Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dyeing Fabric

It is a lot different that dyeing yarn. For one thing, the water is not clear when you finish dyeing fabric. With acid dye on wool, it is almost always clear- it's called exhausting the dye bath, and it is a good thing. It also tells you you can either take the stuff out, and rinse and dry it, or add more dye, because it is not going to change after the dye bath exhausts. With the fiber reactive dyes, on cotton, there seemed to be a lot of color left in the bath. Is it useful? should I run get more fabric? Don't know. I'm seeking the color Mary Lou Weidman calls "cheddar" which is a warm orange of varying shades/ It's supposed to work as a wake up to the othe fabric, and she uses it well in the back grounds of her story quilts.
Scroll down to Grandma was a Cowgirl to see a nice example of that.

I have my classes coming up with Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston, and I just can't wait. Neither of these quilters have a website or email, which I first found frustrating and then charming. I am so happy with quilting. The last major knitting project that tanked for me before i started to quilt was a modular knit sweater in about 25 shades of bright, hand dyed yarn. I still like how it looks, although it is mostly sleeveless,but the first time I tried it on, I burst out laughing. I cannot imagine walking around in the world wearing all that color. Just never would. As a teen ager, I started wearing all black, and have always loved the simplicity of doing so. I've loosened up a bit, over the years, and now wear blue blue jeans and some colors. Of course, scarves and shawls are rarely black- they are my nice color touches that match all my (black) clothes. SO the quilting fills a need for me to be absolutely immersed
in color, the brighter the better.

To say I favor a bright palate isn't the half of it. I favor a quilting palate that absolutely vibrates with color. Do not put one of my quilts on the bed of someone who is prone to nervous tension- they may not get any sleep. Or, they could read in bed without a flashlight.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Class with Gwen and Freddie!

O M G I am sooo happy. I am signed up at Cotton Patch for a class with my quilty heroines, Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran. I cannot wait. I have never taken a class before.

I spent the last few days going through my scrap bin and cutting 4 inch squares, strips, and finally making color sorted blocks crazy style out of the bits left. Not sure what I'll do with any of it, really. Interestingly, I had the most of greens. I think that is my gut instinct neutral- after all, the leaves always seem to complement the flowers, right? I had the least of yellow- so little that I could not complete even on 14 inch square block. Purple/blue and red were somewhere in between.

I have a fascination with yellow. I hate it and I love it. It is the one color that I absolutely cannot wear, but that I am most likely to paint a wall. The only quilt I've made that I really don't like is mostly yellow, as well. Although it's not just the color, on that one. It has MUltiple Issues. If I can ever find the cable to the camera, I'll discuss further.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Aprons have been quite the thing in the craft blogosphere this last little while. I worked in kitchens when I was young, and wore aprons. We never had any around the house when I was growing up- my mom hates to cook and once told me that flour made the kitchen messy, so don't bake. Actually, she rarely has any flour in her kitchen. We grew up eating out and liking it. My husband is a very good cook in a daily sort of way. He has a knack for looking at the fridge contents and somehow turning it into an appealing supper. I'm better at cooking big quantities, feeding crowds, and making impressive baked goods. We are a nice fit. He never wears an apron, though, and I always do. I hate wrecking my clothes when I cook, and I'm way to hurried and careless to not wreck my clothes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Green Machine

I have fallen under the spell of the vintage Elna. This one, that I am free motion quilting on, is the Transforma. It is a straight stitch machine with the option, when the purchaser had saved up some coin, of being made into a Supermatic. The Supermatic uses little black cams that allowed for zig zag and other decorative stitches and is the coolest thing since sliced bread. The beauty is a 1958. I cannot describe how lovely it is that something made before I was born is still humming along. I had to find a vintage machine technician to get to this state of bliss. The Elnas have one fault- there is a hard rubber gear that strips out, or gets a flat spot if left unused. I am considering stalking my machine technician, because he has the special tool needed to to perform this life saving--err- machine saving maneuver. I hope he's healthy, I need him around for a long, long time.

The quilt is one where I started out stretching my artistic comfort zone and ended up falling flat on my artistic face. The center is visible, and I like it a lot. After that, it gets worse. Thankfully, and ugly quilt is still a serviceable quilt. I take much comfort in this. If I were a painter, I would just have an ugly painting. Knitting is even better in this regard. An odd project can be made back into raw materials, wound up into balls, and be used again without a trace of the misstep. Makes for a lot of fun in experimenting.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Free Pieced Letters

Here is my first attempt at free piecing letters. I got the inspiration from Lazy Gal Other stuff, I free piece all the time. I mean, I free pieced before I knew it was free piecing, if you know what I mean. I raided the scrap bucket for red and green, for the snowball quilt. Then I started folding fabric, and then I needed a cutter blade, and then, well, I went to the quilt store. Ahem. I seem to have slipped and swiped my card on the way down. Two yards of a really cool-ie-o red rose print. Ah, well, back on track with budget recovery month.

It seems that the green letters don't show up as well as I would like, but I'm thinking of yellow fabric paint. That would be a good thing to do before I go to bed tonight- it will be perfectly dry by the time I get home from work.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Snowballs Chance in A Rose Garden

As in- snowball quilt. Here are just the blocks ( sorry, blurry) as laid out by my Random Quilt Generator ( that would be the son).

But then I got distracted by the idea of it being a rose garden, and I would want a fish pond in my garden, so I sewed this one. I either need to make more blocks or start thinking of maybe of keeping it as a lap quilt. I think I need more snowball blocks, to get the snowball magic effect of octagons looking like circles. However, this is budget recovery month and I am pretty short on reds. So, maybe one or two more rounds of snowballs.