Friday, February 20, 2009

At Last - New Snow!

Well, I will get to test out new fallen snow today with the snow dyes! I am heading out to scoop up the snow now -- it looks like it will be rapidly replenished the next few days as well!

Hmmm. The new snow is snowball snow (which I think means pretty wet) but it melts in about 1/3 the time that the old stuff did which had been pretty packed down and snowflakes merged together. I just dumped a second layer and some more dye on. The dye actually compresses the snow when you are putting it on unlike the old crunchy stuff (now I got the old crunchy stuff when the temps were in the 40's and it is only in the 20's today). Hmmmm. We shall see I guess! I may even have to scour some more fabric! I am doing 4 yards at a time now. Hopefully I will get something other than just regular chrystally stuff that I can get without snow! This time I went for the warm colors as I was getting tired of the blues so we shall see!! This first piece is a result of the first tries with the fluffier snow. I was a little careless with my colors and am not crazy about it but it has some redeeming qualities!

The remaining pieces were done later in the day and I used twice the snow of the earlier attempts (a six gallon bucket instead of a 3 gallon one). I liked the colors better and could see using them for rocks as there are lots of beiges and grey blues. This was a mix of lots of yellow, a little mixing red and some navy thrown in for good luck!

This final piece is just a closeup of one of the above views. Each of the pictures represents about a piece 23" x 36". The last one portrays only half of that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mickey the Mouser aka Marmalade McTavish

Well, it was a very sad morning for us as we had to have Warren's beloved pet kitty put to sleep. We knew he was an old kitty when he was dropped on our doorstep 18 months ago but had hoped we would have him for a bit longer.

He moved in, assessed the whole downstairs and then chose a chair where he pretty much slept his life away for the next year! When he wasn't sleeping, he was purring his heart out -- a purr so loud that you could hear him two rooms away. This was great except when you were trying to sleep and he would start purring in the middle of the night!

He disdained playing with toys and laps for the most part but LOVED his catnip and special treats. He also thought that anything in your plate had to be much better than anything he was eating, but he was a cat after all! In the picture in better days, he was trying to convince Warren to give him some more of those special cat treats.

We will miss him very much and plan on getting new kitties to love this spring.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

On a Clear Day

This was my first stop on doing a lot of my usual shopping chores. This is the view east looking at the bay and the lake on the other side. I finally got to the lake when the sun was out and what a difference in wildlife -- stunning difference! There were no oldsquaws or scaups anywhere around and that is mostly what I saw at dusk last week. There were, however, the mergansers and I think some Goldeneyes off in the distance. It was hard to tell even with the telephoto.

These were taken with telephoto lens as the birds were so far away, there was no way I could see what they were. Looking at my bird books, I think they are common mergansers in front. I think I also saw some Goldeneyes but they would let you get within 100 yards. Don't know how they even saw me on the pier, they were so far out.

The swans were being fed by local visitors. I suspect this is not a good idea and there were tons of the swans, Canada geese and pigeons which would walk right up to you. So this was taken up front and personal with the swans.

I loved this very colorful mallard sitting on the rocks. He just seemed to be begging to have his picture taken. Okay, a mallard but a pretty boy mallard! He looks much more iridescent in the sunlight, doesn't he!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stress Free Days at Play

Well, two days off at the lovely Holiday Inn Express in Webster, NY just sitting with lovely ladies and quilting does make my blood pressure mellow out. This is our hostess and guru Janet Root, giving some advice to fellow club member Merilee.

And then I get home and opened up my email......a group I have been a member of for ten years is having a very painful growth spurt and I am frankly not sure I will be able to stand much more infighting. If I want bickering, I can go on a trip with my husband for several days! Being with the ladies in the dysfunctional group was always a lovely getaway but alas no more!

Anyway, I got a whole lot of "easy on the brain" work done during these last two days sitting at my trusty Featherweight with my shoes off! It is always nice to get together with a new group of people and get to know some out of your normal circle. All different kinds of work was going on, from very traditional to contemporary to art quilts. People were working in a variety of dress and undress (more on that later)!

This was a wall hanging that our own Priscilla was working on. This was an incredible piece of Vietnamese embroidery that she has never shared with Marcia and I before (we might have mugged her in the driveway if she had -- double click and see the incredible detail in this centerpiece).

The first quilt has lovely colors and she got a very large quilt top done in just two days. The second is a Dear Jane quilt but made with 6 inch blocks instead of the normal 4.5 inch blocks. I always like to see what someone has done with these blocks.

This was a top that Linda K was working on. She had done the center and outside blocks at two separate times and thought they might go well together and boy did they!!

This was Beverly using herself as a design wall -- unique as only Beverly can do!

This is the aforementioned Beverly with Pat ostensibly working on quilts.

Oh my who is this person who felt the need to quilt in her undies!! Identities have been hidden to protect the guilty. What kind of behavior is this for a staid lady in a very posh hotel conference room....

This is the beginning of the latest I Spy. I am just a few short for making one more after I finish this one. This was the perfect activity for this group sew in. I managed to machine quilt the first one I did yesterday on my handy featherweight using an original even feed foot which works really well!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

GVQC February Meeting

The weather is certainly not all that was predicted. It is very windy but it was supposed to snow with the wind and that just hasn't happened. It has been dreary and rainy all day and there is hardly any snow left so no snow dyeing for awhile but I was going to be busy these days anyway.

This beautiful quilt is the raffle quilt for our 2009 raffle for GVQC. This stunning quilt was designed by Pat Pauly (she has a quilt in Quilt National this year) and was put together by many members of the quilt club. It was all paper pieced and patterns will be available for sale at the quilt show. See my sidebar for further information on the show and the Quilt Challenge sponsored by Blank Fabrics.

Isn't t his a beautiful quilt? If you look closely, you can see that it is a really simple pattern and the maker actually drafted it from a quilt she saw in a magazine.

We had a lovely show and tell as usual and I took a few pictures but it is difficult to get a good angle and I was way far away from the stage!

I had to get a picture of this one as it has the four pieced stack and whacks in the center and I thought this was a lovely setting. They are sooo addictive.

I thought this quilt was just stunning. Beth machine quilted in the ditch and then did hand quilting in the rest.

One of our quilt club members did a lovely and very lively show and tell of quilts that she owns with a narrative on quilt history from one of the other club members. It was just plain fun and very relaxing! This was my very favorite top which I think was made between 1860 and 1870 but it may be earlier because of the quality of the stitching in the applique.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Warm Wednesday and the Last of the Snow Dyeing Until More Snow

This is the piece that I finished today which I describe below and show some more detail.

Well, the weather is certainly warmer -- in fact we have a lot of fog coming off the remaining snow. Amazingly enough, the frozen top layer of snow is keeping the snow underneath from melting and it is about the right consistancy for more dyeing. The next three days are filled with time away from home.

Yesterday, I actually got up extra EARLY so I could scoop up snow before it melted and get in another piece. And today I managed to find some more snow and do another!! The results are rather unpredictable to say the least -- yesterday I was going for purple with some blue but threw in yellow at the end so really have no purple and very little brown (thought that yellow would meet the purple) but lots of blue and green with some pink areas that look like large dahlias.

Today, I restrained myself and just went for mostly blues and threw on navy, turquoise and intense blue and just a teense of yellow. I did get mostly blues and may tone down the navy the next time or add a lot more yellow for greens! Because I am starting with just 5% solutions, I am not getting dark darks like I sometimes do when using the 10% solutions. I am unendingly fascinated with how the colors are moving around and bouncing and layering and fading in and out. It is just so different from the usual scrunching low water immersion. Of course there is less control of the outcome as well!!
The good news is that they are predicting snow again tomorrow so I can replenish my twindling supply without having to resort to the snow at Walmarts... (Did I just say good news and snow in the same sentence?)

This is a closeup of the second half of the above piece. This piece was about two yards in length.

Terrific Tuesday!

It is always good to see Priscilla again and hear her travelling stories! She just returned from a wonderful trip to Las Vegas and then down to Phoenix. After this trip, she was off again to teach in Chicago and a whirlwind schedule which she writes all about in her blog! She definitely has been converted to a quilter though for 2009! This is an art quilt that Priscilla has made with leftovers from previous projects. I especially liked the small checkerboards that are spread throughout.
We had a wonderful day at Marcia's as usual in her very well lit and wonderful studio! The weather even cooperated! I got to show off my newest snow dyes and work on my next Ruth McDowell piece which is working out better than my last drawing by far. It is beginning to be more intuitive. Working in smaller sections really helped turn the corner for me so we shall see what happens.
The drawing on the left (believe it or not) contains no curves and measures about 3 feet by 4 feet!! It was from a picture of lillies that I took two years ago at QBL when stunning lillies were in bloom all over the campus. It will be fun to find some background fabric for this one -- may make my own out of various greens with some purples thrown in for good luck! I guess this will start defining my style. I seem to like intricate piecing and large clumps of one fabric just seems to demand breaking down. This gets a little tricky as you want it to kind of read the same and allow a little resting of the eyes but I do like it to be interesting. I think this lillies drawing will be a quilt before the Great Blue Heron is.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What a Ducky Day!

It was a beautiful day yesterday and I was hoping to get out midday to take some more pictures of the ducks at the outlet but as I was coming back with a friend from lunch, our car was leaving the driveway and DH didn't return until late in the afternoon and no sun. I went anyway and was not disappointed. Evidently other photographers (the kinds with the fancy equipment) thought this was a good time of day to take pictures! The birds were all in a huge feeding frenzy. I had no idea that there was that much good to eat in the bay water!! Gulls were diving and the two varieties of diving ducks were also going down frequently for food. Of course there were the everpresent swans and even some mallards this time. This was looking from the outlet over to the lake.

This was a male oldsquaw which is a type of diving duck (and they were diving a lot while I was there ). I had a hard time identifying because this is their winter coloration which is most white while their summer is mostly black! Note the long skinny tail -- some people call these a long tailed duck.

I believe this was a female oldsquaw and not anywhere near as pretty.

This was the view back toward the bay. There were hundreds of gulls diving for food and making a racket. These are the deserted boat docks in the foreground.

In this mix of birds, there are the Mute Swans, Canada Geese and a few Mallards.

This was a Mute Swan swimming very nearby. They are majestic birds and if you look at the above picture by double clicking, you can see how much bigger they are than the Canada Geese.

These are two Lesser Scaups -- I am almost positive now that these are Lesser Scaups and not the Greater variety. Again, they are a beautiful bird.

Couldn't let the opportunity to photograph two pairs of mallards in the late afternoon. Cold doesn't seem to bother them in the least but they don't hang out with the other ducks who kind of mingle together.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Wish It Were Colder Outside and Warmer Inside

The conundrum....the snow is melting and getting far too crunchy outside to make good patterns but it doesn't melt fast enough inside so that I can get lots of yardage done before it all melts this week!!

The snow I successfully scrounged around for today seems to have worked very well!! It just won't melt as fast as the other icier snow from yesterday!! Oh my... I did use less snow with the piece that I worked on today and it seems to have more overall color but then that could be attributed to nuking for 10 minutes (with ice still in it) rather than the 6 I did yesterday. Again, it was probably a close to three yard piece!

I don't think these pictures do justice to these pieces but they are pretty big and I am standing back away. Each photo shows about a square yard of fabric.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's Getting Warmer, I am Getting Colder - More Snow Dyeing!

The second batch as you can see turned out just great! I was a little worried as I had left it overnight and all the snow melted and there were some disgusting piles of dirty blue in places but it seemed to wash all out. I was definitely working with lower concentrations for this piece but still LOVE it for its wonderful watercolor quality. I can easily see how I can use this multi-color stuff in my piecing!!

We had 50+ temps yesterday and I see that by the end of the week, we will be in the consistent 40's so the snow will melt -- most of it at least. You know you have the dyeing bug bad (got to add this to my 50+ list) when you longingly gaze at the 8 foot piles of snow in front of the local Walmart....and me thinking I want to spend winter at the beach in the south...hmmm.

This is a closeup of the piece as it is 2+ yards of fabric altogether.

This is a second closeup in a particularly interesting area (I thought).

With all that in mind, I scoured another 17 yards of fabric and am at it again!! This time I made up respectable amounts of the dye and will see with this next bunch what happens with higher concentrations of dyes and a lot more of the blue!!

So I made up Pro Chem's Golden Yellow, Sun Yellow, Intense Blue, Turquoise, Deep Navy and their Blue/Violet so that I would have a little red in the mix. I am guessing that I will get a lot of green but it would be cool if there were some plain blue and yellow areas. I pretty much covered the pile of snow which was very, very wet almost solid ice snow today (very heavy). I knew I would know the 29 varieties of snow before this is all over.......

This is about an hour into the third piece and you can see that already the dye is moving downward through the very heavy thick icy snow. I have the dye liquids sitting on the side where they will stay cool from the melting snow. I waited until what snow was left was all white, took that off and then did the usual nuking and washing.

This is the piece from the above mix. I really liked it. It is amazing how much separated out of the purple/blue mix from ProChem. I love using this particular mix because that happens (it is made up of mixing red and mixing blue which I determined from discharging it and seeing the colors it became). If you mix this color with yellow, you come up with every color in the rainbow when doing overdyeing. This was the top half of a piece that was ab out 3 yards long.

This is the bottom half of the above piece. It is very Monet looking which I love!
This is a closeup of one section of the piece above showing all the colors I got using the purple/blue mix, the two yellows, turquoise and intense blue.
I am awaiting my next iteration now. I had to go to a different part of my yard to collect snow as it was nothing but ice in my old retrieval place. I did find a shadier area where the snow still separated instead of being a solid chunk. Maybe I can get one more in before I have to head to Walmart for their snow.......

This is very sad. I used to hate the heat and humidity but dyeing made me look forward to those days (the dyes love it) and now I look forward to intense cold and snow? Very, very sad -- I must be insane -- but let's just say creative for now...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snow Dyeing Part 2

Well, the first batch of two yards is done and some more is "cooking" down in the basement. I noted that others did fat quarters at a time but I have found bigger yardage is more to my liking and I can always overdye! This is pretty much the whole piece (some is cut off from the bottom but that is my least favorite part anyway). I would definitely classify this type of dyeing as "snow resist" dyeing as the snow really acts as a resist and allows the colors to hit at different times. This patterning is a LOT different than I get when I just apply colors to scrunched fabric randomly!! Double click so you can see better. I have included several closeups below as well.

To reiterate what I did: I presoaked a two yard piece of mercerized cotton in soda ash and scrunched it up on top of an inverted box set inside another box. I then put about a five inch layer of snow (pretty crusty snow by the way not the light fluffy stuff which would make a big difference I think). I took several colors of dyes at between 2% and 10% concentrations and squirted a total of ten grams worth of dye (so overall I figured it would be about a 5% concentration). I inverted the box as I wanted the snow to melt and the water to NOT gather and pool on the bottom of the fabric. Sitting it on a screen would do the same thing (probably even better) but I didn't have any screen! I let the snow melt most of the way but got impatient near the end and the snow that was left was looking pretty white by now as all the dye had sunk down into the fabric. I literally took the fabric as it was, dumped it into a plastic bowl, put some plastic over it and nuked it for about six minutes (checking it every two minutes). I then washed it out and had very little washout which shocked the heck out of me! I was also amazed at how little transfer of dye there was to my hands when the dyes were very cold. The colors I used were MX Golden yellow, sun yellow, intense blue and mixing red. I did mix up a little batch of the yellows with the blue to get some green. The rest is serendipity!

This is toward the side of the fabric where there was less snow and less dye. The scrunching patterning is clearer here. This was dye that just slid from the middle outwards.

This is a closeup of another side where you can see the scrunching pattern more clearly whereas you can't see it in the middle at all.

This is the middle of the fabric and if you double click, you can really see the effects of the snow resist and what it does to the fabric.

This is about a quarter yard chunk near the top.