Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yippee Skippy!

Look what I got in the mail!
I've been working on some top secret projects lately -- and I can't show mine (um, because they're not finished), but I can show the ones I received from others.These beauties are known as Crazy Quilt 4x4s (CQ 4x4s).  They are four inch pieced and embellished bits of art.  I am involved in a trade with 15 other artists and I will post pictures of mine after I mail them out.  In order (I hope -- I'm still having trouble figuring out where things are going to end up after I click "PUBLISH POST" -- I really wish blogger would enter the 21st century and have a WYSIWYG compose window.)  Anne Marie from Canada did the blue and gold one, Cheryl from WY did the one with the dragonfly, 
Sandy D from VA created the one with the snowflake rays and Beth near Chicago did the other snowflake one.

Oh, and I finished my nursery rhyme challenge quilt, but I can't post it yet, so here are a few sneak peaks:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Dye Parfait Results

I brought the parfait bucket into the house and let it batch on top of a heater vent in the family room under the lemon tree overnight.  By the next afternoon, the snow was almost all melted and all the water and dyes had drained into the stuff at the bottom of the bucket.

I rinsed and washed the fabrics.  They don't look anything like the fabrics Shirley had.

I'm pretty sure that these are in order from bottom to top as they were layered in the bucket (again, with the shoddy note-taking).
Each layer of fabric took on some of the the color that it sat on top of and then got more color from the dye above as it dripped through the snow.

I like these -- I think it would be worth an experiment to try it using a more limited palette of color, such as yellows with orange and reds, maybe blues, purples and magenta, or blues and yellows together.

Probably because the snow dripped through all the layers as it melted, there was very little dye left to wash out -- the second rinse had no color in it.  The liquid at the bottom of the bucket was pretty dark.

The top layers had the best patterning and color, so I think that fewer layers would be a good idea also. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow Dye Parfait

Shirley, a cyber-friend who blogs here, posted some pictures of some wonderful snow dyes that  looked like they had veins like marble or granite.  She said that her mother had done them.  She kindly shared the directions with Beth who shared them with me.
I took those directions and combined them with the technique from Terri Stegmiller of Three (then Two) Creative Studios for One Bucket Dyeing and came up with the idea of Snow Dye Parfait (I'm really sick of snow and we just keep getting more; I do this so I don't go snow-insane).  

I set some containers into the bottom of a bucket and cut a piece of snow-fencing (that I lifted from a construction site a while ago to use for a dye-painting resist) to set on top of the containers so the fabrics would not sit in the excess liquid.   Then I  layered the soda-soaked fabrics in the bucket and poured a different color of dye on each layer of compacted snow, remembering color-mixing rules so I didn't get mud-colored fabrics.
I let the whole thing hang out overnight in the garage.  The temperature is around 30 degrees farenheit, so the snow was kind of slushy and packed well.

From the bottom up, I used Sun Yellow, Sapphire, Grape, Boysenberry, Golden Yellow, and Turquoise dyes in this order with another dribble of turquoise on the very bottom layer.  It really does look like a delicious snow cone.  Makes me think of summer...

Next post:  the results.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snowy Monday Design Wall

Today my design wall is a hodge podge of stuff.  The sparkly chickens are still there, the couple of blocks that I started for my piecing club and those painted fish occupy the lower portions.  Off to the right is an unfinished piece inspired by my cyber-friend Judi at Approachable Art.  It includes regular hand-dyes (by me) and some of my snow-dyes.  As I sew the strips together, I have been adding more strips.  They're quite narrow -- one to two inches wide, so they finish out at 1/2 to 1 inch.  I like the edges  staggered, so I'm going to have to figure out how to finish them without losing that effect.  If you would like to see what is going on on other people's design walls, click here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Continuation of the Life Cycle of the Snow Dye

Here I present the pupa stage of the snow-dye.  For this session, I mixed up lemon yellow, golden yellow, fuchsia, grape, turquoise and some black.

     This half yard was folded in half an scrunched with fuchsia and turquoise dyes poured over -- it's a little too pink for me -- I will probably over-dye it with a little golden yellow.

The whole yard was folded and scrunched with dyes poured over in a rainbow sequence.

This one was scrunched and twisted with dyes randomly poured over.  I like the depth the black dye lends.

This half yard is yellow, turquoise, and black -- there is a little orange showing, I wonder if I dripped a little fuchsia on it, or if that's the golden yellow with the black (someday I should learn to take better notes).    
 The whole yard was accordion folded with yellow, turquoise and black with a couple of drips of very diluted fuchsia or grape. -- I like this one -- it looks like a canyon or a mountainside to me.

This one was accordion folded in the center of the fabric and the ends were scrunched. Turquoise, yellow, purple -- those are great lavender tones in between the "trees."  

I am saving the "adult" phase of the life-cycle for later -- a snow-dye cannot become an adult and realize its full potential until it is made into something.  It comes into its own only when made part of a larger thing.

"By a small sample we may judge of the whole piece."
-Miguel de Cervantes 1547 - 1616

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Life Cycle of the Snow Dye

Like other living things, snow-dyed fabric has its own life cycle.  Following is an attempt, in words and pictures, to describe the growth and development from beginning to end; in this case, from egg to pupa stages.

This is a picture of the egg stage.  Note that there is no color as yet.  The soda-soaked fabrics are scrunched in their shells.

Here is a shot of the incubating fabrics, each covered with a soft coat of fresh snow.  They sleep and grow, nestled in their plastic shells.

This is what we call the young larvae or nymph stage -- note the bright colors are visible now.  This is where the sense of humor develops and they begin to enjoy jokes about bodily functions.

Here are the mature larvae -- ready to be rinsed and washed.  Notice that the snow has melted and dripped through the fabric, with color pooling in and around.

Next post:  the emergence of the pupae

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm a Winner!

My friend Beth, who blogs here, recently returned from her travels in South Africa.  She had a giveaway on her blog and I won!  Today in the mail, this cool fabric arrived:

I unfolded it to run it through the washing machine per her instructions and found this on the back:

Is it possible that the back is even cooler than the front?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morning Is Broken

I am not a morning person.  I would prefer to stay huddled in my blanket cocoon every day until at least noon.  But, alas, kids, job, real life, etc. conspire to drag me from my unconscious state way too early -- each and every day.    I am the kind of person who stays up until the wee hours reading "just one more chapter." And then the next day stumbles out of bed, one eye partially open, reaching for coffee and trying to find the shower before slamming into a wall.

My brother, who lives in a place where the climate is perpetually hot -- even in winter, defends his choice by saying, "we're early people.  We get up early," he says, "before it's hot, and do our stuff."  Humph.  Well, we're not "early people."  Not for nothing.  Even now, when I am heartily sick of snow and seeing the filthy, frozen mounds surrounding the sidewalk and roads makes me want to hurl, the prospect of having to get up early to "do stuff" does not appeal.  I just can't do it.

I drive east in the morning to get to work.  My route skirts a lake and some marshland where I see waterfowl and fishermen, working on those early worms.  Sometimes, I am blessed with a view of trees, stark and black, outlined against morning fog rising from the wetlands just beyond. I often see things on the morning drive that I would never see any other time.  I try to keep these images in my head because  I never seem to have a camera then and there's really no good place to stop and take a photo.  Suffering for art is one thing, dying for it is unacceptable.

The Creative Cue for this week is "morning."  Only one letter more and you have "mourning." Hmmmm.....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Wishes

"Burning Desires"

Work in Progress
Painted and foiled fusible web on cotton sateen and hand-dyed cotton

Friday, February 12, 2010

Catching Up

Last week's Creative Cue was "odd."  I kept thinking of eggs.  Because they're not round?  And that makes them odd?  So I have this photo that I manipulated in Photoshop.  Here is an odd number of eggs.

This week's Creative Cue is "tie."  All I could think of was "tie one on."  So I drew this picture of an embellished gutter.

That's not me in the gutter -- just my mind.  I've had a rough week -- but not that rough.

And because this post needs some color -- a photo of my blooming hibiscus -- there were two flowers that greeted me this morning.  This is the prettiest.  Yes, that is snow outside the window.  I keep them in my front room all winter and let them go back outside after it warms up.  Usually by June at the latest...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Many Were Entered,

few were chosen. Sadly, mine was in the latter group. But I had fun making it.

"Wisconsin Seasonal"
26" x 52"

Rust-dyed, hand-dyed, and shibori-dyed cotton fabrics, machine pieced, appliquéd, and quilted. Highlighted with textile paint. Cotton and rayon threads.

I wanted to showcase the seasons of agricultural Wisconsin with the bright blue spring sky, the verdant green of the fields, and the state tree, Sugar Maple, leaves quilted into the border.

The all-important corn over the golden field of grain in the fall.

And the winter snow -- under which the ground sleeps and renews itself for the coming year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Little Bit of Paint and Some Big Blocks

After heat-setting the diluted paint (thanks, Jill), I washed and ironed (again) these formerly white on white fabrics. I like the pale colors and the subtle textures from the scrunching.

The group that I meet with once a month decided to do this pattern for this year:

It's a sampler quilt with lots of options (for those of us who prefer to do our own thing) and the blocks are varied enough that they're interesting for advanced quilters, but easy enough for the more novice among us.

Since I had to return to my un-real job last week (after a six-week layoff), I have to get back in the swing of things and relearn how to budget my time. So I'm two months behind on blocks (and haven't posted in almost a week). I took a snow day today and finished this block:

It's called "Queen's Petticoat." For Christmas, my daughter gave me some beautiful batiks in watery blues and greens. I added some more from my stash and the fabrics I painted in my last post.

Being a fan of tedious patchwork -- why do easy if you can make it hard? -- I decided that the nine-patch in the center of the other January block was just too simple. So I got out my graph paper and drafted this star. I paper pieced it using the freezer paper technique.

This block is called "Mrs. Lloyd's Favorite." After I made the center, I thought it might have too much white space, so I made a Lemoyne star for the center. Yes -- one of those diamonds is a scrap of my own hand-dyed marbled fabric. It's left over from a quilt I made for my son -- I finished the top, now I just have to quilt it.

Now I have to decide which to use. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sylvia's Blocks and a Tiny Bit of Paint

A couple more of the blocks from the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Book (the original post is here). The one on the left is paper pieced with freezer paper -- the one on the right was done with templates.


I need some light background fabrics for another project and (of course) I don't have exactly what I want in my stash, so I decided to try a technique suggested by Jill at the Quilt Rat in her post here. Instead of getting out the dyes, I diluted some paint and dipped in dry fabric, squeezed it out, and scrunched it up on these "paint palettes."

I am hoping that when it is dry, the fabric will have some patterning from the paint in it. I really diluted the paint -- literally one drop to about a cup or more of water. These are some white on white fabrics that I bought a while ago, thinking that I would dye them in really bright colors and the white print would show up nicely. I'll save that fun for when the weather warms up a bit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


"Fiesta Dreamin'"
10" x 14"

The February challenge for the After Dinner Journal Page is "Mexican Fiesta." Upon hearing this, I immediately began to salivate: grilled foods wrapped in freshly made tortillas topped with salsa and avocados, smell of mesquite smoke hovering in the air, ripe, juicy tropical fruits, all accompanied by live musicians playing their hearts out. Then, I looked out the window. KZZZZZAAARRRZZZzzzkkkk (that is the sound made by a needle dragging across a record)!

A few more inches of fresh snow came down today. It's warmer, but hardly fiesta weather. So I cleaned up the drool. I thought of a beautiful dancing señorita with her swirling skirt and colorful, embroidered blouse. But I couldn't do justice to that in the two hours that the challenge allows.

Then I remembered that The Amazing Melody Johnson (who blogs here) did a piece called "Matchstick Moons" (which is here) that I really liked. So I decided to purloin her technique and make it my own.

First I gathered up a bunch of my favorite hand-dyes. I find myself really craving bright colors like these by this time of the winter.

Then I cut out some simple shapes from freezer paper and ironed them to the turquoise fabric.

Then -- this is the fun part -- I cut matchstick sized pieces on the bias from the fusible-backed hand-dyes and scattered them around the freezer paper shapes. I pressed and steam-set the whole thing (I had a blast getting it from my cutting mat across the room to my ironing board without losing any of the little pieces -- that was an exercise in creativity all by itself).

I removed the freezer paper shapes and the hat looked a little boring, so I added some little bits of red to jazz it up.

I layered it with black batting and some stabilizer on the back. It's a bit bigger than the 8 1/2 x 11 inch size the challenge requires, but I plan to cut it up and turn it into Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) to trade at Festival in Chicago this spring. Hopefully the quilt police won't come and arrest me first. I think that the black batting will look good peeping out from behind the colorful threads I'm going to zig zag over the edges.