Tuesday, February 21, 2017

More Snow Dyeing

I still had plenty of snow over the weekend to do another set of napkins. This set, given to me by a friend, (thanks, Carolyn) had ten lovely cotton-damask dinner sized napkins. Now that the word is out, people are giving them to me. Yesterday I received some beautiful linen luncheon size. They had been starched and ironed and were so stiff they could stand up by themselves. They are now in the wash to get rid of all that starch. I'm not sure yet how I want to dye them.

For those of you who don't know about snow dyeing, this is how it works.
First you soak your fabrics in a strong solution of soda ash and salt.
Then you wring them out, put them in bundles in the bottom of a plastic dish pan.
Cover the fabric with snow right up to the top of the pan.
Sprinkle dye powders over the snow, trying to get them even, but not always possible.

Dye powders sprinkled on top of the snow.

After several hours, sitting on the kitchen floor.

I leave it until the snow melts and then take the fabric out. When I first saw them I thought they were horrible, mostly a very dark red. You can't tell the true colors until they are washed in Synthropol and hot water and then dried in the dryer.

Each one varies from the next. These are all folded and if they are opened they are different from one end to the other. The colors I used (all ProChem fiber reactive dyes) are Sun Yellow, Wedgewood Blue, Amethyst, Fuchsia, and Chartreuse. Here are just a few. If you click on a picture and then click again you can see some of the beautiful patterns in the damask.

These were photographed outside on my front porch, which is dark gray slate. The colors are true.

I threw some scraps of velveteen in just to see how they would take the dye. Wow! Did they ever! The colors are much more intense than they are on the napkins. I'm not sure how I want to use these, but  know I want to make some more.

This is the reverse side of the velvet. You can see that the color is more vivid on the plush side.
So the fun goes on! I will be linking up with Off the Wall Friday later in the week.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More Shibori and Snow Dyeing

I was given a box of vintage linens by a friend who thought I could do something with them. There were quite a few crocheted things that didn't particularly interest me, but I did like the set of 6 plain white place mats. I thought they would look great with some of the shibori napkins I had made a little
while back.

I used what I call my "smooshy" method of Shibori for these, as I had done for some of the velvet pillows I made. I loosely accordion pleated them and then tied them very tightly with nylon string in four places. They are all basically the same and yet each one varies from the next, the nature of shibori.

We have had a prodigious amount of snow in the last week and it has been plenty cold enough for it to stick around. Let's do some snow dyeing! These next three pieces were done a year or so ago using just black dye. I was so delighted to see all those other colors come out. They are even more gorgeous in person. There are definite touches of aqua which don't show up in the photos. I really should plan a quilt around them.

Soooooo.....I thought I would snow-dye a set of napkins using just navy blue dye. I was hoping to get a lot of variation as I did with the black. Not so, just shades of blue.  Well, maybe slight touches of reddish blue. I was gifted this lovely set of 11 damask dinner sized napkins. Here they are right out of the dryer, no ironing and nice and soft. They would make great everyday napkins, but do I need eleven?

It is supposed to warm up this weekend, but if we have any snow left I will do some more napkins (people keep giving them to me now), but this time in multicolored strong pastels. At least that is what I will aim for.

I will be linking up with Off the Wall Friday on Friday.

Friday, February 10, 2017

More shibori pillows

I made two pillows for my family room couch using cotton velveteen, which was wonderful to work with except for the shrinking. I cut my squares for the pillows at 22 inches square for 20 inch pillow forms. They did not shrink selvage to selvage, but they shrank about 3 1/2 inches length wise. If I use the velveteen again I will preshrink it. It was really hard to stuff the form into the finished pillow, but I made it work.

The one on the left was made by accordion pleating the fabric, pressing each fold with the iron and then calmping with clothespins. The one on the right was made by loosely accordion pleating (no ironing) and tying with string. 

I used ProChem's Midnight Blue for the dye. It has a slight periwinkle hue which looks better with my couch than the Navy dye does. The quilt over the couch is one I made several years ago and I used the same Midnight Blue for that.

I made four pillows for my sister using Navy Blue, which look great on her white couch and love- seat in her living room.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Birthday Surprise

This past Saturday was my birthday. I had my FiberWorks group at my house for a meeting on Friday morning, where I received many Happy Birthday wishes. I got a lot of lovely cards in the mail and soooo many FaceBook salutations. Friday night I went out to dinner with my usual Friday night group. We went to an upscale restaurant where I enjoyed a delicious meal and a great martini and had a candle on my dessert. I was planning on spending my actual birthday attending a surprise 80th birthday party for a friend and in my studio finishing up a project or two. 

My son lives in Portland, OR and always sends me flowers for my birthday. I was all bundled up and ready to go out for my morning walk when the door bell rang at 8:30. I thought that it was early for a flower delivery and when I opened the door there was my son holding a big bouquet of flowers. I couldn't have been more surprised. He had taken the red-eye to spend my birthday with me.

I had to go to the 80th surprise party and he needed a nap in the afternoon. We went out to dinner at a local restaurant that evening and Sunday we went into NYC for the day before he took another
 red-eye back home that evening. We had a great day in the city. We both like to walk, visit museums and eat good food and that's what we did. I had forgotten to charge my phone so all of these pictures were taken with his phone.

Here I am petting the Picasso goat in the sculpture garden at MOMA. I guess I should have known better, but the guard came rushing out to tell me not to touch it.

We started at the top floor of MOMA and worked our way down. This Jaguar XKE brought back some memories from the past. I always thought it was a gorgeous car and it still is.

We both read The New Yorker and decided to try this restaurant that had been reviewed there. I had the most expensive hamburger I ever had, although I must say it was scrumptious! Also had some wood roasted oysters and a nice glass of wine.

We watched the skaters at Rockefeller Plaza. It was not crowded at all, probably because it was Super Bowl Sunday.

The trumpeting angels that are on the Plaza for the holidays were replaced by this rotating snowman made of mirror balls.

My son and I share the same opinion of our new President and he could not resist taking this selfie. The barricades were up but there was hardy anyone there, partly due to it being the day of the big game and the fact that his royal highness was at his palace in Florida for the weekend. Guess he needed a vacation after making all those executive orders.

We popped into St. Patricks's Cathedral because he had not see the renovations. So beautiful.

I always like these mirrored buildings with their distorted view of the neighboring buildings. I once made a quilt called Houston Reflections, a favorite of mine. Click on this picture and then click again to get a really big view. You can see that it is reflecting a church.

That's it. It was a very special day and my best birthday surprise ever!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


I finished the last of the stitching on my jeans jacket last night. I think I am going to miss having this hand work to do while watching TV. I'll have to come up with another project.

Not sure if the paisley shirt is overkill, but I do like paisley.

Upper left front yoke.

Right panel.

The back, which you've seen before.
Click on any picture for a much larger view.

I will be linking up with Off the Wall Friday later in the week.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

More Babies

My great nephew and his wife are expecting twin boys. As usual I made them baby quilts. I did not want them to be the same, but still somehow "go together". I used flannel and a very simple patchwork pattern. I hope these quilts will be used and dragged around and machine washed often.

This pattern calls for two coordinating fabrics with one contrast for the inner border and the binding.

I quilted them on my mostly-unused Sweet Sixteen and it behaved itself very nicely. It allowed me to do much more quilting than I usually do on a baby quilt.


On this one the two fabrics went together too well and it's a little hard to see that it is actually two different fabrics. Note to self..choose fabrics that have more contrast the next time.

I still love the animal print and the big polka dots and the colors.


Now I just have to make the labels, sew them on and get them shipped off to Baltimore.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Oh, Baby!

In the midst of the toxic political atmosphere this past weekend it was great to be able to do something fun. What is better than the anticipation of a new baby?

One of the members of FANE, one of the art quilt groups to which I belong, is having a baby. She is the youngest of our group by far, decades younger than many of us. Christine is such a delightful person. She also led the art quilt group of our guild, while working full time, going for her Master's Degree and dealing with a sick husband. All with a big smile on her face and boundless enthusiasm.

Linda got the group together in her newly renovated home. She hasn't purchase living room furniture yet and that big room was perfect for the luncheon. Here it is all decked out with white tablecloths and pink flowers. Christine knows they are having a girl, Natalia, thus all the pink.

There was another table that you can't see in this picture.

What you can see draped over the windows are these adorable little onesies made out of different papers and sewn onto pink ribbon. She also had a long string hanging from the chandelier in the foyer, greeting you as you walked in.

Linda asked that everyone bring something handmade or embellished purchased items. She got so many cute things. I didn't get pictures of them all and I didn't write down the names of who made what, but here is just a sampling.

A set of hand embroidered onesies. She also got some that were appliqu├ęd and stamped.

Christine holding up part of a pile of "drool" bibs. Each one a different print backed with white flannel. I think they were made by Judy.

A darling collaged and stitched picture to hang on the wall by Nike.

Linda made this fabulous snuggle bag that she crocheted with a matching cap adorned with more crocheted flowers.

A darling knit "monster" doll made by Paula, so cute and cuddly.

Joyce made this from a recycled infant's shoe, her son's from many years ago. It was painted, covered in modge-podged fabric, and filled with fun fabric flowers. There was a wonderful poem to go with it.

A book bag for trips to the library.

Christine is originally from Texas, so these two alphabet books were perfect.

I took a picture at home of the onesies I stamped. I have a collection of Hot Potato stamps, which I love, and I picked the most whimsical ones I had.

The cake was as yummy as it was pretty. White cake with fresh strawberries between the layers.

Christine cutting the cake and showing off her big belly. She is due at the end of March.

Cute party favors made by Linda.

 Almost everyone from the group was able to attend. It was a lovely day, filled with friends, laughter, good food, and well wishes. 

Thank you, Linda, for being such a gracious hostess and for making this day possible. She took this picture and so is not shown.

All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.