Friday, March 29, 2013

Progress Towards Finishing

How does one know when a quilt is finished?  Sometimes the quilts just say - hey, I'm done.  Other times I pin them up on my design wall in my studio and live with them for a bit.  I think this one is finished.  I think.

I won't take the official photograph until I know for sure.  This quilt is heavily hand quilted.  It incorporates a lot of skills that I've picked up since childhood.   In fact the quilt is all about time which I will have to incorporate into the title.

Next is a in progress quilt.  I sketched this one out on a whim, stitched the resist thread and threw it into the vat.  It is called Kind Eye and I think it has a home waiting for it.

Today I'm spending some time caring for my indigo vat and hopefully I'll be back to dyeing.  I have some things waiting for a swim and some of them are on deadlines.

Linking up once again with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I had a very busy weekend.  On Saturday, I made a reed rack to safely store my reeds for the looms.  Racks are expensive from weaving supply companies - $90-150.  When I looked at the various designs, I figured that I could make one very easily.  I sketched what I wanted, added in measurements and went to the hardware store.  Turns out that I made mine for less than $30.  I used only simple tools my trusty drill and a handsaw.  If I had an electric saw, I could have made it quicker and perhaps with more accuracy.  My rack isn't quite square, but not noticeably so.  It is a tool, solves a problem, keeps the reeds out of the way and wasn't expensive.  Perfect in other words.  I'm delighted with it.  I made it larger than I currently need so ultimately it will hold eight reeds.  I have four reeds currently - 6, 10, 12, and 15.  I plan to add an 8 and maybe another 10 in stainless steel.  I will probably eventually paint my rack, but for now it is in place and doing the job.

Reed rack

We had an unexpected and very heavy late snow here in St. Louis on Sunday. It was a perfect day to get things done as we were going no where.

I measured out warp for ikat warp dyeing.

Ikat warp

Ikat is something I've always wanted to try.  It is labor intensive - warp threads are bound to resist the dye, and then it must be unbound after dyeing.  My indigo vat is temporarily on hiatus.  After many weeks of heavy use, I need to add more indigo!  So my warp will wait until then.

I warped the loom with some hand dyed yarns for a simple plain weave scarf.  I'm enjoying watching the color shifts and it is working up nicely.  I should finish weaving it today.  Once the finishing details are done and photographs taken it should be up in the shop soon.

Color weave

Finally, I've started spinning up my first fleece of 2013.  It is a sweet little Romney lamb's fleece.  It is the cleanest fleece I've seen, soft, beautiful almost black to gray and spins beautifully. 

First Fleece of 2013

I'm still plugging away on my quilts.  I have one for a show submission almost finished.  It has been quite a taskmaster as it demanded all hand quilting, but I'm very pleased with how it is turning out.  I next need to turn my attention to a quilt that has a home waiting.  I was at a meeting last week and someone saw the in progress quilt.  They asked to purchase it once it is finished!  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring Fever

It is about 70 degrees today in St. Louis.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my neighbors are all out and about.  I'm in my studio with the window open and I'm working on an idea.

I have a quilt idea that has been given me fits for the past few weeks.  I have some of the cloth dyed and ready to go, but my original idea didn't work.  So I put it aside and chewed on it for a while.  I am hoping my new idea works, but if not I'll learn something and move on.


This lump of string is the beginnings of my idea.  I am warping up a loom today to make some woven shibori (tie dye) cloth for a quilt.  I use a lot of shibori cloth in my work.  I've wanted to try woven shibori and use handwoven fabric in quilts for a few months now.  I'll keep you posted.

Linking up once again with Off the Wall Friday

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Weaving Begins

with many decisions and calculations.  How big do I want my cloth to be?  How long and wide?  What yarn will I use? How much of it do I need?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Steppin' Out

I finished my quilt today for the Friends of Art SIUE Auction.

Stepping Out

Stepping Out
18" x 20"

Hand dyed indigo shibori on cotton with indigo hand dyed perle cotton thread.
Pieced/whole cloth quilt with machine and hand quilted.

This quilt has evolved over the weeks.  I finally decided yesterday that it will be my donation for the auction.  The auction raises money and supports the art program at my university.  To say that I am grateful for the program would be an understatement.  I have been given so much more than education there.  I've found mentorship, friendship and creative refueling.  I'm learning to make a new life for myself at SIUE.  

I'll stitch the hanging sleeve on the back and sign it then deliver it.  I wonder where it will end up?

Linking up once again with Off the Wall Friday

Inspiration for the title came last week after another Kurt Elling concert.  This is one of my favorite songs that Kurt has done.  I played it on the way to my first class at SIUE.  Stepping into the light, indeed.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Works in progress

Break is nearly over (OH NO!) and I've been busy.

I have four quilts that have been pillow cased and are ready for turning, quilting and finishing.  I have two others waiting to be pillow cased.  My hope is by having work waiting for quilting it will be easier to grab and go.  I've been hand quilting at night in front of the TV, in meetings, etc.  I just realized that I have a soft deadline on the 9th for work and a hard deadline of the 15th.  Yikes!  I best get stitching!

Also finished this week is a skein of hand dyed yarn.  I still need to wash to set the twist.  I'm not sure if it will end up in Etsy or if it will be used in weaving.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring Break Now

Spring break is here!  It is hard to see the spring part because looking out my window right now I am seeing snow fall.  I have a lot of things planned for break.  It will mostly be a working break for me.  I have research for a paper for the history of photography to dig into.  I'm going to write about the connection of weaving and digital imaging.  It is a lot more interesting than that sounds.  Computers were in large part invented because of weaving!

I also have many quilts to push through.  I'm getting ready to submit work for two juried shows and I have a donation for the Friends of SIUE Art Auction.  This auction is special as it helps to support programming and scholarship at my school.

I have a pile of indigo fabric as well as hand dyed thread to work through.


I also need to rearrange my upstairs studio again.  I have another floor loom to add to my mix.  It will take up substantial space - more than my other loom.  I'll shift somethings around, move other things to the dye studio space and we'll see what results. Somehow it will all fit - I'm confident (or delusional).

Once again I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday