Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Day of Marvelous Marbling!

Well, we had a brief hiatus from marbling as the black fabric I had carefully scoured, alum-ed and then ironed was awful! I must have rolled some permanent press part poly stuff on my old Joann's black fabric. It felt a bit slimey when I was dumping it in the alum and it didn't take the color well at all so there went about 8 yards of black fabric which I will just dump as I can't imagine what good it will be!

So back to square one and found some tried and true Kona black as well as some black pima which then had to be scoured, etc., etc. Of course rain reared its head so I couldn't hang the stuff out on the line until yesterday.

I was rewarded today by some interesting pieces though! I was primarily going for just dark blue/blacks again as I think they will make great water when mixed with other fabrics. As I easily get bored, I switched to purple for one and for greens for another. Those were both kind of interesting! The nice part about working on the black fabric is that I will have lots of dark darks which always perk up a quilt (imho).

Also took possession of the quilt I won in the silent auction for the Women's Health Partnership. It was one of my favorites and imagine my surprise when I opened it up and the back is almost as beautiful as the front. This quilt was done by a group of women from the various Mormon congregations in the Rochester area. They had NEVER done a quilt before but drafted their own pattern from a stained glass window in the Palmyra Temple. I couldn't resist bidding on it as it was so lovely and I LOVED the story about how it was made! Now I just have to find a place to hang it as it really should be seen! You have got to double click on this second picture to see all the quilting on the back!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Followup on Factor Five Leyden (or Leiden) and No Pictures to Look At!

Had an uneventful and interesting visit with the hematologist today regarding my test results for heterozygous Factor Five Leyden which is a clotting disorder (more clots) of the veins. The biggest danger is pulmonary embolisms. I would usually say first the good news and then the bad news, but for me there is no bad news! As I have had no clots to date or any symptoms, there is no need for any kind of medication or even to watch what I am eating. The only advice was to make sure I keep the circulation going in my legs on long distance driving or flying, but that this was good advice for anyone as they get older! You don't even have to get up and walk around, just flexing the leg muscles especially in the calves will keep that blood moving.

Also my constant sewing on a sewing machine with a foot pedal has probably been giving me lots of the muscle flexing I need! I knew there was a medical reason I needed to keep quilting !

In passing, I mentioned my surprise that there was such a high percentage of people with British ancestry that were carriers of this gene and that I had wondered if there was any selective advantage (as in Darwinian natural selection which is one of the processes that filters our gene pool) for having this gene. The doctor indicated that there were some studies to suggest that it is a favorable gene to have during childbirth as there is some evidence that there is less bleeding. As childbirth bleeding was a major cause of death back in the "olden days" of gene pool cleansing, having a gene that kept you from bleeding to death and therefore providing more children was a good thing! Maybe that is why there were sooooo many children in my father's side of the family (families of 13-16 were common). Of course now that is not a concern and with clots not showing up until after childbearing age for the most part, it won't provide a disadvantage either. So those genes will continue to float around in the gene pool and generally only cause problems if combined with some other bad genes or if a child inherits the gene from both parents. I have always been a proponent of marrying someone of a very different ethnicity because of the problems with recessive genes popping up. Those recessive genes are generally the ones that cause problems if you get them from both parents!

Anyway, I will do more muscle flexing in my travels from now on! I of course continue with my Weight Watchers regimen (weight is not a good thing) and increasing my exercise levels.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preparing for the Ruth McDowell Class

Well, I am only two weeks away from going to Massachusetts to spend 5 days with Ruth McDowell taking her Designing from Nature class. This is a class I have wanted to take for awhile but not enough to fly to California! She now offers it several times a year near her home in west central Massachusetts. From my previous post, you can see there was some prep work. Today I took it a couple of steps further.

Some time ago I did this piece during a class with Nancy Murty. We used her technique of appliqueing and creating the designs. This was a design from two different photos that I took of Birds of Paradise. I always like most of the composition but always wanted to do it using Ruth McDowell techniques. So today I took my original drawing, cropped it down so the composition was better and started setting it up for piecing rather than applique. The original is about 25 x 36 and I would like it quite a bit bigger as well. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be! I haven't done all the numbering and lettering yet but that is pretty rote after organizing of the image.

I also managed to trace several others which are candidates for the class as well. Two are of pelicans, one of a Great Blue heron and a couple of flower ones.

This is the tracing I did where I have marked off large areas. My theory is that I will print this on 8 1/2 x 11 " paper and then get it blown up at Staples where they can go up to 36" wide and as long as you need with their architectural copier. Hope this works.

I really was interrupting a class that Priscilla Kibbee was teaching on jackets. There was enough room so that I could go and enjoy the company. Another fellow RAFAian joined us as well -- another refugee from the last jacket class. She has hers all finished! This is Caris Burton with the jacket she is making out of silk -- some that she purchased from Elin Noble this summer. It is stunning and Caris looks fantastic in it.

This is Caris from the front. Doesn't she look like a model?
This was the back of Nancy Hick's jacket that she made in the last class.

This was Mrs. Whitetail who was grazing in the side pasture while we were working away inside the studio. Can you imagine an more awesome place to work? She hightailed it out of there with her fawn when I went to take the picture so it is a little fuzzy! I had seen her and her two offsprings a couple of weeks ago right before I reached Marcia's house.

This is the early part of Liz's jacket. She added green around the top and down the sides and it is just beautiful! She had it almost done by the time we left. Can't wait to see it finished. Priscilla's graduates should be able to do their own fashion show!

This was a new face for the group - Varda who is modelling her new jacket. She had decided to do some fancy fabric work to embellish the red background.

Priscilla was cracking the whip on our own Donna and she was almost done with her jacket as well. She is also using fabric purchased from Elin Noble at QBL.
This is Marcia with her new apron that she made for the Clothesline Art Show. This was hands down the fastest I have ever seen Marcia complete a garment -- Priscilla's firm stand probably has affected us all! Marcia used the techniques we learned in Priscilla's jacket classes for put the apron together!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Black, Blue and Beyond -- More Marbling and a Spice Bush Swallowtail

Always easily amused, I followed this swallowtail from butterfly bush to butterfly bush in Joe's garden. I have seen lots of Monarchs there as well as moths but this is the first of this species. When sitting outside reading, I always have my camera close at hand unless an intersting bird passes by! From my searches in my father's books and on line, I found it is a spice bush swallowtail!

The big tray reached bottom this morning and is very deeply blue
colored after a day of marbling yesterday. I cleaned up the that tray and moved the size to a smaller tray but not before I got a couple of nice prints! I am back in love with marbling on black again. Some of my favorites from the last time were the browns that I did on the black using a mix of transparent and opaque paints. This time I used a variety of blues (Createx, Golden and ProChem) and a variety of opacities and came up with some black and blue pieces that I reall like. I think I am going to try to do some other colors in this monochromatic kind of way. This is way too much fun!

This was one of the fat 3/8ths that I did. It looks better in person I think as it is much darker.

This is one of the smaller pieces I did later on also on the black fabric.

This was my favorite of the pieces I did I think!

This was done on white fabric but the size is so blue at this point, there is no white fabric which shows at all. Again even the small tray has reached bottom so I will have to make up some more size on Thursday. I already "alum-ed" up a bunch more yardage of black and white fabrics so I will be ready!

Monday, August 25, 2008

An M & M Day (Marbling and McDowell)

Well, finally feel caught up on sleep after the camping trip last week and have hunkered right down to getting some things done!

The most immediate needs were to use some of the already alum-ed fabric I had for some more marbling using my larger tray (22 " x 30"). I actually measured how much marbling size I would need ahead of time as the methylcellulose is not cheap (about $20/lb). I made up the size yesterday, ironed my fabrics with a very cool iron and was ready to go this morning. The last obstacle was how to lower the fabric down as the method we used in class would not work with only me and this larger piece of fabric.

So, I took 2 wooden slats (1/4" x 2" x 2 feet) and four clothespins. I made my design in the tray and then attached the wooden slats to the fabric with the clothespins and held onto the slats as I lowered the fabric. If you center it properly, the slats stay above the tray (they are two inches longer than the tray is wide). I then undo the clothespins and the fabric falls the rest of the way (really only the last inch or so on each side). I need to get it a little smoother but it works!

I made quite a few this morning -- none very spectacular but I was just using up the fabric that I had basically rejected when taking the Elin Noble class so my expectations were not high! They were all colored pieces of fabric and some were poly-cotton which is a little more difficult to get to work (it doesn't absorb as quickly as the all cotton pieces). The poly-cotton tends to be a looser weave as well.

This was some blues -- both transparent and opaque on a bright red piece of fabric.

This was done as a result of first using a small piece of cloth in the middle of the tray to pull up the color and then letting the remaining color drift across the top before setting down this piece.

This was the first piece I did before I got the one above. This was blues and some green on a white fabric.

This was blues and greens on a pale yellow piece of fabric.

With still more energy after lunch, my sewing room beckoned and I FINISHED the practice top for the Ruth McDowell class. After I did all the preparatory work, the actual piecing was very fast. One thing I would add to all those little pieces would be a directional thing (I think she says to do that and now I know why!) for each little piece. It was a little like a jigsaw puzzle at the end. Of course whenever I get near finishing something, I am a bit manic (read compulsive) about getting it done quickly! I actually managed to not lose any of those little pieces -- thought I did but found it at the end "misfiled" on the tissue paper pattern I was pinning everything to. I may actually have my main pattern be cloth in the future!

Now to take my own pictures and do the tracing and blowing up of the image. I am really looking forward to the class! I have bought a toaster oven and coffee pot to take with me so I don't have to eat out every meal. Hopefully the room will have a fridge but will take a freezer chest just in case (this is not one of your more upscale motels!).

Of course, the camera will come with me and I will post whatever the other students and Ruth allow. Usually teachers don't mind as it is publicity and I don't share any copy or their "secrets" online although anything I come up with is certainly fair game!

This is my completed Ruth McDowell exercise from her Piecing book. I wanted to do curves so picked this pattern even though it was more complex than some. I did change the colors however and went with a more medium blue and yellow instead of white for the water lily. It was a good learning experience.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Patricia's August 2008 Quilt Show

Well, Kitty at Patricia's certainly had a successful day at her twice yearly quilt show. Usually August is the slower and less populated show but certainly not so this year! There were many lovely quilts in the show. The above slideshow is the pictures I took. It was very difficult to photograph the larger quilts because of the space but I got pictures of many of the smaller quilts.

This is fellow Club members Sally Hirschberg and Janet Root sitting in front of the 2008 Raffle quilt. Double Click on this or any of the quilts to see them closer.

This was an exquisite quilt done by our own Chris Wickert. It is done in silk dupioni -- hand appliqued and hand quilted. It is about 45 x 45 inches.

This was a lovely quilt done by Jan Ciravola, also in the club.

This is done in scraps! Judy Harbison did this and is going to contribute it to our Comfort Quilts project. Wow!

I just had to take a picture of this as it was done as basically a four piece stack and whack. Makes me want to start making them again. The fabric choice was exquisite and I wanted it!! It was done by Catherine Blackwell who I don't know.

This quilt was done by Hilary Gutman and was to dress up her pantry. She was inspired by Ruth McDowell's poppies.

This was a lovely wool applique done by Joan Ward.

You need to double click on this one to really see the quilting. It was a fun scrap quilt but Teddy Ahern did fabulous custom quilting on it!

This was a quilt done by Mary Rankin which was a family tree!

This was done by Pat Daniels and I really liked the juxtaposition of the light flower against the scrappy dark background.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Camping at Fair Haven State Park

Fair Haven State Park is about an hour east of Rochester and an hour northwest from Syracuse and nestled right on Lake Ontario with access to Little Sodus Bay and the Sterling Pond.

Well, just got back this morning and can't believe how sleepy I am! So this may not get published for a bit! This was the view from our campsite. We were up high from the lake and had spectacular sunsets!

Here we are layered up around the very excellent fires that Bill produced each night. We would have been very cold without them! They kept all the mosquitoes away as well! The first night was relatively warm but the ferocious thunderstorms that came in on Monday cleared the air of all heat and humidity and I don't think it reached 70 the next two days.

This is Arliss who is the yellow lab that Bill and Debi share their camper with along with two other black labs -- Hunter and Daisy. They certainly enjoyed the outside.

This is one of the many flowers around one of the ponds in the park. I believe it is some type of mallow. There were a lot of wild flowers and lots of birds as well. We spotted an osprey and Debi thinks she saw a bald eagle as well.

This was the beach area the second day after the night of roaring surf and awesome thundershowers -- yes, we slept in the tent through it all -- well, not exactly slept! The tent didn't get a drop of water despite a huge downpour most of the night on Monday. The beach was not open for swimming on Tuesday but it was far too chilly anyway.

This was the sunset the first night after the storm. We thought it couldn't get better than this until the next night!!

This was early the on Wednesday night. The sky was lavender on top moving to a bright red at the bottom. I have never seen such beautiful sunsets over Lake Ontario before!

This was just after the sun set with the lone sailboat in the foreground.

More of the sunset -- it was pretty spectacular and there were no clouds at all!

It was good to get home and showered and get the van unpacked. Warren is glad to see our kitty who is none the worse for wear!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Women's Health Partnership Auction and TV

This is the link that will take you to the segments which were on the news this morning:

This was the tv van. When I first got there to Harmony House (where the silent auction is and from where they were televising), the satellite dish was extended about three stories up!

The culmination of almost a year of work is this weekend with the silent auction of the wonderful art quilts made by many women in the Rochester area. You can see most of the quilts on my Picasa site or on previous blogs.


These are a few of my favorite quilts. The one on the left was done by a doctor at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the one on the right was done by the women from the Mormon congregation in Palmyra. It is based on a stained glass window in their temple. The one on the bottom right is by our own Pat Pauly.

This is a closeup of the stained glass one done by novices at the Mormon church. Can you believe it?? This was a late entry so I hadn't photographed it before.

Surprisingly, there were a few more today that I hadn't seen before and this one was just stunning! This is an amazing exhibition of works both from noted art quilters and many who are unknown in the local quilt community but who are obviously doing wonderful creative work!

We had a treat this morning and the local ABC television affiliate (WHAM-13 and CW-16) did several segments live from the quilt show with our charming local anchor Norma Holland doing the interviewing. It was so nice to have someone from outside "get" it and be able to communicate what we were doing succinctly. She was absolutely delightful and spent almost 2 1/2 hours with us this morning just talking and learning about the quilts and quilters when the cameras weren't rolling.

I got to appear in two segments although it was so early in the morning (I had to get up at 4 and put on makeup -- something I haven't done probably since my last tv appearance on Simply Quilts!). I have no idea if I even said anything on the first ( I didn't and there is just a camera glance at me) but was doing the "white glove" thing. Norma focused on my "Las Vegas" jacket I was wearing for the second segment I was on which is the fourth segment that is on the video above (Called Part 3 of the Quilt for Life Challenge on the Morning News)! All I appeared to do was giggle but guess that is par for me! Norma says they keep the segments up for a long time although I suspect I will need to find another link to them at some point.

My pictures barely do Norma justice. She is an extremely attractive young woman who is as vibrant and lovely in person as she is on the 12:00 news which I always watch. She is talking here with Donna Noble, another local quilter and a very close friend of my pal Peg.

This is Norma in front of the Webster Guild's beautiful quilt.

This was Norma again right after a live segment.

Now to just get some sleep!!