Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ah Vacation!!!

Sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile, but I have a good reason. My husband & I went to Whistler, BC in Canada for a week. One of my husband's childhood friends flew out from Iowa to ski Whistler, so while he & my husband skiied, I shopped, people watched & just relaxed & did absolutely NOTHING & it was great!!

Daryl & I at the Blackcomb Gondola. Of course, the boys had to be on the slopes as soon as they opened, which is why this photo is a little dark.

Daryl took this, thought he did a really nice job, love the black treeline!

He also did the photos below, thought he did a great job at catching the different colors in the sky. I love the clouds in the third picture that I took & you can also see where the sun is hitting as it's rising.

Yes I took the one below. One of the foot bridges in Whistler village has on each side 5 posts with cast bronze sculptures on each pedestal. One is of a telescope, another is of a glass block, and another of an old time view finder, all things you can look through. This piece was on the other side along with other educational sculptures, like a bronze shell & small animal skeletal heads. I just really liked this & you know the first thing I did was run my fingers over the spikey looking pieces. (They reminded me of cocka burs-I'm sure that's not spelled right- when we were kids we'd get them stuck all over our clothes & we'd have to pluck them off.) I love how the frost created patterns all over the piece!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nice Surprises in the Mail

I received these last week & aren't they wonderful? The top postcard is from a "Something Red" swap I did with Dianne Ceray (sorry couldn't find a website for Dianne to post). Dianne gave me some wonderful pointers on how to straighten up the edges when I use a satin stitch on the edges of my postcards & ATC's (note previous blog entry) THANK YOU, DIANNE!!

The flower stitch foot pc is from Annette Jeavons. I just love it!! The colors & the shiny metallic fabrics used in both really makes the cards "pop". Thanks ladies!! (I have them both on my wall at work so I can admire them every day.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

How about a little color this time?

Ok, so I'm starting to like yellow more & more. These were for a Metals ATC swap for Fiber ATC. They're a batik yellow fabric, with machine stitching, hand-dyed cheesecloth, lumiere metallic paint & metal clips. Thought I would make something to nice & bright, since the weather here in Seattle seems to be pretty much cloudy & drizzling ALL of the time & the sun maybe thinks about showing itself once every 2-3 weeks.

We woke up to 24 degree weather this morning. You know it's cold outside when you & your husband wake up to 2 cats & 1 dog all under the covers with you. It's one of those mornings where you'd rather just stay in bed all day than go out into the cold & go to work. Apparently, we're supposed to keep this cold weather snap for the next 3-4 days or so. I know many of you are probably reading this & thinking you have weather temps colder than this, but for Seattle, that's pretty cold. When we moved to Seattle a little over 10 years ago, the summers stayed around mid 70's & the winters averaged around the lower 40's. (it was wonderful) Now the summers are getting hotter (thank goodness for AC) & the winters are getting colder. If I wanted these temps, I would have stayed back in Iowa. I'm am SO ready for summer & the SUN!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dyeing Frustrations

Well I conquered brown, now onto black. The first photo was an unsuccessful attempt. As you see the color didn't take very well. It's a nice pewter gray, but that wasn't what I expected when I pulled it out of the dye bath & rinsed it. I thought of over dyeing it, then realized, hey you might have a need for that color so leave it as it & start over.

I knew it wasn't the water temperature since I dyed it inside my warm studio. I added salt, I added water softener, & I added enough dye powder, which makes me think it was the dye itself. It was over a year & half old. So back to the drawing board. I remember seeing on Dharma's website, that with one of their black MX dyes that it works best if you heat the bath to around 130 degrees. I was using Pro Chem's dyes but thought I would give it a try. It worked, check out photo number 2. There is a small hint of dark blue in each of them but I think I can live with that.

If you were wondering, in the first photo from left to right the materials are (before dyed) white on white cotton swirls, cotton velveteen, cheesecloth & bamboo fabric. The second photo, left to right: cheesecloth (one can never have enough dyed cheesecloth), cotton velveteen, the white on white cotton swirls & bamboo fabric.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wonderful Treasures

Aren't these fabulous?!! A friend/co-worker of my husband's spent a month in Sri Lanka with his family who owns a rubber tree plantation there (which sounds kinda cool) & he knew that I was a fiber nut, so he brought these wonderful pieces back for me. (Isn't he a GREAT guy?!)

The first piece is from Sri Lanka & the last 2, I think were from the area of Thailand. All 3 of these pieces are HUGE. The batik piece is approximately 68" by 37". The middle green piece, (this photo does not do it justice) is made from beautiful metallic threads throughout the entire piece & it's roughly 60" by 36". The last photo, (this piece is the biggest of the 3) is woven silk & it's 60" by 90". He bought this for me thinking it was the traditional fabric that the women wear in that area. (I've been told that this is a sari.)

I wonder if the first two pieces he bought from a garment district area(do they have those there)? The reason I question this is the first two pieces have finished seams in the them like it was possibly a remnant from another finished piece. I love that they have these seams. It makes me wonder what the rest of the fabric was used for.

As for having any plans for these beautiful works of art, they're to sit on my shelf & be admired for awhile since I just can't bring myself to cut into the first 2 pieces & the 3rd piece, I haven't decided how to display that one yet (I'm running out of wall space).

I keep hoping some day, I'll be able to travel to these far away places & have the excitement of bringing home my own little textile treasures.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Getting all of my ducks in a row

I've been dyeing fabrics for over, oh my, 18 years now & I was taught to keep "recipe cards" of my dye swatches so if I ever wanted to go back & recreate that color again, I would have that recipe to do so (like you see in the first photo). I have always kept them in one of those photo albums that holds 2-4"by6" photos per sheet, but I've constantly had problems with these. I couldn't put many swatch cards in an album because of the card & swatch thickness. The album wouldn't stand up on a book shelf very well & those sleeves that held the cards were so flimsy they would slip out of the binder rings too easily, so I've been searching for a new way to display my recipes.

I came across a company a year or so ago that made these small binders that would hold 6-2"by2" swatches for quilters but I thought they were expensive for what their purpose was so I came up with my own plan. I purchased my sleeves (2nd photo) from a company that sold coin supplies. These are acid free sheets that hold 12-2.5"by2.5" squares. I thought it was a great idea (although I'm sure others have already come across this as well) Since I work in a lot of different types of fibers, I thought it would be great to see how one recipe works on different fabrics & that it could all be see at once in one of these sheets & what's also nice, if I'm looking for a red, but not sure what shade, I have up to 12 different options to view at one time. Now to convert all of my old swatch cards into the new format. Think I'll save that for a rainy day when I feel the need to "organize" something.

Monday, January 7, 2008

M&M's from Ingrid

Isn't this just wonderful?!!! I received this in a Surface Design trade from Ingrid who lives in Ontario, Canada. It is a 6"x6" block that has been stitched with metallic thread. We were to create a traditional quilt block & give it a modern twist. I think she did a GREAT job, don't you? I would have never thought to use M&M wrappers. We're in a few more swaps together & I can hardly wait to see what else she does in them! Thanks Ingrid!!

(I just realized that the M&M wrappers are partially in French, which makes them even more unique.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Working in Black & White

Happy New Year!! I really don't work much in black & white so I thought I'd give it a try. All of these stitched round circles have been done with a Flower Stitch Foot. You attach the foot to your sewing machine like you would any other presser foot, pick the stitch & away you go. Most of these have been done with a zig zag stitch, however on my sewing machine, there is a heart shaped stitch which I used in the 2nd photo (in gray, up in the top left area). I'd like to try using a wash away stabilizer so the centers of these circles would be open & one could see through them.