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Mood Indigo

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Me and my blue fingers are checking in with some photos of today’s shibori class. I learned a lot about indigo and the Japanese method of shibori. We did several samples: stitching, clamping and scrunching.

Here are photos of my stitching. This method of shibori is very tedious, but you can get some interesting and almost predictable designs. Here are samples of my stitching:


Here is the same piece with the stitches pulled and gathered. I used buttonhole twist for strength.


Here is the other piece. It has screws which I have stitched around and some curved stitching.


Here are some fabrics that are folded and clamped.


Indigo is not fiber reactive. It lays on the surface of the fiber and needs oxidation to work. So you have to dip in the indigo, take it out and fuss with it while the dye turns from green to blue as it oxidizes; this is repeated at least 3 times – more for silk.

Here is some class work hanging on the line to dry.


And here are today’s samples, rinsed, washed, dried and ironed.


Clockwise, here is what I did:

  1. cotton folded and clamped with a two Plexiglas squares that had holes in the center.
  2. dupioni silk triangle fold and clamped with sections of a wooden clothes pin on each side.
  3. cotton shibori stitching
  4. cotton shibori stitching – attempting shapes and stitching around screws
  5. silk chiffon scarf that was wrapped around a 1 1/2 inch wood dowel and scrunched – not tying.
  6. linen damask tablecloth piece folded and clamped with credit cards on each side
  7. dupioni silk folded and clamped with Plexiglas squares

Today, we used synthetic indigo. Tomorrow we are using the natural stuff. I have one piece that I am using a rusted metal to clamp it. It has to dry between dye dips so that the oxidation can cause the rust action.

There are 8 students in the class, with a couple of young women — the rest are in my generation. I love the instructor. She has a great sense of humor and is ever so patient with us.

I am going to prepare an arashi piece for dyeing tomorrow. That is the pole wrapped fabric with string and scrunching.

I made it to Weight Watchers at 5 pm and weighed the same as I did last week in the morning so I am assuming that I lost about 2 pounds, at least.

Could It Really Be Friday?

Friday, June 15th, 2007

This will be a multi-purpose post. I have a few things to catch up on.

First of all, I have posted new photos on the Virtual Iraq War Protest. Click on the Endless/end this war bumper sticker in my side bar. Hope all of you who have not taken photos yet are looking for something really interesting for us.

Here are photos of the finished fence for my son in San Francisco. We added these wonderful Stainless Steel post caps which makes it look quite elegant, don’t you think?



I had lots of queries about wanting to know more about Trisha Hassler’s work. There is a link to her website in my previous post. She is this skinny little thing who drives around Portland looking for rusty metal pieces. She says that if she can pick it up, drag it to her car and fit it in the trunk, it is hers. She has a studio where she does her sewing, but the metal work is done in a shop owned by some guy who does metal work. She has her own piece of equipment for cutting the metal into shapes and making holes. She had a slide of her in her work garb — heavy duty boots, big gloves, leather apron and one of those helmet face guards. She makes exquisite little pieced quilts in a variety of shapes which she then finds a way to attach to metal frames. The metal is finished with a polyurethane before the quilts are attached. She found a guy in a hardware store who has been helping her with fasteners for four years. He specially orders stuff for her, but the funny thing is, he has never asked her what she is doing with it. In her other life, she is a photo stylist for her husband who is a professional photographer. Her work is even better in person because it is so textural. She has started rusting fabric to use and said that the fact that pieces of metal become permanently attached to the fabric is very synergistic for her.


This is one of the images that Mr C and I saw at the Body Images 3 show at OMSI, here in Portland. I had always thought that I would not enjoy seeing these exhibits, but it was just fabulous. I especially loved seeing the intricate nerve and capillary/vein systems — really mind blowing. Most of the bodies did not have an ounce of fat on them, but they did have a sliced section of an obese person, which gave you pause. Must get rid of that adipose tissue!!

Here is a thread doodle that I did today. I didn’t quite get the roundness of the vase or the correct clustering of the lavender. This is a vase with lavender that Mark and Jayme gave me. I think I will try this one again.



Hope you all have a great week-end.

Satin Stitch Quilt Edge Tutorial

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Some of you asked about the satin stitch edging I did on the last cruciform quilt. This is an edging that both Sue Benner and Charlotte Yde do on their quilts. It requires a fairly stiff surface. Sue’s fused quilts provide this. Charlotte uses tear away stabilizer between the batting and the backing. It is not torn away and does leave a stiffer finished product, but for a wall quilt, sometimes that is better.

To show how I do this, I will use a post card as an example. I work on two opposing sides at a time. The first pass is a simple default setting for the zigzag stitch. On a large quilt, I would use a beige or gray thread so that I don’t waste good thread which will be covered. It is important to leave fairly long tails of thread on each end of the stitching.



After you have done two sides, zig zag the other sides, leaving tails.

Then set the zigzag stitch for satin stitching. On my Janome, I set the width slightly larger than default and the stitch distance at .50. Again, do two opposing sides at a time and use a thread that enhances your design. I usually use a variegated thread that has the colors of the quilt. It gives a stripey look to the finished edge. Be sure to hold the threads from the first pass out of the way. They actually help you to get a good start from the edge on the satin stitching.


After you have finished two sides, do the other two sides. On a post card, I call this done. On a quilt, I usually do another pass, that is slightly wider. When you have stitched all the sides, tie the threads together. I usually use a needle or stylus to help me get the knot close to the edge. Then trim the threads to a pleasing length for the size of the quilt.


That is it! Let me know if anything I said is confusing!!

Here are a couple of thread doodles that I did a while ago and decided not to post. But, here they are!! The first is a true “thread” doodle.


Judy quilted some beautiful circles on one of her quilts recently, and I decided that I needed to practice quilting circles because I love them.


I was doing some sorting and cleaning in my studio and found this button that my good friend Pat gave me a while ago. It seems even more apropos now that I have added skin cancer to my list of crappy stuff.


I had the little bitty surgical removal of the skin cancer cells yesterday. I’m happy to have that over.

Tonight is the quarterly meeting of Columbia Stitchery Guild at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, the location of our show. Trisha Hassler is the guest speaker. If you want to be wowed, click on her name to see her work.

Thursday This and That

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Today was a beautiful day in Portland. Terry, June and I had an art date. We went to the Interstate Firehouse Community Center to check out the Columbia Stitchery Guild Show. Terry and I both had two pieces in the show. It was hung very nicely, but the lighting was atrocious. June explained that the lighting was for canvases and so the spots slanting down just made a glare in the center and shadows around the edges. Most of the quilts had droops and bulges because of the hanging.

I took some photos of my favorite quilts. These are clickable to see it larger.

The third quilt is Terry’s. The fourth quilt is a painted canvas background with Perle cotton stitching in lots of areas. The last two quilts are done by the same person, Bonnie Buchman. I love her work.

threetrees.jpg bariodetango.jpg terryquilt.jpg

kerler.jpg ifccquilt.jpg bonniebquilt.jpg

We then proceeded to Alberta Street for lunch and to check out some of the shops. We had lunch at a Southern sort of New Orleans restaurant and had pulled pork sandwiches and shared some bread pudding and a lemon tart. We dined al fresco and it was wonderful.

We stopped in at Bolt – a really nice fabric shop and Terry and I each picked up some fabric. At the Latin Arts store, I couldn’t resist this purse from Peru.


Here is my thread doodle for the day. Don’t look too closely at that stitching. I did it after dinner and a couple of glasses of wine.


Tomorrow, Mr C and I are heading to Eugene. Sonji Hunt has a show opening at the Maude Kerns Art Center, titled Geometrics. We are also going to spend some time with Kristin’s mom and step-dad who live in Eugene. It should be a good time.

I am supposed to have wifi in the hotel so I will check in from there and perhaps some photos with the superfantastic Sonji.

Finding My Groove

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

For too long, my sense of well-being has been marginal, to say the least. I feel as if I have lost my sense of direction. I want so much to have my vim and vigor back — to relish going for long walks and to find joy in doing the mundane tasks. But most of all, I feel a need to find my way artistically — doing what I love most.

On Sunday, we finally had the long awaited get together of Terry’s extended family with mine. Her son-in-law, Cayo, moved here last year with her daughter, Emily, from Ecuador. He is an architect and wants to figure out how he can get in to the filed here in Portland. My son-in-law, Jack, is an architect. So, we wanted to get them together with the possibility of Jack providing some help and encouragement for Cayo. Cayo and Emily have a 2 month old beautiful baby, Sofia. I had planned to get pictures, but I was having so much fun holding the baby and visiting — I neglected to get any photos.

I did get these photos of the salads that I made. The first is one of my favorites: black bean, corn, tomato and avocado.

And a pesto pasta salad with grape tomatoes.


Here are M & M engrossed in their mini-litebrites that I bought for them. Mia is wearing the vest that I knitted for her with the tie dye skirt I bought to go with it. Don’t you love Milo’s summer haircut?


Yesterday, I had to catch up on 3 weeks of homework for my EFM class – whew!

So, today, I thought I would get in to the studio and do something very creative — not! But, I just couldn’t get in the groove. I did some work on the SDA web site. Played some computer solitaire. I shortened the sleeves on a new shirt and added some elastic to a new pair of pants that don’t want to stay up. Played some more solitaire. Arranged an art date with Terry and June for Thursday.

Then, I decided to do a little thread doodling ala Kristin. She is posting one every day and is improving her technique. So here is my only creative endeavor for the day or the last two weeks, actually!


I guess you can tell what these items are, but I have a long way to go so I shall join the doodle a day, maybe!