Saturday, August 31, 2013

My creative urges are hop skipping and jumping all over the place

 Last week as I ironed the last of the first 100 yards of fabric I dyed  I had several ideas running through my head that involved using some of my newly dyed fabric to piece a composition.  I made several sketches before losing interest in any of them.  Then the urge to paint something took hold.  But first I needed to soak some silk in soy milk. 

Since moving to the condo, I have been trying to decide where to stretch a cloth line in the garage.  All of the options have the cloth line crossing over the hood of Josh's car or stretched so that when my silk is hanging to dry it blocks the garage entry.  Because I had no large pieces of silk to work with, I decided to use up some of the smaller pieces of silk I had on hand and try a thread sketching  technique where you quilt first.  I did the quilting with black thread.  Then I painted.  It was interesting. 

Lesson learned.  The next time I try this on a larger scale, or on a serious piece, I will use a solid black fabric or one that is mostly black for the backing.  My HQ makes a great stitch front and back but when I worked the thread densely in areas of heavy thread painting, I got some dots of the top thread showing on the back and this is not good in my opinion. 

I did however liked the look of the black thread. 
  This piece measures approx. 10 x 16 inches. 

 I solved the issue of how to dry my silk by installing two shepherds hooks, one on each side of the little patio located in what I'll call my back yard.  I try to be discrete when hanging fabric out to dry; doing it early when my neighbors are at work and no one is at the pool.  We have a no laundry drying outside clause in the condo rules but I am not doing laundry am I.  What I am doing is the first step in my art process, right?

I soaked a 5 yard piece and these two smaller pieces 28" x 44" .  I haven't decided on what to do with the larger piece yet, but thought I'd paint on these two which I did today.   After a late lunch I sandwiched and began to quilt on the orange piece this afternoon. 
I will give you a better look at them when they are quilted.


Saturday, August 24, 2013


13 ladies from my Friday group plus two other ladies I  met the first of the year at a local quilt show decided to take  an abbreviated version of my painting on silk class.  We met at the church which was ideal in terms of space, light, access to water and a refrigerator in a fully equipped kitchen since we were brown bagging our lunches.  The lunch break lasted 15 minutes because they all seemed to want to get to the painting.  Most of them had they painting completed at the end of the time, only one or two went home with their bottle of soy milk and a little extra paint just in case.  Since this is a group I meet with weekly I can nag :) them in to getting them finished.
Here are some candid shots of their efforts. 
Blue and purples were the color choices of the day, with only one selecting red and no one to my surprise using yellow or orange. 
I am off to the post office while the sun is still shining to send a class sample to Coral Springs, Fl where I will be teaching at the end of next month.  They are predicting rain again (as in down pour) for today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Greet, eat, and show tell what we did and or doing

was the jest of the meeting last night.  I haven't seen any of them since February so that was a real treat for me.  And I enjoyed my evening out.  I first met the seven other ladies that are part of this group' because they were  members of the guild I joined when  I first came to Central Florida.  I have also attended a couple of workshops sponsored by the guild with them or worked on a guild committee but  I never had a real opportunity to sit and chat with them to get a real grasp of what they did as far as what  their fiber art style was.  I had a feeling that most of them were still searching for their "voice" and were willing to play or explore different approaches. 
As one who has had several voices through time I can understand where they are coming from.  I on the other hand have had thoughts of piecing again, hence the piece I did addressed that desire and getting the chance to work with printed fabric of which I had none in the house that were purchased with the intent of using them on the front of my work was an opportunity of sorts. 
I do have commercial printed fabric, but it is stuff I brought to use as  backings for my painted silk pieces.  Now with the art me getting back into dyeing for the purpose of piecing I just might look at printed commercial fabrics again with a different eye.  One that can see incorporating prints into work.
Dinner was good.  I had my favorite Panera's salad;  Greek with chicken and  a bowl of loaded potato soup.
Here are the pieces from this months challenge which I learned last night that could be anything, not necessarily a quilt and could be any size when I thought they had to be twelve inches square.  As I said in an earlier post being restricted to a one square foot space was a real challenge for me, but in hind site I'm not sure what I would have made if size was not an issue.
There was no design wall in the community room at Panera's "pooh" so you will see fingers and arms in the pictures but here goes the show and tell part of the evening.
This is Becky S.  The pieced background was over painted.  She also brought another piece to show what she has been working on that was not part of the challenge.  Small pieces that incorporate metal. 
This piece is the work of Tami F.  She said she tried bleaching the fabrics with no luck and finally decided to paint over the pieced background before adding the 3 D flowers that were created using two layers of fabric and Heat & Bond.  
This piece was made by Michelle R.  Painting over to disguise the "uglies" was the theme of the night it seemed. 
This is Nancy M's piece, fusing, stamping using a free motion pre-quilted in a workshop sandwich as the background.
These two pieces, one a fabric bowl, shaped over a balloon and a small quilt with a woven fabric background with fused foreground images is the second piece
Paula S.  Piece was not finished but here it is.  She trimmed all the strip down to 2-1/2 inches and sewed them together on the diagonal to make a really long strip and then began to double the back and sew them together on the long side as in the "Jelly roll"  440 yard race technique.  it was quilted and she had begun embellishing it with yarn at this point and some small fused slivers of an ant print that seemed to find it way into every ones piece including mine.

Here is my piece. 
Paulette G was present but did not have a challenge piece to show, she did bring a purse (tote) she had just finished to take along n her upcoming trip to Alaska.
In two months were will be exchanging ATC approx. 2" x 4" .  They are to illustrate our art/artist personalities. 
The shutters are in.  They look great.  Would you believe it is raining like crazy so this morning I could not test to see if they work the way I hoped they would to block the sun streaming through the windows from sun up to about noon.   
Today I will be busy getting kits and supplies together for the painting on silk class I am teaching tomorrow.  I also plan to get a few more pieces of the dyed fabric ironed.  The pile is getting smaller. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I believe in angels; ghost, ghouls and goblins, no.

Gremlins... now that's another thing.  Ghost, ghouls and goblins are scary.  They are the things that go bump in the night, whereas gremlins are cute,  at least the ones in the movie by that name were until you fed them after midnight.    Instead of ghost, I like blaming things that go missing on gremlins.. And when  mischief is afoot and you know not who;  as in a human to blame, gremlins.  Perfect scapegoats... gremlins.

Of late more than a thing or two have gone missing around here.  The gremlins have been running amok.  The first thing that I noticed was missing was a hamburger patty.   You might not think that matters much, but it is a mystery.   Josh cooked four on the George Foreman and ate one.  He put three in the fridge and told me he did.  I ate one the next day leaving one in the plastic ware.  Josh was the first to notice that there was only one left.   He asked me if I had eaten two and I said no and  shrugged, but then had to wonder who could have eaten it.  If not  me and not Josh he said.  Not a friend of his who happened to be here.  She's a vegetarian.  Gremlins!

As Rene and I was packing Olivia's stuff to go back to Kentucky, she noticed that a dress and jacket that Olivia had not worn while here (the tags were still on it) were missing from her closet, as was  a pair of pink sandals that were last seen outside the back door in the garage and one of her tennis shoes.  No one who lives in this house has her small size feet or wears a kids size 12. Gremlins!

Next,  one of the outside light bulbs, the one on the east side of the garage went missing.  Gremlins!

A small red speaker that I attach to my I-pod, missing.  I looked high and low and everywhere in between.  I loved that little speaker.  I got it at the Houston Quilt Festival last fall.   Gremlins!

Then today when  I noticed the can of Magic Spray Light body sizing I was using to aid in ironing  my hand dyed fabric  was running low, I looked down knowing there were more cans on the shelf under my ironing surface, but no there were none there.  I was surprised to say the least  because there should have been at least two more cans sitting there.  They weren't anywhere in the house where I would  have for what ever reason moved them.  No drawer.   No cabinet.  I opened them all.  No shelf.  Believed me I looked.  And no I have not ironed more than the wrinkles out of a few t-shirts since I brought the cans.  So there is no way I had used them all.  Gremlins!

Off to the market I went to buy more.  Four more and here are three I have placed in a drawer.  Shhhh... I hope the gremlins don't find them.

I gave up on the Black and Decker iron after one day and I am taking it back.  It doesn't get hot enough and it leaks. 

I am waiting for the company to come install the plantation shutters on my three small windows.  Here it is past four and they were suppose to be here by 3:30.

Here is what I see when I look out the middle of the three windows. So glad the shutters won't obscure the view entirely, just block the sun from stream in when I want to control how much and when it does.

At  5:30 I  am off to have dinner with the ladies in the  new art quilt group I joined.  Will take my camera and maybe they will let me take pictures of what they did with their ugly stripes.

Friday, August 16, 2013

You need heat to make the dyes work

but gees I can surely do without the 90% humidity which we have had plenty of the last three days.  Started ironing yesterday evening, but  my three year old Rowenta Iron died.  Had to get a new iron. It is a Black and Decker that I already know I do not like.  It drips water so I am resorting to using a mister bottle instead of the steam setting.  Despite that I got (25 yards)  of  fabric  ironed,  neatly folded and ready to be put away. 

The chair is filled with 25 yards of dyed fabric.  This pile was done with Testfabric 400M.  Will let you know how easy it is to iron, which will be the test and determine for me if I will order it again.  The lack of ironing needed right out of the dryer was "the"  thing I liked most about Kona PFD after the weight and feel of the cloth. 
I had about 20 yards of previously dyed fabric in colors I knew I would never use (blues and some ugly to me purples and raspberry).   I put the whole lot into one  big bucket to over dye with a mix of black, navy and strongest red.  I am anxious to see if I get some really interesting dark/darks from the lot.
The whole bunch has been batching since about 3 PM yesterday.  I would have done the rinse out process this morning except I went off to the Friday group.  We met at the church today.  On the way home I  stopped at the market with plans to pick up 3 items...   English walnuts. paper towels and gluten free bread.  $119.00 later and needing help to get from the check out to the car (3-24 packs of bottled water which was on sale) and other stuff later  I returned home to the hottest part of the day.  Yesterday I also cut 25 more one yard pieces of cloth with plans to  dye them today but  it was "hot and humid" out and my garage faces South,  there was no way I was going to spend time out there this afternoon.   I decided to iron instead. 
Right now, it looks like it is going to  rain as predicted.  I hope it does and  maybe the heat and humidity will break making tomorrow a better day to spend out in the garage.  Will let you know how the over dyed cloth came out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Change is gonna do you good....

well that was the tune I was humming this morning as I unpacked a box of 100 yards of PFD fabric that UPS dropped at my door yesterday. 

This was an order of Testfabric 400M  which I want to try since so many other quilt/dyers/artist use it.  I also have three plus bolts of James Thompson dyer's cotton on hand to dye too.  I much prefer my fabric to come folded on bolts rather as rolls.  Bolts are easier for me to handle.   For years I only dyed for my own use Kona PFD from Robert Kaufman but I thought I would give these two a try when I decided I would  get back into piecing quilts again.  No I am not abandoning my painted silk work to do  pieced work exclusively.   I just have a few ideas running around in my head that can best be done by piecing.

Although I didn't have a firm idea of what I wanted to piece months ago I did have the desire to dye my own fabric.  Dyeing fabric in quantities like I once did was one of the reasons I wanted to move from the apartment to someplace with a garage and a sink.  While this condo did not come with a sink in the garage it did have the plumbing for one to be installed.   I was all set to begin dyeing when life interfered.  

The set up in the garage was/is ideal except  now as my grandson and I have begun to settle into what is our new normal life without my daughter, his mother in residence, his life and interest has settled into his car, which he tinkers with a is a guy thing.  So not only is there the car, there is also  all the tools and stuff he uses to tinker.  A week or so ago  he  decided he "needed" a motorcycle too.  Then there are his friends who are welcome to hang out with him in the garage.  So by inches and feet my space for storage of my quilt related stuff was being infringed upon.  What to do?
The answer was easy now that my granddaughter has gone home.

Get  rid of the third bedroom, after all, I never planned to have a "guest room" in the first place.  So most of what was placed outside that relates to my quilt making that I could not find a place for inside is now in the room that is a bedroom no more.  The bed that was in the room was taken apart and it , mattress box springs and bed linens is stored in the closet in that room.  This place has really nice size closets... thank goodness.  Some of the other stuff in the bedroom that I wanted to keep and use was moved to other places in the house, the rest, to the Goodwill. 
I reserved room on what was/is my side of the garage to set up tables out there  for those times I want to dye fabric like I am planning to do today.  Will let you see what I got done in the next post.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Having a kid around who is going back to school

is a sure measure of how time flies.  Last weekend was school uniform  and school supply shopping.  All of which will be boxed up today and shipped to Kentucky.  I've had family here most of the summer.  The latest being my sis-n-law from California.  She came on Sunday for a visit.  She is at the airport now. 
Olivia is leaving on Friday.  Back to Kentucky.  School starts next week.   I really was trying to keep myself from saying "when I was a kid we didn't go back to school until after Labor Day".  I know, I am showing my age.  I am going to miss her, but she says now that she feels comfortable flying by herself, she will be back more often, "like for Thanksgiving".
Other things around here will change as well.  Rene will be travelling on business trips for the next six or seven weeks.  Not that we live in each others pocket, but just knowing she is close is comforting. 
This morning I woke up thinking, where has the summer gone and what have I got to show for its passing.  A finished commission that I enjoyed making.  A new sewing machine that I haven't bonded with and a quilt that is in the process of being quilted on the Janome instead of the HQ16.  I really have to put in more time playing around with it before I am as comfortable with it as I am with the Janome.
I've begun to establish a pattern with my days that still needs tweaking but two things that I started the Spring feeling like I wanted to do has taken a back page.  The first, getting into the garage to dye fabric.  Got the fabric, got the dye, haven't made the time.  The other thing; at the end of March I decided that I wanted to join another traditional quilting guild even though my experience with the other one here is Orlando wasn't good.  This new guild is in Lake County about 40 minutes away.  I joined  but because of this and that I've found that it is not easy to get there for the weekly Tuesday meetings. 
Shortly after Lyn died, I meet a neighbor who is a traditional quilter and we've become pals.  After I was able to get up and about and out, she invited me to join a group she belongs to that meets every Friday either at a church or on the alternate week at one of the members homes.  (the ones who have homes large enough to hold 20-30 people if everyone shows up.)   
Coffee and a breakfast bread thing, like donuts and coffee cake, (which I can't eat because of the gluten) and fruit is served.  The host can choose to provide lunch or tells us to brown bag it and they provide a desert.  We meet from 10 to not quite 2, depending on if we are in the middle of a discussion that doesn't want to end.  I tend to be reclusive so this group gives me a reason to get dressed in something other than a white t-shirt and shorts.  The hand work project everyone brings to keep their finger busy while we chat vary from quilt stuff to knitting.  I've taken a knitting projecton occasion, but mostly I am happy that  I have been able to finish bindings and sleeves on three project so far while sitting and chatting.  I love the informality of this group.  No rules.
Two months ago I was invited to be the 8th member of a small group of women who's quilts lean more to the art side.  They meet for dinner at a Panera's near where I live, which is great.  They do  small challengers.  That fact had me giving this  some thought, but I said, what the heck.  It's small projects, its bi-monthly and it's another opportunity to get out and about so I said yes.
I am not going to show you my challenge piece , but will show you what I have to work with and the two drawings that made the final cut in my design process.  I was told I could do anything I wanted and it didn't have to be in the form of a quilt, just not larger than 12" x 12".  Well since I don't do anything but quilts, something quilted it would be.

Two months ago before I joined the group, everyone agreed to bring strip of "uglies" from their stash to the June meeting which I didn't attend.  Here is the pile of what was sent to me in the mail after I said yes.  I dumped them from the envelopes yesterday and thought, "what!"  So I sat down and did several sketches and then refined the drawings on graph paper.  This project is a challenge for me for several reasons,
1.  not my color palette of choice,
2.  the project was to be much smaller than I normally work. only 12" x 12"
3.  I can't remember the last time I sewed to seams together.  Let alone matched intersections.
Thank goodness I could added either black or white.  I chose black.
 Here are the two drawings that won out.  I will  let you see the finished project after the meeting on the 21st of this month

Now I am going back to finish the quilting on this little piece and leave the hand work, binding or facing, sleeve, to do on Friday.