Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The birds, in the end

So, these birds, you can see them in the early stages here. And after weeks of dyeing:

batik birds!

As with any picture taken in my basement (sorry, but it's raining today!) the color is not right. That top left one is red. The one next to it, imagine as a warm chocolate brown, rather than icky bluish grey.  And so on.

Although the wax is mostly out, there is still enough to make them stiff. Especially the four or five where the background was also waxed.  I expect there will soon be another round of washing out to do.

By and large I'm fairly pleased with them, so I don't know now which ones will go in the quilt and which ones will sit that out.  And I don't plan to start on that project till after Christmas (or at least, after Christmas presents are complete, which may end up being the same thing (though, I hope not!)).

You may have noticed, if you were looking closely at the photo, a strange thing - a phantom bird or two (or three!)

phantom bird

I'm not at all sure where these came from - they are an exclusive feature of those birds with waxed backgrounds - though not every waxed background has it. I think that when I waxed the first one - I did it on a piece of glossy cardboard - something remained on the cardboard or didn't remain? And when I waxed the rest on the same piece of cardboard - this results? I don't know. I also don't know if this is something that is permanent or if when the wax is truly out, it will vanish as well.

Alright, back to work!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Random notes from a busy life

Hey! So... yeah. I feel like I have a ton of stuff on my plate. Also a cat in my lap who is not helping me write this blog post...

I've continued dyeing like a fiend. I've three more dye baths in the plans, then I'm done for the year... I think. The washing out of wax and dye will then commence, and that will be an immense undertaking in itself, which is why I need a dye hiatus; otherwise, I'd just keep holding the to be washed pile for the next dye bath indefinitely. Sadly, this means that most likely none of the shirts I've been working on will likely be ready for the next sale I have - which is the Black Sheep Weavers Guild sale, Friday and Saturday, December 2 &3 in Hartland, MI. However, I still have neat stuff in my inventory ready to go for that sale, so don't let me discourage you from going.

Tomorrow I'm taking a quilting class! My first! I am hoping to learn some secrets, to be initiated into the mystic knowledge of quilting.  I've been doing alright on my own (I think) but I firmly believe in learning things from people who know that they are doing. I'm pretty excited about it, even as my sewing machine is in the shop, and I've had to borrow one from a friend. It's older than I am, and just about as heavy as a thing can be that I can still pick up in one hand, but it's actually fun to sew on, unlike mine which, at 6 years old, has no apparent personality.

And Christmas presents are in progress - and three are finished, but I can't show pictures due to secrecy! However, when the girls' presents are ready, I'll show them off, as I am certain they don't follow my blog.  One is in a million pieces, and the other is in only a few pieces, but one of those is in the dyeing queue.

So, these are my excuses as to why I have nothing to show.

Except I do! I found this at the local thrift store:

swirly fabric
and 2.5 yards of this, as well!

Two and a half yards is like enough for a dress for a grown up! Or matching dresses for the girls! Although,  I'm not going to do that. I have serious quilting aspirations for this print.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nothing but a brief reflection on LYSs I have known

When I lived in Urbana, Illinois, we had the best yarn shop. It was just down the street a few blocks from my house, a little ways from the library, and across the street from both an organic food store and my mechanic, so, I would, of course try to schedule my car maintenance with the yarn shop's hours in mind.

Because it was cozy! It was in a converted house, and there was a living room full of yarn to keep a person company. And unlike many yarn stores, it was young, the staff was young, the woman who owned it was extremely sweet, even when my child was destroying her display racks.

And best of all, it was totally on my way home from work!

There isn't such an ideal store here, and nothing so conveniently located. The store I go to these days is in a strip mall, and I don't know who the owner is.  And I don't have time to hang out, either. But what I do appreciate about it, apart from the bucket of toys - always the mark of a good store in my book - is that someone there has a very interesting eye for color. And every time I go there, there is something amazing to fawn over. Usually I manage to resist, but today, I could not.

mill end yarn
Isn't this amazing? It's just labeled "mill end yarn.

And then the next time I go, the amazing things of the last visit are gone, and a fresh amazing thing appears.

And if you are wondering about my resolution not to buy yarn this year - I think that this is only the third skein I have purchased in the whole year of 2011, so I think that's pretty good? Though, there are six weeks left...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recent adventures in fabric dyeing

I've been suddenly busy, I'm not sure why, but I've done 4 dye baths in the last 5 days.

Part of it may be the desire to get this bird quilt off my desk, as it is currently just clutter. It started out with one bird print I bought several years ago to make a bag with, and then my mother gave me some bird scraps, and I thought the two birds looked pretty good together, and I went out in search of more. But I can't very well make a quilt with a bird theme without employing my own birds, can I?

So, I printed up 12 birds, and off we go: 4 dyed blue, 4 dyed yellow, 4 dyed pink... and then the wax and the over-dyeing begins.

pink, yellow, and blue...

And green is blue over yellow, and orange is yellow over pink.

more birds
and purple is blue over pink...

I'm not sure I'm going to use 12 birds, I'll just pick favorites at the end. I'm trying to get up the courage to run the risk of ruining them, because I've come to realize that I've been playing it far too safe. It's just fabric, right? If four or five come out nice, that's pretty much perfect for my purposes.

You can also see in these evidence of experimentation with a tjanting - my new exciting acquisition. I'm not entirely clear on how best to use it, and how to set it down without spilling wax all over, either, but it's neat, nevertheless. Fine lines! Whoo!

And here's a few more pictures - without birds - shibori style dyeing:

pink kumo shibori
kumo (spiderweb) tying comparison: the left side is 8/4 cotton, the center one is thread.

kara matsu and mokume
tangerine and pink - mokume and kara matsu

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Newly dyed: sock yarn

sock yarn
sock yarn!
I went to a craft show a few weeks ago, saw a beautiful blanket with this color combination. Couldn't stop thinking about it. Finally I decided the only thing to be done was to dye self striping sock yarn with the colors, peach, mint ice cream green, and lavender, with white (well, undyed yarn color, which isn't quite white).

I didn't do this outside, which at this time of year would be tricky. Lately, (and I use the term loosely - it's likely been a year or more since the last time I've used acid dyes to dye yarn or fiber) I've been using my warping boards - I have one that's 14 yards, long enough for a four color yarn, and a 5 yard one, which I use to extend the size of the loop if I want to use more colors.

This is also the first time I managed to dye some of the yarn in coordinating solids - for toes and cuffs (and heels, but I'm not sure I'll have enough for all three). It's an idea I've been kicking around for awhile, but I never would remember until it was too late - so finally I get to try that!