Friday, February 27, 2015

A Dyeing Day

Yesterday was a fun day of dyeing with my friend Dianne.  We each did half yard pieces and used the overdyeing technique where you get 35 different colors with 10 dye baths.  I have posted about this before and it is listed under my "Popular Posts".  I call it Extreme Overdyeing.  

The colors we used left to right were (ProChem names) Sun Yellow, Golden Yellow, Strong Orange, Mixing Red and Fuchsia.  All were about a 3% solution (I don't have a scale so used a tbsp of dye per pot which contained 6 yards of fabric which probably weighed around 600 gms give or take!!).  Fuchsia was only 1 tsp per the 6 yards which was roughly a 1% solution as it is such a disobedient and strong color.  The overdye colors top to bottom were Basic Blue (a red blue -- the only one of the pure blues that is), Mixing Blue, Intense Blue, Blue/Violet (a mixed color) and New Black (also a mix and a 1% solution).  The rest are all "pure" colors, ie., not made up of more than one color.  

Dianne prefers a more mottled look while I like solids looking fabrics and this was kind of a compromise!  I used dry fabrics the first time through (the warm colors) while Dianne used pre-wetted fabric.  Because of time constraints, we didn't dry the fabrics after we washed them after the first baths so I got a lot of mottling of the second color.  We didn't squish them around very much either which increases the mottling substantially!  

We are back to more typical weather here and are expecting 70s this week so that will be nice.  I did get down to Ft. Fisher to see how my birds are doing.  There weren't many and there were several people with the same idea!!

 I did like this Great Blue Heron posing for me in the shallows.

The Pelicans down here are not as prone to posing as they are in Florida where they seem to be a bit friendlier.  This fellow had his eye on me though.  He is beginning to get his pretty gold head here.

And there was one Royal Tern among all the Laughing Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February QBTS Meeting with Flavin Glover

We had Flavin Glover as our speaker at our Guild meeting on Monday.  The room is not set up to get pictures easily but I did get some of my favorites of her quilts (most of which are posted on her website as well).  Here is a link to her gallery of quilts - Flavin Glover's Gallery.  I especially liked this hexagonal one but then I love hexagons!

This was my absolute favorite and I can see combining this with some of the Serendipity quilts that I have been doing.  I haven't done a diamond log cabin before.

This was a great variation -- you can see enough to get the idea!  It combined some stars in with the log cabins.

I liked the colors in this one a lot!

This log cabin is made up of rectangles and nice colors and design..

This was one of Flavin's early quilts and wonderful colors again!

This is Brownstones and was one of the quilts we could have made in class.

One of her quilts that is a landscape made of log cabin bloccks.

We all liked this quilt where she used the back of many fabrics for the tree shadows.

This is the four seasons.

We had our usual show and tell and this was one of the neonatal quilts that was made.  I liked the border which was very much like many of Flavin's and one that I will use probably around my log cabin houses.

This was one of the "quilts of valor" that was made.  This group is very very active in making quilts for charity.

This really nice quilt was for Habitat for Humanity.  If they have an auction or some special project, I will probably donate my log cabin quilt for it.  Flavin has donated many of her house quilts to this organization for auctions.

Our quilt show is coming up on March 20 and 21 and there will be about 130 quilts on display so if you live in the area, make sure you visit.  Here is the link that gives you more information - 2015 QBTS Quilt Show.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Log Cabin Quilt

My sewing was interrupted by an ice storm yesterday which left us without electricity for several hours!  Good thing I have my handy Kindle Paperwhite so I could read in the dark with no problem!  Even provides enough light to get around the house.  The ice was not gone this morning and didn't disappear totally until later this afternoon but no more electric outages of significance.  It did look pretty when the sun came out and hopefully our palms will be none the worst for it.

Just a closeup of some of the ice cover.

I worked yesterday and today to build up the log cabin house quilt that I started in Flavin Glover's class.  I am working on the trees now and using some of my reject marbled fabrics which improve with being cut up!!  They were pieces that had been dye "dogs" which I then marbled hoping to improve them which it did a bit.

This is a closeup of the above tree so you can see the marbling.  The middle house on the bottom row is also marbled fabric.  All the rest are hand dyes.  This is one of the few  quilts I have made using nothing but my marbled and hand dyed fabrics. 

Here it is further along!

This is a closeup of the tree on the far left which used a fairly dark marbled piece.

Here is how I left it on my wall last night.  I found a whole lot of gradations of blues in my fat quarter old hand dyes.  The plain sky blocks go really fast but not the others!

This is the tree on the right.

This is not a clear image as I used my camera phone but the top (with the exception of the borders) is done and I am relatively pleased.  I am going to do a fairly simple border incorporating pieces of all the colors in the quilt.  Flavin did quite a few different treatments that I really liked and thought really added something to the quilts she had done.  The quilt is currently 37.5 x 26 inches.  The finished "logs" are 3/4 inch.  After looking at this on my design wall, I am contemplating doing a jacket using a variation of this pattern and of course making it wider (my hips haven't been 37 inches in forty years!).  Doesn't it look like it would make a cool jacket?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Back to Some Birds From a Sunnier Day!

As it is kind of a nasty day out today, thought I would take the opportunity to post some pictures from a beautiful day earlier in the week.  I headed down to the Coquina Shell Beach at low tide to see what was feeding on the rocks.  There were Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones and this group of six Red Knots.  From posts I have seen, seems the Red Knots are more uncommon than I thought as I see them pretty frequently down here.  

Here is a closeup of one that was busy feasting near me.  You can see the defining mid- sized bill and the greenish legs as well as the slight barring on his breast.  Would love to see them with their summer plumage but alas they move north as many of the birds do for the summer.  

This is a Forster's Tern, another common seabird down here.  This is the first time I have noticed the long tail feathers.

This is one of my favorites that I frequently photograph - the Northern Gannet which spends most of its time well off shore.  It is a very large bird (37 inches) so it is noticeable even at a distance.  Its head is very different from the gulls I usually see.  He was still pretty far out in this picture.

There continue to be large numbers of Robins and Yellow-rumped Warblers.  There were also a large number of Bluebirds which seemed almost to be a flock so perhaps they are migrating as well.

I have added another stop to my daily adventures down to Ft. Fisher -- the parking area at the Air Force Recreational site.  When I drove up, there were four deer munching on the grass which was unusual for the middle of the day!!  This one deer stayed around for quite some time and was quite dark in color which I have noticed in a lot of the deer down here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jacket Progress and Class with Flavin Glover

Just so my northern friends won't think everything is peachy down here.  This is the fountain at the Arboretum where we had our class on Saturday!  We have been having very chilly weather here the last week although it was in the 60s today!

Well, I am making progress on the jacket.  I haven't cut out the black pieces to finish off the front and sides.  I am not happy with the black in the middle but am at a loss right now as to how to improve it.  Might be some hand applique involved.

I pinned up the sleeve to see how it hung together.  It kind of looks like a marching band uniform to me but hopefully won't look like that when I wear it.  I had a very definite event in mind to wear this jacket to as it is all silk and hopefully I will have the guts to do that when the time comes!

Saturday I took a really fun class with Flavin Glover.  She was just lovely and the class was really fun.  I really only took it to support the guild and to get to know people a little better.  The class was basically using her patterns to build little log cabin houses and was just fun.  Of course I approached it totally differently than anyone else in class did!!  I do travel to a different beat sometimes -- it never even occurred to me to do what the others were doing (which I didn't discover until the class was wrapping up).  They were all building whole houses, one at a time.  As I was sitting alone at a table (I got there later than most), I only knew what the person next to me was doing and she was doing a lot of planning.

Here is Flavin pinning up all the houses that the class did.  Mine are noticeably missing as I didn't make a full house at all but just started making the log cabin blocks called for in the pattern I was using (one of hers).  There were three different types of block and I was concentrating on efficiently doing just one type.

Well, the class made 54 blocks (the other 13 people) while I made 19 by myself. Of course mine don't look like houses yet!!  The beginnings are up on my design wall.  I am using some miscellaneous fat quarters of ugly marbled fabrics and fat quarters of many dye experiments done early in my dyeing history.  I used to do fat quarters almost exclusively but now don't dye less than a half yard of any color and try to do large pieces even for my marbled fabrics.  The marbled fabrics I brought down here are mainly rejects and meant to be cut up and this was ideal.  I needed some relaxing sewing after working with the tempermental silks.

This is the pattern I am using.  The large medium grey areas are trees.  I haven't decided yet whether I am actually going to do the log cabins that make up the sky.  If I can find enough different shades of blue, I might.  Otherwise I might just piece a large curvy piece in parts of the area.  We shall see.  I am not anxious to put in gobs of time and doing log cabins using the same fabric is just plain boring to do!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Jacket Continues.....

Still no Cedar Waxwings this year, but where they were Robins are now feasting.  There were between 50 and 100 robins on these berry bushes, flying like a murmuration of Starlings!!  Quite a sight.  I have seen so many birds in flocks this year that I have never seen in large numbers together before (like the Red-winged Blackbirds).  Robins are common but not in groups of 100!!

The weather has been downright cold the past couple of days -- no ice thank goodness but certainly temps teetering on that possibility.  Here I am testing out my latest with the jacket back.  Cutting up strips of slippery silk is a challenge!!

Here the jacket back is done except for the black side panels which will finish it off.  I am okay with it and hopefully it isn't too bright.

Here I decided to test the look with one of the sleeves.  The flannel backing certainly does stabilize all the silk and trap all the ravelling.  The technique I use to put all my jackets together is almost a "quilt as you go" technique of laying down a strip on the backing and then sewing the next strip on top of the placed strip, then ironing it down.  The flannel is great for holding pieces in place and I highly recommend  it for jacket construction.

There are eight robins hiding in this picture - can you find them all?

Finally saw my beloved Oystercatchers after a few weeks of no shows!!  It was kind of a dreary day and there were a lot of students wandering in the marshy area.  I am still hoping to see the Clapper Rail one day.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Brrr -- Chilly Even Down Here

It has been really cold for down here the past few days but that hasn't kept the Bluebirds and the Yellow-rumped Warblers from showing themselves.  There are so many "butter butts", that I am afraid of hitting them as they fly by.  There has also been a lot of robins as well which, although common up north, is not so common here.

My favorite viewing area (the boat ramp at the end of the island) was very active yesterday at low tide.  I am beginning to see a bit of a pattern here.  When the winds are from the north and strong, the birds tend to congregate there more.  I have been seeing this male Hooded Merganser a few times the past week.  This is not a bird I usually see here and he was close enough for me to get a decent closeup.

The other day there was a Greater Yellowlegs down at the ramp.  Here he is joined by a Willet and you can see their relative size.  The Yellowlegs is far more elegant looking!

Here is a better picture of the Yellowlegs with his bright legs showing!

One of the Marbled Godwits was also down yesterday.  In addition, I saw Semi-palmated Plovers, Dunlins and Horned Grebes as well as the usual gulls and one I haven't been able to clearly identify yet.

I have been continuing to work on the jacket and decided to do the sleeves first as I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do there.  Here they are pinned on my design wall where I am testing my idea (which wasn't the original plan of course).  I decided this would be okay.

I have discovered with the making of several jackets that there isn't much point in doing a lot of work in areas that don't show (like the underarm area).  So I finished off the sleeves with just plain black silk.  I had managed to find five yards down here and hope it will be enough to do the jacket and lining both although if worse comes to worse, I will use the navy blue silk for the sleeve lining (which doesn't show).

Now I am tackling the back and am trying to come up with something that won't look so busy (those strips are really busy looking).  First try was this multi-colored strip down the middle.  Nah....

Next I thought maybe a solid red stripe.  Don't like that either though so we shall see what today brings.  The back is in two sections but I am thinking of just joining them and treating it as a whole back and maybe just one strip down the middle like the sleeves and then adding some things to either side.  Again, not much point in doing a whole heck of a lot on the sides as it goes around the body and doesn't show.  Working on jackets is much more three dimensional than working on quilts.  You also need to take into account what parts of your body you want to draw your eye to (none in my case!!).