt -- For this, I'm thinking waves ... But that still needs to percolate in my mind for a bit longer ...

Detail of salmon.

Side note : This weekend is is spear-fishing season on Lake Winnebago for Sturgeon. I am considering doing up a sturgeon in this Pacific Northwest style. It would be a mixing of cultures, but still worth doing, I think.

I started this little chickadee in a thread-painting class 2-3 years ago. We had a talented artist teaching the class from northern Wisconsin. I think her name was Sandy W.

Detail of Chickadee.
The teacher had a background in wildlife painting, so she had a very different view on color and texture than the average run-of-the mill applique quilter. Her stuff is amazing!

Detail Chickadee.

I also did some mindless sewing of 4-patch posey blocks for 3 quilts in waiting. You'll be seeing those again as work progresses ...

It was a very productive and relaxing weekend at Quilt Camp.

February Post Cards

This fabric post card (Valentine) has been perking for several months on my drawing board. I thought Valentine's Day would be a good time to finish it. Here's the page from my Sweet Leaf Notebook, mapping out the idea on paper first :

I had this in mind for a long-lost friend, newly found last summer. But he's not all that sentimental, and our friendship is certainly not romantic. I don't think my husband would keep something like this either ... so it went to my Mom, who will hang onto it, and who IS sentimental. My notes say things like : From my heart to yours, the distance doesn't matter. The hearts have spirals on them because I've become acutely aware of my heart as a sort of engine that turns this column of energy straight to those I love ... Through it, I know things I couldn't know any other way. Sounds goofy, I know. But I really was trying to convey something that seems to be happening in the energetic world for me ...

This is the other fabric post card called "Leftovers / Reaching."

These strips were cut off of some of the Fiber in Form class samples from a few months ago. These were just crying out to be another piece of art all unto themselves. These strings have a real dialogue going between them ...

My New Mittens

At Quilt Camp this past weekend, one of my projects was to make a pair of toasty, warm mittens from an felted, shrunken too-small sweater.

These mittens look like they belong in a Jan Brett book! I love them!

Here's the sweater-jacket after I cannibalized the sleeves for my new mittens. I could still get a few more out of this jacket.

Winter Quilt Camp 2009 : To Do List

Aunt Rosita, Me, My Mom

I spent the past weekend at Quilt Camp in central Wisconsin. This is a great weekend to just spend time with family and friends in a nature setting, and quilt. Someone else takes care of food. All we have to do is make stuff. It's great!

Here's what I plan to be working on :

* Mittens from Felted Wool Sweater
* Baby Quilt from Crayon Box Strings
* Square up 4-Patch Posey Blocks
* Sew 4-Patch Posey blocks (for CL and JL)
* Finish Northern Lights block
* What Have You Lost? Journal Quilt
* Halibut Wall Hanging
* Salmon Wall Hanging
* Post Card - Valentine
* Post Card - "Leftovers / Reaching"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Snow Dyes - Lovely Watercolor Effect

Another batch of dye seeping down through a pile of snow. The colors mixed up for this session were Wintergreen, Rosewood, and Stormy Skies from ProChem.

I just love the soft watercolor effects this method creates :



I hope I'll be able to do another batch before the snow melts for the season. Otherwise, I might have to try shaved ice.