Friday, September 19, 2014

A Finish!!

Well, it took a little over a year to finish this, but it is officially DONE.  I even threw it in the washer and dryer today- first time ever I've made a quilt with the intention of 'crinkling' it.  I do like the way it makes the quilting stand out.

It will get boxed up to give to Michelle for her fifth birthday this week. She is growing up fast!  My brother gifted me with some sheets- I think I will tie dye a set for her bed to go with this.  In pink, of course.

I've also started working on another quilt that has been rumbling around in my brain for the past year.  Almost exactly one year ago, I was at a week long workshop with Carol Soderlund, learning about discharging fabric.  I had some pieces that I loved, and wanted to do something special with.  I especially loved the results I got clamping fabric, throwing it in a bucket of bleach, then washing, refolding and clamping, and throwing it in a Thiox bath.  I decided what I wanted to do, cut the fabric, and got to work.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but it has uneven borders  of Osnaberg.  I really like the homespun texture this fabric has, and will be using it again.  I doing straight line quilting, with some random circles that will be mostly hand embroidered with perle cotton.  So far, I am really liking what is happening.

The straight line quilting is pretty brainless, which I needed after all the free motion I did on Michelle's quilt.  And I like having some handwork to do.  My surface design group is having a gallery show next summer with the theme of 'Reclamation'- I think this will do nicely, and I should be able to get this and one other piece done before then.

I'm also back to making soap so I have it ready in time for the holidays- but that is another post!  Now, I am off to enjoy the fabulous weather we are having, and hoping it means a loooong Indian summer.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Color is my Therapy

I have been playing in the dyes again, and even tried something new.  I should have plenty of fabric to create with this winter, and I'm hoping for a few more dye days before the snow flies.

Inspired by Lisa, who sent us each a piece of hand dyed fabric to use in the latest Tangled Textiles challenge, I spent a day doing flat gradation dyeing.  Some turned out better than others, but I'll use every one.

I don't know how that blue got on what was supposed to be a gray gradation.  I'm guessing that one of my plastic sheets between the fabric was too short, and the blue went where it could!  

I also threw some soda soaked fabric in the drip bins, and got some beauties.

Love the markings on these, especially the one on the right!

I'm am still ruminating on how I will use these- and I know a couple of other projects will get started before any of these.

Today I tried something totally new for me- indigo dyeing!  I'd bought a kit from Dharma a few months ago, and finally mixed it up today.  I had a tee folded to make a chevron, and a silk scarf that was already dyed lime green.  I just twisted that up and bound it with rubber bands.

I dipped the tee twice, allowing it to oxidize for twenty minutes between dips.  It comes out of the vat looking like this. . 

and a few minutes later looks like this. . . 

Twenty minutes later, it looked like this. . . 

At this point, I undid the rubber bands, and laid it out on my rack to let the the shirt fully oxidize.  Here it is, you can still see a bit of green.

Now it just needs to be rinsed and washed, and we'll see how dark the blue is.  Can't wait!  I'll also be getting some other stuff to dye, even if it is half yard pieces of fabric.  I want to dye while the vat is active!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Hippie Heaven!

That is what it felt like up at Timmy's studio last weekend, when four of us got together and did some tie dyeing.  We were tutored and mentored by Lynn Dell, who is an awesome artist with the tie dyes.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves, can you tell our inner hippies had a blast??

 Our blues after washing them out.
 After rinsing on the lawn.  Most of these in the front are mine.
 Awesome chevron tapestry that Lynn Dell did!!  (With a thrift store sheet!)
 All our work spread out on the lawn after rinsing it out with the hose.
 Lisa pouring the dyes on one of her pieces.
 Lisa and Diane, Lisa is pouring on some dyes.
 My peace sign!  Every one of us managed to get a peace sign dyed!
 Lisa's peace sign, I think.
 Spiral shirts by Lynn Dell.
 Our 'reds' after washout.  The three shirts on the left are mine, Lynn Dell's peace sign shirt, my scarf, the rest are Lynn Dell's.
 Lisa's tapestry.  Love the colors!
 Diane's tapestry.
 A collaborative effort by me and Lisa.  I folded it, she did the dyes.  I love the movement it has.
 Lynn Dell's peace sign.  Amazing!
Lynn Dell's chevron tapestry.  It was huge!

We had a blast, and I learned some folds that I will be trying again.  Every weekend should be this much fun!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I have been playing in the dyes again- the first time in awhile, and enjoying getting back in to it.  I was part of an Ugly Fabric challenge in a Yahoo group I'm part of- this was the piece I got to transform.

It was dark except for the one side, and blue.  I knew I wanted to discharge first, and all that blue meant I'd have to use bleach.  So I folded it, clamped it with two plexiglass rectangles, and threw it in a bucket of bleach.

I kind of liked it at this point, the yellow made me happy.  But the brown parts were too muddy for me, so I overdyed it in a bit of red.

This sat on my design wall for a good month while I pondered what to do next.  I knew the red was too orange for me, so I finally decided to overdye again in a very pale shade of navy blue.

The blue overdye really did knock back the orange, just like I wanted.  From a distance it looks like a very toned purple, but up close there are all kinds of colors showing.

After another few days on the design wall, I decided it needed one more layer to tie it all together.  So I used a rubbing plate and three colors of metallic Shiva paint stiks on it.  It is now DONE!

It still has marks that hark back to its past as a dark blue fabric- but it has also been totally transformed.  I'm rather pleased with it!

I also spent a day this past weekend doing more dyeing- but I don't have pictures of the fabric yet, so those will have to wait.

I also got a lovely surprise this weekend.  Del Thomas from California came through on her way home from Indiana, and we met for lunch.  It was great to catch up with her- we had a nice lunch at Olive Garden, and shared a piece of rich chocolate cake at the end.  She is a fascinating woman who has done a lot for the quilt community all over the country.  I've loved getting to meet and get to know her!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summertime Music

I do not know where the summer is going, time seems to be flying by.  I have been loving every hot moment of it, I am nowhere near ready for a change in seasons!

My brother flew out from Reno the last weekend of June, and we went to the Salt Lake Arts Festival.  It was the first time I've been in all the years I've lived here, and I'm sorry I waited so long.  We had fun walking around looking at all the vendors, and trying out the food offerings.  All of my photos are his, taken with his fancy new Fuji.

Michelle doesn't look too happy here- but I think she had a good time!

I loved the scrap metal sculptures from one vendor--

The glass garden was another high point.

The festival includes performance art, and one that we saw was unlike anything I've ever seen before.  It was an Australian group called Strange Fruit, two women and two men dressed in nineteenth century (sort of) clothing.  Their entire performance was done standing on very tall, flexible poles.  There really are no words to describe it, but it was entrancing and highly entertaining!

They interacted with each other, interacted with the audience, and told a bit of a story to a variety of music.  The entire time, they were swinging back and forth on those poles.  Judging from some of the contortions I saw, they all have incredible core strength!  

The setting was also an amazing backdrop to their performance.  That blue sky and the lines of the library building just added to the ambience.  By the time it was over, I had a crick in my neck from looking up, but it was worth it.

The highlight of the evening, however, was a performance by Angelique Kidjo, and African singer that I have followed for twenty years.  I love her music, and she gave an amazing performance!

She came out in full African dress, with a turban, but within a few songs had lost the turban--

She had a wonderful band from all over the world.  Most looked to be her age (fifties), but her percussionist was a young man originally from Senegal.

It was a lively and interactive performance in a small venue, the best kind.  Before her final song, she invited the audience to come on stage with her, and it was filled!  She sang one my my favorite songs, 'Tumba', while those on stage danced around her.  It was just incredible!

It was an amazing end to a fantastic day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My First Epic Soap Seize!

I have been managing to get some soaping in the past two weekends, although the pace is slowing.  I'm also managing to get some quilting in, hoping to get Michelle's quilt done before the summer is over.  These three pieces of hand dye are staring at me from the design wall- I keep trying to figure out what they are telling me!

The one on the left is for the Ugly Fabric challenge on a yahoo group I'm part of- I think it needs one more overdye, with a really pale blue to knock back the orange tone to the red.  The middle one is a lovely hand dye done by Lisa of my Tangled Textiles group.  I need to figure out what I'm going to do with it for our August challenge.  At first, I thought I'd leave it whole, but now I'm thinking I'm going to cut it up.  I have a couple of ideas that I'll play with on paper first.  The one on the right is one of my favorite pieces from Carol Soderlund's workshop last fall.  I don't want to cut it up, but now I'm thinking I'll border it with Osnaburg, quilt, and add some embroidery.  We'll see- the middle one comes first!

I did several soap experiments.  I made more lavender swirl soap, and was happy with how it turned out.  

See those bubble things?  I learned that those are glycerin rivers, and they are caused by overheating in soap that has titanium dioxide in it.  The soap is perfectly usable, and the texture doesn't bother me- I think it can look kind of cool.

Then I tried salt bars, with a pink pencil line using rose clay.  I also topped them with a dusting of rose clay and pink Himalayan salt.  They look great, no?

Except they crumbled- badly.  Apparently that is a common occurrence with salt bars.  So, I ordered a new mold, one that allows you to make twelve individual bars, so no cutting.  Once that got here, I rebatched the bars with a little coconut milk and water.  They look crumbly as all get out, but when I took them out of the molds this morning, they held.  I do love silicone molds!

So I won't be trying to sell these, but they are perfectly usable.
Last weekend I wanted to try making an ombre soap using a natural colorant.  I decided to try baby carrots.  I waaay overthought the ombre bit- I should have just thought of dyeing a value gradation!- but I am very happy with how these turned out!

I just hope the color holds- from everything I've read, that seems to be more of an issue with natural colorants than ultramarines and oxides.

So that experience had me thinking- how can I use charcoal to make a black to white soap?  I thought I had it figured out, so made my batch this morning.  I think I even had the gradation bit figured out to make it easier, but the soap did not cooperate- I got what is known as 'soap on a stick', which meant the soap solidified in the bowls.  At first I thought it was the charcoal, but then I realized the soap I'd left white seized also.  So that meant it had to be the essential oils.  I'd used three- cedarwood, oregano, and peppermint.  Oregano was the only one I'd never used in soap before.

I made an identical batch of the soap, but left out the oregano, and instead just used cedarwood and peppermint.  The second batch behaved perfectly!  I didn't do the ombre, but it does have three colors in it.  I got a lovely swirl on the top, the best I've done so far.

I am purposely not insulating this soap, to see if that eliminates the glycerin rivers.  There is also a surprise inside, which won't be revealed until I cut the soap!

I have also been packaging and labeling the soap I will have for sale at the quilting festival in mid-July.  Doesn't Michelle's quilt make a good backdrop for this soap?

The paper wrap and button is not a long term packaging solution, but it looked appropriate for a vendor at a quilt festival.  All I need to add is my label on the back of the soap- you can see the ingredient label on the bottom of the soaps.

I love all the felted soaps I've done!  I have more to do, I'll need to find more roving before too long.

All in all, a busy couple of weeks.  Four more days of work, then my brother arrives from Reno for a short visit- then I'm off on the train to Colorado to see Shannon for a few days.  I'm looking forward to the break!!