Saturday, August 21, 2010

Patricia's August 2010 Quilt Show

This was my favorite in the whole show. It was done by Penelope Shumacher after seeing the pattern that she loved. It took her 7 mos and then she hand quilted it. Her fabric choices are wonderful!

My daughter is home for the weekend to attend a wedding of a friend here in Rochester so while she was there, I made a beeline for the quilt show!

I liked this scrappy quilt which uses some of those Japanese prints that we all collect.

I loved this house quilt by Pat Daniels. There are all sorts of surprises when you look closely at it!

This was a beautifully done William Morris applique quilt.

I absolutely loved this quite large quilt which was basically made up of miniature blocks. It had over 9900 pieces and I loved its scrappy nature. This was my favorite of the larger quilts! It was by Susan Pierson and Debbie Kinney.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Keuka Lake Camping!

This fellow is a Walking Stick and we hadn't seen one of these for a long time. He decided to sit and bask in the sun on the outside of our tent. We gently extracted him and put him in the woods when it was time to leave. He does look like a stick though!

Well, we spent the better part of last week on our annual camping trip with friends. We try to check out the wonderful state parks in New York on these trips. This was our second year at Keuka Lake which has very nice campsites as well as a beautiful lake for boating and swimming (although there were no lifeguards this year so no swimming).

We always seem to have a lot of Daddy Long Legs visiting our tent as well.

This I believe is a Silvery Checkerspot which we saw on our visit to Letchwork State Park. We were going to camp there originally but the men decided they liked Keuka better so Debi and I spent my birthday over there driving the length of the park and getting out to view the three sets of falls and the Genesee River Gorge.

It was a picture perfect day at Letchworth and this was a field of Black Eyed Susans that was attracting the above butterfly. I did see one other butterfly but couldn't get a good enough picture to identify it.

This is the Upper Falls which is the southernmost falls for the Genesee River which runs south to north and dumps into Lake Ontario in Rochester. They are very large falls carved out during the Ice Ages and glaciers withdrawing which are common in the Finger Lakes region which hosts falls at Watkins Glen, Montour Falls and Rappahanock Falls as well as several in the town of Ithaca.

This is looking toward the Middle Falls with the High Falls in the background.
Here are the Lower Falls from above. You can somewhat see the size of these falls with the people in the foreground.

Debi and Bill bring their three labs with them camping and their huge bus is in the background. We still go with just a tent and air mattresses. We ALWAYS have to get a site near the bathrooms though for me!

Warren went out sailing on Keuka Lake the last day we were there. It has been a while since he went out on the Sunfish with its new sail. There was very little wind though for the first time of our stay!

Down near Naples NY, there is a huge expanse of these wind turbines on top of the hills. You can see them for miles and people really think they are a bit ugly but I kind of like the stark white of the windmills with the blue sky .

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Painting with Thickened Dyes (Dye Painting)

My dyes are almost a week old but still seem to be producing excellent results. I suspect this is because my basement is cool(er) and because I make dye concentrates at 10% (less water with which to bond ). The last pretreated yardage is in the dryer awaiting the results of yesterday's dye painting. I decided just to take some of the remaining dyes, thicken them and roll and sponge them directly onto the cloth rather than monoprinting. I figured this was a safer approach to insure some color as the dyes should be a lot weaker now after a week.

This is a closeup of the first piece. This was literally done with the colors I had left. First I sponged on blues and greens all over and then sponged on a little golden yellow in empty spaces and then sponged on the mixing red mixed with a little strong orange.
I just directly rollered on colors onto the piece of twill - red on one side of the roller and golden yellow on the other side. It of course made a lot of orange in the middle. Then I outlined some of the shapes with mixing blue. I can't believe how strong these dyes still are -- they are a week old and were only 5% to begin with.

This is of course a closeup of the previous one.

Dye Painting and Monoprinting Tips

1. Use a high concentration of dye to urea water (always use urea water when painting or printing with dyes). I use a 10% solution which is about 2 tbsps./cup of urea water.

2. Make up your dyes a couple of hours before you need them -- yellow especially doesn't want to stay in solution so just keep adding urea powder and stirring before using.

3. Make up your print past the night before -- very thick which is 5 1/2 tbsps/cup of urea water. Put the powder in first and then add the water while stirring. It will be cloudy at first but will thicken and become translucent.

4. Presoak your scoured fabric in soda ash solution for at least 15 minutes and let dry the day before. Cut into the size pieces with which you want to work.

5. A very thick print dye paint can be made with equal parts of print paste and the dye. This will give you then a 5% concentration which is a dark shade of the color. If you want to thin down a little more, use either more dye (darker color) or a little urea water (lighter color).

6. Play with all different concentrations of dye to print paste. You can get it pretty thin before it starts seeping around to the other colors.

7. If you decide to paint with just dyes (no thickener), put another piece of cloth or fleece underneath so you don't get the plastic bubbly effect (unless you want that). Don't soak it too thoroughly or you will force all the soda ash out of the fabric.

9. Cover with a plastic bag loosely. If your dyes are very liquid, expect to see some movement of color. If they are pretty stiff from print paste, they will stay put and there will be no bleeding.

My process now is to let the fabrics batch for about 4 hours and then to roll them up in the plastic I was covering them with. I then fold the bundle and put in my old microwave over for about 4 min/yard, checking a couple of times. This insures that maximum dye has reacted with fiber. Even though these are called cold water dyes, they are even more highly reactive at hotter temps (as long as you don't have too much water). For silk I would use a lot less time and check more frequently. All microwaves are a little different. Mine is an old clunker without even a turntable but it is big.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monoprinting, etc.....

It hasn't been a particularly productive few days as life does intrude sometimes! Next week I will be gone for a few days camping so here has been a little prep work for that as well as my birthday which I celebrated by doing nothing but sit and read! These are my birthday flowers from my dear husband. He knows how much I love Birds of Paradise so they star in this arrangement which also includes an eggplant!

I am now getting near the end of the monoprinting as the dyes are now about a week old. Socks and tshirts soon to follow as that is what I do with the old dyes! I kind of liked this one.
This is another of the monoprints. I have been trying all sorts of ways of applying the dyes onto the surface to see what will happen. Many of these could be improved with another layer of paint maybe through a silkscreen. Will have to see what patterns I have. This is probably my favorite. Again these are all about 30" x 60 ". I only have one large piece left that has been pretreated with the soda ash.

This is the most boring of the monoprints. It contains basically only the warm colors I had and they blended a bit too much but okay for yardage!

I managed to forget to pick up a quilt that had been in an exhibit so had to drive out to a fellow RAFA member's house. I couldn't resist this water lily in a pond in her front yard. I LOVE water lilies too!

I drove home the long way along Lake Ontario (I live just two miles south of the lakeshore) and found these mute swans swimming in an area in a little park with a boat launch.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August RAFA !

I had to show off my three visors that I dye painted with the thickened dyes yesterday! So Gail, which one do you want (if any)?

It was great to finally see some of the pieces that were made at QBL. RAFA members took classes from Rosalie Dace, Leslie Riley, Jeannette DiNicolas-Meyer and Elin Noble. These first two pieces were from Rosalie's second week class called Earth, Wind and Fire I believe. Janet did the first one and Caris Burton did the one below. Neither is finished but awesome starts and they had great little studies with them as well.

Caris also showed her first attempt at Deconstructed Screen Printing which I think is awesome!! She learned it from a book rather than a class. She does everything well!!
Caren Betlinski shared her piece from the first week at QBL with Rosalie Dace. This week focused on circles. Priscilla also did a series of three pieces which were awesome and which you can see on her blog. They are much bigger looking in person than on the blog.
The folks who took Elin Noble's Indigo dyeing class will have their pieces for the next meeting. Some others decided they were only going to bring in finished pieces!

Our afternoon work session was led by our own Diane Miller who has a well established reputation as a knitter as well as a vendor of hand dyed yarns. She was kind enough to share with us her techniques of using MX dyes using citric acid instead of soda ash for protein based fibers (wool and silk). She also had examples and thoughts about other acid dyes (including Kool Aid!). In this picture, one of the class members is painting her skein of wool yarn with the dyes after they had been soaking in a citric acid solution. Amazingly, even without heat, the yarn just sucked up the colors. Diane uses a much lower concentration when using the MX dyes in acid dyeing (1 %). It was great information. She said she will be posting instructions on her blog which I have listed her for your ease of use!

It was nice to be back with the RAFA members although I did go on a bit of a rant about the forbidding of photography at Quilting by the Lake. I should explain that I don't mind that I personally can't take photos (although I won't go because of that), I rant because I think it is a dumb idea and still won't get the affect that they want! People will always take pictures, even when told not to (they will sneak out their cell phones these days) or use their binoculars or some other tiny camera. Most people like myself just want to give a little good publicity to a person or a venue that they enjoyed and respect personal positions. Many people will be turned off by the fact that they can't study even for their own personal use quilts that they liked (although I guarantee that there were people taking pictures and publishing them).
Thank goodness I chose to buy a camera rather than spending it on the QBL the class I was going to take! Next year, I will take the money I would have spent (I went for ten years) and go to Yellowstone again maybe!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Monoprinting - First Results

This is the mainly blue monoprint that I did first. I basically just dripped turquoise and mixing blue all over the surface and took a flat scraper and moved it around. Later I filled in some yellow and a little red. It is about 30" x 60" on cotton twill.

This is a closeup of the previous piece showing a bit more detail.

This is the mostly warm color piece. I used mixing red, strong orange and some yellow but added a bit of turquoise later on. I used a foot wide tile scraper to apply the color to the monoprinting surface.

This piece and the next are just closeups of the warm colored piece which is about the same size as the first piece.

These were two very small pieces (maybe 6" x 12") where I played with using a brush to lay down some color. I added salt to the one on the right and just applied color later filling in the white areas.

The heron piece which is now called "Oh No, Not Another Heron Standing in the Reeds". This was in honor of the person on the SAQA list who was bemoaning the fact that another heron standing in reeds was not her idea of art! Well, maybe not, but I like him. The quilt blocks along the left edge are called Great Blue Heron. If you have followed my blog, he used to stand right in the middle of the piece but I decided that compositionally he was better placed closer to the edge and so I needed something on the left or it would be very boring. In the original picture that I took this from, he was standing on a fish filleting table but he does look more at home amongst the reeds.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monoprinting With Dyes -- Beth Style

For those who are not familiar with this term, it basically means making one print of something (marbling is a subset of monoprinting). There are many ways of achieving monoprints, but the type I have done was to paint either paints or dyes onto some surface, spread a piece of fabric on top and then use a brayer rolled on top of the fabric to make sure that all the color adheres to the cloth. There are all sorts of surfaces on which you can paint and all sorts of interesting things you can put on the surface. Your imagination is your limit. You can really mix the colors or keep them separate -- you can leave lots of white space or none! Sometimes, you can even get a "ghost" print which is a pale copy of the first print and sometimes a good start on another piece of cloth. It is fingerpainting if you want it to be!

It has been awhile since I have done any monoprinting but it is an activity that I truly love (as evidenced by my 125 yards of marbled fabric). So back to the dyes. As I am trying to use up some of my aging dyes, I had to limit my pallette a bit (always a struggle for me) as bright blue, fuchsia and navy are pretty much among the missing. Grape, turquoise, mixing red, sun yellow, golden yellow, strong orange, burnt orange and mixing blue were still to be used though.

I decided the baby tshirt should be grape and turquoise so we shall see how that comes out. (I am not liking the quality of the fabric for dyeing as much as my cheapie K Mart tshirts though - it doesn't seem to take the color as well but we shall see).

My setup for monoprinting differed a bit this time and so did my process -- all because of my inherent impatience! I had a bunch of twill that I had bought at Joanns (60 in wide) that I had dyed before and it had dyed beautifully. It makes great aprons and tote bags!

When I took Ann Johnston's monoprinting class a few years back, one of the students in the class was using the skinny foam that you can buy in 30 x 60 inch rolled up sheets at Joanns -- the stuff from which they make those foam shapes for kids. They are about 1/4 inch thick and seemed to hold the dye very well. (It is great stuff from which to make "rubber" stamps as well.) In the past I have used either plastic sheets, glass, thin acrylic sheets or white bathroom board as a surface from which to monoprint.

I made up about 1/2 cup of thickened dyes of each color by taking really thick print paste and mixing it 1:1 with 10% liquid MX dyes. I rolled out this sheet of foam and poured dyes all over the whole sheet. I then used scrapers and tile grout grooved scrapers to move the dye around. Then I laid a rather large piece of this twill (which had been pre- treated with a soda ash solution and dried) over it and used a brayer to roll over the back of the whole piece. The first piece was primarily blues and purples but I couldn't resist throwing some yellows on at the end. The second piece was warm colors. I then picked up each of the monoprinted pieces, and found a nice piece of plastic for it to lay on and covered it with another piece of plastic.

I then just fooled around with small pieces painting the dye on the foam and lifting it with small pieces of fabric and then doing some painting directly on top -- I hate white!

Later I uncovered my pieces (maybe an hour later) and painted some more color onto the places that hadn't picked up as much dye during the monoprinting process. After about three hours I decided it was time to finish these suckers off as I was dying to see what they looked like!! They had been in my basement which is notoriously cool even in the summer and not a great place for batching and they were really too unwieldy to bring upstairs and outside. So I rolled up the pieces one at a time in their plastic so there wouldn't be any movement of color and nuked them for about 4 minutes until they were steamy hot (each piece was about 30 inches by 60 inches).

My washing process is to rinse the soda ash out in two bucketsful of water, first cold and then warm. I then wash for 1/2 hour in the hottest cycle of the washer with the highest level of water with some synthrapol and do a double rinse after that. If I were selling it, I would do this process twice.

Lessons Learned this Time:

1. Remember which is the alum bucket and which is the soda ash bucket. Alum does nothing for MX dyes!! (I know)

2. Don't work on pieces of fabric that are 60 inches by 36 when experimenting!

3. When painting over a water soluble resist like rice paste, always use thickened dyes rather than the liquid dyes unless you like fuzzy.

4. If you pretend your microwave is a steamer and use plastic instead of paper to separate the layers, everything works just fine!

5. Sprinkling salt on a layer of dyes on a piece of foam doesn't drag the color like it does on fabric but it does concentrate the color in small dots.

6. Dyeing over the soy paint is like adding a layer of dye -- the soy paint layer does not act like a paint and resist the color as acrylics do.

7. Mixing Blue and Turquoise mixed together make an awesome blue!

I can't wait to get back down to the dye table tomorrow!! Pictures tomorrow as well!