Category Archives: surface design

Loving Color

     Maybe it’s just because it’s winter.

A few of my favorite hand dyed threads from this last batch.

 And against the starkness of the white snow, color is more appealing.

 Tray Dyeing with highly concentrated dyes on folded and pleated cotton. It was a happy mistake to not dilute my dyes but to just pour it on. Oops…

                                                       The Colors of Christmas
                                                                    28x 33
     I made this little piece at a workshop. Some people don’t finish workshop samplers. I do because I remember fondly my time there and it helps me to remember what I have learned. I like it better now that it has the added element of stitch. Stitch changes everything, doesn’t it? The colors are bright and bold. And that’s ok with me now. At the time I was comparing myself to others who were using subtler colors around me. Bold and bright is where I am at now. 
     Color is just beautiful and I am having fun celebrating it this week. 
Be creative, my friends! 

The Hamster Wheel

     Yes, I am on one this week. Hustling around trying to get the computer situation fixed. My computer guy is very disorganized and has cost me lots of extra time. Customer satisfaction is everything these days…Take care of the customer seems very easy, doesn’t it? One more trip back today to return something and then three will be working. I might cave and go for the big Apple for myself after this fiasco. And then my lab is sick and at the vet-she ate a cake on the front seat of my car-homemade and a gingerbread cake. Silly things -that as the vet says-she does this every December. Must not like how busy I am.

     So, very little time has been spent on quilts. I have been hand stitching on my crinkle quilt. Pieces pulled

for something like this.

. Basting done for #5 which needs to be done before Christmas.

 I think #6 and #7 might be for the week after Christmas unless a huge chunk of time opens up. Haven’t given up yet. And trying some more screen printing.  Screens from Lynne Krawczyk.

     Definitely addictive.15-30 minute bits of time in my studio.

     I am going to put some of these threads in my Etsy shop as several people have requested that I dye some for them. But I will put them here first. Two batches:

     The first one is Fire and consists of 5 skeins of hand dyed DMC embroidery thread- 10$.


The second is my favorite is :  Spring Sky 5 skeins of hand dyed embroidery thread-10$.      


Great for hand stitching on your art quilts. E-mail me if you would like them. If not they will be on Etsy tomorrow.

Whew -the weekend is almost here!

Be creative, my friends.

ADD: Hand dyed thread is sold- more to come in my Etsy shop.

Time to Play/ Last Giveaway

     I had exactly one hour before I left to pick the kids up from school. And I had finished my quilt. So, I lined up my supplies: Simply Plaid screen printing paint, sponge brush, fabric, a thermofax screen and a cover cloth for my work surface.

 The first pull-I should have peeked underneath to see what my coverage was like. Sorry about the dark picture. I need to adjust to really dark, cloudy days here in my picture taking. I love this process as it is instant gratification.

     I purchased my thermofax screen from Lynn Krwaczyk in her Etsy store. I have enjoyed her blog for the past few months and thought it was something I would like to try. She has EXCELLENT tutorials (free education!) on Youtube and you can find links, of course, on her blog. Fun and very addictive. It only took about 15  minutes and now must be heat set. When I received my copy of Quilting Arts magazine yesterday, she has a 6 page article on this process. It was an added bonus to my new little surface design playtime.

     Last thank you for reading my blog giveaway:

     One yard of handdyed blue velvet, 2 Simply Plaid screen printing paints, and 4 handdyed embroidery threads.  My question : Do you have a technique that is on your list to try? Leave a comment on this post by next Tuesday and I will have one of my kids randomly choose the winner.( If you win, you might need to check out Lynn’s Etsy shop.)

     Be creative, my friends. For me. I need to focus on Christmas shopping today.

Another Learning Moment

The first snow 2010: December 1

       Late this year.The snow.  Looks silly with the sunshine in my banner….ahhh…it’s just the week….
       By trying to juggle this new potential career -art and mommyhood- or maybe it’s just working at home-I am learning alot about myself. Take for instance Monday night. 260 women to serve punch, cookies, cheese, crackers, fruit, coffee, tea and water. Sounds good. I can help. I am at home. Sure. Well, I did have two wonderful kind generous friends to help. BUT, clearly, I didn’t have enough help. I was whooped on Tuesday morning. All went well at a  lovely Christmas gala but really Colleen. Lessons learned this week already:

1.Ok to volunteer but look at the calendar. Don’t overcommit. Plan ahead.
2. Learn to delegate. (What was I thinking? )

It’s all a blur but it’s behind me. 🙂

I am now on to binding #3.

I am bribing myself to get this done so I can try this:

I bought a few thermofax screens on Etsy which I will tell you about tomorrow. I won’t get to try them out today (now that’s a realistic statement) but more tomorrow on them. Do you bribe yourself like this? If you get A done, you can play with B? That’s also the whole focus part, isn’t it? My head hurts from learning so much about myself so early in the morning!

I haven’t forgotten I owe you the fourth giveaway. Just haven’t had time to think about what it might be!

I will focus for you today.

Be creative, my friends! And breathe if you don’t have time to be.

A Different Kind of Cooking

     Some people make dinner for their families. Nice healthy, hot dinners.

Not generally linen dyed in pomengranate juice and then boiled in hot water.

 Or fall leaves ready to be cold bundled.

 But those people just aren’t having as much fun as I am.

These results will take a few days. So stay tuned. I should have bundled more but am out of usable fabric. My daughter warned me I under no circumstance use any piece of fabric in her room that was white.

Be creative, my friends!

The Flop of the Workshop Queen

     I really love to read what I read the day before – and then laugh at what I have written. I am making a costume for one of those silly high school events. decided to be Jessie and Woody from Toy Story. I thought ok that will be easy. Fabric obtained and ready to sew yesterday thinking I would be done in a day.

     I have made and re-made the yellow vest-maybe four times so far. I don’t sew garments for a reason. Everything just seems backwards to me and I can’t make it all fit together. No I don’t have a pattern. How hard did I think it was going to be? On top of my frustration is the little princess who thought it wasn’t quite right again… Tomorrow I need to conquer the cuffs and the chaps which will go over jeans.

     So much for all that knowledge I have from all those workshops. Knowledge is only good if you can use it. Most of my usable knowledge is currently coming for free on the internet.

      The good part of my day was that my camera lens came back from the repair shop. Maybe you will get pictures of this lovely costume yet this week and it will be finished.

     My new machine seems to like piecing.

A trial of machine quilting on this next. After the Jessie costume is done.

Washed up two surface design pieces which were painted with some diluted acrylic paints. I feel like a squirrel putting away as much summer time dyeing and painting to use in the long winter months here.  Can’t get enough put away.

I was worried they were going to be stiff but I heat set first, then washed them. Nice and soft. Ready for hand stitching this winter.

Off to sew a costume.
Happy Sewing, my friends!

The Beginning Work

     It is very quiet here. Drinking my coffee and enjoying the peace, the ticking of the clock and the hum of the refrigerator. Not quite wanting my day to start without them -but it already has -at 6am.  Missing them but relieved for the peace. Always kind of a push pull kind of thing isn’t it? Not quite wanting to start the list of things that is already there and wondering how it will all fit in. And then wondering where the art piece will fit in today.

 And wondering what to share of what I am doing. I did finish the memory quilt. A big yeah! I also pieced the first in my series/study.

It measures about 36 by 36 and I am not going to quilt it yet. I might add another to it but the next in the series…My parameters for the study: play with one block or motif and manipulate it as many times as I can stand it. Don’t need to necessarily like the outcome but just work the motif. Each piece will be individually cut freehand with the rotary cutter-just like this one. Looks like floor tile to me … oops I said no criticizing it , didn’t I? I will show you these along my way.

Also, I am on Work of the Week #2. Parameters on this project:

     1. 4 per month measuring 8×12.
     2. I will start with surface design techniques.
     3. Again, I don’t need to like it, just experiment.
     4. Start with a plain white “canvas”.
     5. No starting it over-finish what you start with.
     6. I may or may not show you them.

That’s it. I will document on the back what I liked and what worked.

This is actually the back which I liked more than the front-the way the paint seeped through the quilting lines.
The front was painted AFTER I did the quilting lines with some Jaquard paints I had in my drawer.

Odd I know . I am not a painter and don’t like the colors or my paintstrokes…oops again…what I do like…what I do like….

I LOVED stitching first and applying color second. Positive is better and makes me feel like I learned something. I guess I need to work on critiquing rather than criticizing my work. That might be the most painful part of this process. Ongoing and forever I guess. Critique rather than criticize.

Off to weed, shop, drive and go to a cross country meet. After I put my hands on some fabric for awhile!

Happy Sewing, my friends!

Hot, Hot and Hotter

     I know I am hot here in Vermont with a long stretch of 90 plus days this week . Absolutely no air is moving. We have one room with an air conditioner in it but other than that we are braving the heat. And then I quit fussing when I see how hard the farmers are working in this heat to get their hay in. I love seeing all the bales of hay on the fields. And I see how hot my fair skinned 14 year old is after working for a few hours at the dairy barn…and I quit complaining. She has been getting up at 5:30 this week just to get her cows ready for her first 4H show this week. It’s a little cooler then but not much. I am sweating just sitting here typing. Thank goodness it will turn this weekend.

     Computer fixed and much better. I always second guess my ability to know when things aren’t right with it and blame it on my lack of knowledge rather than feel for how it’s working. Oh well. Maybe my brain is just fried this week….

     One for my goals for this summer was to dye a lot of fabrics. I like to dye here in my barn and have myself supplied for the year as far as fabric is concerned. A secondary goal was to practice all of these techniques I have recently learned. And figure out if it is something I would like to use and how to integrate it into what I am doing. So I tried acrylic wash which I was introduced to from Velda Newman.

     I took a piece of fabric and placed it in a hoop. I wet the canvas with a clean brush.

Then I took just a little acrylic paint-very watered down- and began spreading it on the canvas. I only had three colors. Then I used  some miscellaneous tools and just played with these two pieces I let them air dry for about two days and then threw them in the washing machine, air dried them again and ironed. I was surprised how soft they were. There was a little fading but not much. It just softened it. Voila, two new pieces of very unique fabric.

    I would use this again. But wouldn’t buy more paint at this time unless I have a 50 percent off coupon!

  Had a bad day today. It happens. People just not acting nicely here and need to think of how to handle it tomorrow. I’ll just think of my double rainbow from last week instead! Isn’t it beautiful? 
Happy thoughts, my friends!

Different but the Same

     I am being tugged between two entirely different things right now and feel kind of at a crossroads. I love quick improvisational piecing and the gratification of finishing a top. But I also love the satisfaction of handwork on a piece. Which we all know takes much longer. So rather than feeling as if it is a conflict and I need to choose, I am going to see if I could make it all fit together. Like the piece I made at Christmas time called Fire. But a little less fussy.
     Seems funny to take a class online but that’s how I learned to dye fabric so why not. No extra fees for staying somewhere and for food. So I signed up at Joggles for  Mark Making with Hand Dyed Embroidery Threads with Melanie Testa last week. I know, kind of impulsive, aren’t I? And there was a bit of eye rolling at my house when I told them I would be in the garage doing thread dyeing. Ok, even my  10 year old son said -I thought you could just buy it at Joanne’s-like hundreds of colors Mom-whatever….But I had fun.

You wrap your floss around little floss holders and squish it around in a plastic baggie. And you have beautiful colors.

I was afraid of making them too dark but now realize I must have some darker colors and some greens. Maybe some deeper yellows. I used cotton DMC floss, perle cotton and some yummy silk. This would be easy to do when you dye your fabrics.

So why dye my own floss? Because then  it’s my own colors dyed by my hand. So simple. Why don’t they get it? 🙂

Happy sewing, my friends-off to conquer last night’s list.