Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

I have always loved making Halloween costumes. I used to call it my "silly sewing" because I could make them quick and sloppy, no finished seams, no perfect fit, just some fun sewing. My daughter always wanted to be something that involved net - like a princess and my son always had a cape of some easy stuff. This year I made my grand daughter's costume. She's 15 months old and my daughter wanted her to go as Tank - an adorable basset hound who lives across the street.  Audrey loves this dog and is always visiting over there. 
 Most patterns were so over the top and I just wanted something simple - Butterick had the one I was looking for - a dog with long ears and tail - no zippers, just velcro closings.
 We found the perfect fabric which was so soft, you wanted a "binky" out of it just for yourself but oh did it shred. I'm still finding pieces of fur fluffs on the floor and under things I think I will be for a long time.
But was it worth it? You bet, here's our cute little doggie.
Happy Halloween everyone.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fiber Junkies - Paper Fabric

Tuesday, we met at the home of Val M for our monthly gathering of Fiber Junkies. Gen came up with the idea for this months meeting - a technique she had already tried and one we were anxious to experiment with - paper fabric -  collages built on top of a layer of fabric.
 We all contributed to the pile of supplies - magazine pictures, pretty napkins, maps, tissue paper, script and dress patterns to name a few. Kate had been saving tissue for years as a result of something her daughter needed years ago. It's amazing what collectors we become when we let ourselves get hooked on surface design. You'll never know when you can use it has become our motto and how often it has paid off.
 We worked on a base piece of fabric which could be anything as it was to be completely covered. The fabric sat on plastic for easy transport. Denny was smart and ironed her fabric to freezer paper.
 And Kate thought to bring some trays....Since our pieces wouldn't be dry when it was time to leave. This was really thinking ahead.
 We all did some previewing to get an idea of color and placement. Next, we removed all the papers and using a foam brush applied a very watered down solution of white glue and water on the fabric. Then back to laying the papers and applying more glue on top.
 It was better to start with the more opaque materials and do a second layer of tissue like materials. One of Mary's pieces was such a happy piece I loved the colors and especially the polka dot tissue.
 I think this was Gens. I liked all the text she incorporated in her piece.
 Denny used coffee filters which had some of the grinds left behind giving it a wonderful texture.
 We mixed up color washes using inks, dyes, paints - anything that could be watered down. This was applied with a foam brush while glue was still wet.
 I used a sepia ink and applied it to this piece....
 which looked like this after the wash. It will dry a little lighter but I liked the way the wash toned it  and blended it together.
 Kates pieces before the wash...
 and with a bluish wash of color on top.
 The last piece I did was after lunch and we were running out of time.  I put absolutely no thought into the placement of papers and decided to go for thin and use just tissue and one layer napkins.
 and then a sepia wash on top. I liked this one the best, so go figure. Sometimes putting no thought into something pays off.
This was the perfect technique for this time around. I was tired from doing the fair all weekend and this didn't take a lot of mental energy, just fun. I am linked to Nina Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday.
Til next time...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Southern Highland Craft Fair

The Southern Highland Craft Fair started yesterday in downtown Asheville at the US Cellular Center on Haywood Street.  It's a wonderful fair, lots of fiber, pottery, jewelry, wood etc. all created by the members of the Southern Highland Guild.

 I set up my booth on wednesday
 and turned it into this. I have lots of scarves and smaller quilts for sale.
 My booth number is 17 on the concourse (upstairs) so if you're in the area drop by and say hi.
 It's a wonderful event happening twice a year - third weekend in July and October.
 It runs everyday - thursday through friday from 10 - 6 and Sun 10 - 5.  There's also music and demos to entertain along with an educational table and usually something for kids.
 The booths are beautifully done and something for everyone
And you just never know what you'll see...Hope you can stop by.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wonderful Students!

A while back, I posted pictures of a workshop I recently taught in Charlottesville, VA. I had some wonderful ladies, all very enthused and talented. Each created very different pieces; it was interesting to see the different approach each person took in using this new technique. Two of my gals finished their pieces and were kind enough to share them with me, so now for bragging rights.
Ann Robertson was working in silk; she did a lot of overlapping with a fairly thin silk which allowed for some unexpected and welcomed shading along the mountain top. She also used screen printing to create the forest in the foreground. The whole piece would be covered with painted silk organza so the different design elements would be muted.
I think it's great fun when you're lucky enough to see the "before and after" of a piece and here is the "after".  Ann told me she was very excited about her piece and had to finish it that same weekend,'s a beautiful piece. I love the tree on the left which draws the eye upward. It's been screened on the top layer of organza to make it more prominent. I can see other trees in the foreground also. She really nailed it with her proportions.
Look closely at that little touch of bright blue. Ann calls her piece "Blue Hills Home" and it does remind me of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's truly a wonderful piece and I'm so pleased for her.
Mona Houle started this wonderful piece in class.  I was very taken with her choice of background  fabric; when she painted the organza to use as an overlay, I was thinking she had a winner. She used some great design elements underneath the organza like the caterpillar and the dragonfly which she silkscreened. Next a bluebird was added to the top of the tree.
On the top layer of painted organza, she incorporated the brighter elements but just enough. It's hard to know when to stop but I think Mona has the perfect amount. The piece is busy in the background but the organza softens it and allows you to see the brighter elements in front. It's a wonderful piece and I'm so happy to see these wonderful finished pieces. I'm proud as a peacock to meet and have the opportunity to work with these wonderfully, talented and incredibly nice ladies. The best part of teaching....
Congratulations Ann and Mona on a job well done - VERY well done!
Til next time...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ice Dyeing Scarves

I've been doing some ice dyeing in preparation for the Southern Highland Craft Fair coming up next week. I found a good system for laying the scarves on top of the trays. I bought some vinyl shelving at a home improvement store - 24" wide and 6' long.  I was worried about the lip on the front side of the shelf - maybe preventing it from lying flat. But the trays were 22" wide and the shelving cleared it. Perfect, off to a good start.
I used 2 large new cats pans underneath lengthwise ..
and the shelving on top giving me a long continuous working area although I did keep the scarves separated because of color.
I've been using a lot of bamboo rayon and love the results.  A while back I ordered one of each kind of rayon scarf (they had bamboo, regular, shawls etc.) plus a yard of rayon to see how they would work with this technique. I've used rayon before with the procion mx dyes and they do very well so I thought - why not.
I didn't use the crushed ice this time around as I didn't have an ice crusher. These two batches were done side by side with about 8" to separate them.
The gold, mustard and brown were first, left uncovered while I worked on the second set of navy, electric blue and royal blue. Some of the sneaky little blue dye particles wandered over into my gold scarves.
What a surprise when I uncovered them the next morning to find this. You can see - this scarf was closest to the blue batch and reaped the benefits of migration.  I really liked the effect and am wanting to try this again.
I really like using ice - it creates such a crystalline effect.
I wrote down the colors I used - something I usually don't do as it really doesn't matter but in this case, making scarves to sell - thought I should have a record. I used 3 different blues on this batch and was so surprised to see the amount of purple. I had to go back and check to make sure I really used all blues.
There was a lot of color splitting with this group of dyes, but I love the surprises - sometimes good and sometimes not so good... this time it was good.
I dyed 3 scarves in each color way and depending where the dye was sprinkled, really changed the look of the scarf.  This one was a lot lighter.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Quilts for Veterans

My husband's high school has a reunion every 5 years - he enjoys them; I, however, was hesitant not knowing anyone.  The first one - many years ago, turned out to be great fun. I met an old friend from college married to a high school classmate of my husband AND a number of quilters. Needless to say, I've looked forward to them ever since.
One of the gals I met was Donna Belford who loves quilting as much as I do. We became instant friends and the friendship has grown over the years. Even though I only see her at reunions, we can easily pick up where we left off.
She especially loves making quilts for veterans and has a group she heads up for this purpose. The ladies meet regularly - all have different jobs and ones they love to do. Some do the piecing, some the quilting and so on. Donna does the most tedious (I think) as she prepares the fabric - washing, ironing and cutting to organize them into kits to give out.
The last day of the reunion is always held at Islip beach for hugs, goodbyes and lots of donuts and coffee beforehand. Donna brought some of the tops ready to be quilted. They were lovely with such great color combinations.
She said the veterans love the colorful ones and don't always pick the patriotic colors,
but she always includes some patriotic fabric in each one.
They were wonderful to see but especially great was to hear the many stories she had to share from the vets.
The backs have an embroidered label..."Thank you for your courage and service in our armed forces. You are our hero". Indeed they are and what a great tribute to them.
Donna is a great lady who does so much for so many. I'm very thankful for reunions, without them I never would have met her - Love you Donna.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fiber Junkies continued - The Results

Some more great results using the pastes. Val had some wonderful fabrics to start with.
I'm interested to see if you can add a watery silk paint to the surrounding area once it's dry.  It dries very hard but not sure how soluble it is. I also thought of dipping it into an Indigo bath as that's a very quick process and the paste images might hold up to that.
You can see the final results here.Val will do something wonderful with it.
I loved the bamboo stencil that Kate brought. It was quite large so I needed a longer piece of fabric which luckily I had. It's very faint on the fabric - a thought was to use paint sticks and to do some shading inside the bamboo.
Val did some wonderful little flower pussy willow type image on dyed fabric.
And drying in the sun - what a perfect day for doing this.
Lounge chairs came in handy as a "drying rack"
Kate likes to rescue "not so pretty" fabric and make it into a beauty. This was a piece (original part on bottom) I gave her and when she pulled it out I thought - now this will be a challenge, but she did a great job - I want it back!  (-:
And I loved the jellyfish. I did this in the glass crystals and when I came back to check, it had dried clear and sparkly - wasn't expecting that. You can see in the upper right corner below.
so I did another print right next to it.  This is another stencil I'm making into a silk screen.
Til next time..