New Look

January 31, 2010

Now What Do I Do?

My friend Diane came by this weekend.  We played with the dye pots and did a little felting.  We had a delightful time.  I ground up some cochineal and we let it soak all night and came up a bright fushia dye pot.  And we also renewed the idigo vat.
  A Little of this was done:
(Can you tell we've not used these shiny implements in the dye pot before? They were well initiated by the time we were done.)  Then into the pots they went.
I just love this piece by Diane....but

when you look closer:

This little monkey is revealed.  
Then I got this windowpane that had too much white so I overdyed it.
And I got this:

Which I really like....but I have no idea what to do with it.  I think I'm addicted to dyeing.  
However, I did do a little felting.  I actually got two more squares done. 
First, the nodding onion.

I really like the way this turned out.

Then, because Diane egged me on....I did another.  The elusive Calypso.
So, after Diane left I measured the king side bed and counted up the squares.....I think I have enough. 
So, now what do I do?  
True confession...I've not done a quilt before.  I really don't have much of an idea of what I do next.  So from here on, I'll be winging it.  LOL.
So while I sit back and contemplate what the next move will be...or how to join all these pieces together...check out my friend, Jane's blog.  She makes lovely felt.

January 24, 2010

Onions and Lupines

I've been saving onion skins for almost a year.  They've been piling up in a little box drying...waiting for me to do something.  So today I decided they needed to ... cooked, so to speak.  But then I realized that a years worth of onion skins was actually quite a bit.  So first I decided to wrap a bundle.  I've read about the disco challenge and last year thought about doing it for sooooo long that I never did it.  Well, it came around again, on January 1, and here I am thinking about it.  But...ta da...I jumped into action and wrapped a bundle and hung it in a tree.
This is a cotton hankerchief with several leaves then a piece of white felt then some lace.  There is a mixture of acorns, leaves, onion skins and a few other goodies in the layers.
This is part of the Erosion Project. You can click on the link and find out all about it as well as read and link to other people making bundles.

Then I took an other piece of silk laid it out flat and sprinkled onions all over it. 

I really loved the color of the red onions scattered between the yellow skins.  I sprayed this with vinegar then covered it with the other half of the silk and sprayed some more.

Then I rolled it up.

Then I rolled it some more and wrapped it with rubber bands......

and finally I stuck it in a jar.

It now gets to wait for a month!  This whole thing is lesson in patience.  The Erosion Project doesn't get opened until April.  The jar gets opened in February...the end of February.
The next project for the day was the left over onion skins.
I put them in the crock pot and added water and citric acid.  I let them simmer a bit then added some silk.  This I left on high in the crockpot for about 2 hours.  The studio smelled like French Onion soup....yumm.  But before I went to fix dinner, I also added some Acid Fast dyes to another crockpot and stuffed in some silk and citric acid.  Every time the dye bath exhausted I added a different color and some more citric acid.  This is for the strips between the quilt squares.

This is lighter than what the color really is.  There are lots of bronze and blue tones in this.  I'm happy with this although I would have liked it to be a bit darker and the leaves could be light.  So I may have to overdye this later.
My last project of the day was another quilt square.  This is the lupine square that I drew last week.

I'm pretty happy with the color in this...the green wool coming through the various purples is yummy.
Enough...the onion soup is cooling and I'll have a picture of the silk from the dye pot for the next post.

January 21, 2010

Blanket Flower

During the Felt-A-Thon I did do some felting.  Two pieces were finished to be exact.  One was a flower....gasp!...for the quilt.  The pieces included some brown that I had dyed last year and had not used in anything yet.  They were very disappointing.  The silk faded to a dull grey and was lost in the movement of my small piece and really doesn't sing with the blanket flower.

The color here is not as true as it could be...but it is obvious that the center of the bloom is not a medium brown surrounded by a lighter one.

Not sure what I should do with this.  The texture in this one shows the light and dark areas that were planned.  But the color is washed out and not a reflection of the Blanket Flower.

Again it looks a bit green but is actually grey.
The second piece was influenced by my friend Diane.  I tried her technique of snip and and drop silk bits to draw an abstract landscape.
This lost the tree and shrub trunks as the brown washed out during the felting.  Not sure if I will try to color this with a dye paint or thread to bring it back.
One last thing....but certainly not least.... my friend Diane did go home and start a blog.  It is delightful and I recommend you pop over and look at her chickens and felt.

January 18, 2010

It's Blue!

The Felt-A-Thon really was a Blue Day.  Not that any of us were!  We laughed and ate and drank and talked and felted and dyed.  Unfortunately, I took all too few pictures...*but* both my partners in felting have taken pictures....and pledged to make blogs.  More Felting Blogs for ether world.
But back to the Felt A Thon.  Diane and Jane arrived on Friday and we made up the indigo vat after dinner....before we had toooo much wine.

It turned bluegreen right away and was easy to set up.  The first couple of dips were green when they came out a lovely teal.  Then they darkened slowly as we hung them up and let them rest. I got the "kit" from Griffin Dye Works.  Bjo was very helpful by e-mail and it was as simple as she said it would be.

There is a seedling warming tray and heater under our vat to keep the temp at 92degrees F for good silk (and a little wool and a bit of cotton) dye uptake.

The 'hang out' where the pieces 'rested' before the rinse then back to the vat for another dip.  And so it went....dip, rest, rinse then dip again.  The silk, cotton and wool were sewn, clamped, twisted, knotted and rolled to do a gradation.

Jane did a lovely piece that she unrolled off this tube by sections.  The resulting chiffon went from white to a moderate blue .... she says it too lovely for anything but a garment. 

Diane unraveled several pieces that she had folded and sewn to reveal wonderful patterns.  But she wanted green.  So many of her pieces were overdyed with a mix of Acid Fast yellow for these lovelies:

Jane left early because of expected snow in her more Northern climes.  Belately I realized I had no pictures of her placemats she felted.  Suffice it to say....they were lovely.
Diane decided to do something different (hehe) and she felted a landscape.  Just right out of her head.  No picture, no sketch, just a bit of roving laid down then snips and bits of mostly recycled and hand dyed scraps from a bag. 

And me?  Well, of course I did a bit here and there.  I spent most of my Friday evening sewing one piece.  But I think it was worth it.

The color is much brighter than this...and although the folds flattened from the rinse and wash at the end.....I still love the pattern.  It is a long strip with 5 and 1/2 of these Blue Moons (it is the year of the Blue Moon, ya know).  And I did a bit of felting.
But that will wait until the next post.  

January 10, 2010

The Quilt Again

I haven't forgotten that this blog is mostly about felting.  I have obviously have been side tracked with dyeing.  And I will continue to be side tracked.  I plan on doing an indigo vat next weekend.  I will post the process and the results.  I'm very excited as I have two friends coming to visit for a Felt-A-Thon, as we call it.  Two days of felting fun.
To prepare for this I have done a few buy a bucket to start my vat in.  But you don't need a picture of a bucket.  What I also have done is make the last four cartoons for the quilt.  Because I think these will be the last quilt squares.  Next I will start the leaf borders.  But first the cartoons:

This is coreopsis tinctora.  It is used for dyeing and that makes it a little more special to me.  Besides I have seen these in California and they were lovely.   Next:

This is my attempt at Lupine.  I'm not especially pleased with this.  But I'll see how this comes out.  Sometimes felting makes things improve.  Next up Wild Onion.

These beauties are a lovely shade of pink that I may have in stock....that is I have some lovely pink silk that is the perfect color.  Finally:

The elusive Calypso.  I searched for about 3 years before I actually found these in the Redwoods on the coast of California.  Even then they were mostly finished and I returned the next year to see them and paint them.  They are truly fairy-like and usually found in singles.
I have two other pieces to show.  I found a large colony of California Pitcher Plants in one of the Sierra Nevada's small valleys.  It was hidden away down a dirt road and I camped there for weeks at a time over a three year period.  I must have taken hundreds of pictures.  Here is my simple felt interpretation:

The leaves were just as .. more interesting than the flower.  It was always magical to visit the area and see the leaves ...they looked like little space creatures with mustachios and I always expected them to talk to me in a language I couldn't understand.
And last (but certainly not least)....a pressie as they say Down Under.

A wonderful piece by my friend Doreen, from Austtralia.  I have looked at this since yesterday (when it was received) a multitude of times and cannot for the life of me figure out how this is made  =-)
Perhaps with some time of adhesive...and there is lovely hand embroidery on it in Jewel colors.
Thank you Doreen....I hope you enjoy your little piece I sent to you as much.
Next of the Felt-A-Thon and our Indigo Vat.

January 3, 2010

New Year Snow

It's still snowing....and I still think it's beautiful...and the walks are lovely.

The major storm left near to two feet....but the rain washed most of it away.  Then it froze and then it snowed some more.  My studio assistants love the snow.  Old Man of the Mountain...Mr Andy.

The pup, Beez, goes crashing into snow banks and bites the snow

But they both have to come over and put their noses in whatever I'm looking at.  I usually look for tracks....but dog tracks seem to be everywhere and it's not often I get to see unspoiled prints .

These are probably the fox that lives outside our fence.  He (or she) walked around the garage and checked out all the little hiding places .... probably looking for mice or shrews.

I love seeing the perfect little toe prints in the snow.
It's wonderful to listen to the silence in the woods.  It rustles quietly like someone turning over in fresh sheets. And the little prints are the only clues that someone is very busy.

Laurel berries dry of most color, yet against the snow they shine.  Perhaps I should try them for dyeing.  Not now, of course, they are much too dry...but they do look rather pretty.
There is not to much to show, as far as felting.  I'm making something I can't's a present. 

These are the fibers wetted out. There is a layer of green/blue silk, a layer of several colors of blue wool then thin wisps of silk roving in white, yellows, greens, and blues.  I dyed the silks but with Acid Fast dye not natural dyes.  I didn't have any blues in natural dyes....but I'm thinking I need to do an indigo vat.
I should be back to the quilt next weekend.  I still have 2 or 3 cartoons that are ready. 
More felt to come soon.