Friday, March 25, 2016

Fiber Junkies - Girlfriends

 Fiber Junkies had its March meeting at my house - our plans for the day - to work on printing with fugitive materials. You know what they say about the best laid plans......our gathering went from working/playing to celebrating and I might add, one of our happiest meetings ever.
 Even though we had lots of our stuff out...
 and ready to jump in...
We just had to celebrate the return of our 3 gals - Val, Gen and Denny. Val spends 2 months in the winter in Florida....we miss her so much and are thrilled she is back with us for the next 10 months.
 Gen (on left) has been gone due to family medical issues. Her dear hubby Ralph who was 92, passed away recently; he lived a very long, happy and healthy life. He lived by the rule - "A donut a day keeps the doctor away" and a donut a day he always had. He never had to take medicine, played golf up until the end and best of all had a wonderful marriage. A life worth celebrating and celebrate we did with our Gen...back with us.
 And Denny (left) who we've missed so much and haven't seen in months is still dealing with serious family medical issues but she did stop by for a short visit and we were so happy to see her. She has been cleaning out her studio and passing along some wonderful treasures to our group which you can see on the table.
 We also had a quick show and tell - Mary brought this lovely quilt with such a unique color combo.
 It's so striking in person.
 Kate has been experimenting with dry bleach which has some great effects.
Denny brought boxes and boxes of this stuff for all of us to try which we will do at the next meeting.
 And here...more treasures from Denny which we had a great time going through
So we never did get to printing but did go home with some nice treasures and best part got to be with dear girlfriends again - what a happy time.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Changing Hues

This is another piece finished for our upcoming Arboretum show in April. I started with a piece of fabric I "blotchy" dyed. This is the back of it. 
I often used this dye application technique when I did a lot of appliqué. By laying clear templates over the different areas of color, you could create some wonderful shading and color movements.
On this particular piece, I laid down different widths of masking tape and marbled it. Marbling is a fast process, not giving the tape time to fall off. After the piece was hand rinsed from the marbling process, the tape was removed revealing lines with lots of colors and movement.
I then layered and quilted it using free motion stitching; I followed the lines of the marbling which was a tradional wave pattern.
I knew I wanted to add something to the top but felt it had to be sheer to allow the marbling to show through. Organza is always high on my list - it takes a paint well, is crisp and holds it shape and easy to work with.
I used Dye na Flow which works on all fibers. It's the consistency of water and therefore somewhat transparent. I wanted to pick up the colors in the marbled fabric so I used yellow and orange.
After it had dried, I screened a leaf on top...many leaves actually.
I made the screen in several different sizes to have a nice variety to work with.
I tried to pick up several different colors in the leaves by careful placement of the screen.
I cut the leaves out (after drying), close to but not on the edge.
I went back with a woodburning tool and burned the edges. It is easier than cutting as organza being so thin, burns down quickly.
I scattered the leaves on the top; using a monofilament I stitched down the center and sides of each leaf so they could move and appear to be floating.

I binded it with a red hand-dyed fabric and here is the finished piece. You can see where the sheer leaves are present but still allow the background to show through. This was a fun piece to make.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patty's Day

 I'm in a supper club and as luck would have it, my turn fell on a holiday - today, perhaps a small one but a big fun one. I was born and raised in New York and often would take the day off from whatever to go into the city to watch the parade. It's a wild place on St. Patricks day and lots of fun. I also met my husband on St. Patty's day which he doesn't remember but I do! So for tonight...

 I've made some napkins and bought some sparklys for the table.
Also found this very sparkly (and maybe a little gaudy) Leprachauns hat which opened at the top, perfect for a plant and centerpiece. I've never had a Shamrock plant - they are so pretty and light, fluffy little shamrocks...which I didn't realize close at night. I thought I had killed it when I looked at it last night but this morning, it was all open and awake. Trouble is, it will probably be asleep during dinner.
Years ago, my husband had something to go to on St. Patty's day and wanted a green I made him a very BRIGHT green tie and some scarves for myself - both will come in handy tonight.
Should be a fun night...hope yours is too!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Let the Games Begin (9th Annual PTA Retreat)

Wow. - this is the 9th year of our PTA retreat, it doesn't seem possible - something our PTA-er Mary started 9 years ago. When she first mentioned it to us, we were a little skeptical not knowing the whys and wherefores, but we warmed to the idea very quickly.  Now here we are 9 years later marking this as one of our favorite times each year. WE DO HAVE FUN!
Those of you familiar with my blog know we use a community room during the day for sewing, talking, laughing and eating (of course). Heaven forbid we go too long without food.  This is our community table of food. We have a separate food table for the house we stay in.
First morning, it's lots of hellos and hugs like we haven't seen each other in years when in fact it was only last week. We carve out our spot and pull out all our fabric, projects etc. for the next 3 days.
Mary acquired this wonderful drying rack from Georgia which she uses when working with strips of fabric - how clever and HOW ORGANIZED!
Lots of new projects started as well as some being finished up, even some from last years retreat.
Our "resident piecer" - Kate who is not only good but fast, started this the first day....
and voila! finished by the end of the day and more to come.
This is a piece that Georgia was finishing up very bright and tropical.
Linda has taken to knitting like a bear to honey. She claims all she has to bring to retreat is a ball of yarn and a change of clothes. She definitely wins the prize for having the least amount of stuff, but her socks are yummy...this was my favorite with the lime green accent.
Leigh Anne and Janice were working on the same pattern which I loved. The blocks were all assembled first and laid down special order. The colors in this piece were lovely. I also loved the one Janice was working on but the picture was blurred unfortunately.
Dort has been working on family "mottos" for all the different members of her family. This is her family who came from Washington so the backdrop is perfect. Dort is so talented...will sit there and sketch and before you know it, it's cut out of fabric and down on the drawing board. The picture depicts Dort and her siblings growing up.
Barbara is working on several projects - this one is crazy churndash. I loved the "wonki-ness" of this block and Barbara gave us a quick demo on how to do it.
Marine who was a guest at our retreat finished up this lovely piece - all points perfect.
This is Mary's piece still in the works, it's going to be BIG. It will go on a big, high wall in her home. She's trying to decide whether to add red or not.
This is another of Georgias in the finishing up stage...
and as I promised Kates second piece...."second day...second piece" and yes there was a third day piece also. I love this one - very fresh and happy which is very typical of Kate's quilts.
And our crazy, wonderful group taking a break. Til next time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Acid Dyeing on Silk

I love acid dyeing which only works on silk but gives the most brilliant color. It requires the use of an acid instead of soda ash which is the fixative when using a procion mx dye. You can use white vinegar or citric acid crystals. The silk needs to be boiled or heavily steamed - no batching. The dye completely exhausts itself leaving the water clear at the end of the process and no dye run off when rinsing either. In order to get the multicolored look, you have to steam it, applying several colors first and then placing the silk in a studio designated steamer. The drawback to this is often the steam from a rice steamer is not hot enough to get good color. I then switched to boiling the silk using a hotplate in my studio but then limiting myself to one color.

The scarf on the left was first scrunched inside a stocking and boiled. The parts of the scarf exposed to the stocking or outside had the deepest color. I still wasn't happy. I then came upon the idea to use multi colors on the scarf and use steam but a "hotter" steam like from a big pot of boiling water. The scarf on the right was done in this manner - so much better.

So I was off and running with this new approach and liking the results. This is a bright red and fuchsia with a touch of orange.

I love this next color combo of purple and hot pink and deep purple.
This might be my favorite as it's more subtle. It's lilac and charcoal and the 2 colors melting together really did well. I often make samples along with my scarves so I can remember for the next time what was successful and what was not.
Sometimes some colors don't have enough pizazz and need a little help. The scarf on the right was dyed using 2 different colors in the same color way. Although pretty, maybe not too exciting. I overdyed it by scrunching it inside a stocking and placing it in a boiling dye bath for a short time. I scrunched it very tight so only the tips of the silk touching the stocking would get additional color - I like the effect it produced. (on left)
Now here are all my babies waiting for the next step of color lifting and screening.
The stamping is a little tedious and not much fun - both for the discharging and adding color I thought, why can't I make these images into a silk screen - much more fun to do.
I made images and copied them using a laser copier so I could make them into a silk screen.
So much better.
First I used sodium alginate to thicken some discharge paste and screened it through a silk screen, let it dry and ironed it to discharge the color. I love the way the discharge image is multi-colored depending on what part of the scarf you are doing.

Using the same screen (cleaned) I did another image using Lumiere textile paint which is quite thick and screens well. I also included some new images of pine needles and other leaves, so I'm a happy camper and time to deliver them to the Folk Art Center.