Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bedding and Beading

My artistic mojo has been a bit so-so since my last post.  I've been feeling compelled to plug away at the "Frolic!" mystery that Bonnie Hunter introduced in November.  I wanted to get it to a point where I had all the "moving" parts and could assemble it a bit at a time.

Why?  Because it's an elephantine-sized quilt.  How does one eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!  So...I've been trying to put the "meal" together in order to do that!

Those who follow this blog might recall that at the beginning of this month I'd come down with a serious case of "start-itis".  It has abated somewhat...because I've been working at what I started.  With respect to "Frolic!", here's where I am:

Clue 6 - DONE!

Clue 7 - DONE!

Clue 8 - All pieces cut!

Now...see that row-and-a-bit of squares?  Those have now been put into 4-patches with the blue-and-aqua Half-Square Triangles (HSTs) from the top photo (Clue 6)...and these from Clue 1:

And those four-patches PLUS the rest of Clue 6 are -- as of this post -- being assembled into 25 quilt blocks, each of which should finish at 12" square.

Considering that some of my art pieces for sale are each 12" square, well!  For me, those are BIG blocks!  For the record, I have five (5) assembled (no photos yet).

In other "bedding" news...I've cobbled together the last few rows of blocks for the centre of my postage stamp quilt, and hope to put the entire top together over the course of the next month...or so.

But there are other commitments...

And that brings me to "beading".

In my last post, I asked for feedback about beading both the 'sample' and the second piece.  Each of them were inspired by photos taken of trees in my yard in December, when we had a lovely bout of hoarefrost.

The general consensus was"BEAD!" -- both pieces.

So on Saturday, I did.  The first piece (shown here without the beads) was really my 'sample' and...sure enough, it finished too small (by fractions of inches) to be submitted to the SAQA Spotlight Auction fund-raiser.  BUT not so small that I can't have a mat cut for it and offer it for sale as a 'mini' at the Lacombe Art Show & Sale in April!

I love it when that happens!  😊

The second piece was larger -- mainly because the piece of hand-dyed fabric I had for the background was larger to start with -- so I beaded it too...and now it has been submitted to SAQA for the fund-raiser:

When I Look Up: December
Hand-dyed cotton, ink-jet printed from a tracing;
machine quilted, painted, hand-beaded.
Size: 6" x 8" -- to be matted
with a 4" x 6" opening

My dear friend who bought my piece entitled When I Look Up in the Spring has said she'll be bidding. Much as I'd love her to win it, I hope there's healthy competition!  😉

In other 'art' news...I got a chance to photograph the six remaining pieces from the "Inspired by Scotland" collection, currently hanging at the Alix Public Library and yes, available for purchase.  The librarian has to hang them up high based on the configuration of the space, but they still attract attention.  Look up.  Look 'wa-a-a-ay up!

Abbey Echoes I

(L) - Mended Wall: Stirling Castle
(R) View from Eilean Donan: Loch Duich

(L) Impressions of Portree
(Centre) Blossoms: Gardens at Clan Donald House
(R) Loch View: Inverness to Eilean Donan

And...this week our County Councillor called to tell me that someone from The County News would be in touch with me in March about my being chosen as "Featured Artist" for the Lacombe "Encore!" Art Show and Sale in April.

On the knitting front, where the "startitis" really hit...I've been dyeing yarn!  Some months ago, in a bag of yarn donated to The Shop, there were batches of unusual skeins of 100% wool -- 2-ply! from two different (and very long-ago) makers -- Munrospun "Morning Haze" in a natural colour (sorry, no photo) and Patons...

There was very little difference between the two.  Both were 100% wool.  Both were 2-ply.  And both were put up in skeins of long "sub-skeins", 28 grams each.  BUT the "Munrospun had been dyed an ugly old gold.

Y'all know I prefer magentas, blues, purples, hot pinks, teals...jewel tones.  So...what to do?  Dig out the dye!

A number of years ago now (maybe 8 or 10?)  I bought some acid dyes from the original owner of Pam's Woolly Shop of Stony Plain, Alberta -- now retired (her shop was bought by a long-time employee and is now known as Jo's Yarn Garden.  If you're in the area you might check it out!)

I bought it at a retreat where Pam had a 'pop-up' shop...and at a discount because it was 'old stock' even then.

Old wool yarn.  Old dye powder.  What did I have to lose?  Nothing...and everything...

So I dyed the entire batch -- 4 skinny skeins of 28 grams each (112 grams total) -- a Crimson...

The results?  The colour is deep, rich and glorious! Even over that ugly gold!

So...I sampled from partial skeins (about 10 - 11 grams each) of the natural-coloured Patons 2-ply fingering

Preparing the sample dye stock: Scarlet, Golden Yellow,
Warm Yellow and Turquoise

Four samples in four dye-baths...
in ONE pot of simmering water

As you can probably surmise by now, this is a process that requires heat.  I have done it in second-hand pots never used for food, on my kitchen stove.  I wear a mask to prepare the dye powder and water intial mix, but after that, all is well.  I use tongs to lift and stir -- never used for food.  And I can put this on heat and go about my day, checking in from time to time.  This is ACID Dyeing...and I use vinegar as my acid.  I dye till the dye bath is clear or almost so...and neutralize with baking soda -- testing with Ph strips I bought at the local pharmacy.  In the summer I would "sun dye" because the heat of the sun would work beautifully...but there are no excuses for not dyeing at -35 C outside...when you have a cozy kitchen and the right equipment!

What will I do with the results, you might ask.  I have long wanted to recreate one of the 'percentage system' pullovers designed by the inimitable Elizabeth Zimmerman, so...from her book Knitting Around I have chosen her "Seamless Yolk Sweater" -- see her chapters two and three.  I have enough skeins of the "natural" Patons to make the body, and plenty of the dyed yarn for the coloured yoke, from which I have selected Scarlet, Golden Yellow, Turquoise, some of the natural...and I have some black (natural from another supplier) if I need it.

I've cast on 316 stitches in the natural colour on a 2.75 mm x 32" (24 cm) circular needle...and have managed almost 1" of 2:2 ribbing.  This will be a Long, Slow Project.  Sort of like running a marathon, without the blisters and the sweat!  😉

I think that's enough news for I will leave you with a wish for a lovely week -- no matter the creative journey you're on -- and with a link to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Just think!  Next weekend at this time we'll be watching for ground hogs and their predictions for those in wintry climes...  Hugs to you all and have a great week!


elle said...

Wow. You are busy. Sew many pieces. Such lovely beading and I am guiltily and sadly thinking about my dye cupboard. Maybe this year.
Knitting bot so much but you do inspire!

Kathie Briggs said...

Love the crimson yarn. What a great way to salvage unhappy color. Maybe when I'm more advanced in my knitting I will want to try that. Wishing you good news from the ground hog!