Thursday, October 20, 2011

I WON!!!

I haven't done much creating lately, but I've been reaping!

I was wonderfully surprised to find that I'd won the Judge's Choice Award at the Misty Mountain Quilt Fest in Blairsville, GA this past weekend. My second quilt show and my first ribbon! Nothing like starting at the top--I don't know that I'll ever surpass this or even come close again, but what a thrill!

It's so funny, the ribbon is almost as big as the quilt!

And even funnier, I had a whole wall to myself--and my little quilt was surrounded by black.

I'm laughing, because it is funny, but that doesn't mean that I don't feel a sense of honor and wonder for having been selected for this award. Thank you, Judge, and Misty Mountain Quilt Guild.

I also had a piece selected in the Small Works exhibition at the Oconee County Art Foundation in Watkinsville, GA.

It's been a successful fall harvest. Next stop is the Lickskillet Artist's Market . . .

And then in November, I'll be teaching "Not Your Grandmother's Embroidery" at the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild at the Lyndon House in Athens, GA on November 9th and "Carry It All Folio" at Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville, GA on the 19th. It's turning into a great season for fiber art!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Experiment in Ice Dyeing . . .

turned out better than I thought it would. Let me say again that the instructions for this came from the August/September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine in an article by Lynda Heines. First of all, here's my set up. I found enough pie pans, racks, etc to do 6 pieces, so I did 6 half-yard pieces:

I used what I had--pie plates with holes punched in them on top of foil pans. I've found that the dye does something to the foil, and they leak. So I had to double up on the foil pan that "caught" the liquid dye as the ice melted.

Since I'm out of my very favorite colors of dye, the hardest part was trying to come up with color combinations that I might like. Some worked better than others. I also tried to keep records with my camera (I'm not so great at writing things down as I work!). But this is what they looked like after soaking the fabric in soda ash, scrunching up the fabric, loading on the ice and sprinkling on the dye:

Not very appetizing is it?

I was worried that I had mixed the colors too much, and had mixed some complementary colors that would turn to mud. But things turned out better than I hoped:

It was fun, but I'm not sure I'll do it again. What do you think?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's Fiber Frenzy

Today was such a treat! Jodie did the program on painting on fabric--her work is beautiful!

She explained first, how she took the photo, then talked about each step in painting the fabric--branches first, then leaves, then adding the shading to the tree branches (first medium, then dark, then light). At least I hope I got that right.

The she showed us some more of her work, talking about the details. For example, in this photo, she talked about painting the sky:

She showed us the various steps she took when painting the cafe scene below:

And explained how she got the feeling of an "old" painting on this work in progress:

This was the work that got her started, a class with Susan Brubaker Knapp

It was fun to see Jodie's work and learn about her process. A great meeting!

And then we had some eye candy to feast on!

Frances brought her thread painting of a kitty looking into a mirror:

She always does such wonderful and unique work! She also brought a work in progress that she's trying to make a decision about what to do next:

Anita brought some of her hand-made silk paper (more on that in another blog):

And finally, the supreme of eye candy, Cleo showed us some of her ice-dyed fabrics. Too yummy to even describe!

Cleo got her directions from the latest (August/September 2011) issue of Quilting Arts Magazine in an article written by Lynda Heines.

I couldn't wait to try it, so as soon as I got home, I got everything together and went to work. I'm afraid of what it's going to look like though. I think I may have mixed my colors too much, and forgetting that mixing complementary colors makes mud, I may have some done of that too. But good, bad or ugly, I'll show you my results. It was fun, anyway!

Mary Ann

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stick bugs

Usually I "stick" to fiber art topics, but this little fellow caught my eye:

Can you see it? Looks just like a stick stuck to my screen. Must be why they (or is it just me) call them "stick bugs." But even after staring and staring and taking this photo, it didn't move, so I just gave it a little nudge off the screen, thinking, maybe it really IS a stick.

But look, it looks just the same. Now I'm REALLY wondering. So I put my foot down near it. Have you noticed that at no time did I touch it? I REALLY, REALLY am freaked out by bugs, but this one is different, that is, until he moved.

Yep, it was definitely a bug, and now that my curiosity was satisfied I was ready to get away. My little dog, Sweet Pea, who likes to catch and eat bugs, sat staring at it, with his head cocked, as if not knowing what to make of it. So it's appearance is a deterrence to not only bug predators, but to humans and dogs as well! Just a fascinating creature!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Scissors Sheath

I made this little Scissors Sheath for Anita to show off her hand-dyed wool roving. Aren't they yummy? And the quality is first rate!

It took hours to perfect the pattern, but it was worth it and I think it came out pretty well. I'll also be using this pattern to propose a class to yarn shops.

And don't the colors look wonderful?

Here's one that shows Anita's hand-dyed fabric for the lining:

Of course, I couldn't help but add my own touch:

You can find Anita and her wonderful hand-dyes next at the East Cobb Quilt Show, September 16 - 18.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fiber Frenzy in August

Now that it's almost time for our September Fiber Frenzy meeting, I'm getting around to posting about last month's. As usual, it was fun!

Anita and I gave the program, which you've heard way too much about, I'm sure! One of the most fun parts for me is to see what everyone has worked on. This month a challenge was due: Leaves.

Here are the results:

This is Anita's printed elephant ears:

Jodie's leaves:

Nancy's fern:

Shirley's beautiful quilt:

And for the most original interpretation of the challenge subject, Maddy's:

I wish I'd gotten a better picture of it--it was painted, and all kinds of stitching--it was just wonderful!

Oh, I almost forgot mine, mostly because I'm not thrilled with it, and of course, it's unfinished, but here it is anyway:

It was fun, though, and maybe I'll even finish it someday!

I hope I didn't leave anyone out--these were the only photos I could find. I think I'm going to choose my 2012 word early: ORGANIZATION!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mini Tute II

I forgot to tell you about washing out the fabric after all your printing is done! Very important.

Start in the sink (or a pan), and rinse and rinse and rinse with cold water (you'll be able to feel the sliminess of the print paste). Next rinse, still in the sink, warm water with a bit of synthrapol. Next rinse, still in the sink, hot water with a bit of synthrapol. Then into the washer with synthrapol, for a long hot wash and rinse. Into the dryer and then you're done, ready to make your new creations!

As I said before, Kerr Grabowski is the expert of experts on this technique, and I highly recommend her DVD, Deconstructed Screen Printing. You can find it on her website.

Coming up close behind, though, is Anita Heady, who does beautiful work, is a teacher extraoirdinaire and put together a Power Point Presentation that kicks butt!

Hope you've enjoyed the tute--go out and have some fun!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mini Decon Screen Printing Tutorial

I'm back! I know you've been waiting with hearts on fire, on the edge of your seat, cursing each day that you checked and still, no news from Mary Ann!

I'm here to ease your pain.

All kidding aside, it's been crazy here with lots of personal issues, but I have managed to have some fun along the way. I have several days worth of blogs stored up, but I thought I would start with a mini-tute on deconstructed screen printing.

My friend, Anita, and I were scheduled to to a demo on deconstructed screen printing for our Fiber Frenzy group. While Anita seems to have a better instinct than I do, and does some wonderful work, we both agree that the BEST way to learn is to buy the DVD from Kerr Grabowski. She knows it all, and is entertaining, too.

But you can get a taste of what fun it is by the following:

Deconstructed screen printing is basically printing the screen twice, first with thickened dye, then with thickened print paste to release the dye. So each print is slightly different from the one before, and you have a whole series of wonderful surprises.

First you soak your fabric (after scouring if need be) in soda ash (1 gallon of water, 9 tbs of soda ash, which is a pool chemical, or you can buy it online at any dye site.) Soak for at least 15 minutes. Dry it on the line, or shower curtain, don't use the dryer, don't iron it or the soda ash may weaken. You need the soda ash to bond the dye to the fabric.

Make the print paste. Use one quart of warm water, 1 tsp of metaphos (a water softener that I didn't have, so didn't use), 1/4 cup of urea and mix all together. You need to put this mixture in a blender (that you don't use for food), and as it's agitating, gradually add 2 1/2 tbs of sodium alginate (or more, as you'll find out). Let it sit at least an hour, better overnight. It lasts for about 6 months. My best advice (discovery) is that if you put it back in the blender the next day to check for thickness, if you turn the blender on and the top of the paste doesn't move, it's thick enough. If you're still getting some swirling and blending, add some more sodium alginate (seaweed).

Then make your print paste using dry MX procion dyes, mixed with a little water to make a paste, then add your clear print paste. Use normal precautions when mixing dye (a mask for your nose and mouth, gloves, water nearby to wash up any dry particles that land).

Now you're ready. I used two vinyl covered foam core boards. On the first, I put a piece of paper (the kind that movers use.) Kerr G recommends brown paper, but I used what I had. I arranged my objects until they were pleasing to me and fit under the screen I was using.

Lesson learned: use flat objects of about the same thickness, thicker ones will just look like blobs.

This was actually my last layout, and my fvorite. I layered everything over a piece of bubble wrap (what would we do without bubble wrap?!)

And it all fits nicely under the screen.

I'll show you later all of my prints, but first I want to show you what happens when the print paste is not thick enough:

And another:

I added a stamp for some interest, but it wasn't interesting enough. These things will not be thrown out, but will be perfect (wishful thinking?) for some project that will come along.

So we thickened the paste and went back the next day, and then then the next. It was too much fun, everything was already out, so we just kept on.

One of the things we did was make monoprints off the paper after the original dye paste pass was done. Here's one of mine:

I also saved some of the background papers for a collage someday.

I had two screens the first day, but then went home and made two more for the third day. When you get ready to print on your fabric, you need to have a fairly soft surface (as for stamping), so I used a second vinyl-covered foam core board and pinned the fabric to it.

But here are some of the screens and prints I made over those few days:

You need to let the screen completely dry before you can print with the dye. Fans and hair dryers are a great help, or let them dry overnight. For this one I used indigo dye and here's how the prints came out:


These aren't exactly in the right order, but you can see how each print changes. I got only 4 or 5 "good" prints from each screen, but Anita got as many as 13! I think she layered her dye print paste, maybe two times, then used less clear print paste than I did for each print. A lesson I learned for the next time.

More screens and prints:

This was the print paste dye screen from the layout that I showed you at the beginning of this post. This is how it came out on the screen:

This was how the bubble wrap looked after the dye was applied to the screen:

  And these were some of the prints:

I think the one above may just need a little stitching and be good to go. Can you see a little bit of orange in the piece? That was left over from some printing I had done earlier, using orange dye. Even though I had washed the lace and metal piece, some of the orange still came through. Not sure if you can see it, but it adds a little interest.

I kept going, but many of the others went into my over-dye stack. But here's an example of how each print gets lighter and lighter:

Do you believe there's even more?

But enough for today. I'll show you more later, and also how we played with the dye that we didn't use for the screen printing. Lots of fun and lots of options.

Thanks for coming by, and stop in again soon!

Mary Ann