Friday, June 28, 2013

Some Results - Off the Wall Friday

Well it seems that its true - Prayer  indeed does work!  (Go figure - grin) What was once a big pile of white fabric, is now a hodge podge of lovely hand dyeds.  Looking over my stash, it seemed I needed more reds, blues and greens so I made sure there was plenty of those.  Also I needed more dark intense colors so I had fun doing up those.

I still have two big bins soaking so I don't have all the results - but I
do have a few from last night that made it through the three wash/rinse cycles today.  It seemed odd to do all this  dyeing in two days instead of over a week or two - but looking at the results there doesn't seem to be a big change.  I'll probably have a few pieces that will need to be overdyed but that can wait till later in the summer.  I just think its much easier to putting a few colors on at a time rather than fold - dye one color - rinse - refold dye another color and rinse.    That way is VERY labor intensive as well as having my dye supplies cluttering up my diningroom studio.  I did do about half of them with funky tight folds and a rest in  my scrunch red solo cup method.

So I labeled the fabrics I did in the last two days .  I did PFD Testfabric 419, 400 - also Kona Cotton (from Joann's - but scoured),  and PFD Kona Twill.  I'm wondering if it makes a lot of difference in the results if the fabric is mercerized and if it PFD vs scoured.  Hmmmm - I guess I'll just have to wait for them all to be rinsed out and ironed to see!

One thing I do know - PFD cotton sure is expensive considering  its just plain white and we have to do all the dyeing!  I'd love to hear what you all are dyeing with!

So what have you been up to creatively??

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Serendipity of the First Batch of Hand Dyed Fabrics

The Before
Finally, its turned warm enough here on the shores of Lake Erie to get some hand dyeing done.  Traditionally the last few years, I've spent the month of June dyeing fabric getting ready for Quilting by the Lake - not to mention replenishing my stash a bit.  But this year, with the late spring and the even later summer, I'm just getting out the dyes now. 

Now, I started this whole process off getting out the my dye books and notes - looking over past blog entries - looking for new info on the subject - and one thing hit me. . . . I've been way too anal about the whole process. 

Remembering  the results that I've achieved over the years, the ones I liked the best were the ones that were just sorta thrown together.  I mean lots of times, I've carefully followed a dye formula measuring this and stirring together that and the results were pretty predictable and boring.   

The After
The ones that held the most interest were the ones that I just sorta threw colors together - where I scrunched them into red solo cups and just prayed it all kinda work out.  Oh and don't underestimate the power or prayer.  Most of these didn't need to be redyed and they were the least amount of work.  So with that in mind, I got out my dyeing supplies (kept in a big plastic bin) - put out big vinyl table clothes in my studio and got after it. 

Boy was it easier working in my studio rather than my front porch sitting on a bucket.  Better for my allergies too!  The colors I chose to work was - The strongest orange, golden yellow, mixing blue, forest green, avocado green, grape, and red.  I folded a bunch of them and batched them in baggies and I scrunched a bunch and put them in cups.  All of them have multiple colors. 

I know that Elizabeth is going to have  us dye up 10 yds at Arrowmont so I'm not too worried that I won't have enough solids this year.  Hmmmm - I would like to try some pole dyeing though - also I need to get more torquoise and yellow because I want to dye up some colors for the next in my cross series.

Soooo - we'll see tomorrow where this Seredipity session has led me - hopefully - with prayer - it will be some really cool results!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Lilies Finished Up! Off the Wall Friday

With a big Thank God -  I finished up the latest in the lilies series.  With my new habit of getting up and sewing every morning, it wasn't too hard.  I also had to stop worrying so much over my free motion quilting and just do it.  Once I started using the needle like a pen  it went much better.  I keep forgetting that I doodle in most of my free time and all those shapes and curves translate nicely to free motion work.  I also decided that invisible thread is too much a hassle and switch to  poly and rayon threads again.  Much better - plus the bit of color worked nicely.

So here are the stats:
  • 36" by 25.5" uneven
  • hand dyed cotton, organza, angelina fibers 
  • free standing applique, rough edge applique
  • free motion quilted
  • inspired by the work of Ellen Anne Eddy
 Things I learned:
  1. I never  - ever want to do another figurative piece without having a clear vision of the composition before I lay one finger on fabric
  2. I really like creating free standing applique using felt and stabilizer as a base
  3. Organza really unravels easily - it needs more thread work or more misty fuse
  4. I learned how to do a corded binding for a uneven edged quilt

Speaking of that - the corded binding technique that Ellen teaches is quite easy.  You first trim out your quilt to the finished size.  Then you take #3 Crochet thread (white or black) and crouch it around the edge of the quilt using a zig-zag stitch.    With that done, you just satin stitch over the cord.  The only problem I had was that she used her button hole foot for the satin stitching.  I was all jazzed that I finally was going to be able to use one of my fancy foots that came with my machine.  Could I??? 
No!  That's because my machine has an automatic button hole stitch where all you you do is press a button and it makes it for you with this fancy button hole contraption!!  Who knew?!?!  I think they told me that when I bought my machine but Gosh - who really uses their  machine for clothing sewing?  (grin)

Anyways - it came okay.  I had to switch different feet and experiement with thread lengths, but it ended up decent enough.  Still I like a  smooth faced edge better.  With this quilt though and all the angelina thread embellishment - the rough edge is appropriate enough.  While I was working on it, I thought that the corded edge would work nicely on book markers that I like to do as presents.

So happily  with it blocked and labeled,  I will be officially done with this quilt.  Oh - anddddd - a whole week before my deadline.  Are you impressed?!  I'm just super happy to be moving onto the next project.  I mean over the moon peeing my pants happy really ecstatic to be putting this quilt to bed.

So what have you been up to creatively?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Habits - Design Wall Monday

One thing that I've learned in the last 40 years, is that nothing good ever comes without hard work, focus and persistence.  And we all want good things right?  So why isn't it easier to get yourself to work hard and stay focus?

These thoughts all came to mind recently when I was reading an  article in Forbes about how to change bad habits.  It referenced a recent study where changing the way we think of a bad habit can affect how successful we are at breaking it.  It basically comes down to taking charge of a situation rather than letting it rule you.  Now that might appeal to the control freak segment of us (#me) - so I thought I would try to give it a chance.

The strategy  is not to think of a bad habit as "I can't" do this or that.  Rather think of it as "I don't" do this or that.  The study proved that just changing the one word from "Can't" to "Don't" empowers and motivates  us to change the habit.

Simple enough right?  So I thought I would give it a try and change a bad habit.  The last several years, I've tended to get up early, grab breakfast and sit down at my laptop.  I catch up on facebook, clear out emails, read my favorite blogs and play games.  Its a quiet way to start the morning - harmless right?  Wrong - its a huge time suck and hours can pass before I know it!  I'm such an early bird, why would I waste my most productive part of the day????

So starting today, I'm changing this habit.  I don't (and won't - grin) get up in the morning and hop on my lap top.  Rather I will exercise, do chores or gasp - go into my studio to sew.

Wellllll actually  I'll start tomorrow.... today I had to write this blog post to show my progress on lily quilt.  I did get in a few hours this weekend of practicing free motion quilting and then finally working on the piece itself.  I'm doing it in invisible thread and its going well accept for one thing - every once in a while it will skip about 5 stitches where it won't pick up the bobbin thread.   I have no idea why its doing it and after spending a goodly amount of time trying to fix it - I just decided to fix those areas that it skipped.  It doesn't do it on the practice piece - just my lily quilt itself.  Frustrating!  I'm thinking it has to do with the spray basting - but both pieces were sprayed so not sure!

Anyways almost done with this and since I don't get up and waste hours on the computer in the mornings now - I should be onto my next piece soon!

So what habit would  you like to change?

See more traditional design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Quilting Line - Design Wall Friday

Well School is finally out and house guests are safely home so it seems there is no reason I can't finish up the lilies project.  It took a few more hours but now everything is safely sewn down.

One thing that is nice about doing the embroidery first, is that there is no additional thread work to do once you applique them on.  I didn't use any glue to baste the appliques down - I just used big pins and it seemed to do the trick.  I did find that I needed to add an additional stabilizer  (I just used freezer paper) when I added the stems to the cattails because I was getting a bit of puckering.

Now, onto the quilt line.  I decided for once I would take my time and think about adding some fancy quilt.  I've been saving some examples that have caught my eye on my pinterest board.  So with that as inspiration but still taking the piece into consideration, I started auditioning different lines and ideas.  I used taped together overhead sheets and makers for the job since I didn't have a piece of vinyl on hand.  Still adding its a bit daunting.  I hate putting in the wrong line - - only to have to take it all out again.

So I'm thinking that I might do some practice quilting this weekend and get a feel of the echo curves I want to make.  One thing I've learned about free motion work  - practice is key!

With the week of grey and rain and the  realization that Tessa is one year closer to leaving  - I've been a bit quiet and reflective.

So what have you been up to creatively??

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Off the Wall Friday

Hi All!!  Between the last week of school and house guests - I have nothing new to show - haven't stepped in my studio since Sunday!

BUT my house is clean so does that count?!

So what have you been up to creatively??

Monday, June 3, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Not much new in my studio today.  You wouldn't know that I spent 5 hrs in there getting the lilies layered and sewn down.  I'm always amazed at how much time the little things take when you're trying to get a piece done.

But still - I did start sewing down the lily appliques.  I found out that rayon - although pretty and shiny has its limitations.  Its just not strong enough to go through the thread layers of the appliques and not break in my machine.  I switch to polysheen and it was fine.  I really like how that last layer of thread color just adds a new detail to the water lilies.  Its subtle but effective.

I decided that I'm going to put a lot of thread work into the piece to flatten it a bit.  That way the lilies will pop and the whole piece won't look too 2-d.

With end of school year activities and company coming  - we'll see how much I get done!~

See other great design walls at Judy's Patchwork Times