Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Gradation and Odds and Ends

Mornings around here are quiet and soft. I'm an early riser and I like to hit the ground running... It's the perfect time to get a lot of work done before the heat really cranks up and while my energy is at its highest. But yesterday morning I woke up feeling restless and unfocused. I couldn't settle in and decide what I wanted to do. I wandered from space to space- the studio, the sewing desk, the garage- and nothing leaped out at me. I was on a slow build to a cranky day.

And then I noticed the terrible, mangled living room curtains. For various reasons (I have cats- 'nuff said), these sad, limp little sheers, which I had loved when they were new, have seen their last fabulous day and have been in a slow decline for a while. Looking at them made me crankier... until I flashed on that three-yard expanse of white cotton in my stash, begging to be turned into curtains.

Suddenly, my energy spiked and I forgot about how grouchy I was all set to be.

So, another gradation, this one intended to match the decor of my living room. Now, understand- my walls in that room are yellow . That's right, yellow. Stop laughing, they look great! The accents in the room are in rich browns and reds. So it made sense for me to do a scarlet ~> lemon yellow fade.

The colors turned out even more vibrant and beautiful than in the last batch, but this run had some difficulties. The two darkest pieces somehow wound up with small spots of a dark dye on them- I suspect the green dye from earlier in the week. I'm not sure how that happened because I had totally cleaned out the dye area before starting this new batch (even the tarp had been laundered). Nonetheless, there they are, little irksome spots. I hope I figure out where they came from before it happens to another batch. It doesn't matter in practical terms for this batch- it's just curtains for the living room and those spots will be easy to conceal- but it would be good to understand what happened, for future reference.

When I get the curtains stitched and hung, I'll snap some shots and post them. It's going to be all ragged edges for these babies... no tidy seams, no cut edges. I'm going to "collage" curtains. Sounds like fun, yeah?

That's the good news. The bad news is that we're now officially in a drought situation. We haven't seen rain in months and our city has clamped down heavily on water violators. Even if they hadn't, my own conscience would not allow me to continue using as much water as I have been in these last couple of weeks. So no more immersion dyeing for me for a while- at least not until this drought breaks.

In the coming weeks I'll use all these wonderful fabrics to print and screen onto, for experimenting with discharge pastes and soy wax batik, and of course, to make art quilts.

Odds And Ends

- The International Quilt Festival/Houston catalog arrived yesterday. It will take me the whole weekend just to read through it all and decide which class(es) I want to take. There's a three-day class on dyeing and constructing art quilts with silk (a fabric that I must admit intimidates me somewhat) which has me drooling into my bra, so that could be the winner.

- The hummers have returned. It's a little early for them so this could just be a lone rogue but I put one of the feeders out, anyway, and will keep it maintained until they migrate back across this area in the late summer/early fall. Wish me luck snapping photos- they're quick little guys who fly like they're on rails. The odds are in my favor, though... by September we'll be knee-deep in hummingbirds.

- I started a new quilt with some of my hand-dyed fabrics. It's not large, maybe 22" x 26".

This is a down and dirty photo of it in its planning stages. I take these photos once I'm satisfied with a layout, so I can disassemble the piece and then reassemble it properly with fusing, stitch, spray mount, or usually a combination of all three. The photo quality doesn't matter at this point- it's just a visual map.

This piece consists of a hand-dyed background in green, fused to Timtex for stability. It incorporates more hand-dyed fabrics as well as a dyed paper towel. This is a detail of some of the stitching:

(P.S. I hate knotting threads at the back of the quilt. Yeah, I do it anyway, but you can't make me like it).

- I've written an article about revitalizing your creative muse and have submitted it, along with a few photos, to the magazine Cloth, Paper, Scissors in the hopes that they will want to publish it. If not, I'll post it here, instead. Wish me luck!

- I've also decided to enter into The Eye of the Quilter: Inspiration contest, sponsored by Quilts, Inc., the amazing folks behind the International Quilt Festivals. This is a photographic contest- you submit three of your best photos (they don't have to be quilt-related), the ones that you feel inspire you the most. I've only just begun taking photos but what the heck? I'll never know what it's like to try these things if I just sit and watch them pass me by!

Have an awesome week and happy creating!
- Judi
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