Wednesday, April 27, 2016

it's Fling time

                                           After a few more false starts with the fish and leafy looking chunks of green
damask, I've put them away for now.

While I was looking for something else, I stumbled across one of the first flings I made a few years back "Stories in the Garden with Monkey Teeth".

Flings are lightweight quilts with no batting. There will be a new nephew coming in August so it's time to get busy.

The charm of making flings was all about ease and lack of rules. I used torn strips of random widths of muslin to build foot square base blocks on the machine. Sort of log cabin without all the fussing. Once I had enough blocks to make the size quilt needed, each on got its own little hand appliqued picture. I kept the pallet broad, used fabric that could take wash & wear use, more of the

same muslin in this case. Hand dyed. Then the blocks were arranged and the front and back machine stitched together poking the two-sided monkey teeth (think prairie points gone wild) in random location along all four sides..not too many. Snaggly.

Then the whole thing gets stitched together with some more loopy, random lines of hand quilting.

I got a peaceful, easy feeling just looking at these pictures.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


A pink moon and that purple rain has me dislocated in time.

Trying to quiet the buzzing and humming of my life with a little stitch, but it's not happening. I guess four stitches is not enough. I'll try again tomorrow because  I really like these little fish and don't want to waste them.

The rest of the second dye lot has been cleaned and processed and is good to go.

This has pretty much taken over my life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

tales of woe, cont.

Grace, here's your Sun. It was a woven tea towel at one time and I swear it came from your thrift shop years ago, white and pristine.

 I remember now that the soy wax just doesn't work all that well on wovens. But on the harder fabrics, like this Kona cotton, Pow!

Hard Lessons...

....relearned. Beyond dye and soy techniques, it's important to pay attention to the hand or character of the various cloths when you are salvaging vintage or otherwise castaway cloth.

Every single one of the pieces from Round Two has been machine washed and dried twice. The water in my washing machine was still not hot enough to dissolve the soy wax. It left the cloth happily then floated to the surface to clot around the inside of the upper regions of my washing machine. Hand picking and scrubbing was the only remedy. Then, there's a big problem with the cloth.

There was a piece of flannel and two sections of something really nasty I can only describe as silk (?) noile (?). It took the dye, to be sure, but it left a residue of tan, fuzzy sludge over everything else. The only solution has been to hand wash each and every piece in a shallow pan, twice.  This is going to take some time.

that was Monday

It's pool cleaning time. None of the tough stuff (and it's tough down there, folks) is on me, but it's still an all-consuming process for a few days.

 If it wasn't for Colin, I'd be running a heartbroken in on Craigslist, "free  pool. Come and get it."

I keep this picture in the front of my thinking....

Yesterday was Charlie Monday for real, even if I didn't make the FB post -something I'm going to be phasing out anyway.

 I spent the morning with him because he's been fevery and unable to go to daycare. Happy that the doc said it was just
A Thing, no ear infections and he'll be on the mend in good time.

All other concerns and activities go by the boards, family comes first, always.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

round 2 - full sun

 There's no cover on the deck anymore and it's ablaze today. It might be 70 with light breezes, but I am roasted. A hat would have been smart but the worst is over.

These foundlings have been dashed and dotted with soywax and will probably undergo a second round of dye once this one is over. Some of the over-dyed pieces are going to be smashing. Patience is in order. I've run out of time for this stuff today.

With a nod to my dyemaster, Elizabeth Barton, the dry cloth went straight into the dye, low water style. They'll wallow a while and then I'll bless everything with the soda ash sauce.

My own technique is harder, faster, but all new things considered today, a day of fresh starts in many ways.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

fry for now

The Fish project is coming along. I started digging in the closet just to see what is actually in there. Holy Crap!  That request I put out for white goods?? Don't go crazy.

I pulled one box from a high shelf and the bottom broke...a blizzard of white goods is now up for review for a round of soy-resist and dye tomorrow, weather permitting.

There were boxes and baskets of things that are going into the Fat Baggies blend. Of course, I took first dibs. It's funny how one's taste will change. Stuff that I used to hoard for myself will now be up for grabs.

 I found small baskets of treats and wonders that just fell into place for an as-yet unclear vision, but I know I want to hand applique and embroidery  -  think in terms of the Creatives. Critters just doing what they do when no one is looking, just like people.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


 FB served up this and other memories this morning. I'm ambivalent about that feature, but for this, I'm grateful.

I can remember the hand of each of these cloths - the black hole went into one of the first Karmas. The rich orange with tiny white spots was a cotton lawn scarf I bought on spec from Dharma Trading.

I can also see I need to work on this year's color set. My reds are too warm and too many.There's soy resists and textures going on  here too - things I'd like to revisit when the weather final decided to cooperate.

If anyone has any old table linens that they'd like to swap for a set of hand dyes, get in touch. We'll deal.

Saturday, April 09, 2016


I can relate to that face. Charlie and I have been struggling with the same upper respiratory day care cooties for a week now. If snot was gold I'd be ordering that Benz E-550 right about now.

Slap me for complaining, I'm grown and know the course of these things. Poor little guy can actually get up and run when he sees me pick up one of Jimmy's soft, old handkerchiefs and will point to his nose and say "Boo-boo" as in "take it easy, Nana. It's only boogers."

The best time of the day was when I knew he needed a nap, but would fight it to the point of hysteria, so I shut us both in his room, put his pillow and blanket on the floor and we settled in for seven consecutive, slow readings of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", trying on a different character voice for each reading because my own is so cracked and broken.

After three, I settled on a soothing, gravelly whisper and he lay there on his back, clutching my sleeve with one hand and his own topknot with the other, eyes heavy-lidded and focused somewhere magical. I am so full of wonder to be the one (not the only one, I'm sure) to be introducing him to the magic of books.

I actually got in some writing time last night and ironed out a few things that have been taking up too much of my RAM. More about that elsewhere.

In the light of self-promises to get my corporeal self back in functional order after a long period of neglect and abuse, I volunteered to wheel my little assistant around the neighborhood for an hour or so this morning in the service of getting my stamina back. All this before downloading this  and cobbling together my own dance program. Here's music to move to or you're dead.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Move along quietly

My draw for the day (thanks, JR), which I think I'll just dwell on for a week or so.

Enough of that other thing - it's a very long time 'til November. After a week of no car, I have running to do.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Monday, April 04, 2016

I got mine!

You know how I am...

the rest I've divvied up and are for sale.

I kept this little weirdo too.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

the dryer buzzes!

the damasks.

Now I can see which colors need tinkering with. The black is better than it looked wet.

Grace, this is the rest of that hard linen I sent you.

It loves the dye, as I predicted.

and most happily, my fish. ready to fry.

session 1, wrap-up

Who else gets up to rinse cloth before the coffee is ready?

Superstitions, I rinse out the color 'kin" together. Learned that from accidental fuschia poisoning.

The fish came out exactly as I hoped. Looking forward to putting them on..everything.

Now, you know about getting too excited over wet cloth. But I suspect the center will hold.

Everything has been through the Zombie washing machine, gently, and is now tumbling because I don't want to wait for the sun.

I can tell from here that the black is going to need tempering away from warm. I'll divide the remaining stock in two and mess with them. Have to think about how.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Opening Day!

Not baseball. That's next Monday. It's the first dye fest at the Lawrenceville Frankenstein Dyeworx, indoor division, kitchen table league. (It's still a bit brisk outside today and I just couldn't wait.)

Once the colors have been cooked, things move pretty fast. I knew what I wanted - pure color -  and the session was over and done in an hour and half. Well, part one anyway.

Remember the fish batik that I cut into pieces? The plan was to overdye each one with a different color and then applique them back onto, I don't know what yet. Maybe stinky little pine pillows.

That pile of victims up above was the remains of a very tough linen tablecloth and a very tired cotton damask one. I think both will take up the color like camels at the oasis.

I'm not religious about batching like some. I've been known to give things a hot hour in the sauce and then hit the rinse. I'll leave these bits bagged up until tomorrow. I have other things to attend to.

My personal schedule has been tilted thanks to the day job. My new weekend is Thursday & Friday and my new start times the rest of the week is 4:15pm. Everything else will have to flux around that crap. At least I will get to go to some Friday night baseball games this season - the last at Turner field.  The fireworks should be outstanding.

Here is the first tablemopper of the season. I didn't preset it with soda ash this time but did drop it in a baggie with a half cup when cleanup was done. Somehow these derelicts become the star of my scrap basket every year and used to find their way into my more interesting pieces. Time will tell.

(notice the eyelet flannel sheet under everything, picking up drips and stains)