Planning and playing

As I sit here relaxing on the couch, enjoying the soft evening air coming in the open window, I am suddenly hit by a panic moment. Dye day is coming up in a week or so. That means time to clean out the garage and sort all the dye equipment. I have a big project on the design wall. I have workshop projects and experiments that I want to do. I’m doing some PT with my knee and hip, so have appts there. And I’m not about to miss lunch with my kids tomorrow. OMG! How am I going to get it all done? And I want to do it ALL. Now.

I’m not even going to try and find any pictures that show the mess I’m in! I’m just going to say that I will be running around and cleaning and sorting and organizing and designing………I’m planning on being a crazy woman for a few days and may not post that craziness! I’ll get you all caught up when I get caught up.

And did I mention laundry? Yeah, that, too! Aaaargh–that grass keeps right on growing, whether I want to mow or not!

I’m looking forward to some of these kind of days….

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QN workshop

First of all, I will tell you that the quilts on display at Quilt National are a wonderful feast for the eyes. Totally and thoroughly enjoyed them. No photos allowed so I guess you’ll have to buy the catalog or wait for the artists to publish their work.

And then I took a workshop from Margarita Korioth. She has been talking about her INC (Infused Newsprint Cloth) for a little while on her blog and I was totally intrigued with it. So much so that I coughed up real money to learn from her. (In case you don’t know, I’m pretty cheap when it comes to that kind of stuff!)

You never know what you are going to get in a workshop, but I had high hopes…and I was not disappointed. I learned the technique, which is proprietary and I will not share it. But I learned soooooo much more!

Newsprint is infused into the fabric and then it is ready to be used as any other fabric. Wash, dry, stitch, with images from newspapers. I am still amazed.

We learned how to make screens that are perfect for the products used, inexpensive and easy to make. We had 3 in our packets and made 2 more.

Doesn’t look like much, yet for 2 days work, right? Well………..we worked…and worked…and worked!

You know how impressed I am by watching paint dry? I am even more impressed by waiting for newsprint to dry! But whenever we had to wait for one part of the process, we could learn another part. My legs are so tired, all I want to do is actually sit down and put my feet up–for about 3 days!

Wet part, dry part, newspaper and paint. Here are some pics of some of the things we did.

My final little pile, spread out over the table.

I am going to have so much fun finishing these——yes, I know–unheard of to finish something started in a workshop!!! But this is gonna happen and there will be lots more. Sandy shared some extra Chinese language newspapers with us and I can’t wait to infuse those. So much more graphically interesting than the regular English words we know.

And here’s a shout out to the Dairy Barn staff. I asked if we could still walk through the gallery before we went home, but it had been closed and alarmed already. However, since there is still a workshop going on, they said they could allow me in tomorrow. Way beyond expectations! Thanks to all involved in making my adventure so positive.

Bits at a time

Between spring flowers, grass mowing and lots of rain, I’ve had bits of time to work on my big project.

I am stamping leaves on each of my turquoise scrap blocks as the first prep step. They are pinned to the design wall and I take each one down, put the paint on it and return it to the wall to dry. This system is working very well for me.

I am using real leaves that I collect and preserve either with watered glue or glycerin. I roll the paint onto the leaves and then stamp them onto the fabric. There are sure to be other methods that people use, but this is good for me.

My work area is plenty large enough and I could have done all of the leaves at once, but my timeline didn’t lend itself to that. So I did a few each day for 3 or 4 days and today I finished them up.

And now I can wait for the paint to dry again, get the table cleared off and get ready to start the assembly portion of this project…which is actually another reason why I have not rushed to finish the leaves!

This project is huge right now and I think I want to keep it that way. It will in no way be a functional quilt. In my mind, it is totally a piece of art, made to hang on a wall. But it’s going to have to be a big wall. It will be difficult to put together and manuever around the sewing machine, as well as doing the hand stitching with which I plan to begin. I’m wondering if I would be able to work it in smaller sections and then assemble the sections or if that will disturb the narrative in my mind…………..do I really need to make it harder on myself? I think I do. Sigh. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Sigh, again!

Paint is drying, I am pondering and the rain has stopped for a while! Sounds like it’s time to catch up on grass mowing and mulching while I procrastinate on that decision for just a bit longer!

Watching paint dry

I know, I know…watching paint dry is so exciting you can hardly stand it! But I’m excited about it because today I started painting leaves on blocks. My turquoise scraps project is REALLY, finally, actually started now.

I am using the super opaque screen printing ink and I’m so glad that I ordered it. The consistency is perfect and the prints are exactly what I had in mind.

The first print was deliberately done with a pale section on the background and the white is definitely there. I don’t want it totally opaque, but I feel that I could get it there with more paint on the leaf.

It shows up well on all the prints so far and pull-a-block-paint-a-block-pin-a-block on the design wall is working out perfectly. It will be so easy this way to distribute the variety of shapes of leaves. Designing with immediate visual feedback, and pinning them right back up on the wall while they dry is really making the whole process a breeze.

I didn’t get them all done today. I’m doing a few at a time. My ‘mass production’ of painting is very slow, but with experience it may go faster. On the other hand, I’m enjoying each block this way.

I printed a leaf on some scraps to decide what color thread I’m going to quilt these with. My initial thought was keep it white on white.

Ummm….nope! That is definitely a big nothing!

Of course, I wanted to see how turquoise would do, in keeping with the turquoise scraps!

Probably adequate, but it really won’t show up that much.

My real love, black, is clearly the way to go!

No doubt about it.

Slow printing and watching the paint dry will be my excitement this week. Lots of outside activity going on so the little bit at a time approach will fit my schedule. I also have to gather materials for a class I’m taking this weekend. I’m going to Quilt National for the first time. I’m sooo looking forward to seeing it in person instead of only in pictures.

Right this very minute, though, all I can think about is how cold it is for this time of year. I need a sweater and a fire…what I WANT is to have all the windows open and feel a warm breeze! Sheesh!

Yes, it’s spring.

For me, spring is simply planting time. I’ve always lived in rural areas, with farms and fields surrounding the small towns I love. The rhythm of my life follows the rhythm of the seasons…planting time, growing season, harvest time, resting time.

Even if the planting is a few plants in a pot,

or a little row of annuals, or a single tomato plant.

That rhythm certainly is carrying into my art practice as well as my normal activities right now. This week has been absolutely glorious for all the flowering trees. They couldn’t get one more bud on the branches. More full and beautiful than I can remember ever seeing them.

I couldn’t get the pictures out of my brain. I also wanted to have some handwork ready to go, but nothing jumped off the fabric shelves to inspire me.

Until I picked up this remnant of hand dyed wool.

And put it back. And picked it up again.

I really did not have those beautiful trees in mind when I started stitching. I simply wanted to sew. And use some of my pretty hand-dyed thread. And sew…

Suddenly it seemed as though I was making a tree trunk and some flowers. The lovely trees came to the forefront of my mind and that picture will remain as I stitch on this fabric.

This strip of fabric is long and probably will be cut into smaller segments as I go along. Certainly isn’t blue skies and sunshine, but I’m not very traditional! For the moment, it’s flowering trees. It may grow in unexpected ways, as many of my projects do.

I’m simply so happy to be stitching.

Hand work

I have not been doing much hand work lately. Probably because I haven’t been sitting around the living room much lately! I’ve forgotten how easy it is to have some pieces sitting on the table ready to pick up and stitch on.

This one is slightly larger than my usual, but it needs the extra borders for color.

Ready to go……………

End of the day, or beginning of the day, hand work is so relaxing.

It’s kinda cool!

I finished putting the dyed and discharged fabric piece together. When I started, I wasn’t sure if there would be enough contrast. By leaving a lot of my scraps in large pieces, AND not using as much of the black as I intended in the middle, I got a piece that looks pretty good! At least I’m happy with it.

Probably going to quilt it with black, but I have a brand new spool of a magenta thread that has been calling my name. With all the colors in this, maybe that will be fun to play with.  And to give you some perspective on size, it ended up about 52 x 62–just a bit smaller than my original guess.

Now on to my larger project–the turquoise, painted leaves, maybe weird project!

Experiment and play, that’s my motto!!!!