Saturday, February 23, 2008

Alabama Hills - day1

Today, I dyed several pieces of fabric to use on my new rock piece, based on a picture I took in the Alabama Hills back in 1997.

I am using scraps of cotton crinkle cloth, bleached and unbleached muslin for the project. I dyed several pieces this morning using light strength Charcoal, Camel, Rust brown, Chocolate brown and Havana brown Procion MX dyes from Dharma. The rocks in the photo don't have much color, mostly just light and dark neutrals, but my color junkie demands colors, sooooo......

Here's a detail shot of the area I have fused so far:

The fusing is going quicker than I thought it would, so I should be ready to embellish in another day or so. My plan is to use contrasting thread to add details to the rocks, and texturize the sky.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Crazy about rocks!

I am a rock-lover... got the bug from Grandma Doane when I was a kid, and never lost it. Back in 1997, Bruce and I went on a 12-day driving trip around the perimeter of California. Our first stop was at Lone Pine, on the east side of the state, and the big draw there was the Alabama Hills. I had never heard of them until we went there, but the minute we drove up into the hills and I saw the incredible rock formations, I was a goner! The rocks are ancient, enormous, and very soothing. It was very quiet there and incredibly beautiful. Naturally, I took rolls of pictures of these huge beauties, then tucked them away in an album. Well.... while I was casting about for ideas for my next project, I pulled the album out, and sketched a few of the pictures. So here's what I will be working on next:

Here's the photograph, and below is my design

I will be using hand-dyed fabrics, and free-motion quilting for the details. And with all the pictures I took, hopefully this will be just the first in a series!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big changes on the horizon

I have been sitting on some news for awhile, doing some research and making sure of my situation, and finally, imparting the news yesterday to my wonderful 'boss' at my part-time job. I will be finishing out 2008, then re-retiring to take up my art on a full-time basis! This is the scariest, most wonderful thing I have ever done for myself, and something I have wanted to do for a very long time. But practicality had to prevail... bills to be paid, food to buy, etc. However, due to some strange fluke, I happened to work for a company that offered things like pensions, retirement 401k's, health insurance... it was a worthwhile investment of my time and effort -- 34 1/2 years with them, to be able to walk away 5 years ago with a full retirement package! Then, after relocating to Flagstaff with my hubby, I went to work for a wonderful office part-time doing work I have loved and meeting and making friends with a really neat bunch of people. So it makes this move a little bittersweet, and yet what a wonderful way to end my working career, knowing that I have been able to help a relatively new business grow, and that my efforts have been appreciated!
So now I have time to prepare myself for this giant leap into the creative process, and I know it's going to be a wonderful leg of my journey! More to come...

Monday, February 18, 2008


Well, as you can tell from the last couple of posts, I couldn't decide which end was up on my Scrap-heap quilt, but I finally got it together and it is DONE! Yaaay! I went out to the garage yesterday to rummage in my boxes of craft supplies for a couple of things. While I was there, I found a nice piece of bark in the wood pile that I glued down with craft glue, added some embroidery floss and beads, removed the gray triangle and rectangles from the upper right corner, and declared the embellishments completed. Then it was just a matter of trimming, adding the backing and sleeve and TA-DAH! Only thing left is to create and attach the label on the back.

I had enough time after I finished this one that I decided to finish one of the art cloths I created using defective DVD's awhile back:

All I did with this was add pellum and backing, then I did a simple running stitch to divide the squares. It's hard to see in such a small picture, but I think the design is fine without further enhancements, so we'll see. I am submitting both pieces for our Recycled Art Exhibition. Even though the second one was made using new fabric, the dyes I used for the first layer were left over from another project, and the DVD's were saved from the landfill!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Embellishing has begun

Okay, so I started embellishing my scrap heap quilt today. It's very slow going... why? Well, just because the design is so linear, and I don't want to over-clutter it with embelishments just for the sake of embellishments! I also don't plan to do any machine quilting on it for the same reason. At any rate, here is what I have done so far:

I still have a ways to go, but it's taking some time to decide what I want to do, soooo.... time to take a few steps back, turn it in every direction, walk away, come back and look some more. I woke up this morning with an idea for the area where I ended up couching yarn in a swirl... not the idea I started out with, but the chenille yarn just leant itself to the design I ended up with. Some of the buttons ended up on the piece, but not too many so far. I may put this aside for a day or two to see what else comes to mind.....

Friday, February 15, 2008

The next phase

Well, I've finished the hand-stitching on my 'scrap heap' quilt, and now it's time to start thinking about embellishments. I bought a bunch of buttons at Michael's this week, so I have lots to work with, but I think they will be better used sparingly on this design. I'm looking at 'suede' yarn, leather thong and beads as well, but haven't finalized things in my mind yet. One thing I like about what I've done so far is that I used wonder under to create a 3-dimensional feature on one of the 'arrows'. Here is the piece as it is now:

Well, I've got the weekend to play with this, so hopefully I will have another progress report soon!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A good day to putter

It has been snowing and windy all day long... a great day to just dither and putter. I have been focused for awhile on a piece I hope to submit for the QA Magazine Calendar contest, but decided I need to back away for a day or two to think about how I want to finish it off. So today, I decided to see if I could come up with a scrap heap quilt. I have tons of scraps from prior projects, plus a lot of scraps from my own hand dyed fabrics. I decided to use just the hand dyed fabric to see what I could come up with. Here is the mock up:

Not sure yet if I will follow through and sew it, but it has been fun to pull scraps and come up with a design. I was really trying to work on something I could submit for our local Recycled Art show, but got tired of trying to come up with something using magazine words, so I figured actually using scraps I have had around forever should qualify as recycling! We'll see...