Tuesday, April 27, 2010

studioQ meeting and Charlie update

I'm glad to report that Charlie is on the road to recovery. It's been two weeks since his injury, and I've finally been able to persuade him to eat. And he's a great deal more active. Thank goodness!

The photo has a reddish cast because of his heatlamp. We must keep little Charlie toasty!

Monday was our monthly studioQ meeting. We met in my sun room:

Beth showed several small pieces she made using fabric we marbled during one of our meetings. Pretty cool!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life is good!

It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm watching the Astros-Cubs game. My 'Stros are winning, and that's just one of the the things I'm thankful for today.

1. Charlie is doing well. Not too happy about being confined to the downstairs bathroom, but he's recovering nicely.

2. Red tulips in the living room. I love red tulips.

3. Flowers in the backyard. I took this shot of the garden around the back patio before the rain started. Everything is green and lush!

4. Rain. It has rained steadily since Friday night. We've gotten several inches (but the rain gauge is clogged with pollen and not registering. I'm basing my estimate on the official DFW airport report).

5. Sticks 12. The pieces of this quilt have been on my design wall for a month, maybe longer. I finally got it pieced together this afternoon. I'm ready to move on to something else!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turtle disaster!

I hate to report that something attacked the turtles Monday night. The creature, whatever it was, was strong enough to move some large rocks (which I can barely lift!) and to dig down into Charlie's turtle house. Poor Charlie is ok, sort of. He lost his right front leg, but the vet says he will be fine. But he will now be handicapped, poor guy!

Charlie himself doesn't seem too concerned about his missing limb. He seems to get around just fine, and he resents the fact that he has to be confined to a box for at least a week until his stitches come out.

I called a pest control company, and we've placed live traps all over the back yard. And re-secured the larger turtle house, where Emma and Tug spend their nights.

The pest control tech thinks it was probably a raccoon. Hopefully we'll catch the perpetrator and relocate him to another part of the county.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shibori -- specifically itajime shibori

I spent a day last week doing itajime shibori techniques on underpainted cotton. The underpainted fabric was not soda soaked, but was painted with procion mx fiber reactive dyes and allowed to dry. I love using underpainted (but not chemically fixed) fabric as my base for shibori! Because the fabric hasn't chemically bonded with the first set of dyes, the colors blend and merge and meld, and you can end up with some really interesting fabric.

Itajime shibori is the technique of folding, pleating and clamping the fabric to create a resist. If the clamps are tight enough, the dye cannot penetrate beneath the clamped shapes, giving you a repeat pattern that can be very, for lack of a better word, cool.

I have a growing collection of shapes and clamps. Last week I concentrated mainly on circles and squares/rectangles. The first piece was pleated and folded in a triangle pattern and clamped with a 2" diameter circle. It had initially been painted red and yellow, and overdyed in Pro Chem's "nickel" dye:

I clamped a number of circles of various sizes. These pieces were fan folded in squares. They had all been underpainted, some with yellow, some with blue and fuchsia. Some were overdyed in blue violet, some in lime green, some in nickel, some in red violet:


This piece was blue and fuchsia, overdyed in red violet. It was fan folded in squares and clamped with a 3" square shape:

This piece was yellow and orange, overdyed in turquoise. It had been fan folded and clamped with popsicle sticks:

I fan folded this piece into a rectangle and placed alligator slips along the two long edges. It was white (one of the few that was not underpainted) and dyed in red violet:

This piece was fan folded and clipped with large alligator clips. It was quite a bright yellow before overdying. The final dye bath was blue violet:

I also wrapped quite a few pieced on poles for arashi shibori. Some silk and some cotton, all underpainted. I'll post pictures when I've had time to overdye them!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April!

We're having a beautiful spring in North Texas. The flowers have been beautiful. This is our Lady Banks rose:

And Tug is looking coy in his next of oxalis:

The roses are loaded with buds, the iris are blooming, the clematis and the columbine are starting -- what a lovely time of year!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Turtle time!

First turtle sighting of 2010! It's Charlie, newly awakened from his annual hibernation!

If you look closely, you can see he has food all over his chin. He was very hungry, and very glad to see me.

I had a great day yesterday. Not only did I see Charlie (I was worried about the turtles -- it's been a very cold and wet winter) but I also spent the day batiking fabric. I got out the wax pot and tried out my new tjaps (pronounced "chops"). My favorite is of course the turtle. Looks like Charlie, doesn't it? The original fabric was pale yellow, overdyed in fuchsia.

I also found a tree border tjap. I printed it in more or less straight lines on pale gray fabric and overdyed it in fuchsia.


I also have a new fish tjap. You may have to squint to see the fish. His tail is to the right, nose facing left. This fabric was mottled yellow, green and white, overdyed in turquoise.

Not enough contrast, I think. I'll have to try this one again.

It was beautiful out (almost too warm, but with a nice breeze) and I spent most of the afternoon outside dye painting 18 half yard pieces of PFD cotton. I'll be using them next week for shibori dyeing.

This week's bouquet of tulips. I really love orange tulips:

This morning (Thursday) I saw Tug poking his little green head out of the turtle house. So my back yard is coming alive in every way!

New Work (and a few better pictures)

I finally got around to taking better photos of my newer quilts. Some are quilted, some are not. The first 3 are quilted.

First, Sticks 3. The only other photo I had of this quilt was draped across a bed:

A detail of the quilting. This one is finished except for the label:

Sticks 8:
A closeup of the quilting:

I pieced Sticks 8 for my living room. I dyed the oranges to coordinate with the orange wall.

Sticks 7:
A detail:

Now a few that aren't quilted. Sticks 9:

Sticks 6:

Sticks 5:

Sticks 4:

The final three will be quilted when I get caught up with client quilting again. Hopefully that won't take too long!

studioQ

studioQ met last Monday at Jay's house. As always, it was a wonderfully inspiring meeting.

We've been using a word or phrase to create a small work or a block to a larger quilt each month. I know I've mentioned it before -- for me, each phrase has inspired a discrete piece. Susan, however, has been adding each month to her quilt:

Assignments have included personal symbols, the color or shape of fear, part of a chicken (you can see the chicken parts scattered across Susan's quilt!), mysterious, magic, whimsy, earth.....It's been a great exercise.

Nancy showed her latest, an improvisationally pieced quilt with an appliqued flower:

studioQ is a great group. We not only inspire one another, we also push each other to try new things.

Goodbye, Jean!

Sad news: Jean is moving to Virginia Beach. It all happened so fast -- she put her house on the market and it was sold within a couple of weeks. She leaves next Monday.

Here's a shot from Jean's going away party last weekend. Me, Jean and Rhonda:

Goodbye, Jean! I'll miss you!

Sign up for my studio newsletter