Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heading South for a Month!

My two kitties and I are packing up the sedan to the very top and heading to the house in Kure Beach (which made CNN by the way because of their ruling that it would be a "no thong" beach) on Saturday bright and early. It should be quite a trip as I won't be stopping half way like I normally would because of the cats.

My dear daughter and her two kitties join me on Monday and then she leaves her kitties with me for three weeks while she is busy traveling for her company! My youngest daughter, her husband and my granddaughter as well as my dear husband and my son in law's parents will be joining me in a couple of weeks. Needless to say, I am taking lots of projects to work on (car space permitting). I literally have every square inch except for the driver's seat packed with boxes, freezer chests, multiple suitcases, 2 individual cat carriers for emergencies, baby stroller, high chair and "pack and play" and a kennel that takes up the entire back seat (for the kitties to travel in relative comfort). The fabric and assorted accessories will be squeezed into any available space that is left. Now to just get all the stuff I need for the class and my projects ready.

Besides working on the drafting of my lions (hmm, I am a Leo after all), I will probably play with more of the hexagon kalaidoscopic images. I have two fantastic books that I love by Sara Nephew -- Serendipity Quilts and Doubledipity. They basically are about 50 variations of settings for kalaidoscopic hexagon blocks. I hauled out a bunch of my fabric that looks like it will work and will audition it tonight. I have to be very selective because of space concerns and I have to have enough books to last for a month as well (30?).

So it may be a few days before I post a blog so hope you all enjoy the wonderful spring weather! I can't wait to get to Kure and see the ocean again!! I am really a water person and am happiest when I can have it close at hand!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dyeing, Dyeing, Done for Now!

The beach is beckoning me! Kure, here I come with two kitties as traveling companions! Manic dyeing always seems to occur right before I am heading for a long vacation which is the case this time. I finally finished all the tans and browns my stash can handle and am very pleased for the most part. I even got some light lights (had to check with the original cloth to see if they got any dye and they did!).

This is the last batch of tan fabrics made with the mix of black and brown in mostly very light values. The tans were done with a 1:1 mix of the Deep Black and Basic Brown. This is a combination I have used for years to get a really dark brown. I wasn't trying for that really dark color, just wanted some tans that tended toward grey. Neutrals are just fascinating me these days, both in dyeing and in piecing quilts.

This is my entire pile for the past few days of dyeing -- the right side all ironed and the left side still awaiting!

Today was my fun day. I had a bunch of dyes left over and some of the never ending supply of white t-shirts that called for color. I used some popsicle sticks to squash a couple of accordion folded t-shirts and then just threw all the color I had left plus some blues that I had made up . Those blues were really for overdyeing the tangerine that was just too dark the other day. I like the effect you get when you overdye with a mix of blues instead of just one. You can't go wrong as long as you stay away from Basic Blue and Turquoise. You have to be a little more careful with those two! So hopefully you will be able to spot me at the quilt show with t-shirts that have every color in the rainbow in them (or are just plain mud -- you can never tell!). Well, they aren't mud so I guess they are wearable. These, by the way, are the cheap Basic Editions tshirts that I can get on sale at KMart for $4 sometimes even in the plus sizes! I swear they are mercerized from the way they take color. My tshirts from Dharma don't do as well!

The trip to NC will end with a visit to Charlotte, seeing Wicked for the second time with my oldest daughter and attending the NC Quilt Symposium Show( When I saw that the show was about the time I was planning on being in NC, I thought I would check the local quilt "scene" there in anticipation of our full move there in another couple of years. I will have two quilts there - the Lilies and the Depression Sampler. I am also taking a class with Cynthia Corbin who is one of my all time favorite teachers. It is the same class basically I took at QBL three years ago so I know what to expect. Instead of bringing every fabric I own, I will limit myself (I think) to some neutrals in different values with maybe one other color. Since I am flying home, there is a limit to how much I can bring back on the plane without spending an amount equal to the plane ticket on luggage!

It was nice to get comments on my last post as I truly thought I would put everyone to sleep! I do love the science of dyeing almost as much as the art and view it as a truly "whole-brained" experience! Color could just never get boring to me!

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Sermon on Using Dye Weight!

A question has arisen again about the percentages I use when dyeing and how they relate to the tsps and tbsps found in many dye books. The answer is not simple. I have been converted to the metric system as it really makes dyeing so much easier for me. I can still be improvisational but always start out with concentrations of dye solution that are about 10%. Now like a lot of you , I started dyeing using Ann Johnston's wonderful Color By Accident. Ann uses tbsps and tsps in her recipes. I have taken several classes from Ann and we have agreed to disagree about our starting places!! She is very intuitive and very experienced and I am sure her tsps are pretty consistent over time while most of ours aren't!

However, for the sake of translation, and roughly right, 1 tbsp (15 gms) in 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water equals about a 12 % solution which could dye one yard very, very dark , 1 tsp about a 5-6 % which would give you medium/dark. Roughly dyes weigh in at about 5 gm/1 tsp.

So for my gradations (in volume terms), I would start with 2 tbsps of dye dissolved in 2 cups of water (this is for a gradation of 8 one yard pieces of fabric). I would put one cup of this solution into the first pot, add water to the remaining dye until it was 2 cups again, put one cup of that into the next pot, etc, etc until I am down to the 8th (and sometimes with the dark dyes I go 12 levels), watering it down by half each time. I use plastic 1 gallon good quality baggies (Hefty or Ziploc) for each yard of fabric. I reuse them until they get holes in them. I have a whole little process for this I developed over time so that it only takes about a 2 foot by 2 foot space to do this.

Now if you look at those dye charts from Pro Chem and Dharma, you will see that they talk about percentages as well. Most dyes are shown at roughly 3%. This translates in metric terms to: for every 100 gms of fiber (about a yard of pfd muslin), there are 3 gms of dye POWDER which is dissolved in some amount of water. Using my rough translater, this means that there is about 1/2 tsp of dye powder used for each one yard of fabric.

With dyes, it is the amount of dye and the amount of fabric that matter. Yes, the water does affect the final outcome a little (more water and the dye will bond to the water which is why you use salt in regular full immersion dyeing).

Now the reason I say roughly and I should say that in capital letters is that each of the dye powders weighs something different. Some are a lot heavier than others and over time, they put different amounts of fillers in so that the dye charts remain accurate (i.e., if for some reason a new manufacturer sends a batch of dyes that require less of a certain dye to dye the same amount of fabric, the distributors like Pro Chem will put in fillers so that they remain consistent over time from a weight standpoint -- I have noticed that in some of my "pure" blues). These fillers will cause changes in volume but because at least Pro Chem uses weight as the constant, the weights will remain pretty much the same thus giving you similar results while the volumes might change over time.

Just look at the jars when you order 1 lb of the different dyes -- different in terms of volume.

For me, it is just easier to use a little scale and weigh out 50 gms of dye and dissolve it in 500 ml of water which gives me a 10% concentration. 500 ml of water is just a bit over 2 cups of water. So if I want to dye a yard (100 mg) of fiber, I know that there are 10 mg of dye in 100 mls of water. So if I want a pretty dark - 5% - (darker than the Pro Chem charts), I will use 50 ml of that solution which will give me 5 gms of dye. I will add enough water to the fabric and dye so that the fabric can soak it all up.

So again:

1 tbsp = about 15 gms of dye

1 tsp = about 5 gms of dye

250 ml of water = a little over a cup of water

1000 ml (1 liter) = more than a quart

100 gms = about the wgt of 1 yard of dyers muslin

3% concentration = about 1/2 tsp of dye/1 yard of dyers muslin
1 lb = about 400 gm
1000 gms (kilogram) = 2.2 lbs

I probably lost most of you in the first sentence! I won't even go to converting liquid ml to oz! For the severely math impaired, stick to your totally improvisational methods! If you yearn to learn more about getting some predictability in your dyeing without several months of experiments or dye dogs, start out with some predictable dye strengths using weights and work from there! Some will never get frustrated by not being able to repeat a color they just love. I did get frustrated. And I still have fun throwing colors together to see what will happen! Just not all the time!

Compulsive person that I am, I also keep a chart with every fabric I have used to dye that lists the weight/yard. It varies incredibly! A yard of Kona cloth weigh in about 150 gms, pimatex at 120 gms, a yard of my linen/rayon mix 250 gms etc, etc. Naturally you need quite a bit more dye to get those heavier fabrics to dye to the value you get with the lighter fabrics. Some people might mistakenly think they just have a non pfd fabric because the same amount of dye they use on their dyers muslin doesn't give the same color on the heavier fabric. So I have just taken a lot of the guessing out of this whole process. I must say I was not converted to metric until I took Carol Soderlund's dye class though! I was getting some predictability but was still using tsp and tbsps and keeping extensive records of my experiments and results.

I will step down from my pedestal now and go back to dyeing my tans if there is anyone out there left reading this or anyone cares!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dyeing, Dyeing, Cont.'d...Still Not Done

Well, we had all sorts of things being batched in the basement. I also have one red arm and one very fuchsia finger (got to figure out which of my right gloves has a hole in this finger.... You will have to forgive the pictures of un-ironed fabric as husband insisted he needed to do laundry (how dare he!) and I had to give up the washing machine before putting them through the second cycle. A lot of ironing to do tonight!!

I noticed that I had never done a gradation of the Black 609 (the deep black from ProChem) so started with that. I then overdyed all those Sun Yellow/Basic Brown gradations from yesterday in a 5% fuchsia bath. Then I did four yards of plain old Tangerine at about 2% thinking I might be able to use that straight on the lions. If not, I can always overdye. Then I got to the meat for the day! I did a gradation of Tangerine (truly one of my favorites of the pure dyes despite its tendency not to dissolve easily) with a constant of .5% basic brown added to each.

Then I had a bunch of fuchsia and Mixing Red and Basic Brown left (only a little bit of that -- about 100 ml of 10% solution). So I threw that altogether for probably about a 15%(with about a 10:1 of red to the basic brown) intensity and did a gradation (I did 9 steps but probably could have done 12). I am hoping the darks will be a really dark red but we shall see!! Really dark rich red is a bit elusive with these dyes!

This is the Tangerine gradation with a constant addition of .5% Basic Brown. I really liked it and think I will do a gradation of one of the colors in the lighter values to give me more lion colors.

The 2% Tangerine bunch was much too bright so they will have to get overdyed today.

This is the crazy mixed up mixture of Mixing Red and Fuchsia with just a touch of Basic Brown. I think I have hit upon something here!!!! I am always complaining about Fuchsia striking too quickly and never giving good overall coverage. Mixing Red does a better job of playing with other colors but Fuchsia is a much brighter color. But mixing the two together, you get the best of both worlds!! I don't think I have ever gotten anything with Fuchsia in it to grade so nicely without a lot of splotches. This is all low water immersian dyeing by the way. The deepest reds in this gradation were very nice as well and I think the Basic Brown did some of the work there.

This is the former gradation of Sun Yellow with the 2% Basic Brown that I didn't like. I overdyed it with 5% fuchsia so I would get good coverage. I am very happy with the results although the differences between the different pieces are small as I would expect! I can always use some nice dark brick-y colored fabrics and am very pleased with this! My camera really rebelled at taking this picture -- my husband thinks that some of my colors are absorbing all the Infrared that cameras use to bounce off and determine focus. I have had this problem with a couple of other colors as well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dyeing, Dyeing, Not Done Yet.....

Another few days of experimentation! I am trying to amass a selection of tans and browns for the upcoming lions! I sold off the snowdyes that I had created in anticipation of this which is okay. I am trying also to use up my existing dye powders as some are ten years old!! (I must add that I keep them in a cool dark place.) A lot are two to four years old and yes, they work fine but are a bit lighter than before but that is probably better as I have a heavy hand when it comes to dyes!

My plan was to do several gradations using Pro Chem's Basic Brown (one of the very few mixed dyes I use) in combination with yellows and oranges and reds. My gradations are 8 steps and result in OWG of 10%, 5%, 2.5%, 1.25%, .62%, .31%, 1.5%, .o75%. I basically start with 2 cups of dye solution that contain 20 gms of dye powder (about a tbsp and a tsp), dump one cup into the first pot (with one yard of 100 gm fabric), add a cup of water, dump one cup of that into the second pot etc, etc. I have gotten the overall process down with very detailed instructions.

My variation is adding a second color in different concentrations into the pots which will give you the kind of variation that you would see in Carol Soderlund's "rows" or "columns". (I highly recommend her classes for those dyers who want to get serious about color and predictability. You can do this by yourself, however, this would save you months of experiments and gives you a wonderful record of colors at the end.)

I also had a new "pure" dye to play with so had to do an initial plain old gradation using that. It is the "Burnt Orange" from Pro Chem and is is a kind of rusty orange in its darkest iteration and a pleasant toned down (almost fleshtone) in its lighter values. The above picture is the Burnt Orange gradation. I have decided not to overdye it as I do like the color a lot. It is not one of the "stronger" dyes but I can see a difference between the 5% and the 10% concentrations.

I then tried two more gradations -- one with a gradation of Sun Yellow values with the addition of 2% Basic Brown to each "pot". The other was a gradation of Mixing Red adding the 2% Basic Brown to each pot. I loved the Mixing Red/Basic Brown gradation and the Burnt Orange. The Sun Yellow with Basic Brown gives a gold that has a bit too much green in it in the darker values but it is a learning tool.

This is the Mixing Red gradation with the brown. I loved the deep reds I got with this (basically a 10% mixing red and 2% brown and a 5% Mixing Red and 2% brown.)

This was the Sun Yellow gradation with the brown added. It is even more hideous in person as the browns all look green and there is very little variation. These are all going to be overdyed with red today!!

This, however, is the gradation of the week old solution of golden yellow adding only 1% brown this time. I am liking this one a lot.

I only had a couple of yards left so the top one is 2% Burnt Orange and 2% Basic Brown and the bottom one is 2% Mixing Red and 2% Burnt Orange. This looks rather like the scarlet dye I have gotten from Pro Chem in the past.

As we have been talking about moving south permanently, I figure I will get all my fabric dyed (if you remember, I have an obscene amount of pfd fabric) and use up my dyes and paints as best I can. Of course you always run out of one before the other and have to purchase the other, etc, etc! It is amazing how much dyeing I can do in a short period of time so using up even that obscene amount of fabric should be easy!
I separated another 50 yards of fabric last night into dyeable portions!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Beautiful Spring Day!

This is a Jack in the Pulpit just beginning to open. Its leaves are still not unfurled.

The woods behind my house have been left to their own devices since we moved in and in the spring remind me of the woods were I grew up! They aren't very deep but are pretty much impassable in the summer when all the shrubbery fills in. Before we went on vacation three years ago and our neighbor behind us chopped and killed some of our trees without our permission, we couldn't see the neighbors once summer came. Sadly that is no longer the case but the spring does bring all sorts of wildflowers back there and I always feel compelled to take pictures hoping for that one perfect shot!

These are the "fiddleheads" which are the ferns beginning to open. Where it is shady they come up about a week later than the sunnier spots where the ferns are all open already.

Another view of the Jack in the Pulpit so you can see the very dramatic inside.

Still more.

The pretty lavender wildflowers in the backyard. A certain black kitty was stalking them while the orange kitty was nuzzling my camera. It doesn't make picture taking easy! I believe this is called Spring Beauty. The yellow flowers from the other day are either called Dog Toothed Violets or Trout Lilies and are a member of the lily family. They are just beginning to come out in my yard.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Heron Unfolded -- Almost Done!

Our saucer magnolias are in full glorious bloom! I have never seen so many flowers on this tree!
The next few pictures are the evolution of the great blue heron on which I have been working diligently. When I get near the end of a project like this, I get a little manic!! Here I have just started to add the water around his feet.

I am auditioning the first of the sky pieces here. I had decided to piece the sky background using multiple sky blue and aqua fabrics just to give it a little more pep. I random cut curves into the edges as I do love curves and the rest of the piece is all straight lines!

Ah, this is the way the day started at Marcia's. I had finished the heron and his background. If you remember, I decided that he shouldn't sit in the middle but should be on the far right side, so I lopped off most of the pattern for sky on that side. However, it needed more on the left side and even before the Janet Fogg class, I had decided I would do pieced blocks but wanted it subtle. First I planned on doing Storm at Sea but decided that was too busy. Next came Snail's Trail which is also called Ocean Waves. At first I was going to make 8 inch blocks but that felt too big so I went with 6 inch blocks and made the Ocean Waves block -- just didn't work -- again too complex for the sky. Would you believe that I found a block called Great Blue Heron!!! So I tried that!

This is the heron with his new Great Blue Heron blocks almost completely assembled. I still have one to go which bridges the darker color of the water and the lighter color of the sky. This piece will look much better when it is quilted and the sky pieces lay flatter. I still have a couple of things to do on the heron to "improve" him and then we will be ready to quilt. I am feeling quite productive as this is my fifth quilt finished so far this year.

Vicki Welsh, I hope you are reading this blog! Priscilla brought this fabric from your Etsy shop and when I saw the name, I knew I recognized it as you have posted comments on my blog! It is a beautiful piece of fabric. We loved the piece on the right hand side as a companion. It is an African fabric Priscilla got years ago and it was a perfect match for the colors. This was one of several projects Priscilla was working on!

The next two pictures are of Priscilla's turquoise jacket which is just beautiful. The colors and the fabrics are just stunning! It is one of my favorites I think! Too bad it isn't my size! That is Priscilla looking up at it!

One of the deer that frequents Marcia's pasture hesitated and posed for me right before I left this afternoon! Since Marcia no longer has her horses, her pasture has become home to deer and one very happy groundhog who I pictured in a blog much, much earlier!!

The article about the Almighty Dollar Exhibit was published recently in The Numismatist which is the journal of the American Numismatic Association. Through internet connections (my blog), the editor (who coincidentally lives here in Rochester) heard of the exhibit and wanted to do a small article on it. Pat Pauly (the curator and organizer of the exhibit) quickly responded with text and pictures and it actually got published before the exhibit is over! How is that for a cross-interest exhibit! If you double click on the article, I am sure you can read it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Before the Rains Come -- Early Spring!

Our star magnolias are blooming and the saucer magnolias will follow soon and then the Japanese cherry trees which are just about ready to bloom. Imagine being only a couple of weeks behind DC -- it is usually at least a month!

Our lavender azaleas look really nice this year. For years we had no blooms.
Every year I look up the name of this flower and every year I forget it. These were particularly vigorous examples.

The nature goddess must know that I am leaving for NC in a couple of weeks and has provided me with a very early spring here in Upstate NY. It is supposed to rain for the next few days so I dashed out to take pictures of the trillium and other spring flowers before they got all muddy (and not so picture worthy!). Of course, I hadn't noticed that I had managed to smash my UV protective lens on my camera yesterday when I dropped it. It took me a bit of time and a heavy duty wrench from my husband's toolbox to get the lens off as I smashed it in somehow as well. Thankfully, it came off eventually and their was no damage to my camera or the main lens. I hurried to the local photo store to get a replacement lens (and of course look at all those lovely digital SLRs which are beckoning me.....).

So I went out again and took more pictures. My neighbor has managed to cultivate trillium (trillia?) by planting the seeds around the yard from the old plants. She has quite a few of the white and purple trillium now and they are at their height of beauty. The white will eventually turn pink before they die. It was really surprising to see them so soon and if Sharon hadn't pointed them out, I might have missed them as I never expected to see trillium in mid-April.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going to India Vicariously!

Priscilla Kibbee just got back from one of her sensational trips overseas (her blog is noted on my sidebar) with many treasures as usual. Of course Marcia and I had to go over and see what she brought back this time. Part of the fun is having Priscilla pull out each pile and tell us about it so that we can purchase a token or two for our own stashes.

An even larger part of the fun is seeing the pieces that Priscilla is keeping for herself!! This incredible applique and embroidered piece is one of those that she is keeping (although she said originally she planned to sell it but loved it like we did). Wow is all I can say for some of the things she picked up this time. She explained that even though she was in India for two weeks, all her shopping basically took place during the last 36 hours in Delhi! She just had to fill those two suitcases. I greatly benefitted from this as she had brought back some wooden stamps (which I love) and which never would have made the cut as they are quite heavy.

This picture and the next one are very detailed painted silks -- just amazing. She had some smaller pieces that she will be selling.

This is one of two embroidered silk pieces that are just huge (36 inches x 80 inches) which she brought back. This is all hand embroidery with tiny stitches all over. I believe this is called Kantha embroidery and is done mostly by the people of West Bengal (I believe Priscilla got it in Delhi). They are finished like scarves (or really shawls they are so large). Probably double clicking will you a better idea of the detail in these. I bought one last year that was covered with all different kinds of animals and it remains one of my favorite pieces.

I saw this piece and fell in love! It is the second of the embroidered silk pieces and I am sure Priscilla was thinking of me and my birds when she purchased it knowing I wouldn't be able to resist! It is stunning to say the least and had to come home with me. There are easily 100,000 individual stitches in this -- probably twice to three times that. The workmanship is spectacular - the kind of fine work you saw in our American quilts from the early 1800s. And you just know that she has even better pieces in her collection!! Those areas that look appliqued are really embroidered even to the solid looking patterns on the sides. They are all just tiny running stitches. I am not sure if the embroidery is silk or cotton thread but it does feel like silk. Of course I also felt compelled to buy some of her luscious silk scarves and a few doodads for decoration on garments! I kept reasonably under control.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You Just Never Know - Journey of a Dyer!

An art quilt friend asked me to do some custom dyeing for her which I do occasionally (but very selectively). She wanted a very muted beige/brown background with subtle mottling -- she always gives me the photo she is working from as a guide. As I was trying to get up a group of this color myself for the lions, I gave it a first try.

For my dyeing, I almost always use Preferred for Dyeing (pfd) fabric but have found that for lighter colors and overall "solidity", sometimes a good non-pfd fabric will work well -- some of those that have some permanent press finish or some optical brighteners. The finish acts as a resist and you get some nice overall colors sometimes (especially those pesky lavenders that you want to have some blue in). So I decided that this would be a good fabric for doing my friend's request. It was a non-pfd white Robert Kaufman Kona that I got at Joanns. I keep a small stash of the white for my marbling and fabric painting as it performs well in those capacities.

So I went with a pretty low concentration (maybe 2% for bright yellow and golden yellow) on this fabric and then added in Pro Chem's Basic Brown (one of the few "mixed" colors I regularly use). I only added about 1/2 to 1% of this. I figured I would get nice and light. Wrong!! It acted just like a pfd fabric and sucked up all the color and I got a very deep gold color. You can see this in the first picture above!

I knew the above color would not do so took one of my snow dyes to her with which she was thrilled! So now I am left with 6 yards of deep gold, some of which I can use. I had a bunch of the basic brown left (although it has been aging down there in liquid form in the basement) so added a tsp of Deep Black to the solution this morning and poured it over 5 of those six yards. The result is not too bad! There was obviously no permanent press or optical brighteners in this batch! I got good mottling and a lot of very deep browns. These two pieces are the results -- one is two yards and the darker one is three yards.

I have another 10 yards of it all scoured and ready to go. I am thinking some reds and oranges overdyed with browns and blacks. I am doing things a little differently also. I have a couple of big flat boxes and I am scrunching the fabric and covering the bottom of the box. 5 or 6 yards fit easily into one of the boxes.

I am doing LWI the Ann Johnston way with just wetting the fabric (usually I use it dry) and then pouring the dye all over it and then messaging it in. I am of course pouring the dye very unevenly but doing a lot of message to get the subtle mottling but an overall variation in color. I let it sit for 15 minutes and then pour in the soda ash solution and message a little bit. I then weight down the fabric with another box with a bucket of water in it. I really like using baggies as it is easier to squeeze out the air and get overall coverage of the fabric but this is working pretty well! I let it sit for about 2 hours, rinse, wash and iron!

Won't these two fabrics above work really well for my lion's mane? I was planning on doing a lot of piecing but these almost stand alone with lots of stitching. Nah, will still piece!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Class with Janet Fogg and a Closer Look at Some of Her Quilts!

Janet gave me permission to publish pictures of the quilts that have been out there for awhile. This one as well as the other full sized pictures were taken from the back of the room during the quilt club meeting. I think it gives you a good idea of the sheer size of these beautiful quilts.

This and the next picture are closeups of the kitty above. Double click so you can see the detail of the stitching in these.

Today, during class, I had the opportunity to see her machine quilting closeup. It is nothing short of spectacular.
She uses a long arm machine but does all her stitching freehand. She truly is doing very innovative work with a long arm. It is easy to see why these are prize winning quilts.

This is a Siberian husky that she pictured. Janet uses hand dyed fabrics that she buys from a local Portland Oregon dyer (her blog - can give you the name of the dyer). This woman custom dyes to Janet's specifications.

Janet's specialty is the combining of traditional patterns with pictorals. She machine pieces her pictorals for the most part although occasionally she will do some applique. Her technique is similar to Ruth McDowell's but she has made some enhancements and does some things a little differently. I definitely picked up a couple of hints especially with regard to curved piecing of these complex images.

I was amazed that in two days everyone in the class had their patterns drafted (and some were quite large) and were starting to pick fabrics. Janet was very helpful to everyone in all stages of the work.
I had done some initial drafting of my lions which will be my next piece but decided my time was better spent finishing up the heron. I made significant progress today. You may note that the heron has moved from the middle of the piece to the right hand side. I have decided to incorporate something in the background although I am not quite sure what it will be. I have thought of tesselated fish or the snail's trail block but done very subtly as I don't want the background to overwhelm the bird but it is just too boring the way it is now. I am actually further along than this photo suggests -- he has legs and a bottom now!

Ellen Erne was at the table next to mine and she was working on a very large kitty sitting under her sewing machine. She made a lot of progress and had a lot of her fabrics picked out and ready to go.

Carol was working on a tulip which was shaping up nicely. She had quite a bit of fabric placed by the end of today.