Monday, October 16, 2017

Some New Ice Dyed Pieces

This is an arrangement of nine of the 12 small pieces that I did using the grass green, ultraviolet and basic blue.  They were all a little dark for my taste although they were pretty evenly dyed.  I should have used some yellow in these but thought the very light grass green would work.  I usually stack them a bit deeper as well.  I don't think there were more than a couple piled on top of one another this time, so there were six or seven of the small pieces, one larger one and two drop cloths for each of the two bins.  Usually I have 2 large, 2 drop cloths and 12 to 16 of the small pieces which eats up a bit more dye.

 This and the next piece are both the 23 x 23 inch pieces.  There was one in each batch.

 The next few were the smaller pieces and I thought were the better of the bunch because they were a little lighter.  I do like the ultra-violet and will use that color again.  It is a pre-mixed dye which I tend to shy away from and have used blue-violet in the past but think I like this purple better even than the pure color grape.

The next four were my "drop" clothes.  This was a top layer one.

This was on top of the accordion folded ones pictured below (and my favorites as well).

I think this is a bottom.

Another top with the color clearly delineated.

 These last four were easily my favorites of the day.  I have had a terrible time trying to get even folds on larger  pieces of fabric so did four fat quarters for a start to see how they would do with the technique I planned to use.  The technique was to according fold and then twist around and set them standing up as I suspected that I would get the most even color this way.  I also applied the dyes in stripes across the buncles rather than the random spoonfuls I used on the other two bins.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Day of Mandala Making Using Straight Tie Dye Method

Some confusion on my part about what we were doing this day!  We met at Debbie's wonderful house -- a perfect place for dyeing outside!!  They had decided to mandala dyeing which I had assumed was using ice like I do it.  However, they were following a more traditional method of making up liquid dyes from powders and using squeeze bottles to apply to tied cloth, the ties giving the separation of color.  Here all the ladies are making up the dye solutions which were approximately a 6% solution (1 tbsp of dye per cup of water).  They didn't have any urea but because of Debbie's nice soft water, they dissolved perfectly!

Barbara and Debbie tying their bundles.  A good time was had by all!

All starting to tie their bundles.  I had decided that I would stick with ice dyeing and a little show and tell about my process.  Debbie luckily had a bag of ice in her freezer which she allowed me to use!  I didn't do anywhere near as many pieces as I usually put on the grates and was a little too spontaneous with my colors!!

Debbie's first bundle ready to sit for several hours.  This is a direct dyeing technique and requires pre-soaking with soda ash solution and then waiting a little extra time for the dyes to totally take to the fabric.

Anne Hope with her first bundle.

One of Debbie's pieces opened up and laid out to "cure" layered in plastic.  Because we hadn't use urea when making up the dyes, have to be more careful keeping the pieces wet until they are cured.  Urea acts to retain water in the pieces.

The next three pictures show the bundles with their ties.  I don't know who had which grouping.

.Can't wait to see how these all turn out.

 These are my three bins with the ice and dyes already applied.  They melted incredibly fast and were all melted by the time I left!!  I am so used to doing these in my coolish basement up north.

This was bin 1 with Basic Blue, Ultra-violet,  and  grass green .  I had two drop cloths, about six of the small mandalas and a large mandala here.

 This was about the same as the previous one

 This only contained one drop cloth on top and four tightly twisted fat quarters folded accordion style and then twisted around so they took up very little space.  I used strongest red, some yellow and basic blue in this one.

Tomorrow you will see the results of this dyeing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Some Ft. Fisher Bird Musings and a Little Quilt and Fiber Stuff!

Good  sunset pictures have been at a premium so far this year.  Most nights it is either too sunny or too cloudy so this is the best I can do for my first two weeks down here!!

 There have been a great number of Godwits, Long-billed Dowitchers, Dunlins and Willets down at Ft. Fisher.  Last year I didn't see the crowds at all but this year, I have seen the twice at low tide although they are usually sleeping or the light is awful so it has been very difficult to differentiate which is which,

 This is a Marbled Godwit and there were quite a few of these on both occasions!

 I think the small ones here are Dunlins which I have seen frequently down here

This is a Great Black Backed Gull and he is large!!

This is of course a Great Egret who kindly posed for me today.  They really are an elegant bird.

Finally saw a couple of Oystercatchers which are one of my favorites.  This one was far off but I could read his greenish tag which identified him as C21.  I was afraid they had left the area, they have been so scarcee this year.  

 Here there are the two of them I spotted but they were really far off

This was literally just a moving speck to my camera and I didn't identify it until I got home although I suspected I knew its identify.  It is a Semi-palmated Plover which is a small bird and blends in well with his environment.
There was a mix of Snowy Egrets and Ibis here  Don't usually see a flock of Snowy Egrets.  Must have been good eating today.

I made some new covers for our couch pillows from some of my mandalas.  I also have made at least five for my daughter and she still has some more for me to do

 This is pillow 2 for this house.  Not one of my favorite patterns but they match the colors up here.  

Also made some more for Lisa in her requested palette of blue/green.  These pillows are super super simple to make.  I just back the front with fusible fleece which gives it body and then sew on the back, turn it right side out and top stitch a half inch away from the side.  The fleece filling gives the illusion of faux piping.

 This was one of my drop clothes in my last ice dyeing.  I thought it was particularly pretty.

I participated in a day of making baby quilts for the Neo-natal Unit of the New Hanover hospital.  These were pre-prepared containing the strips, border fabric, backing and even the binding fabric.  I managed to get two tops done during the five hour session.  

Well, some are better than others and if  you look carefully at this one, you can see how I can screw up even a simple pattern!!  I had better stick with scrap quilts!  Inadvertently, both of the main fabrics in these two quilts were directional as well!!

Anyway, I spray basted them and decided I would try a new binding technique I had seen on Its Sew Easy -- a show I usually don't get much out of but amazingly have picked up three incredible tips (the pillow construction was one of these).  They wanted us to machine do the bindings.  In the past, I have always attached to the top, folded around to the back and then stitched in the ditch on top.  The front looks good and the back not so good usually.  This is why I generally hand stitch down the binding on my quilts.  So the new technique was for finishing a blouse without using facing.  You attach the binding to the back and then fold around to the front.  I was going to use the applique stitch on one of my zig zag machines but was too lazy to get one of the machines out and instead just top stitched down on the front real close to the edge.  I think it looked almost as good as hand stitching down the binding and will definitely make more baby quilts using this technique.  In one afternoon, I bound four baby quilts!!  I have always liked the hand stitching but this was just too easy!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Huntington Beach State Park Visit

I wanted to get down to Huntington Beach State Park down just south of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina early so that I could get to see the Roseate Spoonbills which can be found there in the summer.  I also wanted to see the Wood Storks which I thought were summer birds but a local birder told me they stay all winter in great numbers.  I must say that I have seen these huge birds in Florida but not in the numbers I saw in the park!

I was hoping to see some good birds as I took my oldest daughter down with me who hadn't seen some of these birds and likes "big" things to photograph!!  She was not disappointed.  Our timing was perfect as we got there at low tide and the weather was gorgeous -- couldn't have been better.  The light was also coming from the right direction!!  

The park has two main areas where you can park and see the birds -- the first is close to the entrance, you park your car and then walk along the road.  Lisa first spotted a Roseate Spoonbill and a Great 
Blue Heron hanging out together.  I saw Wood Storks off in the distance landing in the reeds at the far end of the walk.

Off in the way distance, I saw a tree filled with white birds.  First I thought Ibis and then Egrets.  Both were wrong -- it was a tree full of these Wood Storks!!

I had seen the flock fly overhead.  A fellow birder commented that there were about 150 that morning.  We saw probably 30 eventually as they came out of hiding and came down toward the marsh by the road.

Here are a couple of the Wood Storks, up close and personal! 

They aren't all that pretty just standing there but are very impressive in flight.

 You can't see the black on the wing tips in this picture very well.

Coming down or a landing!!

This Roseate Spoonbill was one of the first birds we spotted and he finally posed although he spent a good deal of time weaving his bill back and forth in the shallow water feeding.  He was a lovely pink!

He was quite close as you can see!

There were several of these Tri-Color Herons feeding in the reeds.  There were also several Great Blue Herons,

There were lots of Snowy Egrets as well.  These two posed for me on the railing.

There were even more Great Egrets than Snowy Egrets -- magnificent bird!

Then a mature Bald Eagle flew overhead!  I also saw an immature one but didn't get a picture.

No chance of mis-identifying this bird!!

A fellow birder noted that there was a Bald Eagle in a tree on the way to the Marsh Walk (our second venue).  Lisa spotted him up in the tree but then he decided to go to a different branch which wasn't sturdy enough to hold him well so he struggled and finally flew away. 

We walked along the Marsh Walk and really didn't see much except some Black Bellied Plovers and Sanderlings in the mud.  This Black Bellied Plover came up on the railing and posed nicely for me!

After about two hours and 300 pictures for me, we headed back home.  On the way back, we looked over our first birding spot and there were literally no birds except the Wood Storks up in the trees.  Amazing the difference a few minutes can make in seeing birds!

Another birder told me that there have been about a dozen Roseate Spoonbills but that they are heading out soon.  All in all, it was a very successful day.  I wanted to show Lisa the Roseates and the Wood Storks and she was duly impressed!