Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Walk in Cabbage Town

I'm visiting my daughter and new granddaughter who is 1 month old already. We take many walks - even in Hot-lanta, but mornings and evenings are good and fall feels just around the corner. Walking in Cabbage Town where my daughter lives is an "art experience" - a very eclectic neighborhood - no home owner's association, no dues, just an interesting group of people doing their own thing. I've passed many "arty" homes, some I stop and take a second look at. One of the homes had this wonderful old door - I love old doors, almost as much as trees and will use this one in my work 
 I love the peeling paint with layers of color underneath.
 And the grating on top, think I need to go back and get a closer look at that.
 I love the face in this tree, kind of catches you off guard as you walk by.
 I'm always in the market for moss, especially growing up from brick walkways.
 Oh my - Alfred Hitchcock living right down the block.
 I love winter trees (this taken a while back) especially when you can see all the abandoned nests.
 This was a little creepy to me - walked by this one quickly
 An upside down bathtub with the old claw and ball feet.
 And a pair of legs - in the garden.
 Loved this "planter" built into part of the stoop.
 This was my absolute favorite - beaded flowers right at the edge of the house which was near the sidewalk. Years ago, this was one of the many crafts I dabbled in and have fond memories of making lots of them. I can't believe I stumbled onto a garden of them.
 After seeing the flowers, I went home and checked through a bin of old craft books - Yup, there they were - books on flower beading.  I used to teach in middle school and so many of the teachers during that time would get hooked on various crafts. Beaded flowers were very popular at one point;  you could find many of us walking around with our beading supplies to play with during lunchtime. I don't know why I hold onto these; just being sentimental I guess.
 And getting completely off the subject, another booklet I came across in my old craft books bin was this vest pattern - crocheted. Every teacher in school was working on one of these at some point also. Notice the price in the upper right corner - 35 cents.
Fun memories...all brought on by a walk in Cabbage Town.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mops and Rocks

On Weds our Fiber Junkies group met at Val's house for a day of Deconstructive Screenprinting.  We've done this before and it's always great fun. The technique involves laying thin objects underneath a blank silk screen, then using a squeegee to lay thickened dye on top.  The dye on the screen takes on the shapes of all the objects.  After the screen is dry, a thickened paste mixture is used to loosen the dye which in turn prints on fabric underneath.  I forgot my camera but have my own to share.  There were some wonderful ones created by Val, Kate and Mary and some really interesting objects for placing underneath the screens. 
     I decided to go through my stash and grab scraps of all kinds of fabric good for using with procion mx dyes so here goes.  The first one below is Test fabric mercerized 419 cotton, the best fabric for using with mx dyes.
 This is also mercerized cotton but you can see the "rocks" and "string-like" material which is from an old mop.  The rocks are from one of those mats you put in the bottom of the sink to protect dishes from breaking.  These 2 objects turned into the favorites of the day with great results.
 This is also the mercerized cotton (below) on the first swipe when not as much dye is released.
 This is mercerized cotton, a different screen altogether. I love the little bits of purple in it.
I'm seeing a pattern of color here. At first, I wrote down the colors I was using so I wouldn't get repetitive and have a nice assortment when finished. Apparently, I wasn't paying attention to this list of colors - lots of repeats, but I do like them.
 This is one of my favorites. The print was done on silk charmeuse - 23mm which is a heavier weight than the more commonly used 16mm charmeuse.  It is the silk left over from my daughter's wedding gown.  Silk takes the mx dyes really well and the rock pattern is really fun.
 More charmeuse, more rocks.... and this time a green dye - not my usual color but I'm glad to have it and it will work somewhere.
 This next one is silk gauze, a 3.5mm which is gossamer thin.  I think it might work as some overlays for other images - my original intent.
 I love this next one done on silk chiffon.  I decided not to clean my screens in between. This screen had some dried "drips" on it and I used it as is. I love the way the drips appeared on the prints.
 I did a lot of silk organza which I hope to use in the printer or as overlays; below is an organza print.
 And last...but not least is rayon, one of my favorite fabrics for taking color.  I can always count on it for beautiful deep color and the mop and rocks add personality.
So it was a fun day and I can't wait to see everyone else's. It's always such a surprise working with this technique - both printing it and then the washout. Now....What to do with it!
Happy Creating

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Best Advice

Well, I'm back from Atlanta visiting and helping with my new granddaughter. It was a great week full of wonderful moments AND I'm exhausted.  I can understand why it takes a "youngin" to raise a "youngin". My daughter said to bring lots of stuff to work on - lots of "down time". That's a bit of an oxymoron to put "down time" and "newborns" in the same sentence.
     I did manage to finish one of my small pieces for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. On this piece, I used a silk screen of a leafy image on each side. I used Lumiere paint which might be a tad too thin for screening.  In this case it smeared and made a mess. 
     I remembered something I learned in a workshop from one of the greats in the quilt world - Roberta Horton.  In this workshop, someone had goofed and Roberta said - if you make a mistake that can't be fixed, repeat it 2 MORE TIMES to make it look intentional.  I can't tell you how often I've thought of those words and acted on it. You can see the smear of green and gold where it should have been branches - (right side).
 so onto the left side where I added more paint (smears) along the bottom.
 And sides - now it's starting to look "intentional".
 I also went back and added some beading.
 My favorite beading technique is something called "Dots" - a small seed bead on top of a much larger seed bead, a technique my friend Mary developed and can be found in Mary's "Beading Buddy" - a wonderful reference guide featuring 78 beading stitches. If you're a beader or even a beginner like me, you don't leave home without it!
 This edging of beads is the perfect touch.
 I also added small seed beads to the "leafy" images.
 And across the mushroom caps, like I said - it's addictive!
 And here's the finished piece called "S'hrooms"
To find out more about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and become a part of it, visit their website. It's easy to make small pieces (no larger than 9 x 12") and for such a wonderful cause. I'm happy to be part of it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Burmilana - My Other Favorite Thread

It's certainly been a crazy, roller-coaster kind of week with the arrival of my first grandchild and so much going on.  My cousin who is a pediatrician says "it's amazing how these little newborns so unknowingly can turn your whole world upside down in an instant. "Wow - How true!
    So here I am back in my studio, getting ready to head out to Atlanta to help my daughter and wanted to get some things together to bring and work on, I also needed to finish this workshop sample.  I know I was talking about Candlelight thread in a recent post, very favorite thread of mine. Here's another favorite -  Burmilana made by Madiera. I think they've now shortened it to "Lana". It's part wool and mostly acrylic, but has the look and feel of wool.  I love doing bobbinwork with it but especially love the buttonhole stitch that my Bernina does - it's elegant! 
 I have tons of it; when I find something I love, I buy every color. This spool is the original shape spool it came in, the spools now are more user friendly for machines.
 This is one bin - one of two I have; I'm in love with this thread!
 It works well in the bobbin to use for bobbin work, BUT, you can also use it in the top of your machine with a large eye needle.  I found the one that works best and probably the only one with an eye big enough to accommodate this thread is a Topstitch needle in size 16.  Topstitch needles have really big eyes. You'll have to use the old fashion needle threader to get it through the eye, but really easy to do.
 Probably the only downside to using this thread is the fuzz it creates underneath the throat plate area.  You should clean it out every few hours or so to prevent buildup.
 I use a Q-tip and machine oil, moisten the tip with some oil AND... Voila - there go the Fuzzies plus the added bonus of adding a little oil to that area of your machine - a plus - plus in my book!
 This thread is so worth the effort, it really has a presence on the surface - nothing subtle about it,  it's lovely and so much fun to work with.
So on another note, I'll be off to Atlanta again this week. My daughter is needing some help and also some TLC and I can't wait to get my hands on that cute little granddaughter.
Thanks so much for hanging in there with me; I don't know when I'll be back - kind of open-ended right now, but promise to return soon as I can.
Til next time...