Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Progress Report

After whining about how I shouldn't post about work in progress, I've decided to do it anyway. Maybe because I'm pretty happy about the way these pieces are going, I feel OK about discussing these images. Also, I want to use this blog as a journal so I should be comfortable putting up work that's not finished or completely worked out.
This isn't even the most recent stage, but I had the picture, so I thought I'd go ahead and put it up. The more I work on this quilt, the bigger I think I want the final piece to be. In fact I'm thinking of making it full/queen size so that we can actually use it. This, of course, is my constant problem. The conflict between things I want to make for myself/family/friends and the fact that I know I have to focus on making pieces for shows, etc.
Here's where it's at today. The background fabric was originally made by dyeing pima cotton lemon/lime, patterning with wax to create the stripes and then overdyeing in chartreuse. As I worked on the quilt, I realized that I didn't have any more lemon/lime to dye more fabric. I dyed lemon yellow instead and then overdyed it in chartreuse. This background fabric is a little warmer than the previous fabric. To deal with this difference, I ripped a few seams and dispersed the old and new background fabric. That way there''s a balance between the two fabrics.

Monday, January 29, 2007


So I resolved that this year I would document everything I make. That's never been a problem(well, almost never) with my quilts because I've been good about taking slides or digital images of them. The same can not be said about other stuff I've made. A lot of these things are made as gifts, usually finished at the last minute, and photographing them is really an afterthought. Well, it's a new year and I love New Year's resolutions. I also love the idea of being able to look back at the end of this year and feel good about my output. So, here are the things I've made so far this year:
I made these leg warmers for myself. We don't have an abundance of days here in Austin where leg warmers can make a huge difference in how you feel, but these were the first things I've made myself in a long time and I'm happy to have them.OK. Apparently, I've been feeling pretty neglected because the leg warmers didn't quite assuage the feeling that I wanted to make stuff for myself, so I knit these socks as well. I used some Regia self-striping yarn I've had for what seems like forever, but, I'm so enjoying wearing these socks.I made this sham for Sarah. It matches the quilt I made her a couple of years ago. She's been asking me for a matching sham for a quite a while now, so she's pretty happy that I finally finished this. I was hoping it would inspire her to keep her room neater, but so far it doesn't seem to have done the trick.


I keep stuff. I don't think it's an excessive amount of stuff, but others may differ. Anyway, I've got a "collection" of spools. Now, it's not a collection of antique, wooden spools. No, nothing that interesting. Rather, it's just a mass of spools that once were full of thread and now all the thread has been used. To make it even less exciting and adventurous, I didn't collect these spools off the table of America's most innovative and creative fiber artists, they're just left over from my own projects. Pretty underwhelming. But, for some reason, I think the baskets of empty spools are beautiful and I've been wondering for awhile what I wanted to make out of those spools. OK, I don't have that answered yet, but I did decide to play around with arranging them and taking pictures of those arrangements.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This is why I should never talk about work in progress

Why? Because I always change my mind. I woke up this morning, looked at what was on my design wall, and just didn't like it. Mostly it felt like I'd done that before and there wasn't any excitement in the investigation. I also didn't like what was happening in the spaces between the pieced squares. The space was too congested and confusing. I've really been striving to work with words such as clean, fresh, designed running through my head. All I was seeing was cluttered. So, I separated the blocks and laid them on some uncut striped batik. I have two widths of stripes and I wanted to see how crucial it was for the width of the stripes in the blocks to be the same as the width of the background stripes.This is basically the same image, but with a lot more of the wider fabric included. I decided it was important that the width inside the square and in the background to be the same.
Here's the image a little further along and maybe even pieced some. True to form, I need to dye more of the background fabric before I can move along. Even worse, I have to dye white to lemon/lime(don't have that right now, would have to order from Dharma ) or could dye base color of lemon yellow, batik stripes, then over dye chartreuse.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Work in Progress

I've been batiking a lot of striped fabric lately with the idea of making some quilts based on some of the studies did last December. I posted one of those images here as well as the pillows I made with striped fabric. I've started a couple of pieces tonight and thought I'd go ahead and add them to my blog.


I love this image. It's a cropped, close-up of a gourd that I've had for years. Circles are definitely my favorite shapes and these are so graphic as well. Replicating this image in terms of dyeing fabric or in a knitted piece is something I've kept in the back of my mind for awhile. I have a fair number of images like that. I'll tuck them away and they'll eventually make their way back to the fore front. At that point I might reject them or figure out a way to finally use them( though this never happens without a few false starts).

Here's a view of the entirety of the gourd. I love the contrast between the bottom part with the circles and the upper area of triangles. When I took this picture, I noticed for the first time that the gourd is on top of a table runner that I batiked with circles. After taking the close-up of the circles on the gourd, it dawned on me how well this object goes with the table runner.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Look what Abi did!

I taught a class at the Art Pad over winter break about crafting bags, etc. out of recycled and felted sweaters. At the last minute, my daughter, Abi, decided it might be more fun to come to my class then to sit at home with her big sisters. At first, she was only going to come for one day, but she ended up having so much fun, that she decided to visit for the entirety of the four-day workshop.
Anyway, I had precut the fronts and backs of the bag, so the focus was on embellishment. I taught the kids a few basic embroidery stitches, brought out buttons, beads, and felt and they took it from there. Abi's had her trademark image on it, a dog. This dog, however, has scuba gear on and is exploring the underwater world. He even has a fish caught in his goggles.
After decorating their bags, the kids sewed front and back together, added a lining, made eyelet holes for the straps, and proudly modeled their creations. I wish I had pictures of the other bags, but I was so caught up helping them and re-threading needles that I forgot to take any.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Pillow Talk

One of the reasons I love making pillows is that it allows me to work on an idea on a small scale. I can try out something without committing to a quilt. Then, if I like the image, I can expand on it in making a larger piece.
The two top pieces were made with the idea of making strips of itajime or clamp-resisted fabric and then not cutting them up as much as I have in the past. I wanted there to be sections rather than just squares. I was a little bolder in using whole strips in the second pillow than in the first. I also wanted to maintain the sense of grid that the squares made and I wanted the quilting to echo that. I decided to use a quilting thread color that would really sit on top of the image and emphasize the grid.
The second two pieces were actually made after I had already made a couple of study quilts in much the same way. I used my batiked and dyed striped fabric. In the first pillow, I tried to have the stripes"flow" from one square to the next. Here too, I was trying to get a sense of the piece reading as an overall grid. I wanted the lines to connect across the entire image without concern for whether those lines were in the same block. In the fourth image, I liked the idea of stripes creating stripes. I also liked the notion of making the striped blocks look woven.
I definitely have plans to expand all these ideas on a larger scale.