Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Diversion

I've been sucked in by knitting. On Mrs. Mel's blog she showed some pictures of colorful mitered squares that she knitted. It's modular knitting with squares of different sizes. Given my current overlapping squares style of composition, this immediately caught my attention. But wow! the cost of yarn is amazing; even more so for hand dyed yarn. So why not dye my own? How hard can it be; I already know how to dye fabric and I've done pearl cotton threads. It's just bigger threads, right?

I ordered 4 skeins of cotton yard from Dharma. I've ordered so much from them lately that I had to tell them not to send me another catalog - I already have 3 of Fall/Winter 2006. It arrived yesterday and last night I prepared the dyebaths. I want variegated yarn, so 2 of the skeins are red/yellow/orange and 2 are blue/purple/green. Except I think one of my jars of blue dye has lost its oomph. That sort of olivey green was supposed to be teal. It sure looked like teal going onto the yarn, but it sure doesn't look like it now. I guess dye powder does have a shelf life; this blue is 6 years old. The part that does look teal is really green.

I discovered several differences between fabric dyeing and yarn dyeing. You have to be very careful not to tangle the skeins which means you can't rely on the washing machine to do the rinsing. A major inconvenience, for sure. And for the same reason, I can't throw them into the dryer to dry. The humidity here currently is 70% so this drying out could take a while. I'm going to have to put a fan on them or else they will mold before they dry.

I soaked the yarn in soda ash first and it was difficult to get it wet. It epelled the water and it took some persuasion. And since I wanted to dye each skein with 4 colors they had to be laid out so that the colors didn't migrate into each other. I spread the skeins out on a melamine board, surrounded the edge with towels, and commenced to squirt. I missed a few spots, either with the dye or with the soda ash, but I'm not going to redo it. It will just be a design decision.

Stay tuned for further progress reports on the sweater...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The die is cast

Last week I scurried around to complete my entry to Quilt National. I've entered QN at least 5 times and so far have not made the cut. In the past I've been much better prepared and didn't have to send my entry at the last minute. Not this time. I put the finishing touches on the 3rd entry last Monday and photographed it. QN seems to be a holdout in the digital world because it is only accepting slide entries. Took my slides to the local processing lab in downtown Baltimore to drop them off and discovered that they no longer have the 4 hour turnaround that they had in the past. The slides wouldn't be back until Friday.

Well, Friday still gave me enough time if I sent the entries FedEx 2 day delivery. The only problem was that on Friday I was leaving town for a weekend sewing retreat and didn't want to hang around until the end of the day. Luckily I was able to pick them up by 1pm. I had my entry all prepared: forms filled out, other slides labeled, check, return SASE, and the FedEx envelope and label prepared. I even had enough forethought to figure out where the nearest dropoff spot would be and it was less than 1 mile away from the lab.

And even though I designated 2 day delivery so that it would arrive today, the receive by deadline, it was delivered yesterday. And so I throw in my lot with the other 1800 or so entries. They said you could include an early notification postcard, which they send if you don't get in. In the past few years the news of who has been accepted has been out long before I ever received my postcard, so this year I didn't bother. The grapevine is alive and well, and working far better than the USPS.

And also, so as not to tempt the evil goddesses, I'm not posting a picture of any of what I entered.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My show

My show Seeing is Believing: Glass and Fiber opened last Sunday at VisArts in Gaithersburg, MD. The opening was well attended and many favorable comments were made. I had 13 pieces displayed and the 3 glass artists had about as many. The contrast between the two media made for a very interesting display: color vs neutral, soft vs hard. It was a very well put together show, imho.

I forgot my camera at the opening but went back yesterday and got some shots.

This next piece is the first one visible as you entered the room. It is nicely enhanced by a little red dot. The show continues through October 6. If you are in the Washington, DC area, drive on out to visit. VisArts is located at 9300 Gaither Rd, off the Shady Grove Exit of I-270.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Changing the World - European Edition

Changing the World - European Edition opens next week at the Val d'Argent Expo, Ste Marie aux Mines, Haut-Rhin, France. The show runs from September 14-17. Above is the cover to the catalog produced by Thelma Smith, the curator of Changing the World. It is available for $12 through this link Congratulations and thanks to Thelma for all her hard work in putting this exhibit together and taking it to France.

My quilt "Grid City" is a part of this exhibit.

This is a whole cloth quilt that was dye painted and stamped. Small squares of colored organza were overlaid for the transparency effect. The size is 29" L x 19" W.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Upcoming Show

Next Sunday, September 10, my show at VisArts opens. This is the postcard for the show. The other 3 artists work in glass. I will have 13 pieces hanging, some new and some several years old. If you are in the Washington, DC area between September 10 and October 6, please visit!