Amazing Myself 

I don’t know about you, but my life ebbs and flows with busyness. Although I am never lacking for things to do, occasionally I hit those weeks or months when I’m running like crazy. Last week was one of those. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I ran that hard for eight straight days. I was so totally exhausted that I almost skipped out on my last day’s activity, but I have to confess that I’m really glad I didn’t.

Our weaving guild had scheduled a workshop which was advertised as silk dyeing. The teacher was our speaker our monthly meeting, and at that point I found out that it was silk painting instead. I was really disappointed, and I wasn’t very enthusiastic about her finished painted projects. That, combined with my utter exhaustion gave me every excuse I needed not to go. However, the teacher had been hired based on a certain number of students, and I really didn’t want to let the guild down. So I dragged myself out of bed, packed my lunch, and headed off on yet another hour  long drive.

Since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was very pleased to discover that our teacher had provided each of us with a piece of unhemmed silk to practice on. And additional blessing was that she had brought some sketches we could use for our designs. This was a good thing, because I can’t really draw my way out of a paper bag. 😉 I quickly snagged the dragonfly. All week long, when ever my thoughts turned toward the silk class, I kept thinking about dragonflies, so I was very thrilled to see that particular pattern! I traced it on the silk, and had no problems picking the five analogous colors I wanted to use. But I did have problems with was my sporadically tremorous hands. It turns out that my crazy week had produced hands that were at their worst, so my resist lines went on looking like Arabic writing. Happily, applying the paint is not a detail oriented activity. 🙂 I love working with resists and flowing paints! My little dragonfly came out looking not too bad. Then I figured that since this was supposed to be our experimental piece, I would try an idea I had for the background. I like the concept, but with only one brush, and using paints, which dry quickly, I could not keep a wet edge. So, my colors did not flow together for the most part. I’d like to try this again with dyes, or perhaps with one brush for each color. I’m glad I tried it, even if this particular experiment didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, because I learned a lot by doing it.


As I was finishing my practice piece, I had a sudden inspiration. I loved my color palette, but I knew I needed a different type of background. Not only did the technique not work well under the conditions I had to work in, but my dragonfly “vanished”  because of the similarly sized and shaped motifs. I wanted my dragonfly to pop out! I needed straight lines and some contrast. Then I remembered some batik quilts I’d been looking at on Pinterest recently. With a  wide range of colors, all of a similar tone, the large silhouette appliqués on them had popped out, producing some really stunning quilts. Bingo! I was going to duplicate this affect on my scarf! The only problem was that I would have to draw my dragonfly. LOL…

After getting my scarf mounted in the frame, I took a deep breath and set to sketching a dragonfly. I convince myself that: 

  1. This is a silhouette, so details weren’t that big of a deal. 
  2. It doesn’t take a whole lot of details to make something look like a dragonfly. 
  3. My hands were shaking like crazy, so everything was going to look a little wonky anyway. I could just go with the flow. 😉 

Well, I drew my dragonfly and the basic grid to break the background into 16 blocks, and it was exceedingly wonky! In fact, it was so wonky that when I put the resist on, I didn’t exactly stick with my drawn lines, and I actually think I did better than the original drawing. I decided to dry that before I doing the rest. There was just too much wet resist for me to keep my hands out of! Then I went back and added the details to the log cabin blocks. I did all of those freehand, as I wanted it to be somewhat organic in feel rather than regimented. This was actually starting to look good, and I couldn’t wait to see it with the color on it. 

It took a long time to paint that much silk, and I was racing the clock, trying to get done before class was over. I did not make it, but the teacher and a couple of my fellow students hang around to let me finish my painting. I owe them a big favor! 😉 I dried the paint there with the blow dryer, but I brought it home to heat set and wash it, which I did almost immediately, despite the fact that I was dead on my feet. It was looking so wonderful, I could not wait to see the finished project! And I have to admit that for a class I almost skipped out on, and for a person who really can’t draw… let’s just say I’m really happy I went. 😉 

Things I learned:

  1. It does not have to be perfect to be beautiful.
  2. My teacher put my scarf into the frame instead of just telling me how to do it. I normally do not allow my teachers to touch my class projects, and I wish I had not this time either. She did not have the tension even, so some of my primary lines that were reasonably straight when I drew them turned out extremely wavy after washing the scarf and pressing it square. So back to doing my own thing, and if I do this again, square is important!
  3. I want to make my designs, then have somebody with steady hands put the resist on! Then I can do some beautiful painting… 🙂
Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Next Best Thing?

This time of year always leaves me longing to have another Fiber Adventure Week, but there is just no way I can pull that off this year – just too much on my plate. I tried to come up with an alternative for myself in hopes of at least scratching the itch, and as a result, this past week may not have been a fiber adventure, but it’s been as fiber rich as I could make it. While running errands (fix the A/C on my car, replace my disintegrating shoes, get my blood work done, etc.) I’ve worked on gathering supplies for near future projects, including some Christmas gifts I’m planning. During my evening knitting time, while working on a near deadline project, I’ve been previewing some of my Craftsy classes, choosing which class projects I think I want to approach when. Late afternoon and early evening has found me out on the porch weaving another near deadline project. And I’ve snuck in some online shopping and browsing for some special supplies I can’t find locally. It may not equate to a Fiber Adventure Week, but I sure have been up to my ears in fiber stuff this week, and I have to admit that it takes the sting out of those drudge task when I’m focused on fiber for as much of my day as I can manage. 🙂

One thing I’m plotting for myself is some felting – nuno being the first target, I think, but there are also some other techniques I want to play with. I found some lovelies on Etsy, and placed orders with two sellers. The goodies from CarinEngenFiberArts on Etsy have arrived already, and they are so gorgeous that I’m half terrified to use them as a first, solo experiment! I’ve also managed to pick up all the tools of the trade this week, so I can make it as soon as I get my nerve up.

IMG_1534IMG_1533

To the left is a silk scarf and matching merino fiber “kit” I picked up from her. The scarf is woven like the two-toned Dupioni silk fabric, so it’s iridescent and breathtakingly gorgeous. The merino is a perfect match, splashed with greens, pinks, and golds. I love it! I also ordered 4 bundles of her “extra merino” to play with, and all are fabulous! Coupled with the quick shipping, she gets two thumbs up. 🙂

After getting my A/C fixed, I stopped by my “local” (only an hour away) yarn store. She’d done some remodeling since I’d last dropped by, and I was curious to see how things looked (much improved!) The bad thing is that it had been a substantially long time since I’d been there, and I found some super “new to me” items, including gorgeous buttons handmade by Alice Hunt of AliceHuntStudio, the new Noro Rainbow rolls, and Araucania’s Lontué cotton/linen yarn. I also got a killer deal on an 8 ounce handpainted roving bundle and some yummy Kathmandu I found in the clearance bin. All in all, it cost me dearly to pop in to see the renovations. On the other hand, I also got to hang out awhile and knit, and the slice of quiche lorraine ordered for lunch from the diner around the corner was almost worth the trip on it’s own! 😉

Kathmandu

Kathmandu

Noro Rainbow Rolls

Noro Rainbow Rolls

Button - obviously...

Button – obviously…

Mystery Merino Roving

Mystery Merino Roving

Lontué

Lontué

The good thing is that I am really pleased with all this stuff from the yarn store; the bad thing is that I’m not sure what I’m doing with any of it, which makes me feel dreadfully guilty in regard to my personal goals for the year. I haven’t earned the right to buy it at all, and I can’t even justify it yet! Oops! I’m thinking we can just mark yarn rationing off as a mega-fail…

Another project this week was to order “potential” yarn for Loopy Academy. I found that the first semester of the Sophomore year fit pretty well into my personal goals for the next few months. If I get done before deadline, I’ll be pleased, and if I fail, so be it… I’m not going to drive myself insane trying to make it, but I thought it was worth a try this time around. The blue is for a cabled Christmas gift requested by hubby. The multi/green is for a travel project, Perfect Retreat Shawl by Susan B. Anderson, as I finished my other travel projects this past winter, not knowing we were taking this trip. It has lace panels, so will qualify for my texture. That leaves the green, which I will be using for my pillow, as the one thing that I didn’t really need to make, and I’m hoping I can squeeze it in around the corners – perhaps social knitting. The purple/blue is my Camp Loopy prize for this past summer of frantic knitting, and I’m thinking about using it for Screendoor. I think that shawl is simple enough to look good in a variegated yarn, and I’m hoping it won’t take me forever to get around to knitting it. because the yarn is gorgeous!

(At this point, I discover that the photos will no longer upload. Sorry! Not sure what is up… but just use your imagination for the rest, okay?)

Next project was to order the thread I’ll need for the upcoming Doubleweave workshop that our weaving guild has scheduled with Jennifer Moore. We had so much fun with her last spring that we are having her back again already! I also realized I’m going to be short on the warp I’m weaving off right now, and I picked up a few more cones to mix and match with the new workshop colors for more versatility with my leftovers, so my box was pretty heavy when all was said and done! I’m always mail ordering from The Woolery, and the gals have been a great help to me as I’ve been learning to spin. One of these days, I’m going to make a field trip down to see them in person. 🙂

And the last preparatory acquisition I’ve worked on is something I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned doing in my blog. I went fabric shopping (while waiting for my pizza one evening…). Several of my Craftsy classes are bag projects, and although my fabric stash is pretty much as healthy as my yarn and fiber stashes, I didn’t really have anything quite right for these projects. Pity… I still need to pick up some various interfacing and such, but that and time are the only things standing between me and some fun, quick sewing projects now. I love it when beginner sewing projects are cute. I don’t have enough free time or mental energy to sew complicated right now, so these will be perfect. I’m actually thinking it would be fun to have everything pretty much kitted and take it with me the next time I go out to see my daughter, as I enjoy doing more out of the ordinary projects when I visit her. Funny… I can’t believe I’ve sewn so little in recent years that it seems an out of the ordinary project… sigh…

Now it’s time for true confessions… It took me 3 weeks to get this one post finished and published. That would indicate I’m entirely too busy! My Academy pillow is nearly done – but temporarily on hold as I drill through some short deadline projects – like prepping for the weaving class. The weaving yarn I picked for the workshop turned out not to work with the draft they gave me, so I “had to” place yet another order with The Woolery. (I assumed 2 colors, but my draft needed four.) I’m madly in love with my class warp, and I won’t have any problem using the other stuff I bought – probably sooner than later. Eventually I’ll manage to get some more updates on here… but don’t hold your breath unless you look really good in cyan. 😉 One thing hasn’t changed, though. I’m definitely prepared with a blue ton of projects to complete over the next few months. Boredom is not an option!

Published in: on October 12, 2015 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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