Friday, February 25, 2011

Before the Storm -- at Marcia's for the Day

What a surprise to come to Marcia's and see this lovely pictoral that Priscilla is working on!! She used one of those free pieces of software to blow up a drawing she did from a photograph. And even Marcia was using a tracing box to set up a new piece (a little more abstract though). My day was spent continuing to number all the pieces in the lion quilt so that when I cut the templates apart, they will go back together again! I finally got into a rhythm yesterday improving my process and am almost done with the numbering at least. It was easier to do all the numbering at once and then go back and add the tick marks and x's to the pattern pieces. It is a tricky process to be able to reverse all this onto the freezer paper.

Marcia isn't quite finished with this piece in her jet trails series but it is wonderfully vibrant and she used beautiful sateens. Of course she will do a magnificent job of machine quilting after it is done.

I had to take a picture of Priscilla's stash of greens which filled most of two tables.

And then it was fun to see the beautiful pile of fabrics that Marcia was working from.

This is part of another jet trails that Marcia has just started working on - beautiful!
Well, Mother Nature is providing me with some nice wet snow to do some snow resist dyeing. Today will be really random!!! I found a box of small containers of dyes that I bought on super sale at Joanns years ago -- little squeeze bottles with the urea already added and a bit of dye powder (I know they are Procion though). For some reason, there are no labels about what colors they are!!! So it will be interesting to see whether there is any active dye left and what color they turn out to be! They all look pretty dark in the bottles. I have 25 of these and put water into about 5 for the experiments today! We shall see!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Do You Do When You Have Had 100 Inches of Snow Already?

As mentioned before, my attempts at snow dyeing this winter have been less than successful as I underestimated the strength of my ten year old dyes!! I also didn't have much color choice as my favorite colors have run out and I'm bound and determined to use up what I have! This is a twice dyed turtleneck that I am very pleased with. After I dyed it the first time, there were huge slightly off white areas at the top so I just dumped some blue-violet and boysenberry and left the rest alone. It is deemed wearable now. The turtleneck is from KMart -- their Basic Editions. I have found the tshirts of this brand to dye beautifully and I think the turtlenecks do too!

These next two are twice snow dyed yardage. At the bottom of the post you will see what they looked like before they were overdyed. I like the results a lot. This is basically half of a three yard piece. I used mostly the blue-violet mix, grape, mixing blue and boysenberry. I don't keep "mixed" dyes on hand for the most part with a couple of exceptions (basic brown, blue-violet and black). The little bit of green is some ancient leaf green that I had.

This last piece is just a scrunched regular snow dyed piece. With the technique that used, I really call it snow resist dyeing as I am using snow to block the dye from hitting the fabric except for slowly. Shibori is a mechanical resist which causes resistance to dyes because of folding and the dyes having to travel to dye and thus you get the patterning. With the first two pieces, it is basically a combination of using snow as a resist and using folding as a resist. The fabric used is Joann's Egyptian cotton which is an excellent fabric for dyeing with a beautiful soft hand and more resistant to fierce wrinkling than the Pima or even Testfabrics broadcloth. I can see virtually no difference in the depth of shade between the fabrics. I don't know whether Joanns is still selling this fabric from the same vendor as it seemed rougher last time I looked. Luckily I have hoarded quite a bit of it with my 50% off coupons over the past few years!
The most effective process for getting the fabric prepared is to scour it and then (if I want to fan fold it), iron it. Then do the fanfolding lengthwise (or widthwise depending up the length) and put clips on it to hold it together while you make sure all areas are touched when soaked in the soda ash solution. Then squeeze out the excess liquid and put it on the surface used for the snow dyeing. Lately I have been using inverted boxes sitting in the double sink and a box top stretched across the top (but slanted so the excess water and dye run off into the sink). This has been much easier than the box in a box approach I used earlier.
The snow is pretty much melted now but we are expecting more tonight and tomorrow so I am all ready with scoured and ironed fabric!
This what the above pieces looked like before I applied the second layer of dyeing. As this one had so much color already, I decided that some discharging and other treatments (like marbling) might be more useful eventually.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Snow is Melting Around Me..

This was a group of four Red Headed Ducks. These were unmistakeable in the bright sunlight. Most of the time, they had their heads tucked down because of the high wind. I finally caught one looking out but certainly red headed!

This was kind of a random week with miscellaneous things taking up the days. And one of those things was a trip out to the movies to see The King's Speech which was one of the best movies I have seen in years!! My dh managed to get the stomach flu on Tuesday so I have been waiting for my own symptoms -- I may be home free but won't declare victory until next Tuesday -- I HATE stomach flu...

The snow was pretty deep last weekend so I did take some of my very old and leftover dyes and tried some snow dyeing. It was moderately successful but I used far too much dye thinking that ten year old dye powder is probably pretty weak -- wrong there!! I don't think any of the dye I used was less than ten years old as a matter of a fact. I have been trying to use up what I had before ordering more but I am out of some of my favorites and decided as a result of this dyeing that I will have to replenish or be bored to death with my results!!

Now the snow is melting like crazy but I do have some fabric prepared for the next snow. After all in upstate NY, we can be guaranteed more snow before the end of March!! I am also going to overdye some of the snow dyed fabric -- just have to decide on the colors.

It was so warm today a trip to the outlet was called for to see what the birds are doing. In one week it has gone from being totally iced up to all the snow melted on the walk out on the pier. There were a few different ducks but not as many as last year. It was a beautiful day (except for the high winds) to be outside -- almost shirtsleeve weather with bright blue skies!

This was one of the ever -present Oldsquaws. This was the only picture that had his long tail showing. He is a very striking duck, I think.
The Ring Billed Gulls were standing still going into the wind which made picture taking easier!

I believe this was a Bufflehead which I hadn't seen up here before. Sure looks like the female.
And here is my mystery duck. The best I can do is think it is a Surf Scoter. It was a good sized duck with an almost square looking bill and definitely a diving duck. Gail, got any ideas?
All the old familiar faces were there today and the Mute Swans were again fishing and quite successful at that!

Friday, February 11, 2011

GVQC February 2011 Meeting

Ann Nash was our speaker this month and did a wonderful presentation on her three years living in Japan. Ann is known for her wonderful quilting. We are very fortunate to have her as a club member.

Besides donating many, many comfort quilts each year to various organizations, GVQC also makes cash contributions and one of those was to support our local ARC in Monroe County in their quilt and fiber art program. We had the incredible treat today of seeing some of the wonderful pieces done by these challenged adults. The color was wonderful. Part of their fiber program is painting with permanent Sharpees and alcohol and this stripey piece and the tie dyed piece below were samples of what they had done with this technique -- beautiful. These were pieces of silk. They donate the traditional dquilts they make to other organizations.
This is an example of the traditional quilts that they are doing. This is all hand quilting -- isn't it wonderful!

Then we got into our club show and tell. I missed several nice quilts but did get pictures of this wonderful abstract by Pat Pauly. She hand paints, silk screens and stamps with MX dyes. This is part of her mummy bag series. Pat has had quilts in two consecutive Quilt Nationals. We haven't seen the piece that was recently accepted yet.

This was a very original stack and whack with a baby block setting.
This was a rescued top that Beth Brewer is finishing. She estimates the blocks to be from the fifties through the seventies.
This was another found quilt with a most unusual pattern. Anyone have a guess? This was finished by another club member.
There were some spectacular comfort quilts today and I just got good pictures of the last few. I am fixated on comfort quilts right now as I am in the process of finishing up those 28 tops I made on vacation!

Another one.

Last but certainly not least is the second birthing of icicles on our garage roof. Warren knocked off the first bunch but new ones have replaced those. Definitely a winter wonderland here with wind chills below zero.

The other day I stopped by the outlet again (it was too cold today) and saw the mute swans feasting on fish. One would catch one and then the rest would all chase the lucky swan around. This happened several times. I hadn't seen mute swans catching fish before. Usually they are rooting around with their tails straight up in the air.

There were two Common Mergansers off in the distance who headed out as fast as they could when I started taking pictures. Usually I see the Red Breasted ones here but Have seen the Commons out on Lake Ontario later on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Marriage to an Engineer....

One week back from North Carolina and our hot water heater decided to kick the bucket. Now most people would call a plumber and just get a new one installed. That doesn't happen in our house -- never has! Now this is the fourth or fifth hot water heater we have had so I know the drill. Get the old one out and get the new one in. The biggest problem is that the "old" one is always filled with rust and whatever scale killed it to begin with and probably weighs 200 or 300 lbs. The other times we had some male friends around that didn't mind helping dear husband get the old one up from and the new one down to the basement. Now he only has me. Well, how many people do you know that own an electric winch which will haul 400 lbs?

Look above my husband's head and you will see the piece of board he put across the top of our door where he mounted the electric winch. Now when we built the house we actually moved the entrance to the basement so that it was exactly opposite the entrance from the garage instead of in the middle of the house as was called for in the plans. What I didn't realize at the time, was that this was to facilitate dragging hot water heaters up and down cellar stairs! I must say that the electric winch (and I got to be the botton pusher which is the fun part) made the whole experience much, much less nerve wracking as well as a lot easier on these seniors' backs.

Now, this probably doesn't look too impressive but it has been years since the dining room table and the floor in the dining room have actually showed!! It has been a place for laptop computers, printers, files, paying bills, etc. This is week one of my major decluttering effort. Hopefully I won't throw out anything too important!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back in Rochester -- a RAFA Day

Well, it was such a sunny day, I couldn't come home without stopping by the outlet which is more frozen than I have ever seen it. Only a few square yards of open water today! However, there was quite a crowd of ducks and geese -- Canada and domestic.

It was good to be back to my old RAFA compatriots for much inspiration! Lots has been going on while I was gone including a juried show this summer in Cazenovia ( Several of the group members have been instrumental in bringing this about. We have also been invited to have our own exhibition concurrent with this one at the gallery in the Cazenovia Library. Have to get working on a piece for this as it has to be smaller than I usually work and has to be for sale.

There was quite a theme today of felting. Several members have been getting together regularly and doing both regular felting and nuno felting and shared a lot of beautiful pieces!
This is a closeup of a scarf that Anne has done. Her colors are beautiful as were the combinations from all the other felters.

Val shows one of the nuno felted scarves that she has done. Our workshop after the meeting was a demo on nuno felting from Donna Patrick who has been instrumental in encouraging a lot of us in this medium.

Sue Carter shows is wearing a new felted vest and holding her original class piece. She is much happier with the new vest -- it fits beautifully as she tried some new techniques.

I finally got to see some of the indigo dyed pieces that Donna did in her Elin Noble class last summer. I liked this one a lot.

Pat Faulkner shared a piece that has been part of an exhibit at the Quilt Museum in Paducah. It features several of her hand painted background fabrics. Horses are a pretty constant theme in Pat's pieces!

Julie shared a couple of pieces of snow dyed fabric (this has been the year for snow dyeing in the northeast). She has used silk with Procion MX dyes rather than the cottons the rest of us have used. They were very vibrant pieces.

Caris Burton has produced an amazing number of nuno felted scarves recently. This is one of them in bright reds.


And yet another -- love these colors!!

Julie spent a day at Margaret's and snowdyed (a new verb...) several tshirts.

Besides the indigo, Donna also showed a new felted jacket she is working on in luscious colors as well.

I am told that Anne is the fastest felter in the group! Here she is in an absolutely stunning vest she made -- of course she would look good in a burlap bag.

This is a slightly fuzzy picture of Anne's second vest -- more subtle.

Just wouldn't be a blog without a duck -- this is one of the old familiar Oldsquaws with their super long tail feathers and high contrast coloration. I didn't have a coat on so was only there for a few minutes on the unplowed parking area so didn't get much!

Of course with the theme of new ducks wouldn't be complete without this picture of a Common Goldeneye which is a common duck but not one I have seen here before. They were awfully far away and I was very coooollllddd.

These wild domestic geese were very vocal and almost attacked me (I am sure for food which I didn't have).