Sunday, April 30, 2006

Color and Composition - Week One

My Still Life:
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Here are my blind contour studies of the still life:
First pass with no peeking
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Second pass with some peeking
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Third pass looking at still life but not at the page
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I still have to do the exercises for contour cutting and contour stitching. I did get a bunch of fabrics out of my stash and only have to get a few for the color wheel - mostly the grays - I found I had a very nice medium gray, but the inbetween ones are not quite there. I may try to dye the grays with the Tsukeniko inks if I cannot find them at the store on the way home tomorrow. I did find a few in the printed side, but need a couple more there too.

April Journal Quilt Challenge - The Promise

April's Journal Quilt Challenge:
This is the pencil study I did for the piece on Palm Sunday, 2006
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Front of Journal Page
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Text of Back:
This month I am exploring the wonder of God’s Promise
Palm Sunday, 2003. My son was playing the part of Jesus in a Passion Play. The church where this play was being performed was a longish drive from our house. That Sunday morning was drippy and rainy, much like this year’s Palm Sunday. The gray clouds were low and thick with moisture. Since it had rained off and on for the previous couple of weeks, the hills were all green and yellow with a coating of wild mustard plants. On the way to the church early that morning, my husband and I saw the most amazing sight – the clouds parted just a bit and a gorgeous rainbow lit up the ground underneath the break in the clouds. It just seemed so appropriate for us traveling to see a Passion Play to witness such a bright symbol of God’s Promise. I drank in the sight, made a quick sketch on the back of a prescription form and said – “This needs to be a quilt” and I gave it the name of ‘The Promise”, but I had only been quilting for a few months at that point, so I did not know how to approach a landscape quilt. This year, the day before Palm Sunday, I reorganized my sewing supplies into my new sewing room and one of the things I came across in the cleanup process was this scrap of paper with my quick sketch and that became the basis for this month’s piece.

Design elements were fused onto the interfacing. I wanted to make ‘thread bunnies’ to represent the trees along the edges of the hills, but ran out of green thread before I could get the machine to do what I wanted. So it ended up being fuzzy yarn stitched to the contours of the hills instead.
The rainbow was trimmed from a piece of material with the rainbow colors but not in the right order so they are little skinny strips of color. The cloud material was purchased at a quilt shop where I safely holed up for a few hours because of a flash flood.
Satin stitching around all the edges of the page completes the construction process.
The rainbow picture above was taken by my daughter Clare.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chemistry Lessons for the Fiber Artist

Last Saturday, a bunch of my friends and I got together at a quilting shop and took an 8 step graduation fabric dyeing class. I picked Black, expecting to get a nice progression of grays...I was planning on using it for the black to grays needed for the Color and Composition Class that I am taking on the Quilt Studio forum...sigh...the best laid plans of mice and men...don't necessarily work when playing with chemicals!

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Dye is mixed with warm water and salt in a carafe.

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Here I am adding the dye to the first Mason jar. The fabric is added and then the lid is screwed down.

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Every 15 minutes we shook the jars. Instructor Russ said to be careful of any dyes that have blue in them...Too vigorous with the shaking, and you get an explosion! I was careful (black has ALL colors, including blue in it!)

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My friend Julia picked a much better color for progression! A nice yellow. The other colors that the class participants picked were kelly green, violet, red and peach.

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Julia's first piece, rinsed out by the instructor, Russ.

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My results, after washout with Synthrapol and 6 rinses and a full wash with detergent...
Not at all what I expected! I scanned them on top of some real black fabric for contrast. Some of the pieces look olive green, some rather brown and only the last of the eight pieces is grayish. If you are quick, and count the pieces you will see there are actually 9 pieces - the last one in the series was dumped into the leftover dye in a measuring cup...which made it rather mottled. The WOW pieces fared even worse - I have a hard time telling that they any different in shade until I get to the last one....and again the bottom piece was in the measuring cup...

Though my dyed fabric is not what I expected, it WAS loads of fun doing the class. We are going to try the Rainbow progression in a few weeks...that should be way prettier!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How to Disguise Ugly Fabric...

These two quilts are my entries into the 2006 Arizona Retreat Ugly Fabric Challenge.

Bad Sunbonnet Sue and the AZ Challenge Fabric
Bad Sue Does Some Target Practice (Bang)
Bad Sue Feeds Her Cat (Eww, this fabric tastes nasty)
Bad Sue Cleans Up (What a mess...I'm glad I have THIS fabric to clean up with!)
Bad Sue Has A Fabric Roast (Snap! Crackle! Pop!)
Bad Sue Gets Into The Chicken Coop (Oh No...She's making me nest in THAT fabric. My chicks will go blind!)
Bad Sue Slashes Away (Snippety-Snip-Snip-Snip)
Bad Pirate Sue Gives Her Prisoners A Bad Choice (Wear the dress or... walk the plank - NO! I'd rather jump than wear THAT dress...)

This quilt was inspired by Shelley’s (Pirate) ‘comments’ about the Challenge Fabric that Ami (SewingUpAStorm) supplied for the 2006 Arizona Retreat…Bad Sunbonnet Sue does all those bad things Shelley wanted to do to the fabric!

Designed and Quilted by Suze (Casuzen)
January 2006

Escape Velocity
Adapted from the 'Summer Breeze' pattern by Annette Rose

Easter Eggs

When I got to work this morning, I discovered the Easter Bunny had visited our department - there were colorful plastic eggs filled with all sorts of candy, dollar bills and coupons hidden in all the cubicles. It was fun hunting for eggs as there was a random number in each office...Hours later you would hear "I found another one!"
The eggs reminded me of one of my favorite Easter stories. Warning...Get a tissue before you click on the link!
The Empty Egg
(this story is credited to Ida Mae Kempel on some sites, others say its an unknown author...)


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Presenting My New...

SEWING ROOM!!!! My son moved to his own place last weekend, so the room he was in became a guest room/storage room/office, while the room where my drafting table was became my sewing room. I have been dreaming of this for months! I started at 8:30 Saturday morning and worked almost non-stop until 8:30 pm...I had a brief break once I moved the desk in for my sewing table and realized that I needed shelves for all the supplies! So I dashed off to the home improvement store and bought a couple of 'do it yourself, easy assembly' shelve sets (False advertising - see below!). I moved boxes, bookcases, clothes, made up the guest bed, vacuumed (twice), dusted, rearranged, built two sets of shelves, did 4 loads of washing and generally wore myself out...I am exhausted and sore, but very happy!
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This is my 'design wall' - 2 yards of white diaper flannel.
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This is the computer desk I appropriated for my sewing table...Notice the machine is set on the keyboard holder so that its level with the table. Haven't tried this setup yet, but sitting in front of it is comfy!
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These are my storage shelves. I had to build them...I cast aspersions on their parentage and the parentage of the designers...the air was a bit blue...everytime I would 'tap' one brace in, another one would pop out...the whole thing collapsed several times...but I perservered and...have shelves..very FULL shelves...I did not realize just how much quilting stuff was stashed around the house! But, its all in here now.
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This is my office, where several times a week I work from the 6 second commute!
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This is my drafting board - cutting table... I love that its just the right height for me so my back does not get sore.
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This is my needs reorganizing...
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This is the bottom bunk in the other room made up as a daybed. It needs its own quilt! I think it turned out pretty cute. I used the mattress from the top bunk for a bolster - the top bunk is being used for storage - mostly wrapping paper and the junk (err, 'stuff') my DD left in the closet when she moved out. Notice Misty the Cat enjoying the bolster! (all three cats have explored the area and have given their stamp of approval on the improvements)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Signs of Spring

It's starting to look like spring!
This is my Saturn peach starting to bloom. Normally this tree blooms in February and has fuzzy little green peaches and lots of leaves by now.

I saw this red-headed, red-breasted bird sitting in my apricot tree. There were actually two pairs of birds, the males with red and the females were much duller with kind of a yellowish tinge. I had to look them up on the web and found they are House Finches and the red color comes from their diet.

March Journal Quilt Challenge - Hope

Here, at last, is March's Journal Quilt. Better late than never...Sorry, was sick most of the month and was just not very inspired to get to finishing the back and binding. Finally got a little burst of energy today. Anyone notice I have kind of a sub-theme going on with my pages? They all have blue backgrounds so far!! ::cue music::Blue skies, shining at me, nothing but blue skies can I see....::music fade::

Text from back:
The daffodil, one of the first flowers of spring, is a symbol of hope. Hope for a world free from disease, hope for a world free from strife. Hope gives us the strength and courage to keep going, with the hope that there will be better days coming.

The flowers and stems are free-form cut out of one single piece of batiked fabric that I pre-fused. I did not heavily quilt this piece, as it seemed to ask for simplicity. I accented the flowers and quilted over the stems in the vase to try to give the illusion of the stems being behind glass.

Satin stitching around all the edges of the page completes the construction process.