Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shrimp -- My Way

Funny how my two favorite shrimp recipes are obviously southern in origin but came to me by very different routes! The Jimbalaya recipe was one of the first things my husband found on the local company internet back when the internet was really new. We changed it a bit and it has been a family favorite ever since. We always make it when shrimp is available.


2-4 cloves garlic
1 cup of sausage cooked (I like Jimmy Dean's Hot Sausage best but to be true should use andouille sausage)
1 cup of shrimp
1 cup of cooked chicken cut into small pieces
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cups canned tomato sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it real spicy)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper

Chop up the garlic and cook (in a little olive oil) with the diced celery until a little browned. Add all the rest of the ingredients (I might pre-cook the shrimp as well just to get rid of some of the liquid) and cook for about 15 minutes. Then serve over rice. I generally double or triple the recipe and freeze the leftovers which taste even better the second time.

This second recipe is adapted from an old edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook and is one of our favorites. It has a nice clean taste and if you add a little more water, might be a good soup as well!

Shrimp Creole

1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup green or red pepper (whole pepper)
1/4 cup diced celery (I generally use more)
1 bay leaf crushed
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne (I generally use more but show some caution here!)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cups water
2 cups cooked shrimp (1 1/2 lbs of shrimp)

Cook onion and celery in olive oil until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for about 30 minutes. Add shrimp and cook on low for about ten minuntes. Serve over rice. I generally use brown rice these days! Of course like the former, I generally double or triple this recipe and freeze the leftovers for future treats!

A blog is a great place to keep some of your favorite recipes if your filing system is anything like mine!!

Hopefully, I will have some sewing pictures before too long. My kitties have decided that the sewing room and my sewing table are their favorite of all places and make sewing almost impossible. Of course they only come up when I am attempting to sew....

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Maiden Name was Baker...Therefore I Bake

What's in a name? Well, I loved baking breads long before it was in vogue -- back when you had to struggle to find yeast in the grocery stores! In keeping with my adding some of my favorite recipes to my blog, I have added some breads today (although my favorite sweet roll recipe was posted some time ago).

My Very Favorite Danish/Coffee Bread Recipe

1 envelope yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup heavy cream (I have substituted skim evaporated milk with no difference in taste)
1/4 cup evaporated milk
3 egg yolks beaten
3 1/3 cups of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix in the cream and egg yolks, salt and sugar. Mix in the 3 1/3 cups of flour. Add a little more flour if too sticky.
Roll out and spread the 1/2 cup butter over the dough and fold up and over until it fits into a bowl. Let it rise til double in a warmish place (hour - hour and half).

The above is the basic recipe. My favorite use of this dough is for Swedish Tea Ring.

1 cup walnuts finely chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
egg whites

Roll out the dough to a large rectangle as thin as you can get it. Spread the butter all over and then spread the mix of the walnuts and cinnamon. and roll up and twist around to form a circle. Mix the egg whites with a little water and then spread over the top of the rolled up circle. Make slits about every two inches. Let rise again until double in size (about 1/2 hour).

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees until nice and brown on top!!

Oatmeal Bread

This recipe is from a 1944 version of Betty Crocker and is courtesy of a very old friend's mother. I had this bread in her kitchen and had to have the recipe!

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats

1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp shortening

1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup warm water

3 - 3 1/4 cups flour

Cook those first three ingredients and then cool. Mix in everything but the flour. Then add the flour until the dough is fairly stiff.

Let dough rise until double (about an hour and a half). Divide into loaves and then let rise again until double. Loaves should fill up about half the size of the pan. I usually put a piece of greased plastic over the pans while the dough is rising. Let rise until when you poke it, it stays down. Cook at 325 for 40-45 minutes depending upon how big a loaf pan you use. I usually use two smaller loaf pans as opposed to a large one.

This bread is really delicious I think. That's why I rarely make it anymore!

I only make the first one for giveaways at group parties as it is much too good to have lying around the house.

Tomorrow I will try to put up my favorite shrimp dish recipes (Creole and Jimbalaya). We have been loving the Gulf shrimp that I purchased at our local market (Palmer's in Rochester for anyone around here). The shrimp are about 1 oz each and are delicious. I am one of those weird people that has seafood allergies and Gulf shrimp are the only shrimp I can eat without consequences! I still try to limit it though so I don't develop an allergy to this one as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finally Some Sewing!!

These are two of the aprons that I have finished as gifts to my brother in law who is a fabulous cook and nicely fed us many times the last time we were in Ft. Myers and even took over the kitchen at the beach house when he visited. It helps that he loves to cook and only uses the freshest ingredients he can find.

This first apron was made using a shibori technique with the heavy twill fabric that I found at Joanns. It dyed beautifully as you can see.

The second apron is a navy blue twill with a marbled design in the front. I used that special press and stick plastic wrap to block off just the area I wanted to marble.
These last few blocks are the beginnings of a challenge piece that is due by the beginning of November. I had the design for it weeks ago. The challenge was to take inspiration from one of the molas that we have purchased from Priscilla Kibbee and to create a piece no smaller than 24" x 24". Mine is a fairly literal interpretation of my mola (no surprise there). It will be much bigger than the smallest dimensions and hopefully the drafted pieces will fit together at the end!! Otherwise, there may be a lot of that fudge factor coming into play. It will be completely pieced. It requires 12 of the spiral blocks and 24 of the triangular blocks. They may look straightforward but believe me they are not!! Just try to piece those spirals going in opposite directions and get the pieces in the right place... And the triangles have two different sizes of strips depending upon the side...

I am using all my own hand dyed fabrics except for the black. One of these days I will have to organize my dyed fabrics in some sort of order. Right now they are everywhere but mostly in boxes which I paw through every time I start a project!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Patricia's August 2009 Quilt Show

Two posts in one day, Oh My! This was one of the first quilts that greeted you when you entered the show. I didn't get the name of the maker unfortunately but it was a beautiful applique quilt.

I had almost forgotten about the Patricia's quilt show as I was away all week and didn't get my quilt over beforehand. Luckily, there was a reminder on the GVQC list, so I toddled over at noon today while our dishwasher sits on the middle of the kitchen floor in pieces as my husband curses -- he says that makes mechanical things behave better when you curse at them and since he always gets things fixed.....

Double click on any of the quilts to see them more closely!

This one is by Jean Poulton and is called Square Dance. I of course love scrap quilts and really liked this use of her scraps -- may make one myself one of these days. It is very graphic!

This was by Fran Wadhams and I liked the subtle coloration. She had stripped color from the fabrics and then overdyed with tea. It is Nosegays.

This one and the next one were by Nancy Allen from Hilton and were from Ricky Tims designs. The colors were striking and the wall quilts are lovely! Of course, I am a big fan of radial symmetry as well!

This was an unusual variation of a Dresden Plate design. Each square was quilted independently and it is by Sue Spitulnik.

This was Maria Boyle and it is one of the four patch
Stack and Whacks. I never cease to love these quilts -- such a simple technique with one fabric and some careful piecing.

This was a baby "I Spy" quilt done by Ellen Farnham and I liked this pattern a lot and it again was relatively simple and a great way to showcase those novelty fabrics that I have far too many of!!

Back from Camping in the Wilds of the Finger Lakes Region of NY

Maybe not wilds exactly... We spent the past week at Keuka Lake State Park which is probably the nicest of the Finger Lakes state parks that we have visited! Each site had electricity and bushes on either side so you truly felt more isolated than usual. The sites were large and flat as well and Keuka Lake is a beautiful clear lake.
Here we are, all set up with our screen tent and sleeping tent -- both very easy to put up and fold away. These are what we used for our cross country trip two years ago.

Here are our friends who have a slightly more luxurious camping vehicle -- a 40 foot motor home with 4 tvs and 2 air conditioners!

This is the "fruit" of the Butternut trees. These trees and scrub pines were all over. There were more blue jays than I have seen in a long time in the pines. Evidently in the fall, the local deer feast on these butternuts which looked like crabapples to me.
This is wild chicory which is a very common flower around here this time of year. It evidently is not a native species but does thrive along the roadside and in areas next to grasses. The Queen Anne's Lace was everywhere as well as a small amount of scotch thistle which was my childhood favorite flower -- I love purple!

This is a Hickory Tussock moth caterpillar which landed on Warren's blue jeans. You can see the size from the weave of the blue jean material. It was a very pretty caterpillar but is not such a beautiful moth but pretty harmless to trees and such. It was tempting to pet it as it was so pretty and fuzzy but wisely we didn't. It does secrete a fluid that will sting and annoy you!

We didn't see a lot of wildlife (we did see three beautiful bucks crossing the road in front of us on one drive), but enough for my enjoyment. The husband of the other couple is an avid hunter and is very knowledgeable about the trees, wildlife and plants that we might spot. He spent his childhood hunting and fishing in this area of NY.

The weather was fairly cooperative although the last night was spent listening to the rumble of thunder (more than a rumble actually) and watching nature's light show which did inhibit sleep just a mite. Napping was definitely called for yesterday.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

INFJ - I am Rare! - Off Topic

As an aside, on Facebook recently, there has been a rash of people doing the Myer-Briggs Personality assessment. It basically is an inventory of questions that divides you into 16 personality "types". Each of those four initials has an opposite.

Many years ago at work, we did the full blown day long version and interpretation so that we could understand our colleagues better!! This was one of several personality inventories we did as managers. My score on the FB version was the same as I got at work (only we did a lot more of the detail assessment and pluses and minuses of the type) plus application to the work environment. One of the dimensions was that this type loves to write (which I at the time HATED to do). Hmmmmm... And now I am a frequent blogger and love to write.

The bottom line (and I love bottom lines) is that I am the rarest and the least understood of people! The analysis says that although creative in thought, I am compelled to implement (that is actually a failing in some cases as some things should not be implemented). Also, although being very decisive (I am), I feel it necessary for people to get along and am a team player (also true). One thing people have often said about me is that I am very extroverted (but I always contend that I am introverted as I only asked one question or answered one question in four years of college). That is a characteristic of this personality model -- people think you are outgoing when you are the shyest of the types!! Ahaaaaa! Take that, all you naysayers who used to laugh at my pronouncements! It takes great energy for me to be "out there" and social.

Here is the writeup that I got from one site (which I believe quoted it from another undocumented site):

Jung-Myers-Briggs: INFJ

Introverted Intuiting Feeling Judging INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn. (I stopped doing this.) INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people - a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type. Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function). This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings. Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership (that will be the day). Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields (that is where I was). Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic" (no problem here as that is my husband), and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences (I do like the sciences best but did major in LA). However, the significant minority of INFJs who do pursue studies and careers in the latter areas tend to be as successful as their T counterparts, as it is *iNtuition* - the dominant function for the INFJ type - which governs the ability to understand abstract theory and implement it creatively.In their own way, INFJs are just as much "systems builders" (that was what I did for a living) as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ "systems" are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology. Their systems may for these reasons be conceptually "blurrier" than analogous NT ones, harder to measure in strict numerical terms, and easier to take for granted -- yet it is these same underlying reasons which make the resulting contributions to society so vital and profound.B. Idealist Portrait of the Counselor (INFJ)Counselors are scarce, little more than one percent of the population, and can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except with their loved ones. They are highly private people (I am not like this or I wouldn't be publishing my results), with an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that Counselors are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them. Counselors tend to work effectively in organizations. They value staff harmony and make every effort to help an organization run smoothly and pleasantly (me, to a fault). They understand and use human systems creatively, and are good at consulting and cooperating with others. As employees or employers, Counselors are concerned with people's feelings and are able to act as a barometer of the feelings within the organization(that was how my vp boss at EDS used me). Blessed with vivid imaginations, Counselors are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language (again, my husband and not me). Their great talent for language - both written and spoken - is usually directed toward communicating with people in a personalized way. Counselors are highly intuitive and can recognize another's emotions or intentions - good or evil - even before that person is aware of them (absolutely, absolutely, absolutely). Counselors themselves can seldom tell how they came to read others' feelings so keenly. This extreme sensitivity to others could very well be the basis of the Counselor's remarkable ability to experience a whole array of psychic phenomena (I love Maslow and his Toward a New Psychology of Being) .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Power Dyeing Today!

For years, a session dyeing generally meant I would have 50 yards of new fabric by the end of the day and would dye like this for about a week before I just gave up and ironed the piles of fabric I had created! Speed was of the essence.

Since spending so much time marbling lately, my approach to dyeing has modified a bit as well. I am thinking more about what I am doing, trying some new things and just working on yardage until I get what I would like at which point I call it the end. So now there are only a few pieces from each day and I will work on those until I am happy rather than put them in the ugly basket -- although marbling might be just the thing to add eventually!

This was a piece that I folded and put to alligator clips on. All these pieces were immersion dyed in ProChem's Intense Blue. I had about 500 gms of fabric and I used about two level tbsps of the dye and two cuts of salt per the 3 gallons of water. I used about 1 1/2 cups of soda ash. All the pieces here went into the same dye bath.
This was the plain white fabric as above but with the clips with the circles at the end from the dollar store. These previous two I presoaked in water so that they would resist the dye a bit more.

This was an overdye of the intense blue over basically a 3% turquoise/3% sun yellow that I did using lwi. I loosely wrapped this yard over a rolled up piece of needlepoint canvas thinking that the dye would penetrate all layers better which it did. I was surprised that I didn't get any markings from the needlepoint canvas. It is a pretty color. I didn't presoak this one but did presoak the next one.

This was also a piece of the sun yellow/turquoise which I overdyed with the intense blue and used the clips again after accordion folding. Don't think I will do any more layers here but you never know!

This was one of the pieces from the previous dye session that I said I would overdye. It was originally the yucky green/gold and I had folded it and rubber banded it and dyed in the intense blue/navy mixture. Those are the darker lines. This time I wound it loosely over a 5 inch pvc pipe. I didn't presoak this one as I wanted more of the dye to go over the yucky part that didn't dye with the last bath. I will probably do no more on this one, however I reserve the right.....
Today the dye pots will have to remain silent as I MUST clean my bedroom so I can enjoy my new birthday tv!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dyeing Etc., Etc., Etc.......

Dyeing back in session! I had some hideous yellows that needed to be overdyed as well as some of the greens from the turquoise/yellow day. So I gathered together some miscellaneous stuff, did some miscellaneous wrapping and other mechanical resists (clothespins, rubber bands and string). I also added in some upholstery fabric that I had which I figured might dye well as it was part rayon and part cotton and natural colored -- small pieces but would make nice placemats. After I put the resists on, I soaked all the fabrics in warm water long enough so that it would get all the way through. This keeps the inside whiter (or its original color) as the water acts as a resist as well.

I mixed together about a tbsp of deep navy (ProChem 414) and Intense Blue (ProChem 406, I believe). We shall see what happens! I didn't weigh, I barely even measured the dyes but did add a couple of cups of salt into the solution figuring I had about a pound of fabric. I will add in about 1 1/2 cups of soda ash soon as I think there is about 3 gallons of water in the pail. I haul the fabric out of the pail before adding and mixing in the soda ash though. I might try to dissolve it in some water before I do that. Then I will let everything sit for a couple of hours and then voila (I hope!!)

They are in the washer and the first reports are excellent!! The fabric that I purchased for aprons for my BIL dyes beautifully and from Joanns no less!! So (even though I said no more white fabric, just this once...) I will head over and get a bolt of it as it will be great for tote bags, etc. as it is about the hand of canvas -- whoopee! I love when I find new fabric that dyes well!

This is the long one with the rubber bands just holding it together on the fabric which was accordion folded. Very important to use accordion folds so that you get relatively even dyeing.
I am going to shibori this one again using a different pattern.

This was the one on the pole with the string around it as well. It literally looks like four different pieces as it was a whole yard that I folded in half and then wrapped.

This is the one that has the rectangular clothespins along each side of the accordion folds.

This was the the white canvas fabric that I bought from Joanns. It was accordion folded and then the round little clothespins from the Dollar Store were applied. This is definitely my favorite, but of course it was fabric from scratch.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Birthday at the Buffalo Zoo!

When Warren asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I asked to go to the Buffalo Zoo which I hadn't been to in probably 30 years! After seeing so many beautiful animals in the wild in Africa, it was hard to see animals caged in zoos when I came back. I would like to say that the past few years have brought about astonishing changes in our zoos -- these animals looked so robust and healthy and better than the ones I had seen on the African plains. It is clear that the keepers really care about their environment. The Zoo was much different than it was thirty years ago -- there are so many flowers and plant life growing everywhere.

As the weather was supposed to get bad, we left early in the morning, figuring on breakfast on the way. (Whoever heard of a Burger King running out of biscuits at breakfast so the breakfast never happened.) (I might add that he also presented me with a huge flat screen tv for the bedroom and my daughter got me dvr service for a year!) My other daughter sent me lovely pictures of Amelia!

The above are scarlet ibis which are native to South America but which do appear down in Ft. Myers occasionally but I haven't seen one yet. I have seen about every other variety of ibis however and even see the white ones in large numbers by the beach house in NC.

The polar bears are always my favorites! One was swimming on her back one way and then doing the crawl coming back down the pool!

This was in the tropical rainforest exhibit which is always a favorite of both Warren and I at various zoos (like Central Park). I love color!!

There were day lilies everywhere and these were particularly striking as well as some double orange ones that I had never seen before.

This is the naughty lorikeet that took a small chunk out of my finger! He was supposed to eat the nectar, not my finger!

Another of the lorikeets that is more well behaved and eating out of my hand.
These morning glories were about five inches across and looked more like mallows than morning glories!

Looks like these zebras just had a bath -- how is that for line work!

This is an Asian elephant which is the kind you see people riding and in circuses. African elephants are much bigger and have huge ears and are definitely can't be trained like the Asian ones.

Again, beautiful colorwork on this mandrill!

The big horned sheep we saw at Glacier by the road were nowhere near as robust as the ones here in the zoo!!!

This guy was just fascinating. He is an anteater and the front end looks more like the back end. They are about five feet end to end.

Friday, August 7, 2009

August RAFA Meeting

This is just a corner of the incredible raffle quilt which is for 2010. Priscilla had volunteered to to a Seminole border on it when the top was completed (which it is now). The turnover just happened to be in our meeting. As soon as it is finished, I will make sure to have a picture on my blog as well as how to get tickets for it! I am sure the unveiling will be at a GVQC meeting some time this fall so you will have to wait until then. It is stunning and happily was inspired by the Batik Dear Jane that I did for the last quilt show (the Club one is much, much nicer though and the blocks are six inch instead of 4 1/2 inch)

August is always the best meeting of the year for our RAFA group. So many of the ladies go to QBL and then come and share their pieces and brief synopses of what they did.
This was Donna's piece from the Anna Hergert class. Anna nicely walked her through the class during studio time. She and Janet Root took the class and obviously had one heck of a good time working with every conceivable kind of stamp and fiber!

This piece was done by Sarah Terry in the Judy Blaydon class. It was just lovely as is the next top done by Caris Burton who is a tremendously talented quilt artist. She got three prizes for two quilts exhibited at Lowell this sumer. We have such a talented group.

This was the piece Priscilla was doing from the Marilyn Belford class. She insists she is going to sit on it for awhile and finish other things but I think she should keep going as it is shaping up beautifully!

This is a piece that Linda Bachman has done using 8 of the smaller molas that Priscilla has brought back from the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. I think this was a wonderful whimsical way to use the molas!
This was a purse that Priscilla has knitted from a combination of the silk sari yarn and "cheap stuff from Joanns". It is just wonderful.

This was a piece that Janet Root was working on and I think she wore the outfit just to color coordinate -- she always takes such a great picture anyway!!

One of our members Deborah Pope is an incredible felt artist and taught a class recently on making these needle felted fish. The fins are constructed from silk paper. Several of our members took the class (and I certainly wish I had as well!!) This is Pat Farrell's fish.

This is Elaine Ross with her fish. Aren't they wonderful!!!! And wouldn't they be great at the beach house??

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dyeing - The After

The experiment from yesterday turned out moderately well. I should add that my black kitty was intrigued by my dyeing and sat on the table the whole time I was working -- I was afraid he would try to drink the dyes, so I did cover up the pieces when they were batching! A little colored dye on him would not have hurt as he only has one little 1 inch round white patch on his belly. He of course insisted on sitting on the fabric while I was trying to take pictures. He definitely claimed all of it as his!

This was a 2 yard piece of cotton sateen (retrieved from my "what is it" pile) that weighed in at almost 400 gms. I used a 3% solution of MX Grape to dye the whole piece (lwi) (12 gms -- about a tbsp-- of dye in 4 cups of water). I then made up a solution of 12 gms (about a tbsp) of Basic Blue dye dissolved in 1 cup of urea water. I pour half of this onto the first 1/8 of the fabric and added 1/2 cup of water to the dye solution and mixed. Took 1/2 cup of this and poured onto the second 1/8 etc. doing this a total of 8 times. It was not too scientific, just eyeballing. I smushed the dye around so that it would cover the general area. I waited about 15 minutes and then carefully poured 4 cups of relatively warm (body temp) soda ash solution and gently smushed all the fabric again, trying not to move things around too much (I didn't do a very good job of arranging the fabric originally though). I then let it sit four about 4 hours before washout. I didn't do any more smushing after the initial soda ash addition (and probably should have as there were some light areas that obviously hadn't gotten hit with the soda ash solution). The whitish areas were not horrible though. The above is how I do gradations using separate baggies as well -- I have described that elsewhere in my blog.
I do love the color that the Basic Blue and Grape together though. Both are not especially intense colors, but together they become fairly intense and give you very nice blue/purples -- better than I have gotten with any other combination!

This was the Sun Yellow to Fuchsia gradation. For this I used 4 yards of the Egyptian cotton that I get from Joanns. It has a wonderful hand and dyes beautifully. For this, I initially dyed the whole piece with a 3% solution of sun yellow (12 gms of dye in 4 cups of water). I then made up a 1.5% solution of the fuchsia (6 gms of dye in 1 cup of water). I used a milder solution as I knew fuchsia would overwhelm the yellow. This one worked rather well I though although I wouldn't do four yards again probably. This may get overdyed -- am not sure yet. I think the effects you get with applying several layers of color are so much more interesting! An Intense Blue bath might be interesting!

Anyway, today it will probably be a gradation from yellow to one of the blues. We shall see!