Sunday, October 31, 2010

freemotion warmup

After tinkering with Elizabeth's Janome yesterday (we both have 6500s) I decided I had better give mine some attention and was appalled at the crud under the throat plate.

I have NO needles and NO oil. Quilting on anything will have to wait on a trip to HoAnns but here's a little test Mayan graffiti. I think it's the symbol for agita.

the bitter fucshia lesson

It took several hard lessons before I learned that anytime you dye with the color fuchsia, it's imperative that you rinse, rinse and rinse again before you wash them, and when you do wash out, DO NOT WASH OUT WITH ANY OTHER COLOR FAMILIES!

Not if you don't want those other pieces tinged with pink where they used to be white or other pales. I have ruined entire weekends worth of dyeing by mixing those hotties into the washout loads so carelessly. This bunch will go by themselves but the piece below, a hand appliqued and embroidered vintage hankie (and the three jacquard scarves) are getting the hand treatment!

Halloween Dyefest

I had an amazing day yesterday at Elizabeth Barton's studio helping her use up the season's end dyestock. We worked and talked, talked and work all day. I tried to teach her Janome to like metallic threads to no avail and got to be the first to see her latest work which I will only describe here as awesome.

I know it can be folly to post
"wet" pictures (before the washout) of dyed cloth but I have a good feeling that most of this bunch will stay strong.

 I hung the buggy oatmeal bunch outside to dry out first - I don't think I want to run oatmeal and bugs through my washing machine.  These three spectacular pieces are a cotton jacquard that has a patterns of leaves and flowers woven in.
This is one fourth of a king sized sheet that I picked up at Goodwill. Gorgeous but I suspect that although the label said 100% cotton, there is some manufacturers process that may be resisting the dye. This one may be a lot paler after washing. 

There are also a whole lot of miscellaneous cotton scraps of all types bagged up and waiting their turn. No trick or treating for me today. I'll be washing and ironing!

Friday, October 29, 2010

frantic friday

In an effort to avoid the ceaseless zombie and vampire nonsense on every TV channel we spent yesterday with back to back episodes of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel.

Only a few steps removed from nonsense, the show is hypnotic in it's effort to be sincere and scholarly.  From the looks of this Mayan alphabet, they watched too much TV too.

I've always found Mayan imagery very compelling. The balance and proportion of line to shape, the boundaries all appeal to me and some of the images of ancient wall constructions got me to thinking about how I want the machine stitching on this piece to look. 

But that's down the road some.

I've gone back to using the original instigator, that golden tongue. Still working it out.

Meanwhile, last night between customers, I got busy with what was  merely within my reach. My grandma really did use to say

"Idle hands are the devil's playground!" just before she set me to doing something like cleaning out the parakeet's cage. I can remember looking at my hands for the playground and thinking I was missing something.

Now I have to kick it into high gear and round up whatever I am taking to Elizabeth Barton's studio tomorrow.

There is cloth to drown in soda ash because we are having a Halloween Dyefest!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

back to the WIP

The background is set in stone, I mean cloth. Machine stitched together with batting and backing as I've planned to machine quilt this one and the others to follow.

I've found that hand stitching on large pieces has seriously derailed my creative momentum. I'll keep hand stitching smaller works but will build the larger pieces with the sewing machine.

additional design elements photo shopped in to look like white silk organza. Cool cheat this...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Action Figures!

You are all probably glad that I've run out of cotton string. I'm jonesing already but rather than risk the dread carpal tunnel syndrome I'm going to put the crochet hooks aside for a while. 
You saw the FILM! now you can have one of the stars.  I've posted the entire cast (except for Sweetie)  over here for sale. If you know someone who works small, these could be great gifts.

Each one is crammed full of fabric snips from that glass pot I keep on the work table.  It's not that I don't throw stuff on the floor. I put the really tasty bits of favorite fabrics , some not much bigger than postage stamps, in this jar. The jar was jammed full so it was time to let go.

Monday, October 25, 2010

narrowing it down

I don't think this is going to help much, but I have leanings and discovered
that  b and are really close cousins. I may have to make more of that gray
fabric with the big ghosts on it. Seems I like big spooky ghosts.

g keeps calling me back too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

auditions (more)

As much as I want them to, these pieces just aren't getting along...not without scissors coming into play.

Just throwing things against the wall to see what sticks, what compels, what insists....

For the eye's reference, these are all
  40 to 60 inches on whatever long side..throw your arms wide. THAT  big.

One is moving me to look again, come back and make it real. Why?
Questions I have to answer myself before I'll commit to moving ahead.

The troubling and overriding question right now is "why?"

Time to hide out with the Sunday NY Times I think.

Two more hours of this and I can see this could go on forever.  I'm going to arrange this images on a single page and start the elimination process. It's good to know that even after I choose, there will be lots of uncut cloth left to expand with. Also, know that there are other planned and significant element for the pieces based on sketches I've made. These are the grounds for the rest of what's going on.

Getting ahead of myself in in thinking about that these will be machine stitched but the how not yet clear or decided.

See..this could go on for ever

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stuffing Cusspots with Sweetie

Full Moon Inspiration

I walked under the full moon and asked for wisdom and inspiration. When I went out the moon was a Kleig light 12 o'clock high and it was so cold out the cats looked up from their curled up nests, one-eyed, and said "Hardly" so I went alone.

Here is how it begins.  While looking for something else - and now I can't even remember what or why - I found this fabulous piece of weighty, world weary muslin that looks like a last ditch overdye.

That bites are missing means the color and texture has caught my eye before but the shape that is left is the crown grabber now.

There are drawings in the sketchbook, only black and white ideas. This color will bring the notion to life. Something large, expansive and charged. I am done crouching over the tiny and delicate for the moment. I have to flap my wings and howl, run amok and afoul.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Full October Moon

This morning, bright sunshine in the studio demanded work in the fiber mines, so there are exciting new sets in the store. Who made this stuff? 

Later tonight, me and the Kat Krew  be taking my Tarot cards for a walk in the moonlight. More about my ongoing Tarot studies in a future post.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

seeing the work in print... never a cheap thrill...especially when you didn't know it was coming. Thanks to my friend Mary McBride  "Innocent Bystanders" is in this month's SAQA print journal which is one of my favorite things that arrives by mail. She has written a great and timely article  "Taking the sting out of rejection".  This piece was juried into the show she created last year called "The Skinny Envelope" after it was not accepted at several others. I was in really great company at the Gateway Center for the Arts, in DeBary FL. Thanks again Mary!

Monday, October 18, 2010

ocean homes progress

After spending all day building a back by machine cobbling strips of various blues into large spontaneous log cabinish blocks (there's enough for a whole 'nother  top!) I remembered this gigantic cutwork tablecloth that I dyed ages ago.

It was on a hanger in the closet, all pressed and ready for the dance. With a little fussing around holes that I had chopped into it, I fit it to the back of Ocean Homes Since there is no batting I'm now backfilling under the cutwork holes with a little fire.

Sunday afternoon I spent several pleasant hours at a friends house stitching outside in the October sun while we talked. It was a nice way to reconnect with the piece and the friendship- both were languishing.

The decorative edge of the tablecloth has a real water's edge feel where I lapped it over to the frontside and stitched it fast. If I had only thought about putting the glow behind the holes before I stitched the edges all the way around!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

blues, we got the raggedy blues...

Not me! It's my birthday and I'm celebrating with a day off, time in the studio, new ideas, burgers with my crew and a new flick later. Thanks for the many kind thoughts and wishes!

The stash has
beaucoup blues and I'm trying to make some sense of them and start something new. Of course the first order of business is piecing a backside for "Ocean Homes" -what else would I use?

The beating back of Chaos (always a temporary state) has freed up the Janome and its been calling me over..."sit here,... that's it, fiddle about.get the feel of it again..".Then there's Little Feather chirping from under the table "Use ME, use ME!"

As an exercise, I made these batted and backed leaves and now can't think of a really practical way of joining them up to make a blanket of leaves without any other stitching showing.

And did I ever show you the Blue Snakes? I can't remember why I made them.
Rayon stuffed tight with poly. If anyone wants them and are willing to pay the postage, drop me a line.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

speaking of endings

When I set about photographing this one yesterday I discovered that there was an entire section of paint that was unfinished so I dragged it outside (it's over 7 feet tall) and painted in the final metallic elements.

"Pirate Circus"   

and I finished the hand stitched binding on my own private "Beach" .

Season's End

Thanks to my family and friends who have put up with me during the baseball season. I'm not a fanatic, just a fan. The Atlanta Braves season ended last night with a loss to the Giants and retiring manager Bobby Cox said goodbye to the team and the fans. 

It's a long time until spring training....

Monday, October 11, 2010

morning light


Taking advantage of the newly cleared design wall to photograph the unphotograph-able. Guess I have to photoshop out the backdrop since I can't safely iron it. Sheesh, it never ends!I unearthed some things that have never shot properly before or correctly in the first place.

"Winds on Linen"

"Sunny Jim" (2005)

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The studio upheaval continues with some surprising results when I turned the magic
table just 90 degrees instead of the planned 180.

Lo! FLOOR SPACE! (well,there will be when I box up and redistribute all the crap in the foreground)

I can turn around and scratch at the same time, something Sweetie appreciates too. Sunlight from two sources now, East in the morning and never ending North.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Later on I'll be posting more shots of these little buggers and selling them cheap!
Here they are...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

1001 posts

Yep. That's this one, the 1001st post. I wasn't paying attention and don't know why I noticed this morning.

What a LOT of yaddayadda! You would think I was running for office all this time when in reality I was just talking to myself (something I do a lot of) only cleaned up considerably here for public consumption.

In honor of the milestone (or is it millstone?)
I dipped into my private collection and put together four new sets for the store. My brain was dry of titles for things at the moment and I've been watching a lot of AMC & TCM so I copped some movie titles.

The associations may not be immediately apparent though....This one is "Sighs & Whispers"

Monday, October 04, 2010

I love October

Here's the  stitching chair where I've been sitting and rolling cigars of fabric for the giveaway. Some of that green in the foreground is on it's way to many places this morning.

Across the room from the sewing chair is the new workstation. My only wish is that there was 20 steps between them instead of four. But hey! I could be driving an hour to sit at the same set up.

And I am thrilled to announce that my Atlanta Braves have given their beloved manager Bobby Cox the very best retirement gift -  October Baseball. We are going to the Playoffs!!!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quilt National, not.

Now that I am fairly certain that my three entries to QN11 have been rejected  I can show them- not that they are any mystery to regular readers.  The rejection email was so convoluted and ingratiating it was hard to tell that what they were really saying was "sorry. see ya next time." I mean, really, are people so afraid of wounding one another? If anyone can take a flat out rejection it's an experienced artist. 
I had my doubts about the chances of these pieces getting in but they represent my current work and there's never any telling what the judges are looking for. 
Oh well.... Next!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

the Scrap Giveaway - Update

I have three main groupings of fabric. The shelves you see behind sweetie are the MINE! fabrics - the things I design and work with. They are completely full right now.  waiting on me.

Then there is a double closet filled with wire racks holding color sorted (sort of) baskets with the SOMEDAY MAYBE fabrics and there are two huge plastic tubs and a tall bushel basket filled with I'M SICK OF THIS AND WON'T EVER USE IT AGAIN cloth. It was all loved and esteemed at one time.

I've been sitting in my stitching chair building little piles of cloth and rolling them like so many Cuban cigars. It seems like the best way to get the most cloth into the boxes. The fun continues....and for those who worry about such things, Sweetie only sleeps on the back of the stitching chair not in the cloth the way Jinx and Karma used to. Still, you may find a tiger hair. Consider it a good luck charm.