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Cold again…

It was cold again today. Too cold for me to want to do much of anything outside.

Which is just as well, because I had a lot to do inside.

All I wanted to do was sit and stitch, but that didn’t happen for quite a while.

Dyed items turned out ok. I like violet.

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I stuck those bits and pieces in after dyeing my Coldwater Creek jacket. The jacket dyeing was mostly a success. It’s certainly not orange any more.

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Here are both versions so you can compare.

When you look up close you can see how they dye is mottled and did not spread evenly. I think I’m ok with that. I like mottled things. If it bothers me, I’ll try dyeing it again.

A new Prairie Girl emerged yesterday.

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I quite like her.

A lot more stitching has been done on this one, but I will save that for next week.

The first dandelion made an appearance today.

And the duck’s tails are starting to feather out.

Lots of emerging…

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures in blue…

I am trying to make friends with blue. It’s not my favorite color.

One thing I have noticed from Jude’s work which has made me appreciate blue, is it has a tendency to make other colors that are not blue better.

I had wanted to continue with my stitching projects and had been gaining momentum, but then this happened…

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Of the two sizes of hands available, mine was the only one that would fit between the toilet and the wall for a fixit issue. An hour and much wrenching using vice grips on a slippery, decomposing poorly designed nylon nut later and my thumb was badly damaged. I felt like crying the whole time, but the toilet was half apart and it had to be done. At least the toilet works now and no longer moans.

Since I couldn’t stitch, I decided to dye. Even with one hand it was pretty successful.

I have not ventured into indigo dyeing and I’m not sure I ever will. But I have rit dye and have had a lot of fun playing with it this year. For these dye efforts I used Royal Blue.

I really like the reds, the ones that look like sunsets in smog, the blue on pink silks. It was a fun adventure.

I also learned that, like indigo vats, rit dye baths will poop out after a while. The last of my efforts did not turn out so well, but I still got plenty to play with.

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All day to do nothing…

I saw this online just now. It summed up the past couple of days, especially yesterday, perfectly.

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I feel like a char woman a lot. A bad one. I’m not dedicated enough to keep everything spic and span. I basically do the bare minimum. I cook from scratch a lot so it can create a big mess, then we eat, more dishes to do, etc… Even when I do try to keep the house up, the next day it’s like I did nothing. The washer has been down for over a month I think. Last week was about doing laundry at the laundrymat. It’s great to have it done and feel caught up again.

Anyway, I didn’t stitch at all yesterday. The day was filled with computer work…biz work and then trying to find a suitable place to stay for my workshop in Denver in two weeks. Happily, all that is resolved after weeks and weeks of emails getting lost in the shuffle. Besides us, I know of two other people having major computer malfunctions. I nearly missed out on the workshop because of it, sort of. I mean, I know I’m supposed to be there. It’s in the stars…not really, it’s my intent to attend. Therefore, it will happen.

Yesterday was also about trying to get seed organized. This year’s tomatoes, okra, Japanese sweet pea…were all grown from seed I saved in 2014 and previous years. I didn’t garden last year, won’t go into why except it was a hellish year. Some of the tomato seed, amazingly, was from 2007.

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So, a lot of times I think I really need to post here, but I’ve nothing to say, nothing to share, especially when I haven’t been creatingmaking… Then I remember all the photos I’ve taken, and that gives me a platform for discussion.

I’ve had some more dye experiments with walnut going on. Some really amazing things happened.

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Look at that.

The photos don’t do it justice. I need to shoot in better light, get a better camera, but there it is. That’s walnut dye on silk. That’s my clothespinori (my personal spin on shibori.) The happy accident, where I got the COLOR that is like little windows…that happened when dye caught up in the wooden clothespins leached onto the silk, giving these amazing colored impressions surrounded by walnut. These look like houses, castles…magical.

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A lot of things happened with this piece of silk. I actually dyed four of these pieces, they were so wonderful.

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This is what the silk print used to look like, that purple and white striped one at the top.

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This cloth was simply twisted and tied, much like you would a hank of yarn. The purple bled all over the place. Amazing.

Here is a collage I’m working on which includes some of the orange silk pieces which were clothespinoried.

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The feature fabric in the middle, the one with the Lovers, has obviously been walnut died. All these pieces have. I didn’t like the results of the feature fabric to begin with. In fact, there were a handful of pieces like this I wasn’t all that impressed with. It was the silks and the laces that took my breath away. The other fabrics seemed dulled, not all that impressive.

But, a few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep, so I got out this latest batch of dyed fabrics and just started looking at them. Suddenly, I could SEE. The walnut had completely framed the Lovers, antiqued them. This grew into a collage, a scene, which I am continuing to work with in the sewing room. I will post more photos another time, as it has progressed since then.

I kept wanting to really see things, in my search for finding my own niche in the textile artist world. Like I said, many of my latest efforts did not seem all that impressive. But then I SAW this piece. Ghost trees.

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Ghost trees, like the swamp I visited in Louisianna.

I hope I can do these fabrics justice.

 

 

 

 

Work in progress…

I have been busy upstairs in my craft room and am anxious to get back there, but I wanted to at least post something.

I have several cloths in progress. One is an earthy combination of things I’ve learned from others, trying to learn new things, trying to work looser. So far I’m really loving it. Another is the sun cloth I’ve shown bits of before. I’m making progress on it, adding new things and changing others, coming up with new ideas. I’ll soon be finished with it, I think.

A third cloth piece I began last night. I found I was so stifled, trying to switch gears and create in a different way. I didn’t want to go back to crazy quilting, but I told myself enough with the hemming and hawing, just put something together with what you know and try a few new things with it. With this approach, the piece flowed together and I made a lot of progress on it last night. I don’t have pictures as yet, but will try to snap some.

Instead of producing items, potential things to pass on to others, I have been in a process of hunting and gathering. I have made several trips to the local thrift store where I have gathered numerous and wonderful new fabrics. Some are tablecloths in 100% cotton woven fabrics, napkins, etc… while I have gleaned some wonderful wonderful silks in the form of blouses.

We don’t have a fabric store here. The nearest one would take me nearly an hour to get to. Besides, I really like the idea of repurposing old clothing, old things. A bonus this week has been the shop is selling everything half off, so most things were a steal. Wonderful.

As a side note, I noticed at Walmart the other day they’ve completely done away with their fabric offerings. Instead of buying off the bolt and actually having someone cut for you, they’ve decided what people use and what they need and conveniently prepackaged squares of cloth which you can purchase at an exorbitant price. I’m sure a computer program told them this was a good idea. This is great news for fabric stores. About a 10 years ago Walmart had $1 a yard bins of fabric which were great fun to go through. Many were prints from India, or other discards from somewhere. I found a lot of fabric there. Oh, well. I rarely shop there anymore these days. It’s been a great relief.

I’ve wanted to post these for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it until now. Moons. These were my first attempts at creating moons inspired by Jude Hill. At first they seemed ill-formed to me, but I quickly grew to love the mysterious, veiled look of them.

I have done more since, but haven’t gotten around to photographing them yet. Here’s one more look.

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Something new (to me)…

I have written a thousand posts since my last. It feels like that. I’ve had so many words in my head, but was not able to write them down. So now, I’m here.

The past week is a blur of little sleep, one day of a lot of sleep (13 hours), back to little sleep…I’m not sure why this is. So hard for me to sleep lately, even when I try. I’m getting frustrated because then, during the day, I can’t focus on what I want to do. Everything is dull and fuzzy.

We were warned of a huge impending storm yesterday. Gloom and doom. I spent 3 hours taking down summer things, plants, tarps, umbrella, etc…and putting them in safe places, the garage, the shed. H had to cancel a big outdoor party at work. Baseball size hail, they said. 75 mph winds, they said.

We got a brief rain shower.

Meteorologists are full of sh*t.

Some people DID get hail and winds, but that was much farther south. I’m not disappointed we didn’t get slammed. I’m just tired of weather hype.

This is a big reason why tornado season is a spectator sport here. No one believes the weatherman until they see funnel clouds on the horizon for themselves. And, who wants to be cooped up in the cellar when you could be out there watching the action?

Anyway, this isn’t at all what I had imagined talking about. We had a computer death, so lots of things are LOST. Don’t know if I’ll get them back. The new computer is SLOW. I think this is the third computer crash this year, way too many, so I’m feeling frustrated over this, too. Having to start over.

I avoided computer work for several days and decided to try my hand at something new (to me.) Dyeing.

I’ve always avoided dyeing if I could. I’ve dabbled, but only just. This time I jumped in with both feet. Most things turned out pretty well, especially since they were mainly experimental. But then there were THESE.

Is this shibori? I don’t know. I’m going to call it Clothespinori. Wooden clothespins made this happen. I feel like I’ve finally found something I can DO. At least in the dyeing arena. And I know this is probably old hat to many people, but it’s NEW to me. And I love seeing the patterns that emerge when I unfold the cloth. I never know what it’s going to look like.

So far I’ve dyed about 25 good size pieces, all done on plain broadcloth and a bit of quilting fabric. I’ve had these fabrics for years, just sitting in a box. I’m really happy to be giving them new life. And they are so much more beautiful in person. The camera does not do the colors and patterns justice.

Before I sat down to write I was thinking more about this process of creating. I have many needle art skills under my belt: embroidery, needle tatting, sewing, beadwork, crazy quilting, crochet…I have a lot of experience. And now I’m learning more about quilting and dyeing. And I’m trying to get better at drawing. How do I tie it all together and come up with something that is uniquely mine? This is so hard for me. In the past, creating has largely been about looking at something outside and bringing it in. But, what is on the inside?

I have some memories I want to share on this topic of art and creating, but not now. Sometime later.

What I was thinking was this…creating is about finding the Beauty within. Then expressing it outwardly.

Maybe right now the beauty I’m finding within is in these simple dyed cloths. Maybe I will learn, over time, to express through thread and cloth what beauty is inside me.

I was having a very rough day when I started dyeing. These pieces began from trial and error. I really know next to nothing about dyeing or what anyone else is doing. It’s on my list of to-learns. But, I looked at those wooden clothespins and thought I bet those would create a great resist. And they did.

I listened to Chris Stapleton a lot while I worked. I like his music and, after a while, the dark blah I was feeling started to lift a bit. I really like this song.

Earlier, when I was out gathering flower seeds so they wouldn’t get blown away I saw HER.

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She looked at me when I said hello.

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She was up there in the tangle of morning glory and Japanese sweet pea vines.

I think this is how I feel a lot, surrounded by a tangle of threads and fabrics, wondering where to begin, how do I find myself in this?

In the meantime, I will continue to dye what works…

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…and work on my inner and outer vision…

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