Sunday, March 28, 2010

Put & take

I'm really taken with the quality of that sheet that I dismembered.

Yesterday I put several of the less than stellar pieces through several other surface design techniques - some  kitchen chemistry involving Elmer's Glue, Soft Scrub and more dye, this time with a little heat boost. 

the more I look at this cloth the less inclined I am to cut it up.  I've been admiring Jimmy McBride's quilts and hammer & tongs way he goes about it.

Once I finish torturing the 8 different sections I may just put this sheet back together like Humpty Dumpty and make a bedquilt out of it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

dye results

Not so fierce anymore. It's hard to say if the intensity loss was due to the advanced age of the dyes or the temps outside which were chilly at best.

All subtle and interesting. Some destined for other treatments. You can see the woven pattern in those pricey sheets and the coarseness of the linen. You can click on the picture for a close up.

Friday, March 26, 2010


It occurred to me that letting these dry completely and then shaking out the grains of cream of wheat and the bug carcasses would be much easier than trying to rinse it all off the fabric. Fortunately it's not sticky at all and is blowing off like so much colorful sawdust. If the sun would only come out for a bit I could have this bunch in the washer and dryer before I leave for work. Maybe. Remember, these are wet pictures. It remains to be seen if this old, old abused dye powder will take to the cloth for real but a preliminary rinse and wash by hand showed almost no dye run-off!

the early returns

I just couldn't wait until morning. Around midnight I was rinsing this one out in a bowl out on the deck, in the dark.

I did not examine the cream of wheat closely but it looks like the bugs (and their eggs?) took up the dye particles  and redeposited them according to their size - you can see the ghosts in blue here. the brownish lines came from the radiator where I draped this to dry for just a few minutes. Live and learn with that one.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's a mystery!

It's the first dyefest of the season here at the Lawrenceville Frankenstein Dyeworx and new mysteries are afoot! I've had a batch of vintage damask napkins, a length of coarse linen, and a swanky 600ct stripey bedsheet from Goodwill soaking in soda as since, umm, Sunday (I think)

 There was no kosher salt in the cupboard and I couldn't justify wasting any sugar with hummingbird season about to open. Lurking in the back of the pantry was an old box of COW complete with mealy bugs - a charming protein boost that happens when you don't seal your flour and cereals in plastic. Is it just a southern thing or did I not notice them when we lived up north? It remains to be seen how the cream of wheat and bugs will interact with the soda ash, dye and cloth.

One thing is for sure, I won't be rinsing these in my washing machine. I'm out of time this morning so all of this will get to poach on the work table until this time tomorrow. We'll see what comes of all this mess.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stitch heroics

Sometimes I sit with needle poised and wonder "Now what?"

Gerdiary continues to remind me that stitch really doesn't need to do much more than hold things together quietly. No heroics or gyrations are really called for.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I was relieved to find this one still hanging up at the office where I left it.

A notice was recently sent out instructing people about NOT  klepping  lunches from our shared refrigerators in the break room. Imagine having to write a politically correct interoffice memo about the moral issues surrounding BEING A THIEF! (read the bold letters in Sam Kinison's voice). There are no fast food joints within a reasonable distance from the office so if you don't bring something to eat, you go hungry, unless you eat something from the overpriced and under-serviced vending machines. Enough on that.

A few days away from it and now I'm pingponging back and forth between the two of them. Cousins, no doubt. Winter and Spring.  Do not wish for that which you can conjure for yourself through either hard work or deep imagination.

Monday, March 22, 2010

sweater weather

I'll even get to wear it today - it was snowing sporadically this morning! This is Georgia - and not the mountains - the weather has lost it's tiny mind.  I bought three of these cotton sweaters at Kohls years ago and wore two of them to death.

This one was originally cream colored and has been through several color changes - this being the only successful one.  it was really, really bad before.
That scrap of folded cloth is a half yard of muslin that was blue with soy resisted white spots, now burgundy and purple and wildly interesting.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

rainy Sunday

In addition to leaving the current WIP at the office Friday night, when I tossed my stuff in the car I tore my right thumbnail to the quick and all day Saturday I kept banging it into things making it worse.

Last night it was all I could do to manager seven feet of a simple running stitch joining these two rayons scarves lengthwise. Why didn't I run it up on the machine in 15 seconds instead of taking most of "Lawrence of Arabia" to get this much done? It will be finished when I can cross each of those blue stitches in orange. Maybe later  this evening.

(Something new too)

      It was so beautiful out yesterday I brewed a new tub of soda ash and submerged a large batch of cloths that I've been collecting all winter in anticipation of the first dye fest of the season. Did I check the weather report? Not.

There were a handful of bottles of dye stock that have been out on the deck since the fall, mostly blues, so I overdyed a cotton sweater that's been too horrible to wear in public (a combination of reds, browns and greens resembling road kill)      to see if the dyes still had some kick. Poor sweater spent today hanging over the deck rail getting rinsed in the rain all day long.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Sixteen days until Opening Day! I've don't bother watching the few spring training games that are broadcast on TV - the commentators seem to be so bored that they will yatter on about anything but what's happening on the field.

I dashed out of the office last night and forgot to take the current WIP off my cube wall. Unless I decide to start something new, there won't be any stitching at all this weekend which might not be a bad idea.
It's 'sposed to be sunny and 70 outside today. Sweetie took her first foray out of the house yesterday while Colin and I watched over her....just a few minutes around the front steps. While I was at work, she helped herself out the cat door and was staring in at Jim from the back deck demanding to be let in!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

art rug

Like many people during these economic tough times, our family is "forting up".

The lease on Jake's apartment is up and instead of re-signing it, he's going to be moving home for a while. We have the room and it will be nice to have my favorite mechanic back in residence.

The trick was cramming this 8x11 (well, 7 something by 10 something) rug in a Honda Civic. I love a rug that is the same color as dirt - so sensible, so real. It remains to be seen what Voodoo, Karma and Sweetie will think of Juicy, who is a Maine Coon cat. He (?) looks like a beagle disguised as a black sheep.
Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WIP languishing

Sometimes things just stall.

I found a little scrap of fire in the bottom of the sewing bag while I was looking aimlessly for something else - anything else, to move this piece along. I'm still shuffling things around.

The triangle is real and the smaller bits are digital. I realize that I could move these pieces around forever. Too many possibilities will keep me from making progress every time. I'm seeing the circle of things shaping up again and it pleases me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Making way for the new

 I got the new Dharma Trading catalog in the mail the other day. Although the ink is smelly I can't help looking through it and making marks here and there knowing full well I'll be placing the order online and not on paper.

In anticipation of the new dye season, I've slashed all the prices for Raw Materials at Random Acts of Dyeness

Thursday, March 11, 2010

lost 24hrs

I've finally taken the step of working beyond the mounted fabric. All that white space around the piece just won't do sometimes - especially when the standard sized canvas is not really right for the piece.  OMG, it's almost a painting.

Doing this made me very anxious - that old "artist faces blank canvas fever" came back like malaria. Then I reminded myself of the gallon of gesso I have languishing under the work table. There are do-overs aplenty in that can.

I did a little stitching on the current WIP last night but I was afraid to go too much further as I was still feeling pretty pointy headed and didn't want any blood on the design.

Yesterday (my day off) was lost to me. Tuesday night around midnight I took a new pill that's supposed to help my back pain and NOT render me deaf. Instead, I was a drooling idiot for most of my waking hours yesterday.

Jim and Colin had great fun mocking my stoned self and I will have have to revisit that tutorial, written heavily under the influence as it was. I know spell checker had a merry time of it. Wordy as hell for  a tutorial. Still, I had been thinking about what I wanted to say for some time so the thoughts were there just needing to be rounded up like so many rabid rabbits by the rancher with cotton candy for brains.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

mummy making

As promised, here's my tutorial on making fiber mummies or fiber fossils.
I can't decide which name I like better.

Please read the whole thing through before you dive in and email me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


"Old Comfort" is mounted and I'm pleased that  none of the bright whites lost their pop.

I took a whole series of photos around this one and the process and will get them published with commentary when I get an hour or so. (click for closeup)

                                                       I've started work on mounting "Candyland"
which will really benefit from the darkening that comes with this process. It was a pastel disappointment but you can see by the red that it's going to be a color riot. Now if I can just work up the courage to paint in the margins - extend the design beyond the fiber.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Hare & Tortoise

Jude described me in her sidebar as "fast but slow.." Flattered to be mentioned at all,  I wasn't sure I understood it until I spent the entire evening stitching a two square inch area on this only to pick it all out.

I trample all over myself to lay the groundwork, the broad strokes and then revel in the long, drawn out process of modifying that groundwork with the stitch. There's my Slow Cloth philosophy.

If I were in prison I would have no trouble tunneling out with a teaspoon. I have told clients, when they inquire how long it will take to make a report over the phone, "Together, we will be moving a mountain with a teaspoon. One teaspoon at a time and suddenly, the mountain is gone."

Kate of the brilliant Needled is chronicling her way back from a stroke and gave me another shift of vision on fast & slow. Isn't her Hare magnificent?

Saturday, March 06, 2010


When I unfurled yesterdays start today I wondered who put acid in the yogurt so I dismembered and cannibalized it right down to the dirt.

One false start after another finally got me to this place by about 10pm.  Now it's working for me and basting is under way.

I really loved that "storm cloud" commercial batik that I wrapped around it yesterday but it was just too busy  and had to go back in the stash for another day.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Ask & ye shall receive..

No kidding. And don't forget to be careful about what you ask for. I wasted an hour this morning cruising the web looking for fresh ideas for my own home made website which is not reflecting my current work or direction . Bored and aggravated by coming up empty, I did a quick run though of the blogs I check in on and lo&behold-  Tracy Helgeson held up the torch and pointed the way.

I'm cross eyed and crazy right now but it looks like OPP has what I'm looking for by way of change. I ain't thrilled with the notion of paying for something I've always had for free but I'm doing that now at the store anyway so I'll have to study the particulars, do the math and maybe split the difference.

"In the dream I woke with a start and rushed outside into the yard. The sky was impossibly huge and black and the porch light was defeated to old butter on the ground  by it's density. The stars were all wrong in the sky for any  time of the year and the air was so cold and bitter that one could not suck any life out of it."

It was a good night at the Whine Mine last night. The Folks must have been exhausted from three straight days of complaining and picked last night to lay low and leave the phone alone. Maybe they were watching American Idol and fell asleep before it was over. TGIF even though I am working this week end.

Robert Genn's twice-weekly newsletter was about the creative flow that can come from the bored place in the brain, "Accessing the default mode network". That was timely for me too.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

crocheted calm

I can't remember the last time the sky was clear for the full moon so this will do in it's place. I collect these, sort of, dessert plates in any pattern or white & blue. Long ago I had a full set of Blue Willow dishes. A full set of anything bores me these days.

Crochet was on my mind after reading
 EmilyBs blog.
Nothing inspiring jumped out of the scrap basket last night so rather than force the issue, I took a ball of cotton string and crochet hook and watched the first few contestants massacre music on A.Idol. I'm not caught up in it as in years past since I don't get to see it regularly. This year it looks as if the judges rounded up a lot of pretty faces with voices like howling cats. I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out on stage and tell the judges that they had been Punked.

This is serious string. You could probably hang yourself with two strands if you're petite. 12 ply I think, can't remember where it came from - not craft store stuff for sure. I used a big K hook and before I knew it there were three large cusspots. Yesterday I uncovered a large batch of the smaller ones.

I don't know what to do with them and they are breeding like rabbits.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010


The stitching on "Lavanderia" is finished. Now I have to find the right size and shape canvas for it.  Because of the bright white base cloth, this will be the first time that I paint the canvas to extend the fiber design. slowly. slowly. This would be a good piece for the mounting tutorial I've been yattering about.

On the back burner - a redesign for my website so I can feature the things I have been focusing on over the past year. It's long overdue and a good excuse to throw myself into learning CSS for real. A useful brain exercise instead of frittering away my (forced) time on the computer on freecell or solitaire.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

new cards

I just ordered a batch of new business cards. I put Firefly on the front this time - it's a pretty clear indicator of what I'm up to these days.

It's been snowing all morning and last week we were hearing the first tree frogs. They must be pretty freaked out.

I'm feeling cranky and fuzzled - could be that I started watching "the Last Winter" when I got in bed last night past midnight and it scared me awake until 2ish.
Ghost devil reindeer indeed.

Sweetie sez "naptime"

Monday, March 01, 2010

Marketing Monday

Almost forgot to add this one!

Winter Solstice is now up and available at Hand Music Fiber Art.

It's good  to get back to the rhythm of the day to day. I have to repack my go-bag for work just in case I feel a little inspiration later in the day. There's a bundle of fabric to go to the post office  and a stop at Goodwill to see what's new and interesting.  At some point I need to get some new sneakers. Today is day one in the Couch to 5K program and I'm not feeling it - maybe sneakers will help.