Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Itching to Sew

You know how it is...we're all enjoying the holidays with family, friends, food and good times, and in the middle of it all, I can't wait to get back to my sewing machine too. Happy times spawn creativity. For now I'm sketching and reading quilt art magazines in the free moments. I already have some ideas for gifts in 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


On December 15th my younger son who just got out of Afghanistan after a year-long deployment flew to Alaska to check out his proposed new state and the University of Alaska--Anchorage. A wonderful blogger buddy who lives in Alaska, Deb, offered to have Bryan and his buddy Brandon over for dinner--such a kind offer. The guys took her up on the offer right away. Here is Deb's blog about the trip! Thank you so much Deb.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Quilted

I finally finished quilting Jim's quilt. The mid-arm machine is humming along and working well following the cleaning and timing adjustment.

It's not the best meandering you've ever seen, but it looks good. I'm off to make the binding.

This week our #1 son is working hard before the holiday break when we'll be able to meet his lovely girlfriend, Krystle for the first time. Can't wait!

Our #2 son is in Anchorage, Alaska checking out the University of Alaska with his Army buddy and then they will be joining the rest of us for Christmas week!

All is well.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Up n' Running

Ah, finally feel 90% well today after five days of being sick. Same goes for my mid-arm machine. Her timing was off and was causing lots of shredded thread. Poor baby. She's all fixed now and we're finally working on quilting this one for Jim.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I already put this on Facebook, but it's too pretty not to share; this morning's sunrise.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More DSP

Last evening I screen printed with the screens that were designed earlier in the week. They turned out well, I think.

What do you think of the layering of the prints? The three in the top right look like they're out of focus; they were layered with the second print askew.

Later on I used the palm print with the leaf prints here and there.

These were layered quite a few times; the next one is my favorite...

It's hard to see the detail, but maybe it will show up when you click on the photo.

Things I've learned:
1) I'm using too much dye when setting the design. Each of these screens still has quite a lot of dye on it.
2) I love deconstructed screen printing!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Deconstructed Screen Printing

Today was a fun art day with Mary Ann as we experimented with deconstructed screen printing. We each made our own thickened dye designs on our screens. The screen above was the only one I made and haven't had time to use yet. The design is made with a plastic fern (top left), plastic leaf (tr), rubbing plate (bl) and plastic palm leaf (br).

The first screen I used was a tiny screen made from mat board, screen and duct tape...

The screen area was about 4" x 6" and was a good size to start with. Here are the prints I made with it--the order goes from top left to bottom right. With each print there was less dye and less detail, but more interest.

The next screen was quite a bit larger and the print was more detailed with plastic palm leaves and paper doily. I got 13 (!) prints out of this screen already and there is still more dye on the screen! Here are the prints in order...

Prints 1 & 2, dark color, lots of detail, and it's obvious what the imprints were

3 & 4, lighter color, a little less detail

5 & 6, I used some of the "dirty" print paste (with dye in it) to keep the color darker

7, 8 & 9, clean print paste, layered prints, less background detail

10 & 11, more dirty print paste to make them darker, less detail

12 & 13, not a lot of detail, but some really cool prints

Here's the screen that made these prints...

...and there's plenty more dye on it for more printing.

Here are two more fabric pieces that were printed with design objects before they went to the sink for cleaning.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Preparation for DSP & Some Holiday Gifts

Recently Judy Simmons and Mary Stori blogged about their art group's day of deconstructed screen printing (DSP)--using thickened dye and assorted items to "mark" a screen with designs. The screen with the dye design is then dried and, one print at a time, the dye is dissolved and screen printed onto fabric using a sodium alginate mixture to dissolve it. If you're totally confused, go to Kerr Grabowski's You Tube video here to see how it's done.

The process and end product were so interesting that our Quilting Arts Alliance group took notice and decided that we wanted to learn how to DSP. We've met a couple of times to watch Kerr Grabowski's DVD on DSP and to make screens and collect supplies.

Today I soda soaked some fabric...

...and dried it on the line. It was cold today, so it took a while to dry.

Here is one screen that's nearly done...

and another that's ready for use...

Tonight I'll mix the sodium alginate (thickener) and make thickened dye mixtures and print paste for tomorrow's print day. I found some wonderful plastic fern leaves and palm leaves for designs. The organic designs are my favorite. More on the finished product later.

I've also been working on some holiday gifts. My friend Jude doesn't have a computer so I can show hers here without worry. She lives in cold country and this little rice pack will warm her feet on cold winter nights. I pop mine into the microwave for one minute and then put it under the sheets at the foot of the bed a few minutes before I hop in. Mmmmmm, nice & warm.

Isn't this Japanese fabric lovely? It comes from my favorite fabric shop,Waechter's Fine Fabrics (pronounced Wockters) in Asheville, NC. Here's the rice packet that goes inside...

It's slipped inside the little case...

I'm off to light a fire in the fireplace and prepare for tomorrow.