Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Good Day to Dye

This morning was beautiful. Sunny, blue skies and warm. So I mixed up some dyes, prepped fabric and made mental notes about what I was going to dye today. Then I went off to Zumba. When I returned, the Packers were winning and it seemed like a perfect day to spend on the couch and watch football. But I had other plans.

My stash needs some lighter colors. I tend to prefer to dye really rich, saturated colors, but I need some lighter colors to balance things. Following are some lighter colors; there's another one that didn't make it into the picture. They look pretty bright, but they're always a couple of shades lighter after they're dry.

And I needed a shibori-dyed piece for a challenge I am doing. I drizzled some green on the rolled tied fabric. Then I scrunched it and doused it with dark chocolate brown dye.

Then I did a couple of skies and some "tree-dyes." I'll post pictures after it's all washed out and done.

By the time I finished, the skies were cloudy and it had started pouring.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quilts in Bloom

This is going on now through October 11 at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI. The quilts had to have a botanical theme and they're hung with lots of flowering and foliage plants. They really look pretty and the smell from all the flowers is almost overwhelming.

This quilt was hung at the opening of the room, so it is the first thing you see when you enter. It is by Elinor Koepcke of Madison, WI with the quilting by Nell Coons of Verona, WI. It is titled "Leaves Over the Rainbow."

This bright floral quilt is "In Our Garden #16" by Kathleen Hughes of Wauwatosa, WI.

""Maple Melody" by Pat Kroth of Verona, WI

"Growing Wild" by Donna Ford of Prairie du Sac, WI

And this was my quilt as it was hung in the show.

"Rainbow Garden" is a whole cloth quilt. I hand dyed a piece of cotton sateen, then did a lot of thread work and quilting. I used cotton and poly threads and a wool batting. I forgot to take some detail shots -- but I will either figure out how to enlarge something in PhotoShop or I will take some more pictures.

Eek! A Bug!

Yesterday, I was happily working in my cubicle when I heard my co-worker gasp and make a strangled sound. I peeked my head out and saw that she was upset about a very large, very green insect that was making its way up inside of the storefront window of our office.

I jumped up and ran to her rescue. Being the manager, I ordered her to get it down from there. Being not in awe of my managerial status, she refused. So I had to rely on my creative skills. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a clean beer cup left over from our summer office party. I then got an empty file from the cabinet. I clambered up on a chair and popped the cup over the offending critter. It plopped into the cup and I slid the file folder between the glass and the cup. I hollered at her to open the door and I leaped off the chair and ran outside and released it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching in horror as it crawled up the bricks outside the window and hung out on the edge of the overhang of the roof in front. Yikes!

It was gone this morning. Phew. Now maybe we can get some work done.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall and Halloween Swap Blocks Coming Along

Today I finished the sewing part for all the Halloween blocks. I had a blast with fancy threads:

And I also have a shot of some of the scraps from the pumpkins and the leaves :

All that is left is a little sewing on the Autumn leaf blocks and the embellishments. I had so much fun, I forgot to go to my Zumba class. So I'll have to go twice tomorrow. Or not.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quilt Expo Pics

In no particular order, these are some of my favorite quilts from Expo:

"Tranquility" by Holly Kobza from Baraboo, WI.

"Courage" by Barbara Polston from Phoenix, AZ.

"Dancing With My Mother" by Elizabeth L. Williams of Rockford, IL.

"Rays of Rubellite" by Loretta Painter of Norris, TN.

"Blazing His Own Trail" by Ann Crowl Meyer of Richland Center, WI.

There were lots more that I liked -- some were pretty amazing. I think that there were more quilts this year than last. I took my daughter (age 9) who said, "This makes me want to go home and make something." I did go home and work on those Fall/Halloween swap blocks.

I took Sunday off and finished reading a book: 1421 The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies. It's an interesting book. The author claims that China discovered and mapped the world and it was copies of those maps that enabled the European explorers to "discover" the rest of the world. He refers often to his website, but when I checked it, its links were broken and I found a whole bunch of other stuff debunking his claims. Still, it is an interesting theory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ennui? or: Are We Having Fun Yet?

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." -Dorothy Parker

My high school French teacher, Mrs. Hardy, used to say that people who were bored were just not smart enough to find something to do.

My mother always had stuff for bored people to do: window washing, floor scrubbing, bathroom polishing, lawn mowing, garden weeding. There were never any bored people around my mother.

"(S)he refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn't boring." -Zelda Fitzgerald

I'm off to Quilt expo with my friend Beth (who blogs here). I doubt I'll be bored.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quilt Expo Well Hung

Today I volunteered to hang quilts at Quilt Expo in Madison, WI. I helped hang a special display of Natalie Sewell's and Nancy Zieman's landscape quilts. I also got to see my own quilt, "Bamboo Tiger" hung in a special display at the end of the same hall.

This is a picture from the Sun Prairie Quilt show where it took a second place ribbon in the "Asian Challenge" for applique. I was too busy to take any photos today, but I did get in a little "pre-shopping" among the vendors that were setting up.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fall Swap Sneak Peek

I am involved in another swap -- this time it's 8 and 1/2 inch blocks depicting either a fall or Halloween theme.

Yesterday I made some fabric. I took an almost-Shibori hand dye:

and picked some leaves from my neighbor's maple tree. I sprayed it down with Tsukineko Walnut Ink Antiquing Solution, using the leaves as a resist. I let it dry, then I heat set it.

Next time I will pick more leaves because I had to keep moving them and after the first spray, they were pretty messy.

I fused on some hand-dyes cut out to look like leaves and next I'll do thread work. I'll post a picture of the finished blocks after I send them out.

Today I sketched out some possibilities for the Halloween blocks. I was going to make two of each (I think I need a total of 5 to swap) so that I could keep one and send the other, but no one said that they had to all be different.

I like the witch the best, but there's another cat that I didn't post. I am not sure which I'll make into blocks yet. I also like spiders, so I might do that too. Or bats. Maybe Jack O'Lanterns...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Much Creating Today

I worked on some fall swap blocks today -- but mostly, I reread a book.

"If God had wanted me to lose weight he would have made sure there was creamed spinach for dessert."
-Stephanie Plum in Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich.

Kinda sums up my attitude today. I wish I had some cake. Chocolate. With frosting.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Reward

So today was cleaning day. The whole crew -- we got the place cleaned up and then everybody scattered to spend the rest of the day having fun.

I made this purse a while ago.
I sewed together random strips of purple hand dyes and batiks -- some commercial, some of my own. I remember that I was a little appalled at how many different purples I had in my stash. The bag is lined with a streaky purple hand-dyed cotton sateen. I made the leaves from those things that soak up excess dye in the washer. I cut out leaf shapes, then painted veins with puff paint mixed with Polished Pigments. I hit them with some heat so they puffed, then fastened them with bead work.

Today, I took some Tyvek from a used envelope and painted it with Lumiere golds -- I used Sunset Gold and Bright Gold.
After it dried, I ironed it between sheets of parchment so it bubbled and cut out football shapes.
I dug out the sewn together strips leftover from the purse and set in the Tyvek shapes. Then I layered it and quilted it with wavy lines and circles on the Tyvek.
So -- football shapes on the day of the Wisconsin Badgers' football season opener -- coincidence?
I think not.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Post

This is my first post. I thought that having the responsibility of a blog would provide me with the impetus to work on my creative stuff. This is a project that I started several months ago, but finished this week.

I used a piece of PFD fabric and drew the image of my dog (Rosie) with Tsukineko inks, heat set the image, then I used diluted Pebeo Setacolor paints to color the rest of the fabric. I stamped it with a commercial stamp and one that I made myself. My daughter suggested I quilt a skull shape -- so I had her draw one with chalk and I quilted it next to her name.
Then I made a little bag for her.
This is one side. And this is the other side.