Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Met the Deadline!

 Starting my day with a fresh cup of coffee and these beauties.

Today is the day I've been preparing for 
for the past seven weeks. 
 My first official art quilt is finished, 
and I met the application deadline for the 
annual juried quilt show called

My past seven weeks have been consumed with:
sketches and cartoons
hand applique, reverse applique and fused applique
18 colors of thread
batiks and silks
a thoroughly joyful process.

Avoiding potential disqualification,
I'm refraining from showing you the quilt just yet. 
What I can share is that it tells not only my personal story, 
but one that is universal. I dig that.  
Should the quilt be accepted into this juried show, 
I believe I could safely reveal in October, once the show opens.
If it's denied, then I'll show it as soon as possible.
I love it, and I can't wait to share it with you!

 Last week, I showed you three bobbins of singles,
and I promised to show you all three plied together. 

Above: Fat Cat Knits, BFL, 3 ply, 844 yards (!)

Below: Bobbin ends, Fat Cat and IntoTheWhirled, 3 ply
 Below, 900 yards slung over another of my favorite coffee spots.
Wish me and my art quilt luck!
I'll let you know the results as soon as I hear. 

What are you working on?
I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fiber and Friend Fix

I'm back from a little getaway at Wiawaka on Lake George, NY.
The majority of this brief respite was spent on a huge covered porch 
just a few feet from the shore, seated at the wheel and
spinning with the best girlfriends a spinner could ask for!
The Minehaha cruising up the lake, 
surrounded by the Adirondack mountains. 
 Our group filled all of Wakonda Lodge, 
which has been newly opened 
after years of being closed up and unoccupied. 
We all agreed that this is our favorite place to stay at Wiawaka.
For the interesting history on this architectural beauty, click here.
 Priscilla, Mary and Marjorie (seated front to back).
(Sorry I didn't get a picture of you, Vickie!)
The room I called home for a few nights. Sigh. 
Sad to leave, but at the same time, anxious to get back 
to the studio! Still working toward that August 15th deadline....

While a few days away from the studio was just what 
the doctor ordered, a surprise side trip to Fat Cat Knits
proved an exciting fiber shopping experience!

4 oz. BFL colorways left to right:
Saint John, Piccolo, Mon Ami

I spun two of the bobbins at Wiawaka.
I will ply all three together and share the result next week! 
Before leaving for Wiawaka I had to clear some bobbins,
all of which were loaded with various IntoTheWhirled fibers.

Above, a happy three-ply of merino and silk.
Below, a glowing two-ply of polwarth and silk.
P.S. - Help! I'd love suggestions for what to knit with 
the almost 600 yds. of yarn pictured directly above!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Away Too Long

Despite declaring just last week that I'm putting aside
all studio projects in order to meet an important 
mid-August deadline, this shirt -
this much loved, well-worn, (stained) white shirt - 
kept begging for a new lease on life.
Unable to ignore it any longer, 
out came a dye pot and a bag of yellow onion skins.
 I pre-mordanted the white shirt in tannin, 
and followed that with an alum soak.
The next day, the onion skins were simmered for an hour 
and then steeped for an hour.
Aiming for a mottled effect, I laid bands of onion skins 
directly onto the shirt hoping they would deposit 
concentrated doses of color where ever they made contact
with the shirt.
 Then, I carefully rolled it all up.
 Loosely tied with organic jersey strings, this is the bundle 
as it first entered the dye pot.
Mid-way through the 24 hour soak, I removed the strings  
and opened out the shirt allowing for full contact 
with the dye bath
Cross your fingers that the skins on the interior of the shirt 
had enough time to deposit concentrated color
 Rinsed and hung to dry, the shirt looks great.
A soft, mottled effect is visible, 
the overall color is rich, 
and I couldn't be happier!

This is the first natural dyeing I've done 
since last summer, and clearly I've been away too long.
After the mid-August deadline is met, I have a feeling that
the dye pots will once again be put to use.
Perhaps Indigo?
Now that's an exciting thought. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hello, Planetarium

 I am smitten by Planetarium

Over the weekend at the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival  
my friend Marjorie and I met Esther Yaloz, 
textile designer and owner of Planetarium.

Esther is as lovely as her work, and I just couldn't 
leave the festival without an item to covet from her booth. 
If you're in the area, she also sets up shop at 
the Ithaca Farmer's Market about every other Sunday, 
although it's best to follow her on Facebook for 
updates on where she's selling. 
Esther also sells online, here.

Many of you are so kind to ask about my adorable 
and spunky 3 year old neice, Fabrizia,
a.k.a. Breezy.

Jeff and I were fortunate to spend four days with her 
over the Fourth of July holiday. Every day brought 
fishing, reading, swimming and roasting marshmallows!
With a little help from her Uncle Jeff, she caught at least 
a half dozen fish in Keuka Lake. She even pulled out the worms 
from the worm bucket. Impressive!

For the past few weeks I have set aside all work in the studio
so that I can focus on a mid-August deadline for 
Quilts=Art=Quilts 2014.
The work is thrilling to me, albeit slow and steady.
It will be a few more weeks before the studio gets back to 
normal, if there even is a normal? 

In the mean time,
I'd love to hear what you're working on this summer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Everything Old Is New Again

Recently soaking up every ounce of the Folklore issue of
Selvedge MagazineI was pleasantly surprised to find 
a few articles devoted to the recent come back of 
wood block printing, on both wallpaper and textiles. 

Wood block prints occupy a warm place in my heart.
Since cutting my first linoleum block in grade school,
I've occasionally returned to the process over the years, 
as it's a natural outlet for my design sensibilities
I've only recently come to know that about myself, 
and now that I do, block printing is 
alive and well in my studio. 

Because I don't have work of my own yet to show,
I thought I'd treat you to a sampling of today's incredibly  
talented wood block printers, starting with the 
renown UK artist Hugh Dunford Wood:

I'm a huge fan of his work, and you can read more about 
Mr. Wood's own fascinating story, amazing accomplishments and 
see more of his studio's lively designs on his website.

Let's also cheer on the home team of the Philadelphia-based 
company Galbraith and Paul
producing beautiful block printed wallpapers and textiles.

While Galbraith and Paul have recently switched to
some digitized design work, overall, it's heartening to
 see such a time-honored hand craft coming back for 
another round of due popularity world-wide.

Here are a few other block printers' websites 
noted in issue 59 of Selvedge Magazine:

Finally, because no discussion about wood block prints 
would be complete without mention of the master himself, 
William Morris:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Difference Between Work and Toil

Summer has officially arrived!  
The studio is busy with work: surface designs, 
sewing patterns and art quilts and more.
Shoulder to the grindstone, 
 I'm loving the work that is revealing itself. 

Thanks to all of you who have shown me support 
with your notes, hugs and interest in the work I'm doing. 
Your kindness goes a long way, 
especially when the hours grow long and the days grow short!
I truly appreciate your efforts and care.

Now, as I head back to the studio, here are a few treats:
Each year, as Independence Day approaches 
I seek out stories about our country's history; 
the people, their struggles, their victories and so on.

My favorite story teller is U. Utah Phillips.
 Above is a brief recording he made sharing his 
insights about anarchism. 
The second half especially struck a chord in me, 
and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Let me know if anything strikes a chord with you. 
  I'd love to hear.

 If your summer knitting is begging for a new bag,  
you're just in time...
new bags have landed in the shop
and today through Sunday, July 6th
everything in the shop is 15% off!
Just enter the code INDEPENDENCE14 at checkout.
All orders will be filled Monday the 7th.
Happy Independence Day! 
Wishing everyone a star-spangled 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Summer KAL!

 If you've followed this blog for a while, you may recall
that I'm a big fan of Lara Smoot's knitted designs.
Above is Lara's Ferry Beach pattern 
that I knitted for my very dear friend
 and college room mate, Karen Johnson.
 And here is Lara's Mirrored Step pattern 
which I knitted for myself.   :)

These and the rest of her patterns are available 
on her Etsy shop.  
I have found each one easy to read, as well as to knit. 
No stress, just fun and relaxing. 

Now, just in time for summer knitting,
Lara is kicking off her newest sock pattern,

 ~ Aquasocks ~
She's hosting summer-long KAL for any of her sock patterns.
Lara has great prizes lined up, and there's already 
 plenty of excited chatter on Ravelry.  
Be sure to join Lara's Summer of Socks fun here!

A big thanks to Tracy for loaning me this 
stack of her beloved childhood books.
Fairy tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Sigh. 

I didn't want to be one of those bloggers who fills the space 
talking about her cat, but....
this moment was priceless. 
Stanley is rocking the wooden stake back and forth. 
The chipmunk remains steadfast.