Saturday, February 27, 2010

This is More Like It!

Rochester finally had a "snow event", our friendly local euphemism of one heck of a lot of snow! In one day, the skies opened up and made up for the lack of serious snow this winter (and maybe even last winter too). We went to bed with about a inch of snow on the ground (and showing no signs of changing) with the weather forecaster saying that it would all happen while we slept -- well they were right. It was an "omigosh" moment when I first opened up the garage door. Our driveway was coated with snow from 18 inches to 3 feet deep (at the end where our friendly plow had come through). It was the kind of wet snow that brings down branches and chokes the snowblower.
Of course my dear husband is out of town but this time instead of sunny California, he was in NYC and didn't do much better than we did in the snow department (yes, he did drive and left his car on Staten Island where he had to dig out this morning).

After spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get the snowblower to dispense with the snow, I was even too pooped to do any snow dyeing!! One doesn't have to go traipsing down the driveway dragging a bucket to get enough snow now! This is heavy duty snowman/snowball snow and we are told that it won't be stopping this week! There was another six inches on the driveway this morning (and of course the requisite 18 inches where the snowplow had plowed us in again) but six inches is a lot easier to deal with than 2 feet!
It is definitely a black and white world right now, more white than black. It still hasn't stopped...but at least I have some snowdyes batching down in the basement!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And Now a Word From Our Swimmers (and Divers)...

It was a sunny day and the birds seem to be enjoying it!
The sun actually came out today and so it was time to trek down to the outlet and see if any new birds had come to visit or I could get better photos of some of the familiar ones. As the temps have been fairly warm (for here -- read 30 degrees instead of 20), the outlet was pretty well thawed and all the usual ducks were there!! The only one I didn't see today was the Common Goldeneye but instead I did see a Ring Necked Duck and that is the first time I have spotted one this year. The above picture is of the Ring Necked Duck. I did see some way off in the distance last year. I also spotted quite a few White Winged Scoters but they were too far away to get good pictures.

There were many, many Greater Scaups out there today, both male and female in rather a large flock.
The Oldsquaws were of course there in force as well. There were also a lot of females and males. Look at the long tail feathers that distinguish this duck.

Here is a closeup of the Oldsquaw male.

There were of course, lots of the mute swans. Unfortunately, people have been feeding the birds which encourages them to be a bit aggressive.

These two Greylag Geese swam right by me and I loved their orange feet.
There were lots of Redheads out today and with the sun shining (a little bit), you could actually spot the red gleaming in the distance. Cool...

The gulls have finally returned and I don't know what that means. They have been absent for the most part of the past couple of weeks. Something irritated them here and they all decided to flee. They are all the very common Ring Billed Gull.

Looking out over the winter lake. There are places that look like little volcanoes where the water has come up through the ice.
This is the Red Breasted Merganser and you can really see his irridescent green head in this shot. Much different than how they looked in Florida!
This is the pathway I walk down to see all the different kinds of ducks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Have You Seen a Blue Footed Boob?

These two pieces are the last of the blue and yellow with a little blue/violet thrown in for good luck.

Unlike the tropical bird which has pretty blue feet, dropping a cup of navy blue dye on your feet does not give the same effect! This is not quite as bad as the time I dropped a large bowl of unbleachable dye on my feet the night before heading to NYC though. At least this time it is only the bottoms of my feet but it did ruin a decent pair of marbled socks (well, maybe not). At least these MX dyes don't actually dye the skin, only the old dry skin (which trust me my feet have plenty of). All in the furtherance of snow dyeing!!

I had to make up some more dyes and am actually starting to run very low on some which is a good thing as they are beginning to age a bit. I still get decent results with 10 year old powdered dyes though amazingly! The ones with red in them seem to last the shortest amount of time which makes sense as they are the most reactive and will take the opportunity to exhaust themselves in any water they find.

So onward to some more greens, some browns and some golds. There is just no other way to get the effect on fabric that using snow as a resist does. As an added inducement, it actually then washes the exhausted dye from your fabric to some extent which makes the washout so much easier. Amazing....
Well, today, I decided to do a totally different color, so squirted on some nice bright sun yellow and then some golden yellow, topped off with ProChem's Basic Brown which I have always liked as an overdye. I have never been quite able to recreate the exact color using the pure dyes so it is one of the few mixed dyes I use. I also decided to fan fold a small piece of leftover fabric kind of on the side to see if it was any different than what happens with plain old low water immersion. We shall see. I took the lead from Gisela ( who posted some beautiful results on Dyerslist (a must list for anyone who is serious about dyeing).

This was the "before" with the sun yellow, golden yellow and then basic brown squirted on top. In this pile were one of the large pieces plus the smaller fan folded piece kind of tucked around the outside.

This was the second of the two using the same palette.

This is the result on the fan folded piece. It is a half yard altogether.
This is one yard of the four yards I did. I pretty much liked them all but thought I might go a little lighter on the brown as I thought it blobbed a bit.

This is another of the brown and golds. I think it will be great to cut up for my lions.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For!

Well, how is this? I collaged the 8 photos of the two two yard pieces of snow dyes I did yesterday! They turned out just as I had envisioned and will be very useful for a quilt I will be starting soon -- think bird background. You really have to double click to see all the detail. These were done with basically intense blue, deep navy and some sun yellow thrown on top. I am beginning to run out of dyes now. I used a pretty heavy concentration again of the blues but did water down the yellow a bit. One piece had more yellow on it than the other. The above is a total of four yards which makes a lot less mess in my dye space! Four more yards are batching now!

I was whining yesterday that there was hardly enough snow to do the snow resist dyeing and then the skies opened up. The "trace to one inch" turned into about 7 inches of "lake effect". I can't complain as I was safely inside and it makes gathering snow a lot easier although it is very heavy wet snow so I will order something a little lighter the next time!

I did scour another 20 yards or so as there is supposed to be more snow next week and we have to take advantage while we can! I will have to check out the ice rink which is within walking distance of my house because the Zamboni should make good snow scrapings according to friends!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Dyeing - 2010

Just getting my feet wet so to speak in this year's first snow dyeing. I have one heck of a lot of pfd fabric to dye up during the next year!! I will not buy any more pfd fabric, I will not buy anymore pfd fabric.......

Here is the snow piled about 4 inches high on top of 4 yards of fabric squeezed into an area of about 14 x 18 inches.

This time, I decided to mix up 10% solutions of dyes -- intense blue, navy, turquoise, strong orange, sun yellow and the blue-violet -- all these are from Pro Chem so I used their names. I have tried a slightly different arrangement this year so we shall see how it works. I used needlepoint canvas to cover some large flat boxes. As I had no way to attach the canvas to the sides, I placed a smaller box in the middle to hold it up given the weight of the wet fabric, dyes and all that snow. I have two setups downstairs, each which will hopefully work well with four yards of scrunched up flattened fabric so I can do 8 yards at a time (we shall see).

The first of the two boxes I used the straight 10% dyes on top of the snow (which was a very wet packing snow and pretty heavy). I used enough so that it should have colored 4 yards to about a 5% WOG (weight of goods). However, as it was so strong that it didn't cover all the snow (did I say that I hate white on dyed fabrics - well the same applies to snow obviously). I used a mixture of strong orange and navy mixed equally which should give a brown and 10% of intense blue kind of in a striping pattern. As it still wasn't covered, I added 5% sun yellow and more of the intense blue at 5%.

The second box with 4 yards, I started with the 5% concentrations of turquoise and then sun yellow. Then I added in some of the blue/violet mixture. Hopefully, something nice will come out of these and hopefully the watered down dyes will drip to the bottom of the boxes and not onto my basement floor (which is pretty colored already!). Now we just have to be patient...... After the snow loses all its color, I will take each two yard piece keeping the folds in place to the best of my ability and nuke it for about 8 minutes totally (4 min/yard) checking about every minute. Then off to be washed and photographed!

Well, the ones that I started with the 5% solutions are much too light and icky for my tastes so overdye shall happen!! I think I will just overdye with a blue and see what happens. I have found that if you used mixed colors for the first dyeing that a pure color on top always works better and less real mud results. The reverse is also true to give more interesting mixed colors.

Here is the "dark" (10%) solution on top of the snow. It is intense blue and then a mix of strong orange and navy and then threw in some yellow in the areas where there was no coverage.

This is what the darks looked like before they were nuked and then washed out.

Here are some examples of how the darks turned out. Each photo shows a piece about 36 inches by 22 inches (fat half).

This is the "lights" which used 5% solutions of the violet/blue, turquoise and then some yellow on top. I may have thrown in a little of the 10% yellow and violet blue after covering.

This is the lights before nuking and washing.

Here are some of the better areas of the lights. Again, each piece is about 36 inches x 22 inches.

The ones that were done with the 10% solutions looked better to me. There was quite a mess in my basement as well as some obviously chose to drip on the floor rather than in the box so I will be back to doing 4 yards at a time instead of 8!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spring Fling - Our GVQC Quilt Retreat

The past two days have been spent at a lovely location nearby where we had the luxury of just talking and quilting and having a wonderful lunch served. It is a yearly occurrence I always enjoy! The desserts are always to die for and this year was no exception!

This was a lovely piece that Norma brought in to get some suggestions on how to get a mitered border with a Jinny Beyer print so that it lined up appropriately. Janet Root was right there to help!

This is a piece that Janet was working on which is a good example of the use of transparency. She was finishing it up as it was only on a design wall here.

I don't know who the quilter was but I thought these were very interesting small compositions.

Janet Root and Marcia Birken are working on measuring Marcia's Fall Migration quilt getting ready for the borders. You always measure an inside area as the outsides often stretch out of shape. Marcia's quilt is made up of very luscious batiks in browns and blue greys.

Judy Deyo was also working on her Fall Migration piece. The color combination was stunning and there are cute kitties inside each block!
Janet Guarino was on the table opposite me and worked on at least three projects while I was there and had more in readiness should time permit. This was a project started in a workshop with Anne Lullo a couple of years ago.

Charmaine Babineau was working on two pieces. The abstract one was started in a Cynthia Corbin workshop last year and the second livelier one was begun in a workshop with Sylvia Einstein. Charmaine had purchased all the fabrics for this originally for brightly colored flowing clothing but went with the quilt instead!!

Pat Pauly challenged a number of us to complete a quilt with the theme of the "Almightly Dollar" as the inspiration. Pat chose to focus on the portrait of George Washington and this is a part of her unfinished piece.

I decided to focus on the symbols contained on the dollar as well as the meaning of the phrase "Almighty Dollar". This is the beginnings of my piece which is making a bit more of a statement about the obsession with money that characterizes much of our society. It will be about 32" x 55 when completed. Right now it is a fractured flag. The title of the piece will be "Red, White and Blue and Green Allover" as the dollar bill has red and blue threads woven through it although invisible to the human eye.
I also decided to just have some pure fun so I cut up some fabric (pictured below) and am making a "One Block Wonder" quilt. I got about half the blocks completed in just a couple of hours so it should go fast. The fabric from which the triangles are cut is featured below. This fabric seems to work pretty well for this technique which focuses on using the kalaidoscopic images right next to each other but laid out in color groupings. I haven't come up with the final composition yet by a long shot as I have many more blocks to do before I can stick them all up on the design wall!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

GVQC - A Visit from Aafke Steenhuis

This is a sneak peak at our raffle quilt for this year. It hasn't been quilted yet but isn't it stunning! Priscilla did the Seminole piecing for the border of the quilt.

We are having a perfectly lovely sunny day here in upstate New York. We missed yet another of those pesky storm systems which is just fine with me!

This was my first time back at GVQC in a couple of months so had some catching up to do. Our speaker this month was Aafke Steenhuis from Ithaca NY. I had the nice opportunity to spend dinner with her and a small group last night and then see her talk today. She is just a lovely woman who went from very traditional quiltmaking to art quilts in a very short period of time. She is originally from the Netherlands but has lived here in the US since the 70s. She has a wicked sense of humor and has lived a lot of life (among other things she had 9 children).

During Show and Tell, Claire Welch showed her beautiful quilt made with blocks following Paula Nadelstern's techniques -- just a stunning quilt!

And of course the second quilt is an "I Spy" like the ones I did last spring. They are really fun to make and are very showy!

This was a top completed from a class taken with Pat Pauly -- lovely colors and a very nice quilt top!

This was a composition using gradation hand dyed fabric -- really, really nice -- I don't know whether this was an original design or not but beautifully executed!

I also took a picture of my piece from the Holy Mola challenge. This was the completed quilt which is all pieced and then machine quilted. The mola that inspired the piece is underneath it.

Aafke (our featured speaker )brought lots of quilts with her to share. She loves the orange and purple pallette and I notice she sneaks some green in as well. That is my favored palette as well! This was one of her "Large Cell" quilts done as therapy for herself after having significant surgeries for a Large Cell tumor on her wrist.

This was a very large three panel quilt also part of the "Large Cell" series.

This was a very contemporary arrangement of a lot of random blocks and scraps that Aafke had. This is only a small section of the quite large quilt -- would be a good thing to work with all those strips that I did!

Okay, had to sneak in one duck! The sun was brightly shining so of course most of the ducks made themselves scarce so there were only a few Oldsquaws and Greater Scaup hanging out today. Can't seem to get the conditions and the ducks all at the same time!!