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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Now Ice Dyeing

In my dyeing session on our deck, I tried ice dyeing outside on a very hot afternoon.  I layered guaze in a rather small bucket and put regular-sized ice cubes on top of the fabric.  I sprinkled the dye powder randomly on top of the ice: blue, red and bronze.  I left the bucket outside for a couple of hours.
The size of the guaze is 36"x36". 
The second picture shows my granddaughter's arm to compare the  
 pattern size to something known. 

 The guaze was loosely layered and there was not so much ice that
 it packed the fabric closely together, so I think the wet dye was able to flow to the bottom.  I did not push the fabric down before I took it from the bucket because I did not want to muddy it with the mixture of colors that must have been at the bottom.  I carefully lifted the guaze from the top. 

 I batched the guaze overnight, then rinsed and washed as usual. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the guaze.  I lose the effect if it is bunched and it does not show much if it flutters in the wind.  So, the possibilities await.

What I will do differently next time is:
1.  use a flatter container to spread the fabric more, like a baking pan for a turkey.
2.  use a mesh like a hardware cloth, so the fabric does not fall through to sit in the dye.
3.  probably not use guaze.

I want to use more colors, ones that are across the color wheel.  I plan  to use a fabric like silk.  I'm thinking with something as tightly woven as cotton, the wet dye would sit on the fabric surface and become a strange polka dot rather than wick thoughout the fabric.

I saw some ice dyeing that Lisa Kerpoe had done.  Her pieces were very nice.  It really is a fun experiment. Let me know if you have tried it and thanks for reading my blog.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dying to dye more fabric

A long-time plan to start changing the color and pattern of fabrics and/or creating colors and patterns of my own has finally happened this summer.  I have been reading Jane Dunnewold surface design books and essays, have had classes with Lisa Kerpoe in surface design techniques and silk screen, as well as with Susie Monday in silk screen.  Charlie purchased a double sink for the deck about two years ago and last fall put it all together so my area for fabric dyeing and design has been ready.

One of my best experiences was a three day class with Lisa Kerpoe to learn to silk screen, first constructing my own screens, then ways to put the design on silk fabric, including a number of mediums like washable glue, soy wax, freezer paper, and so on.  I drove to and from Kerrville for three days and it was worth every mile. 

The top fabric I call "Blue Movement" and the pattern comes from two different kitchen tools: remember making mashed potatoes by hand?  The other is part of a cocktail - martini - set).

 This white with purple crackle is a piece of white silk heavily coated with soy wax, allowed to dry overnight, then crackled. I painted the silk with purple dye. The wax was removed by melting the fabric in a pot of boiling water, several times. This is probably my favorite of the class projects. 

I painted on the purple dye again after dripping the glue in sort-of circles to make the white design. The piece on top is a silk screen design I had done in Susie's class that was permanently on the screen. I loved the birds all on top of each other. I put more color through dots found on the paper strip that is used for corners on sheetrock. You never know where design patterns and tools will come from.

 I have since had another day to dye silk at the studio I have shared in renting over the summer to see if the studio set-up rather than my home space would be more conducive to creating fiber art and surface design.  My conclusion is that my home space probably serves me best. 
The home set-up was used with my friend, Linda Teddlie Minton, who provided the experience and dyes the first time we worked on fabric on the deck.  That day we dyed cotton and had a glorious time until the heat did us in.  I'll have pictures of that another time.
So I am started - I have the tools (spread all over the family room today as I organize them into sections for storage), the auxilliary materials (soda ash, urea, Synthropol, etc.), the containers, and a few of the dyes.  My plan is, now that I know where things are, to learn to set up in an efficient manner so that the dyeing becomes the fun, productive time I know it can be.  I'm close.

So, let's see what I show you next time and thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

She's Baaacccccckkkkkkk!

Time to get back on the blog.  I'm not exactly sure what's kept me from the blog since March.  I do know the state of clutter in this house interferes with doing a number of things I say I love to do.  The de-cluttering has begun and I'm feeling I can get on top of things again.
I did manage to get my old white clodhoppers painted in a way that makes me happy to wear them.  In a resturant a man asked if he could take a picture.  Of course!  Just the shoes.  My plan is to have more colorful things to wear.

Also,  I submitted for the third year a doll to the Hoffman Challenge and she is traveling! The fabric pleated for her skirt  is the very large print that was the challenge fabric for this year. Entrants did clever techniques like pleating; piecing small squares of pattern to have the color, but not the large flowers; and other ways to make the pattern work for dolls. She has a white feather in her hat that is cut off a bit at the top, and roses thrown to the stage for her performance. In her hands is a leather-backed song sheet.  Her name is Miss Diva and titled, "She Sings. It's Over." 
2012 Hoffman Challenge.  She is traveling until 2013.
Traveling means she is in one of three trunks that Hoffman sends to and exhibits in various quilt shows, museums, and exhibits all over the US.  Miss Diva will be twice in Colorado and Florida, and once in Tennessee.  There are five stops, which seem to be somewhat fewer than the dolls traveled last year.  My doll, "Hana's Fan for Flirting," has been traveling this year.  She should be home soon.

The Hoffman website just published the fabric for 2013.  I really like it, and it will be a challenge to work with for dolls.  Hoffman designs a fabric pattern just for the Challenge, so this has not been seen before and will not be for sale until mid-fall.

Time to get back to the sorting.  I'm trying to hold my "hoarder" at bay and let my "clear-it-out" take over.  Not easy.  I'll let you know later what I accomplished.  Hope you will have a great week and thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Off My List

I'm glad to say I have completed two small projects sooner than the night before!  I tend to take these small project, thinking - Oh, that won't take much time at all!  This is true, they don't; BUT they hang around as more-to-do.  The green dress has been literally hanging on a Shaker peg for over six months;  the blue dress I bought at a thrift store last week for $0.75.

These formal dresses are for the CAMPfest, March 24th, at CampCamp, the year-round activity center for individuals with disabilities, located near Center Point.  Charlie and I volunteered last year and had a wonderful time.  The fashion show has been part of CAMPfest for several years and gives the girls and young women a chance to wear and be seen in a glamorous gown.  Charlie escorted a young lady, who is blind, on the red carpet to stand at the front with the other girls and women all decked out in beautiful gowns and party make-up.   The gowns have been donated over the years and there are many choices.
My friend, Kitty, had purchased the green dress. Kitty has also given me all kinds of sparkly beads and sequins that she removes from the really fancy dresses she buys in her jaunts to the thrift shops.  These two flashy pieces seemed perfect for these simple dresses, probably made for bridesmaids. 

The other part of my work was to open up the back from neck to hem, and finished the edges.  These are for those girls and women in wheelchairs who can't stand up.  The dress can be slipped on from the front, then tucked in on the sides and pulled together behind their legs.

The blue dress was fully lined so I could make a very finished edge by sewing the right sides of the dress and lining together, and turning.  The green dress needed a binding from neck to hem,   For each dress I made a rectangle piece for the back with velcro inside the dress back and on the rectangle piece to hold the back together.  The volunteer helper can put the rectangle piece in place and tuck the rest down the back.  One would never know it was not closed like all the other dresses.  The wheelchair ladies come in all sizes, often large, so these dresses will accommodate.

My career in Special Education means I feel right at home at CAMPfest.  In 1987 I was the Camp Director for the Girl Scout Camp called KIDS Camp, near Waring, on the Guadalupe River.  This was a week-long camp for kids with disabilities that gave respite for the parents.  We took them all, no disability turned away, and even had two weeks for kids from autism programs; they came with their attendants - thank goodness. 

So this brings back memories - most good and a couple traumatic.  This was the year the Guadalupe flooded so badly.  We were on high ground and safe, but not so sure as we watched the river rise up the road toward the camp.  This whole experience was certainly a major challenge for me and it's nice to remember that I handled it. 

If you are interested in more information about CampCamp, their web site is:   Hope your week goes well and thanks for reading my blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Goodness, it's Wonderful!

I commented to Linda Teddlie Minton's blog when she wrote about Virginia Spiegel and the 2012 Foto/Fiber event to raise money for the American Cancer Society that I had contributed on the second day (the less expensive day) and had won a gorgeous photograph, done by Karen Steihl Osborn.  It is a dragonfly landing on the top of a bare stalk.  May not sound all that exciting, but the detail and delicacy of the wings, and the balance of the photo are beautiful.  Plus dragonflys have great mystical meaning and to see the creature land and hold steady conveys hope and strength.

Anyway, a number of artists had contributed bonus packages to send to those who made a donation.  Mine came today and it is from Karen Steihl Osborn, the photographer of my picture.  Wow! Is this package a bonus. 

Above left is the package placed out, and I was too excited to take the things out of the bags she so carefully used in packing. I wanted to get the pictures.  The photo to the right above shows the vibrant shrimp paper with lace and another texture with it.  She sent fabrics, felting, something that may be encaustic, and texture. texture, texture.   The beautiful hand-made book is painted.

The photo to the left is a close-up of one of the felting pieces with small beads and a fuzzy ribbon across giving wonderful contrasts, and something very tactile.  I hope someday to produce art that is simple and simply beautiful.
The photo to the right is almost my favorite piece.  You can't see the small, black script that seems to float on top of the squares.  That has to be a real leaf and is fabulous with the background.  The flow of color and contrasts draws my eye to examine all the parts.

Then there is the collection of fabric with surface design.  These could be used in one design piece, but each could contribute to their own.  A couple of them could be the primary focus of a larger piece.  I'm quite pleased because these colors speak to me.

I don't have a plan for the items in my bonus package.  I'm sure I will be using them and will post on the blog, noting if part came from the bonus package.  It will be interesting to see if Karen's art leads mine or if I find in the midst of something I have started, that one of her surface designs is just the right piece.  It is inspiring to have these to study and to contrast my own in learning how to do good surface design.

You can be sure I will participate the next time Virginia puts together a donation event.  All of the funds that are collected go to the American Cancer Society.  Her time and art, the artists who provide their works for the donation, and the artists who made up bonus packages this year - it is all donated to a terrific cause.  It has been a number of years that Virginia and other artists have offered a fund-raising event and now have given over $220,000 to the ACS.   Apparently, she has discontinued the annual event, but will call in art work to raise research money upon occasion.  Remember to watch for it and thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Not having a picture of sewing progress today, I do have pictures of texture.  Since becoming involved in fiber arts, my awareness of texture everywhere has been greatly heightened.  I  am especially fascinated by collage which has layers of texture, often using cloth-printed photographs.

My son, Charlie and I were in Big Bend a couple of weeks ago. I kept seeing this purple-colored cactus.  The cacti would be only dull green for miles and miles.  Then, this subtle, but gorgeous color would catch my eye. These beauties would grow in small communities; some almost hidden in the long wispy grasses.

One would not want to experience the cacti much closer.  Those spines are somewhat lethal.  I have not had one (actaully, you never get just one, it's a bunch unless your jerk back with only the longest spine) in my skin for years, but as a child, I had a bit of contact, more than once.  If you fall against the pads (official name?) there are cazillion tiny spines that have to be pulled out with tweezers and a magnifying glass. 

I don't remember seeing this color cactus before.  Usually the color that catches the eye with the green cactus are the bright yellow flowers in the spring and then the red fruits to find during the summer.  This wonderful purplish-color was a pleasant surprise on the trip.

Another surface that I see are the gravel and road paving.  I have seen commercially printed fabric with the gravel, but using your own photo, you can play with the lights and darks.   My experience with looking so closely at the gravel happened when the car broke down 28 miles east of Fort Stockton and we waited three and a half hours for the tow truck.  After staring into the wide west Texas space for a long while, one's eyes have to go somewhere else to make connection with the earth.  I grew up in west Texas, so this landscape is beautiful to me; perhaps not the very most beautiful view of nature, but the beauty of familiarity. 

It will be fun to see where these textures show up in my work.  My mind is full of ideas; I just have to get my real time schedule focused on the work, rather than the distractions of the computer, committee obligation, social life, etc. that occupy my time; you know, the self-lecture about give art a higher place on the priority list.

So, I'm closing this to go to the sewing  room and thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quilted Truck

It's been a very productive Sunday, but my brain is tired.  I've run out of words - which is hard to believe.  Well, not entirely out of words.

I spent the day finally writing the two reports for which I am getting paid!  This will buy my hearing aids, long-awaited by my friends and family.  Charlie has agreed to wear the hearing aids that he has had for six months when I get mine.  My brother-in-law tells me not to expect too much and he paid six times what I will be able to pay.  Oh, well - we'll see, we'll see.

I had hoped to get the commission quilt done this month.  It's not going to happen.  I have had more time to sew this month and next month looks good, too.  However, my son is coming from Seattle on the 26th to visit for a week, so that will interfere, but what a wonderful diversion.

This is a good opportunity to show a truck we saw at a quilt show in Fredericksburg.  I walked all around it and it is covered in quilt!  This was quite a challenge.

I had to go up and touch it.  I couldn't tell how the quilting was attached, but it was not going to come off easily.
This is how the driver gets in the truck.  You untie and get in the seat.  I can't imagine driving it in the hill country.  Think of the bugs all over the quilting.   
This looks like a comfy ride in the back of the truck, although the quilting was only on the outside. You could just take another couple of quilts in the back with you and have a grand time. I have always loved riding in the back of trucks and still do when I get a chance.

Wonder if Charlie would let me do the CRV?  I know they make a vinyl covering that looks like a quilt - hmmm - wonder how much.

I'm sure too much.  So I'll just enjoy that someone had the inclination and time to dress up this pick-up.  I love to see public art.  Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog.