Tuesday, February 20, 2018

PREPPING FOR PTA'S 10TH ANNUAL RETREAT

I've had way too little time to sew lately and will have even less with a full schedule ahead. The 10th annual PTA retreat is at the very beginning of March and given my other commitments I was stressing over what project I'll be working on.

I'm one of those who needs to be organized and prepared....no last minute rushing about for me.......I need order and until I achieve it....I'm not fit to live with!

So, due to the successful sales of several of my Japanese theme quilts at Woolworth Walk (amazing to me since this is definitely NOT my normal style), it makes sense to create another one. Retreat is CRAZY.....non-stop silliness, food, beverages, and of course sewing.  Selecting a no brainer piecing project is about all I'm capable of accomplishing in this setting.  Pre-cutting everything ahead is mandatory.  

After a couple of false starts I now have a plan.  One would never guess it's taken me nearly two full days to select, cut, and arrange these focal squares. I have tons of Japanese fabrics, yet it's amazing how often they don't play well with each other.  The blocks will not be set with white as shown here on my design wall.......but had I thought of it.....I would have.  (Next time!!)  However, the two different colors of setting strips are now cut and ready to be pieced.  Stay tuned for 'after PTA retreat report'.....though honestly so much of what happens there.....as they say "stays there'!!!


Friday, February 16, 2018

NAVIGATION/TRAIL TREES

This post is off the normal fiber focused subject......so read on at your own peril!

This is an excerpt from the book "Nightwoods" written by Charles Frazier. You might be aware of his others, "Cold Mountain" & "Thirteen Moons".  The books deal with areas in Western North Carolina and Haywood County, where we live.  "The husband" has been reading this book and was struck by the following passage. From day one of moving here, we noticed this unusual tree in the common area of our development.  The questions are: Could this be natural?  If not, who did it?  Where does it point?

"Farther on, along a stretch of trail Luce had walked at least a dozen times, she noticed something new to her, A stout old oak partly screened by younger trees, the first four feet of its trunk hollow and the crown nearly dead. What Luce first thought was a low limb, much thicker than her torso, ran parallel to the ground and then made an unnatural upward right angle. At the L, a knob of scar.

Luce went to the tree and cupped her hand on the knob. She realized that the odd limb was really the deformed trunk and knew this was a trail tree. One day two or three hundred years back, in a different world, somebody bent down a sapling and torqued it in the middle and sliced it partway through at the angle and tied it to a stake in the ground with withes or ligaments to make it grow that way forever. When the cut healed, the scar kept growing, like an old mans nose, and it was where the nose pointed that mattered, ‘Go this way’ was the message nobody had received for a long time”


It turns out there are similar trees that run all across this country.  A fledgling rhododendron partially obstructs the drama of this tree which grows along side one of the 3 small creeks that run through our development. YET the nose is quite clear right side of horizontal limb).

There are groups that research such trees for authenticity. We've submited this one and are looking forward to hearing their opinion. It doesn't appear to be 100 years old but who knows.  Follow these two links here and also here if you'd like to read a tad more about this interesting navigation system most often attributed to Native Americans. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

HEARTS ARE THE ORDER OF THE DAY

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Commercial cottons,machine appliqued, bead embellished. This quilt was featured in Fons & Porter's "Love of Quilting" magazine Feb. 2004 - pages 18-20.  AVAILABLE HERE

Monday, February 12, 2018

GIRLFRIEND ART CAMP - PART 2

Continuing our art camp adventures.......while each batch of our eco-printing simmers for 2 hours we spent time indigo dyeing.
Nan is a terrific & generous host.....we work on her large patio which overlooks a golf course.....allowing us plenty of space to spread out.
 Blue has always been my favorite color....followed by red.  Therefore I'm always ready to create more indigo dyed fabrics.  We worked with white cottons, silk noil, and lots of old linens.

Some artists get very scientific with their folding/stitching/wrapping methods, all which act as resists for the dye penetration and dictates the designs.  We were less so....as we chatted away enjoying the beautiful sunny day.
We had prepared the indigo dye bath ahead of time. I decided to dye half of my bundles dry and the other half after soaking in water for about 10 mins.  After massaging each packet in the indigo bath for 2+ mins., it was removed and placed in a bin.....allowing the dye to set a bit longer.  
I'm now unwrapping one of my dry packets....you can see how the color turns from green to blue as it reacts to oxygen.  I found the pieces dyed from the wet stage had less white than the dry ones.  Of course the way it is folded/manipulated also affects the outcome.
Impressive results....we are happy campers!
 Another piece released from its string/knots/rubber bands etc. - already turning blue.



And we eat well too......homemade pizza that didn't quite stay on the hot pizza stone....totally my doing as this Cheesehead really piled on the cheese!

Another year of good memories and friendship were made.......next Feb. can't come soon enough!  


Saturday, February 10, 2018

GIRLFRIEND ART CAMP

It sure has been awhile since my last post......I haven't been idle!  Actually, time flew by as I enjoyed our 7th Annual Girlfriend Art Camp at a friend's home in AZ.
My two buddies had never eco-printed so with instructions sent ahead of time, Nan got an iron/rust pot started.  Basically one soaks metal objects in a solution of vinegar and water for a week or so.  It's used in eco-printing when a darker image is desired.
I brought a bunch of dyed wool fabric samples to print on. Instead of using square cedar shake shingles as presses to hold our fabric/leaf layers, we had to substitute long narrow wood shims.  We used two on the bottom and two on the top.....challenging since they were uneven in depth.
Here's one of the layers....instead of dipping the leaves or fabric in the rust water, these layers were spritzed with a vinegar and water solution which also helps to develop definition of the prints.
The size of the shims required two people to wrap with string....here Sue and Nan are securing one batch.
 When possible we secured with binder clips in addition to the string.  We also used shrink wrap which provides a tighter bond when it simmers in the vinegar/water bath.
 Here's a look at some of my prints. Nan had some rusted nails and stars that were fun to use as well.
I'm totally in love with silk noil and have been using it for ages in garments and wall art.  You can see by the horizontal lines that this narrow piece was accordion folded to fit between the shims.  The fabric was dipped in the rust water prior to adding leaves and folding.

We didn't stop with just eco-printing....come back to see what else we did.....

Friday, February 2, 2018

PLUGGING AWAY

OH MY.......this piece is taking forever to finish......therefore my posting has been sparse.....  Lot's of details still to be added but here's an updated peak at its progress.
Finishing will have to wait a bit longer as I'm off to AZ for our 6th annual 'girlfriend art camp', with several buddies.  'The husband' and Sooty our rescue lab will be holding down the fort at home...... Photos of our fiber adventures coming soon.....

Check out what other artists have been up to this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday & Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA

The highlight of my year is always our 3 day PTA retreat (coming soon).  The highlight of 'the husband's' year is attending the Rolex 24 Hour car race at Daytona.  I dutifully attend with him but truth be told....would prefer to stay home.
 We are Porsche fans.....and sadly our teams have done poorly for the last 2 years.  Clearly they are lacking engine strength!
 This year's crowd was the largest ever attending......crammed in everywhere there were tent campers.....some more worthy then others of being called a tent.  I can NOT imagine any event that would make me consider tent camping.......well....at least with my current age.
 ……of course there are those who travel in the style……which I'd prefer!
NO.....we do not stay and watch the entire 24 hours!!!!  The race begins at 2:40 PM...and obviously runs through the night which makes for exciting viewing for those hardy folks who stay awake at the track.  

I amuse myself the best I can.  In the Porsche hospitality paddock, artist Bill Patterson peaked my interest.  I watched as he turned a blank canvas into an action painting in about 2 hrs. The painting was then auctioned off to benefit the Austin Hatcher Foundation whose focus is on curing childhood cancers.  This one was sold for over $3,000.  I sure wish I had the knack of blending colors like he does! 

Friday, January 26, 2018

HUNKERING DOWN

I've challenged myself to create a sunset/ocean/beach theme wall quilt....inspired by the many photos that are constantly being generated by family and friends.

Well.....it's easier said than done when translating those gorgeous scenes into fiber!  I've auditioned every piece of hand dyed fabric I made, wearing a path from the 'fabric closet' to my design wall!  
Progress has been so slow because I keep tweaking the design....which would be easier if I tweaked it before it was stitched.  There's already been many, many of hours 'unsewing' and hemming and hawing. But it's getting there....here's a little sneak peak of a portion of the quilt. Keep in mind it's only about half finished.....lots of details to be added. 

I will go back into hibernation mode and emerge when it's done!!!

See how other artists faired with week with their projects:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.


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Thursday, January 25, 2018

FOLLOW UP - WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA

Last month we participated in Wreaths Across America by laying wreaths on the graves of our veterans.  A moving and worthwhile experience.  To get involved next year in your area, learn more here.
 Of course, what goes up, must eventually come down.....so we joined volunteers to collect the wreaths which will be recycled locally.  It was the first nice day we've had here in weeks....perfect timing!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

FIBER JUNKIES - JAN. MEETING - PART TWO

We were all very engaged in our foiling tasks. Me....so much so I neglected to take many photos...here's scant overview....
 Denny used stencils and print fabric.
 Judy likes to document various processes for future use.
 I tried a new to me product which helps give the appearance of 'fairy dust' when foiled.  It's a fusible powder called Bo Nash.....learn more here.
 Sharing an iron caused a bit of a back up at the pressing station and somehow I replaced the foil wrong side up.....oops.....meaning = the end of this piece of fabric as I can not get it off!
Denny had a brilliant idea.  She'd cut a finished quilt, one she didn't want to keep....into large sections to be used as table protectors for hot or cold dishes.  The edges were finished with a tight satin stitch.  To jazz it up....motifs and lettering were foiled to the top.  So very clever!
 Show and tell was a little brief as everyone had been busy during the holidays.  Judy has a fabulously huge design wall in her studio.  It was fun to see some of her collage work in progress.
 Kate and Denny did a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt project.  Something they both said was selected because they didn't have to do any planning.....instead....just enjoy the process of sewing.
 Denny finished this enormous appliqué quilt.  Due to circumstances in her personal life....she's taken a pause from her otherwise thoughtful one-of-a-kind creations to spend her limited time on simply stitching.


All of us agreed cabin fever was setting in due to the numerous storms our area has experienced this winter.....so after our day together everyone departed cheery and bright.....looking forward to our next FJ meeting which will concentrate on fabric collage.