Monday, March 30, 2009

North Carolina Aquarium and Fort Fisher Historic Site -- Random Sightseeing!

Saturday was just drenching rain, so Lisa and I decided to do some inside sightseeing and so drove down to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. It is about a mile and a half from the house and usually we would walk, but not Saturday!

The Museum was really crowded (note to self -- don't go again on a weekend) which surprised me as Fort Fisher isn't in a large metropolitan area for sure!! The museum is designed so that you can get an idea of the area in which you are living or visiting. The theme is the Cape Fear River area and the marine environment it goes out to. There are some other fauna represented as well though.

This is a young loggerhead turtle. The loggerheads return to the beaches where they were born to lay their eggs.

This was one of the gigantic lobsters they had but the coloring was so pretty. I liked the patterning on the back of the very young turtle above as well.

This is one of the local quails which was at the aquarium -- in fact quite a few of them walking around the conservatory.

This is a wood duck which is the only duck that nests in North Carolina! Now that was a surprise!

Sunday was another matter as the skies were the bright cerulean blue that I love although it was really windy! Lisa and I again decided to do the tourist thing and walked down to the Fort Fisher Historical Site which is right before the aquarium. My intent was really to see the beaches down at the end of the island which I did! I will probably head back down there in the next couple of days as there appears to be just big deserted beaches that stretch forever. The fishermen have returned also so the fish must be back!

You can see the blowing sand well in this picture. Lisa and I liked the blurring effect it had.

This was looking down the beach to the wide open spaces south of the Ft. Fisher Historical site.

There was quite a bit of surf as well as many whitecaps. We saw surfers later at our beach access.

This was again an illustration of the blowing sand giving the beach a really strange quality (although pretty stinging when it hit your skin like sandpaper!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our Newest Featherweight Fanatic!

Years ago, I met many of my friends on an internet group called Featherweight Fanatics! The Featherweight (FW) is an old Singer sewing machine which is wonderful for doing any kind of sewing. They are practically indestructible and are beloved by quilters. Well, one of our new kitties has picked this as his favorite sleeping place. Needless to say, not a lot of sewing is getting done now!

This is George, the quilting kitty getting ready to sew.

All tuckered out, he falls asleep hugging the sewing machine! This must be my cat!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Indulge Me -- New Grandbaby and New Kittens!

I mean, really, what could be cuter than new kittens and a new baby!!

This is George, one of the two new members of the clan! Lisa came down from Charlotte with him, our other adoptee and her two kitties. She had a car (and her company car at that) full of cats for sure but they were all relatively well behaved!

George is your typical orange tabby -- Mr Purrsonality Plus! He is already into everything, has done some strange things to my computer and is intent in knocking everything off the coffee table before he crawls up on my lap for lots of affection!

This is our other kitty who really doesn't have a name yet as his "given" name (Butterball) just doesn't fit!! He needs to be coaxed out from under the bed but a few pets from Lisa or I will do that easily. I am sure he will be more sure of himself in a couple of days. He is a beautiful very affectionate cat as well!!

This is of course my new granddaughter at a week old. She appears to be smiling here and has already won over her parents' hearts!

Here she is sleeping in her little moose outfit!

We don't know where the monkey chair came from but it would be something her grandfather would have bought her!! Doesn't she look sweet!
Life is good down here at the beach although it is a challenge to keep four kitties appeased while Lisa is off to work!!
I have been finishing up the three I spy quilts and also started work on my next more non-traditional quilt.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Visit to Holden Beach NC

It was a lovely day for a drive and an old high school friend John invited me down to visit in Holden Beach which is about 15 miles from here as the crow flies but you have to cross water via ferry to get there so it takes about an hour and a half. We had an absolutely lovely day and caught up on life in general. We lived kind of parallel lives as he and his lovely wife Marilyn have two daughters just about the same age as my two daughters with similar personalities and drives. It has been a long time since I have spent any time with anyone from high school (after all our next reunion is the 50th). When I had originally shared some emails with John, I remembered him very well from high school as he was one of the nice guys. It wasn't clear to me until this visit why I remembered him so well. We were in a special advanced group of kids put together in junior high school so we were probably closer to this group than any other and remembered many of the same people.
The picture above is one I "stole" from John's Facebook posting. His wife Marilyn took it of us with the ocean in the background at their lovely home.
The day was topped off with a lovely video phone call where I got to see my new grandchild in action!! She is beautiful! Technology is just wonderful!Can't wait to get out to Seattle in a few weeks now!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Welcome to My New Granddaughter!!

I spent St. Patrick's Day nest building which should have told me I was having empathy pains for my youngest daughter who went into labor and had our newest family member . Of course she is a beautiful baby!!!! So my daughter managed to line up her baby's birth, her thirtieth birthday the next day and then her 5th anniversary the following day! Everyone is healthy and happy which is most important!! However, I hear she is a screamer -- a trait she probably inherited from her mother!!

This is the third and final I Spy quilt which will be given to a friend's daughter when her son arrives in June.

Had to include a picture overlooking my featherweight which I took out on the balcony so that I could watch the waves breaking while sewing! It was a gorgeous day -- spring has finally arrived in southeastern North Carolina!

Of course my ibis is back to greet me. He was all by himself today and just strolling instead of the sewing machine pecking they usually do!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Back to the Beach!!

Well, I am back in Kure Beach and even drizzly, it is lovely. I managed a long walk down the beach at low tide yesterday and even managed to snap a few photos! The rest of my time I am spending putting together furniture so that we will look more like a real residence! Internet is more than a bit sketchy right now which hopefully will get fixed tomorrow, at least in part!

This is looking down the beach toward the famous fishing pier which was pretty empty. The water temp is only 52, so the fish have moved elsewhere I guess!

This is a Great Black Backed Gull which was huge especially when standing next to the willets which I always thought were pretty good sized!

This is one of the common willets, many of which I saw in Florida and there were quite a few on the beach here today. I also spotted some seaside sparrows which were pretty with their bright yellow accents!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

GVQC March Meeting - Esterita Austin

Priscilla (on the right) had a sale table today at club and had discounts for our poor economy! Marcia was helping her calculate the discounts and collect the money. She had all sorts of wonderful things (of course) and I had to get another scarf and a couple of necklaces (in case I didn't have enough). I was wearing my jacket with much of her merchandise on it so I was a good ad!

This is a reproduction of the center of our club raffle quilt which we just heard was accepted at Paducah for their show this year. The pattern will be offered as a class at our quilt show in the first week in June. There will also be kits available to purchase.

This was the first quilt of our show and tell and a lovely scrappy quilt which was pretty simple to make.

This was a spectacular interpretation of a commercial pattern done by our very prolific and talented Chris Wickert.

I just loved this log cabin. The little bit of red just sets off the green in the centers. I do like black and whites!

This was a quilt showing a pile of rocks that Esterita showed as one of her more recent efforts.

These next two photos show a before and after. In the first one, the before is on the right side and the after on the left. She achieves this coloration by painting directly onto the fabric after the piece is constructed.

On this piece the before is on the left and the after on the right.

My next posts will be from the beach!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Priscilla's and Getting Ready for the Beach!

Yesterday, I got the opportunity to visit Priscilla and see some of the treasures that she brought back on her trip from southeast Asia. She of course had many beautiful things that she bought for herself as well as some she was willing to share! I swore I was only going to pick up the shaman coat I had asked if she could find, but needless to say did buy some buttons and necklaces as well but kept under control!

This is the back of the shaman coat -- it really is like a tunic with just a few stitches on each side to keep it together. It is folk art from Viet Nam -- look at the vibrant embroidery. It is about 40 inches long in the front and back so it is a long tunic. It is also about 36 inches wide on each side so anyone can wear it.

This is the front of the shaman coat.
This is a closeup of the embroidery on the back. The embroidery is on a very dark cloth that almost looks homespun.

Today, I am working at a feverish pitch to get stuff ready for the trip (have to have projects after all) as well getting my regular organizational work done for tomorrow's GVQC meeting (which inevitably means that the printers are going to break down or run out of ink or do some other perverse thing to annoy me). Of course they did as usual!
After the dyeing session, I wanted to use up all the leftover dyes, so some miscellaneous fabric (don't even know what it was) went into the "leftover" dyepot and then I took the blue purple and the yellows and squirted all over two more tshirts that were sitting there looking very white. Well some was obviously pfd fabric and some wasn't!! The piece that was turned out beautifully -- a deep brown/black with a lot of character! It will make a great background for something!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Take a Dash of Brown or Black and Add.....

It was a "full speed ahead" dyeing day for Marcia and I today -- the first day of Daylight Savings and we were feeling the effects! Instead of doing our usual dyeing/overdyeing scenario today, we decided to try some gradations from one color to another. For any of you that have taken Carol Soderlund's classes, it basically is kind of creating the rows or columns in the "book". You basically are holding one color constant (same concentration) in all the baggies and doing a gradation of a second color. Today we decided to use yellows and oranges primarily and overdye with Pro Chem's Basic Brown (one of their mixes which is one of the very few mixes that I ever get) and ProChem's Black 608 and 609 (deep black). We threw in a couple of other variations which we thought would give us some browns. Of course we did get some surprises. Each of us dyed 40 yards of fabric for a total of 80 yards altogether -- a very productive day!!

The combinations that we tried (I will use Pro Chem's names here) were:

1. Sun Yellow at a constant 2% with a gradation of Basic Brown with the deepest concentration being 2%, then 1%, .5%, .25% and .12%.

2. Golden Yellow and Basic Brown (same as above)

3. Strong Orange mixed with Navy (414) starting with a 2% concentration and gradating down to .12%. In this case both colors were part of the gradation.

4. Strong Orange and Black 609 the same as (1.) above.

5. Strong Orange and Navy Blue the same as (1.) above

6. Lemon Yellow and Blue/Violet (Pro Chem) as (1.) above

7. Navy Blue/Sun Yellow and Black 608 as (1.) above. I mixed twice as much Sun Yellow and Navy Blue to give me a deep green.

8. Basic Brown and Black 609 as (1.) above.

We did only a five step gradation as we were starting with a pretty light concentration of the gradated color (2% and 1% with a couple of the blacks). We put in 2 yards of fabric in each "pot" for a total weight of about 250 gms. We used 5 cups of liquid altogether (water and dye concentrate) and then added 2 1/2 cups of soda ash solution after the fabric had been sitting in the dye solution for about 15 minutes. It worked out that the 5% dye concentrations I was using were equal to about a cup per pot so we started by putting 4 cups of plain water into each pot. I usually make up my dyes in either a 5%, 6% or 10% concentration depending on what I am doing! I don't add salt to the water when making the dyes (I use urea water to get good dissolving of the powders) but I do use a smidge of salt in the water I add after the solutions are made. I use dry fabric scrunched up nicely as this will also give you better overall coverage (if that is what you want). We do quite a bit of squishing as well.

We were really going for some dark darks today as well as some lights, golds and always browns as we can't get enough of them. Turned out we got some lovely grays as well.

Rather than publish the pictures again, take a look at Marcia's blog at:

The truth is that I haven't even finished ironing them yet!!

Well, since it was very confusing, Marcia forgive me, but I copied over two of your pictures!
This is reading right to left, top to bottom, greens made with navy and tangerine overdyed with a weak solution of black, basic brown overdyed with a weak solution of black, orange overdyed with navy and orange overdyed with black.

These are reading right to left, lemon yellow overdyed with Blue/Violet mixture, orange and navy blue mixed together and a gradation done, sun yellow overdyed with Basic Brown and Golden Yellow overdyed with Basic Brown all described above.
I suspect that my black was a very weak black and that at least some of the orange was a weak orange (the one used in the gradation where I combined it with the navy and you get the grey gradation). In the past I have found that a 2:1 of navy to strong orange gives you a pretty nice blue grey. I usually get a deep chocolate brown with a 1:1 navy and strong orange so that is why I suspect that it was a very old orange and didn't have its previous strength. The Black 608 that I used for overdyeing was a weak concentration but also had aged a bit on my shelves. With black, I like to go light as it can really muddy up colors badly.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March RAFA Meeting

Well, NONE of these are my snow dyes (and I wish they were!). These following pieces were all done by another member of our RAFA group, Anne Fischer and I think they are just wonderful. She is a relatively new dyer and has really caught the bug!! I am glad I was able to contribute to that!! Always nice to take someone else over to the "dark" side (or should I say pastel side).

This is the artist of the above pieces modelling her new sweater that she made from an old ill-fitting sweater! You will note the big pile of dyed fabrics sitting next to her!

This was a new quilter to the group, Elaine Ross, and a piece she did for a challenge. There are supposedly 30 leaves in this piece!

This is Sarah's latest piece which was begun in a class with Judy Warren Blaydon.

This is Marcia's latest piece which she was confident was going to hang vertically until we all decided it should be horizontal! I think she is going to put on two sleeves.

This was a day for jackets and Liz had a new one as well as Janet Root and Marcia below. They were all really nice!! Janet is modelling hers and Marcia's is the one made from the silk stripes, the fabric probably from Thailand or Viet Nam (Priscilla?).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just One Last Snow Dye and Then No More (Probably)!

We simply didn't get any of the snow that many East Coasters got -- not even a flurry! So no more snow dyeing for this winter probably as I am only home for a couple of weeks and then on the road again.

I did these before I left for NYC and really liked them (hope the camera does them justice). I used navy and an orange made up of a little mixing red and sun yellow -- I was thinking I might get some browns or grays. This is the back of the tshirt. Now this is a great improvement on the $4 tshirt from KMart!

This is the front of the same tshirt. I really like the front a lot. There is a lot of rose -- no orange or navy blue though!

These three pieces are all fat half yards which were part of the 2 yard piece that shared the dye mix with the tshirt. IF we do get some more snow before I leave for NC, I will definitely do a bunch more tshirts!
These turned out to be some of my favorite pieces using this technique. My dyes are about two weeks old now and there is definitely more washout of unbound dye but I am still getting lots of nice color for sure!! Now to wait patiently for some snow!