Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More Goodies & Happy New Year!

A package I ordered from Dharma Trading arrived yesterday - more goodies to play with in the New Year!
A couple of scarf blanks and 5 yards of fabric for dyeing, along with 9 (!!) new colors of dye.  Guess I'll have to figure out when to fit that into the schedule.

That's the story of my life right now - trying to figure out some sort of schedule in order to accomplish the things on my to-do list - something I'll be working on in the New Year.  Having retired this past Sept. 1, I've not yet settled on a routine that feels productive.  I have been going to exercise in the morning, but I feel like it really delays the start of my day as far as being productive in the studio.  So I've decided I will flip things around and spend mornings in the studio, and go to exercise in the afternoon.  I feel like I will be able to accomplish more that way.  At least until something else interferes, like dentist appointments, etc.  Another wrinkle is that my mother, who is 92 and has been in good health, has had some recent health issues that will have me traveling to PA more frequently to help out the siblings who live near by, so they aren't saddled with all the care.  She is recovering but it is a slow process.

So, no big resolutions this year.  Just an effort to establish a routine that helps me reach my goals.  (That list would be way too long to share.)  Hopefully focusing on the routine will help the other things fall into place.  I wish you all a healthy, happy, prosperous and creative 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Goodies

It was a good holiday, time spent with family and friends.  We are still eating the leftovers!

I received a few books from my wish list, and also some items I selected for myself from my favorite quilt shop, Quilting Adventures, in Richmond, VA.  For 10 days before Christmas, they offered a series of "Stuff My Stocking" specials - different items available at special prices each day.  You chose only the items you wanted.  At the end of the 10 days your selections were available to be picked up or shipped.
The books in the picture were gifts. The Shibori book was recommended by the instructor of the dyeing class I took last fall.  I can't resist a good book, especially one of technique, and the Joen Wolfram book is just that.  Being of PA Dutch descent,the book of designs seemed like it could be inspirational.  My stocking treats included a pair of Gingher scissors, binding clips in 2 sizes, a bundle of fat quarters, and a magnetic pin cushion.  I'm ready to put them all to good use!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Screen Printing

I can't believe its been nearly a month since my last post.  That was not my intent!  However, I was side-tracked by a family emergency and spent 12 days in Pennsylvania.  My 92 year-old mother had a gall bladder attack and infection that kept her in ICU for 5 days followed by 4 days in a regular room and now is in rehab.  It was a tough time but she is getting better every day.  Since I've been home, I've been trying to catch up on Christmas preparations, so the blog has fallen by the wayside. 

When I left town, Elizabeth and I were preparing for a holiday Open House at Artistic Artifacts.  We planned a demo/make & take of holiday postcards and gift tags.  I found some copyright free vintage holiday images that I made into screens and we purchased card stock postcards & tags.  We used Speedball printing ink in red, green, gold, silver & white.  Unfortunately I had to leave town before the event, but Elizabeth carried on without me.  Here are some pictures of printed cards and tags.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we enter the holiday season by celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, I want to wish each and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful most of all for my loving and supportive family, and grateful for the many blessings of this life we live.  I hope you have a wonderful day surrounded by family and friends, a dinner with all the trimmings, and whatever other traditions your family enjoys.  I know for us that will probably include football and some games, and lots of food!  My mother, at 92, is still the baking queen!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gelatin Plate Printing

I recently took advantage of an opportunity to take a Gelatin Plate Printing class with a new local teacher, Susan Gantz, at Artistic Artifacts.  This was another chance to play with a technique I haven't used much recently, although I have played extensively in the past.  Susan had some really wonderful and intriguing samples and I did get some insight into how she gets her results.  However one difference is that she prints more on paper than fabric, so the results will vary.  Some of these prints are on paper and some are on fabric.  Can you tell which is which?


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Paint Stick Class

At the VCQ meeting I took the paint stick workshop with Karen Lee Carter of Virginia Beach.  I've used paint sticks before but was happy to play with them again and pick up a few new tips and ideas.  Karen Lee was a well-planned and organized teacher.  It was a relaxing and enjoyable day.  These are some of my sample pieces.
 The piece on the left was done using a torn file folder, applying paint to the edge and then shading it off the edge.  The piece on the right is done with a stencil.
 The pieces on the left and center were rubbings over hand-carved rubber stamps.  The one on the right was masked with tape and shaded around the edges first, then laid over a piece of mat to create additional texture marks.
Here, the left and center were both done with rubbing plates; the right piece was rubbed over a hand-carved stamp.

The class was a good opportunity to practice some techniques I hadn't used recently.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

VCQ in Virginia Beach

A few weeks ago the Virginia Consortium of Quilters held our November meeting in Virginia Beach at the Resort & Conference Center on the Chesapeake Bay side of the city.  We had 88 people attending for a day of workshops and the annual business meeting.  Workshops included playing with paint sticks, a 10-minute block class, a wool project, an angle play project and a miniature mystery, as well as Come Quilt with Me. Here are some class show and tell pictures.

My friends and I stayed over an extra night to play tourist a bit; Sunday turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day, 71 degrees.  We had breakfast at Pocahontas Pancake House in VA Beach city, walked along the beach and climbed the Cape Henry lighthouse, the first lighthouse built in the US which was in operation from 1792 to 1881.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weekend Shibori Class - Final Reveal

We finished up dyeing Sunday afternoon with 2 dye baths - one of Brazil Nut, the other Black Cherry.  Both of these dyes produced wonderful results. Since the colors are a mixture of other colors, you see some of those component colors separating out in the dyed fabric, making them look like they'd been in multiple dye baths instead of just one.

The picture below is actually 3 strips side by side that were clamp-resist dyed, first in kingfisher blue, and then the 2 outside pieces were over-dyed in black cherry.  I really like the 3 pieces together.
This piece was originally pole wrapped and dyed yellow, then accordion pleated, banded and over-dyed in Brazil nut.

We dyed several different silk scarves throughout the weekend including this one that we started Saturday morning with a direct dye application, allowed to batch over night, then washed and dried before pole-wrapping and over-dyeing in Brazil nut.
The next one was pole-wrapped and dyed twice - first in sea foam, and then in kingfisher blue.
This scarf was also pole-wrapped first and dyed in scarlet red.  Then it was folded, clamped with a large square, and over-dyed in black cherry.
The last scarf we worked with was a silk charmeuse, wide and long enough to be used as either a wrap or a scarf. There were some very beautiful, dramatic results with these.  Below is Alice's scarf; she used a variety of techniques for some interesting patterns.  I think this was done in emerald green, but see how the blues separate out.
Kathy spent a lot of time stitching her scarf, but it really paid off with the results she got.  Click on the picture so you can zoom in closer.  This was dyed in Brazil nut, but you can also see the blue components of the dye.
I decided to accordion fold and bind my scarf - it was one of the faster techniques, but still can create amazing results.  I dyed it in black cherry; it's hard to believe it was only in one color!

This was a fabulous class and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend in Lancaster.  I would have enjoyed having time to explore the shops and art galleries as well - I guess that means a return trip!  Props to the PA Guild of Craftsmen and Kachina Martin for a great workshop.  I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weekend Shibori Class - Part 3

Here's what happened next with the homework pieces from day 1, and the results after dyeing on day 2.  All the stitching was pulled really tight to gather up the fabric and knotted off.  The top picture is a scarf with Mokume Shibori, or stitched wood grain.
 The piece above is called Orinui, which means undulating lines.  This is the wavy stitched piece from yesterday.  The one below is Karamatsu which is a Japanese larch and gives a circular effect. The stitching is 3 concentric arcs to make each patterned circle.

This is what they look like after dyeing and removing the stitching.
This is one half of the scarf, dyed in scarlet red.
The Orinui was originally yellow and overdyed in scarlet red.
The larch was originally rust orange, overdyed in brazil nut. 

Another technique we learned on day 2 was clamping.  The fabric is first folded and then wooden shapes are placed on the outsides (and in between in this case because there are 3 pieces of fabric) and held in place with clamps.  The dye comes in contact with the exposed fabric while the shapes act as a resist to prevent the dye from penetrating. 

This is one of the pieces from the clamping resist, dyed in kingfisher blue.

Come back tomorrow for the final reveal!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekend Shibori Class - Part 2

We learned a few other methods of binding and wrapping and other resists on Saturday as well, and had some homework to get pieces ready for dye baths on Sunday.  We actually did 4 different colors both days.  Some items went in only one, others were overdyed.  Our first 2 were rust orange and bright yellow, followed by sea foam and emerald green later in the day.

Some of the methods we learned in the afternoon were the spiderweb, accordion folding and tying, and tying "bundles" around small rocks and pebbles.  The top two were in emerald green; the bottom one is sea foam.

I'm glad I have this picture of the sea foam (rock resist); I ended up overdyeing this piece so most of this pattern is obscured in the next step.  I also pole wrapped a scarf that was dyed in the sea foam.

Our homework was to complete the stitch resist pieces we were working on - one was creating a wave pattern, and another was concentric half circles - the Japanese larch - and anything else we wanted to have ready to dye on day 2.  The straight stitched piece below is another scarf.

I spent several hours Saturday evening doing the stitches on these 3 pieces.  Results tomorrow.