Dye Day!

Finally! Writing a list is a good thing. I told myself this would be dye week, and so it happened. The biggest thing was that I had to mix all my stock solutions in the correct way. Which means weighing out the dye. I make a 2% solution, which means I have to weigh out 10 grams of dye powder for 500 cc of water. It all actually went fairly quickly. I still have some of my dye recipe books from my long ago “career” of making fiber blends for people.  I chose some of those recipes to use, and others I just experimented with. I use ProChem Sabreset dyes. They dye all protein fibers, and they have good light fastness.

I wanted to dye some silk organza. I cut four yards into quarter yard pieces. That meant I had to come up with 16 different colors for them. It also basically meant 16 hours of dying time. Yes I have more than one pot. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, it was pretty much two solid days of dying. Things I did in-between: I washed two dogs, I painted my toenails, I read a little of Gene Shepherd’s dye book, and I played Mahjong and Solitaire on my Kindle Fire.

I did do a little search on ProChem, (they have great tutorial worksheets on their website) and found that you should only heat silk to 185 degrees, otherwise you can ruin it. When the silk comes out of the dye and dries (haha, that organza dries fast!) it is all crispy and crunchy.

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After ironing it, its soft and silky.

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I also over-dyed a bunch of off the bolt/previously dyed wool that I acquired this year. About 10 half yard pieces. I’m very happy with how they came out. The two dark ones are a version of “antique black.” They were dyed on some kelly green wool.

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I also like the purply ones. The original wool was a fairly bright light purple. It was the last wool I dyed, and I was running out of ideas. So I just dumped black, royal blue, and violet dyes on them.

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I haven’t even gotten to the nice white wool I ordered. But that will have to wait for another week. Dying is exhausting 🙂

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Ta Da!!

This turned out to be such a fun project! It went well beyond “stupid sewing” 🙂 While I was sewing the little blocks together I noticed a sparkly thread on my sewing table that looked like it went with the blocks. So I thought I might try a meandering thread through the piece. Then I added some black lines and some french knots. Yesterday morning I got up and put a binding on it. Finished, I thought! But then I thought it would be fun to add some words to it. This time, instead of a Bible verse, I wanted to add a saying that a good quilting friend had shared with me. Thanks, Catherine!! I really love this saying.

She was unstoppable. Not because she did not have failures or doubts but because she continued on despite them.       –Beau Taplin

The really finished quilt:

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A close-up:

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Today I’m planning to get back to some rug hooking, work on my big PEACE rug for a bit, and get the dye studio ready for a session of dying tomorrow. I LOVE a free week!!

Stupid Sewing

Stupid sewing. That’s a term my BF and I first heard on The Quilt Show. Marsha McCloskey used it to describe the sewing she did when she was too tired to work on an intensive project.

So the other day I showed you these leftover blocks that I had arranged on the design wall. Not too interesting.

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But THEN, the next day, I was having window washers come over. (This was the first time I’ve ever had this done, and I thoroughly recommend it. Even when I tried  to wash my windows, it was half-assed at best.) Anyway, I had to move things away from the windows. And that meant clearing off my sewing table 😦 And what did I find but a stack of little blocks made from my Cherrywood hand dyed scraps!

 

A wonderful session of stupid sewing ensued! I had fun rearranging these blocks. I added skinny strips of black where needed, and then I decided to add the orange zig zag through the piece. I looked around for something to make a border with, and found this Lonni Rossi print that I’ve had forever. It never seemed to work anywhere else, but I think it makes an interesting border for this piece.

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Heading out to the studio now to make a quilt sandwich and then stitch in the ditch around all the little pieces.

Back from Cambria, and What Did I Do?

I had a wonderful time at Cambria Pines Rug Camp. I did bring my blank linen canvas for the rug. Its only a 24″ square rug. I try to vary my large rugs with smaller rugs. I kept looking at my inspiration photos, and decided that I did want the large circle in my rug, so I started with that. And then I added some of my own motifs from a few sketches that I had done. I’m very happy with what I was able to accomplish in four days.

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When I came home, I had so many other things to take care of, there was very little time to get into the studio. But I was looking at a blog, and I saw this picture.

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I didn’t even know what it was, but I just had the urge to recreate it. So I printed out a copy of the picture and then went through my hand dyed stash to pick out similar colors. For a week I just spent time cutting out rectangles during any little bits of time I had available. And then I finally started assembling them on my design wall. While I was doing this, I kept wondering what this was actually a picture of. So I went back to the blog where I’d found it, and believe it or not, these are garage doors in Lithuania!

At first I couldn’t figure it out. But I went to the photographer’s site, and I think these garage doors are pieced together in a photo. Any which way, I was fascinated by it. I thought about putting in the black and white bits between the doors, but decided against it. I am thinking about embroidering in all the wear lines. And here is what I came up with.

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Okay, so I didn’t realize until I was putting this blog post together that I had turned the photograph upside down when I started assembling it. Of course, I can turn it so the blue is on the top, but I kind of like it this way.

I had leftover rectangles, so I decided to try to make a composition myself. I found that my natural inclination is to put pieces on a diagonal. So I kept playing with it and eliminating most of the diagonals. But in the leftovers, there weren’t as many colors, so I’m not sure its worthy. Just leaving it on the design wall for now.

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Barb asked an interesting question on my other blog:

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in hobbies and projects. I’m making quilts, crocheting a scrap- using throw, embroidering, mini weaving, knitting socks, making fabric jewelry, etc etc etc….Do you ever want to throw up your hands or just sit and stare at the piles of projects?

I do have a lot of projects going at one time. But I like that. Before I had carpal tunnel surgery, I knew it was really important to use my hands in different ways, and not just keep repeating the same movements. So that’s how I justified having so many different types of projects going. And sometimes I do get overwhelmed with the projects, so that’s when I very neatly put a project into a project box and put it back into the closet. This week, Barb, when I had so many other things to do, there were a few evenings when I did just sit and stare at my projects. But for the most part, I enjoy knitting or hand stitching in the evenings. If I can’t get into the studio in the morning, most days I’m not going to get much done out there. So I really try to plan my day that way. But last week and this week I have an unusual number of appointments and obligations, so I have resigned myself to not getting much done. Working on that small colorful project that I was basically copying was just right.

Final Finishes!

Here are some final finishes on some projects that have been around for quite a while.

A number of years ago I went back to Vermont for a workshop with Judy Dales. Her work is so beautiful. I learned her techniques and made this little piece. And then I lost it for many years. I found it again recently and decided I needed to make it into a quilt sandwich and finish it completely. Not how I originally planned, but I think it looks better on the diagonal.

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I made these next four little trees about three years ago on a vacation in Sisters. I saw a tree pattern somewhere, and decided I could do that myself. I made one tree for each season. All done using my no-fusible zig zag technique. I liked these little trees and they were hanging in my dining room for quite a while. But they weren’t really quilted enough, and I kept thinking that I wanted to add the words from Psalm 1 onto them. so I added a little embroidery, added some fall leaves, and embroidered the words on. Then I added the straight line quilting to the background of each one. And I even put a sleeve on each of them! Now they are REALLY finished!

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Rug camp is coming up. That means I really had to finish a rug! Here is the owl rug, all blocked and with a whipped edge on it.

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I’m looking forward to rug camp. I’ll be back with a report of what I’ve done at camp. I am going with a blank canvas and planning to draw an Aboriginal style piece as I go along.