My friend, the bleach

Sometimes I act against all the best advice, as I did yesterday. I used household bleach on fabric, in a normally vented space, without a gas mask on, and no gloves. And I survived.

This was said a bit tongue-in-cheek, because there are safety precautions that are necessary and I try to stay safe with all the products I use. However, in this case, I put bleach and water on previously dyed ugly fabric and it was no more than you’d use for a load of dirty athletic socks! And I did use anti-chlor to remove the last of the chlorine from the fabric before it went back on the shelf .

I didn’t take a before photo of the first little piece I did, but it turned out beautifully–and much more useable.

I took a look at my shelf of hand dyes and decided on a few that I really disliked. What did I have to lose if they did not improve, since I already didn’t care for them?

Different fabrics and dyes will discharge differently and these were no exception. I was so pleased with the improvement on most of them.

Now I’m looking at the shelf again for more candidates!

There was really only one that I hated when it went in the bleach and still hate now!

Both the orange and green are very obnoxious, so it will get thrown in with something else next time I’m dyeing.

I always have so much fun when I’m coloring–or UN-coloring–fabric!


Finish and start

The orange circle quilt is finished!

Except for one little detail…I waited until I washed the quilt to make the decision. I did not know if the magenta stripe needed any quilting.

There is certainly no technical reason to add more quilting, but I think I want a tiny bit of additional detail. I have some matching thread (of course!!!) and I think a little ferny looking stitch down the center will make me happy.

And while this was washing and drying, I decided to start the seascape with the fabrics I showed you last time.

I got this far, spray basted it to the batting and came to a dead stop. I think it will make a nice little picture, but I think the colors are still wrong for my potential client. It just doesn’t feel right for her. It’s going to get set aside and I’ll try again tomorrow with some other fabric. If I can’t get it on the third try…well, let’s just hope for the best!

Thoughts from a sleepless night…

Whenever I have a hard time going to sleep, I try to think and plan about unfinished projects or ideas for things I’d like to create. Sometimes I’ll wake up during the night and do the same thing, rather than turn on a light and read myself back to sleep. It often leads to solutions for design problems.

Last night was very wakeful and lots of thinking went on.

I figured out two different ways to continue working on this piece that has been put away for quite a while.

And I’m pretty sure I know what to do with some lovely silk charmeuse with which I was gifted.

These great text prints are going to work well with some gelli print experiments.

There are a couple of quilts that I should take off the unfinished pile and get busy quilting. Especially this one.

There are several new ideas for using these dark circles, too.

And did I write ANY of these ideas down? Wake up enough to make sketches? Absolutely not! My sleepless ideas sometimes stick with me and sometimes they don’t. They are mostly a way to help me fall back to sleep and surprisingly, many of them do stay with me. I’m hoping this blog post will help me out with that, too, if only as a memory note for the future!

Sleepless nights are not always worthless nights……..



And now…

Back to our regularly scheduled program! I feel as though I have taken a commercial break while I finished up this banner for Salt Valley Arts.

It’s finally done and ready for hanging and now I can get back to my own stuff!

Yesterday I got to play with gelli plate printing with my Knot Even Quilters group. Mixed results, since it’s really the first time I’ve played with it. I didn’t take any photos while we were working…we were very quiet as we concentrated on what we were trying to do.

I’ve been exploring gelli plate videos, of course, and I was taken with one that suggested printing on interfacing. The idea of using that to add another layer of texture or design to a piece really appealed to me, so I did a few prints on interfacing.

This was my favorite and I’m guessing it will be the first one used!

Using the same stencils/paints/marks on both fabric and interfacing was fun, too.

Most videos start you out with printing on white fabric or white paper and I decided NOT to do that. I wanted to use fabric that I didn’t care for too much. The existing colors theoretically would add depth to whatever paint went over them. Some success and lots of food for thought with some others.

I used paper to clean off my brayer. I hate to waste paint and couldn’t see rolling paint off on a paper towel and tossing it. Even “waste” papers like these can be used in future projects.

One thing I found out for sure is that I really love this process. Can’t wait to get back to it and do more. However, I am determined to use the fabric prints I make and not simply stack them on a shelf!!! There is so much experimentation yet to be done–exciting days ahead for me!


Beachtime, wondering…

When I left the studio yesterday, I was all set to move on to the next step with this Beachtime project.

I added some contrasting pieces on the bottom/sand and another strip into the dark/water.

The stitching began, and I was planning on doing a LOT of hand stitching. What I had forgotten is how impossible it is to get a needle through 2 layers of tightly woven fabric WITH fusible! Immediate change of plans! Machine stitching only on this baby, but that also opened things up to a bit of metallic thread.

I put up a picture on IG and my daughter weighed in on my design, which I absolutely love. I value her opinion and she helped me tweak things.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock….that’s time passing while I did a bunch of straight line quilting and a few rows of curvy metallics.

And after this part was done, I wondered if I wanted to put the hand stitched piece back into the picture.

What do you think?

Since this is so close to final decisions and finishing, I also started to look for fabrics for the next project. I am determined to do something with the hand dyed circle fabric and I think I may do an almost repeat of another piece I did…whole cloth with the hand dye on a plain quilted background.

I MAY cut the fabric into a large circle, or one large and two smaller circles. But I know it will not have straight line quilting. I’ve done enough of that lately to last me for years!

However, I also discovered another piece of fabric that I had totally forgotten about. It’s certainly not my usual colorway, so it should be fun to find a way to work with this one, too!

You know, I can tell you exactly what tools I used to make this with, but I have no memory of this actual piece of fabric happening! Strange…………..but I like it and I think there will be more of this type of fabric making to come. It’s done with soy wax and dye and for me, that is a warm-weather-out-in-the-garage activity!

I think I need to go through my stacks of hand dyes more often. I’m finding all kinds of things that I like now and maybe didn’t when I first made them, or, like today, pieces that I have totally forgotten about!


Thinking about the beach

My recent exhibition has generated a possible commission, but even if that never finalizes, my creative energy is on a new track. The thought process went from summer chairs

to feeling beachy. I auditioned a ton of fabric and decided today to work with these.

I thought my fabrics were a touch too busy and substituted a soft hand dye for the fabric in the upper left corner.

Spent the day playing, arranging, re-arranging, cutting and stitching and totally enjoying myself! This is what I ended up with at the end of the afternoon. Seeing the photo, I may want to change the bottom a bit, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with my progress.

And as I was heading out of the room, my eyes fell on a stitch meditation piece that was sitting on the table………………..hmmm…………I think this might be a good addition.

Laid it on the piece…not great…moved it up a bit…

still not great…moved it up more and I think it’s getting there!

A good place to walk away and think for a while…with a big smile from a happy day!

Just a taste–

Since I got some new paint and a couple of new stencils, I HAD to try them out and see how everything looked. I cleared tabletops and laid out table covers and the paints and stencils……………and could not find my paint rollers! I think they are out in the garage, but it was cold out there so I wimped out and just used what I had.  Another day will get more action!

I painted over some previously dyed/painted fabric and I think the tree is going to be very popular in my future work!

And the circles printed clear and crisp and the paint colors are ones that I love!

So I got that out of my system, even though I didn’t use the green, black or white. I still have two projects with deadlines (self-imposed!) before I can spend tons of time painting and playing. And a couple of classes to teach and a couple to take…………

I guess it might be a couple of weeks before I get back to the paint, but that’s all right. Sewing on my other projects will not be a punishment!