Friday, July 31, 2009

Quilting by the Lake -- Week 2 Tour Day

Although I had to go to this tour alone, I met several people there that I knew. I really wanted to see what was going on in several of the classrooms (Rayna Gilman and Jane Dunnewold had classes). Was greatly surprised to find my daughter's first viola teacher (who is now the first violist for the Rochester Philharmonic) was in Jane's class and has taken up surface design with gusto! Small world! The work in Jane's classroom was amazing -- they were working with all sorts of water based resists and were having a grand time!! I enjoyed Rayna's classroom as well but would really have liked to see more of what was done the first few days she was there in the surface class. I heard from one of my friends that it was excellent though as she was in the class.

The picture above is looking toward one of the sculptures on campus. It is a pretty campus with a lovely walkway which crosses a woody ravine .

It was really worth going to this second session as there was a lot of interesting work going on and I saw many of my old friends who I had missed the first time around! After you go to QBL a number of years, you meet people that you only see once a year but who become QBL friends and someone to be hugged when you run into them in faraway places (like Houston).

This was a piece by Sue Benner who will be teaching next year. I loved her use of color and pattern!

These two pieces are both by Elin Noble who I can't say enough good about!! The first is illustrating the indigo which she will be teaching one session next year and the second is a piece illustrating some of her marbling. Double click to look closer as it is fantastic. The pictures are a little blurry as I wasn't using a flash. Please make sure you don't sign up for the indigo class before I get the chance to get in!! Her classes fill quickly (as well they should).

This is Caren's class work from Bob Adams class. The top piece was one she worked on in Cynthia Corbin's class two years ago and is going to use the machine stitching she learned in Bob's class to complete. I was blown away by his work, many of which follow!
These next few pieces were in Bob Adams' classroom and I really liked them!! He graciously gave me permission to photograph all of them! Yes, I told him they would be in my blog! You really need to double click on these to see the detail. He uses discharge techniques extensively as well as a LOT of machine stitching!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Well, thought I would be doing some dyeing and cleaned off my table thoroughly but the air conditioning decided to call it quits so I had to move everything around so now my dyeing table is COVERED with pfd fabric. (Note to self -- don't buy any more pfd fabric in the foreseeable future). I have enough tshirts and white fabric for the rest of my life of dyeing!

Anyway, the good news was that I got to do a video chat with my beautiful 4 month old granddaughter (thank you again Google for this wonderful free service). I found that you can hit Prt Sc and capture the image and then convert it from BMP to Jpeg using Windows Paint. So here is the latest and greatest picture of my beautiful granddaughter! She lives on the other side of the country in Seattle where they are having record high temperatures these days. Luckily my son in law had the foresight to buy an air conditioner a couple of weeks ago so they aren't suffering as you can see from the picture! You can't even find air conditioners there right now!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marbling - THE END!

I finally finished up all the fabric and will save the rest of the goo (I usually go through this neverending process of alum-ing more fabric, running out of goo, making more goo etc., etc.)! It really re-energized me and am looking forward to doing a little dyeing and finishing my challenge quilt and the lillies that are awaiting some more work!

As I was sitting at my computer this morning, a deer went through the backyard and then right by the window where the cats were sitting -- they clearly couldn't figure out what was going on! I know, lots of you have deer in your yards. Although we live on a very wooded lot with a bevy of other forest creatures, deer are still an unusual sight in the yard although this is the second time in two weeks that one has been through here. I have seen coyote, raccoons, lots of chipmunks and wild turkeys. Black bears are up this far north now and we did have one lost moose in town a number of years ago. Sadly a bear died on the other side of town a few weeks ago when the wildlife officers tried to get it out of the neighborhood to relocate back down further south. Bears have been expanding their territory northward for the past several years.

Like the one above, this was done on a very nondescript failed shibori piece.

This was on a very, very ugly piece of red with a greyish tinge and worse yet, on cheap muslin!

Like the first one, I played with some combs again today although hadn't gone full speed ahead. It is fun to play with them.
No more for a couple of months though!! Getting all cleaned up -- not that we have had a day conducive to hanging alum-ed fabric out on the line. It rains every day and the temps have rarely even gotten into the 80s so far this year. No salt dyeing this summer!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Promise Only a Couple More Days of Marbling!

Well Rochester NY may be known for a lot of bad weather but usually not tornadoes and last night there were two in the area -- the first in our county since 1981. On the east side of Rochester, we fared better but this is the clouds coming in for the severe thunderstorms that we had last night. The rain just won't stop this summer.

Last night two more yards of white alum-ed fabric were discovered in my sewing room! It is not very great cloth but it was white and it did have alum in it so most of it got marbled this morning so I am now down to about 6 pieces of fabric left which will get done tomorrow and then cleanup and some dyeing.

This was actually combed (with a comb of all things) just for the heck of it. Every once in awhile, I feel the need to do something a little more traditional!
This matches the piece above where I did the more traditional marbling. Still working in the same palette.

This fabric is pretty coarse but okay for just playing around. I had purchased quite a bit of it for dyeing but it doesn't take the dye at all well -- fine for those nice light colors but it is a little heavier and coarser than I like for quilting.

This was the first print of the day when thre is always some gop left on the size that gives you white lines which I rarely try to remove.
I have about 2 quarts of goop left for marbling and may just dump that on top of what is there tomorrow and just finish up the remaining pieces!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nearing the End of the Uglies

Some new things I have learned. (1) I like having nice new size; (2) the GAC900 is a really good surfactant -- it makes most paints float better without trashing the size like some of the stronger ones -- even worked really well on the ProChem Marbling paints which I haven't liked using particularly; (3) the new secret for me in rinsing is making the rinse water just slightly warm (maybe 90 degrees give or take) -- excess seems to come off with just a dunk or two instead of four or five dunks which has muddied some of my pieces.

Philosophically, this making over of the uglies is a real theme in my work. I am drawn to things that many think of as ugly or horrible and trying to make them beautiful or at least attractive to the eye. I had known that in my art quilts but hadn't seen the parallel in my marbling -- there is something very satisfying about taking fabric you don't care for and remaking it. Of course I have found that my idea of beauty is wildly divergent from some of the norms. Probably why I just keep my mouth shut when selling some of my fabric! (Then again, this could all be my old cheap New England thriftiness ingrained in me from my mother.)

My favorite from today. An old stripey piece that I covered with mostly red and some blue. The stripes were mostly shades of blue.

This was a piece of commercial rust colored fabric that I had discharged shibori-style and it was just plain boring. This is a little better.

This was a class piece where I had experimented with all kinds and sizes of stamping of dyes -- also all colors of the rainbow. Not sure if this is much better but maybe bookmarks!

This was a very boring piece of commercial batik that I had in nondescript muted colors. Much improved (imho).

This is another of the ones with the really swirled background done as a class piece.

After today, only have five more uglies that need to be covered! I was definitely in the zone this morning and did nine at one sitting (really standing) before I came to a halt for lunch!
Next on my agenda is some shibori dyeing and maybe some discharging as well. This will entail a major cleanup from the marbling, as paint is just so much messier than dyeing!! Even though I am your basic slob, I have never been able to start new projects without a cleanup of the old stuff (even when I was working in corporate America).

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Day at Quilting by the Lake (QBL)

Well, between the rain and the thunderstorms, we had a practically rainfree time at QBL on Thursday. They are at their new venue at Onondaga Community College just west of Syracuse but an easy drive from Rochester. I usually take classes but because of the stock market and the new house, I passed this year but will probably be going back next summer for at least one week.

After dire warnings about how terrible it would be if we photographed any of the quilts in the show or in the classrooms without the owner's persmission (and of course none of the owners were in the classrooms as they go to lunch during the tour), I was frustrated. I have always found it flattering to see my work displayed in someone's blog or Flickr site as long as someone wasn't portraying it as their own work. If I didn't want work to be seen, I wouldn't be doing it in a public classroom or entering it into a quilt show. I get quilt shows where there is a catalog or book not permitting pictures. I get artists not wanting to display their work before they publish it. Thankfully some friends were there and said as they always do -- sure!! I liked one person's approach which was just to put a sign saying "No pictures, please". I have suggested we do that at quilt club for those who don't want pictures of their quilts taken.

This wall hanging was done by Sarah Terry who is a member of our RAFA group. The inserts are all marbled fabrics that she has done and machine stitched.

This is a spectacular piece by Marilyn Belford who was teaching there this session. You can see how big it is from the woman standing in front of it. She is an incredible artists and is from the Binghamton area now although originally from NYC. She switched to fiber as a medium (she started with traditional quilts if I remember correctly) rather late in her career as an artist when her Binghamton studio space was not sufficient for the type of installations she was known for in the art world. She laughs that she never ever thought she would do representational work which is what she is so well known for in the art quilt community.

This is the "Thanks Kaffe" ensemble made by our very own Priscilla Kibbee for one of the last Bernina shows in Houston. Pictures never do justice to these magnificent garments which must be seen on the runway to fully appreciate the bling!!

I loved this quilt that was hanging in the show -- loved the leaves.

These two pieces are being done in Marilyn Belford's class. The artist is Caren Betlinski who is also in our group. The first picture was taken at lunch and the second at the end of the day. This is from a picture of her cousin's niece. A beautiful picture of a very pretty girl.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer has Arrived (Finally)...

If I thought it would last more than a few days, I would take out my tables and set myself up for dyeing outside to take advantage of the humidity and warm temps. It will probably just drop back to fall weather in a day or so though!!

The marbling of the uglies that I have treated is almost complete. It really is a lot more challenging than simply playing with the white or black surfaces!! There have been some happy accidents and some that nothing will retrieve! (It's bad when your wipe up cloth looks better than your fabric!)

Found another item to add to my list of "50 Ways to Know you Have Been Dyeing too much"( I spotted a kitty litter plastic container in my neighbor's trash and now it is mine!! It is one of the high ones (40 lb Scoop Away) which will be great for some shibori (which I what I think I am going to do when I get the dye buckets up and going). A lot of my best plastic containers have been culled from the neighborhood trash on my early morning retrieval of the paper. Have I no shame? I even have others searching for the extra large plastic buckets that pool chemicals come in! Too many buckets are short and squat which is not great when you have fabric squeezed on a pole and want to get as much of the pole in the dye bath as possible!

These are the continuations of the over-marbling. The stripey ones look good on both sides -- don't know which side of the fabric I like better!

Two out of the three of these are unique pieces and one is the back side of one of the others!

I do like last one. The dyed piece it was on wasn't bad but was really missing something. I like the subtle swirling color in the background and the swirls of black on top.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Marble Marble

Faced with the unending pile of really ugly fabrics, my only option was to resort to opaque black and whites to try to cover them up. Inadvertently I was thinking I wanted them to have a marble look...... Didn't occur to me that I was MARBLING so by definition they were a "marble" look. Now these new ones do look closest to marble though except for the little bit of color that is peeking through. Eventually I will have to try this technique on plain white or black fabric as I am sure it will lead to some interesting pieces.

You can kind of see the underlying piece on this one. It was big red and orange swirls that I had outlined in black. Kind of a greenish yellow background and sincerely hideous. This isn't great but is workable.
This was just done on a piece of the neverending cheap purples I have.

This was rust and black swirls and pretty ugly. Again, not wonderful but okay and useable.

This was done with a blue green background. The fabric wasn't as ugly as some and it is still okay.
The marbling has slowed way down but I did manage to make several cherry pies and freeze another two pecks of sour cherries so we can continue to have pies all year. The biggest challenge was finding room in the freezer!
Of course, I am still frequently visiting my "honorary" grandson Sam who is such a little cutie!! This way I am not bugging my own daughter who lives 3000 miles away for more visits with my granddaughter!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blooming Gardens - Color, Color, Color

All the rain and mild weather have left the gardens lush with color. Warren grew all the plants from seed this year except for the peppers. The impatiens are the best we have ever produced. There isn't a color between light lavender and deepest red that isn't represented. We decided we liked the low growing plants better than the big tall ones which have nowhere near as much flowering. I am also nuts about the everblooming begonias -- the ones with the great big double flowers. We have always bought them before this year (and they are not cheap). This year he grew them from seed and they are just beginning to bloom and I LOVE them -- light pinks to deep reds.

Today we get our two pecks of sour cherries so tomorrow will be spent pitting them and freezing them for some pies later on! I have just been using up what remains of last year's cherries so there would be some space in the freezer. We have been sacrificing by eating those pies!

This is from our neighbor Joe's garden and they are just beautiful against the backdrop of his yard.

These are the many marigolds that are in our garden this year. Warren accidentally bought some of the tall variety which are my favorites (as I can cut for bouquets) but they do spread out as do the wave petunias that we have.

This is one shot of the impatiens with one of the flowering begonias in the front.

More of the impatiens.

This is a closeup of one of the bright pink begonias. We have them in at least two shades of pink and one dark, dark red.

>Lest you think I haven't been doing any quilting, I have been diligently working on a design for a challenge quilt due in November. I have most of the design worked out and almost have it titled. Now to just figure out how to put it together! I have used EQ6 for some of the design, but some of it will just have to be hand drafted I am afraid!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Almost Done for Awhile...

Ah, my favorite for the day -- a pull on a pale lavender piece of fabric. I had dumped every color I had left from yesterday somewhere on this piece and I always seem to like those best.

No saving this one I am afraid. The very dark dyed splotch in the middle is still a very dark splotch in the middle but probably I can use if I "crop" it down. You can see the colors I used in the small right hand corner which was off white on the cloth.

This was a pretty disgusting piece of dyed (rusty color) fabric that I had discharged using a shibori technique. It discharged to a moldy yellow (probably had golden yellow and basic blue somewhere in that mix to make the rust). It is okay now but not great.

This was just all the primaries thrown onto a piece of reddish purple old hand dyed (Joann's cotton from the old days). When I first started dyeing, I used a lot of the cheap cotton they sold. It dyed pretty well except there were always thread impurities in it which is why it was probably never colored to begin with! I like using blue as a background color as everything else always looks like it is floating on top.

At the beginning of each day I usually take a print from the size of the colors that have been left on from the night before (which weren't sucked up by the print). You get some interesting formations and lately I haven't had any scraps of white but this turned out fairly well on this dark brown fabric.
Have made one more part bucket of size as hopefully that will be enough to finish off the fabric I have alum-ed. The stuff I did today is even uglier if that is possible and will get cut up into small pieces or thrown out (heresy).
I even cleaned up the sink in preparation for doing some dyeing before we head off camping in August. Now just have to get the paints cleaned up and the frame put away for a couple of months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ugliest of the Uglies Update

Well have been slowly stepping away from my marbling size and doing other things the past few days! I still have some definitely throwaway fabric that I am experimenting with. Some are coming out better than others! There are some that even marbling can't save!! It is a good lesson in making "complex" cloth though as I try to do some matching of the overpattern with the patterned fabric that it is covering so that it becomes more interesting. Many of these pieces were literally practice and test pieces in various Elin Noble and Ann Johnston workships -- trying multiple techniques on one piece of cloth with the intention of never using it! Some I had tried to retrieve by overdyeing but to no avail!

Today was an adventure driving down back country roads trying to find a quick way to get to the new Quilting By The Lake Location slightly west of Syracuse. It will be quicker than Morrisville -- have to make my reservations to do on the tours the next two Thursdays!

Anyway, these were the four best from today. The first one above had kind of a pattern of needlepoint canvas in the middle and was the ugliest color of purple/green. That is my favorite from today's bunch.

This was the ugliest to start with. It had the black squiggly lines and a lot of black dots of dye all over it with some disgusting muddy colors. It isn't great but it most definitely improved and I think the curvy lines of the marbling really complement the black squiggles.

This was an attempted stripe over miscelaneous dyed rectangles all done with various types of stamps. Each stamp was somewhat interesting but nothing went together as it was totally a try of different techniques. It is a little better but could have used a darker marble.

This was whites and browns and yellows on black fabric. I feel like I can never go wrong doing anything over the black fabric. This is a pretty closely woven broadcloth and does take the marble extremely well. I have found these pieces to be extremely useful in making my birds.