Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quilting on a Snowy Morning

This winter has been sort-of the winter that wasn't. Now I'm not complaining. I soooo wanted no snow for my daughter's late November wedding, but it does seem that the great weather Gods are confused. No snow in December, January and finally in late February when we're all ready to move on to Spring it snows. And it snows on the day the quilters gathered at Molly's. Luckily, neither snow nor cold slows a quilter; it simply encourages them to cozy up and quilt. It was amazing the different quilts in progress displayed during show and tell.

This incredible quilt is all triangles, received via a block exchange through which Pam exchanged triangles with quilters from 16 countries and each of the 50 States. The unique quilt contains 960 different triangles and will be hang on point.

Terry's working on a wall hanging

Marilyn loves her scraps...look what she's been doing lately.

But we don't insist you only bring your quilting, you never know what will excite the fiber princess in all of us.

A new quilter watches as the others encourage her dream. She is a weaver, who brought along that little extra handwork.

A few brought their knitting, one to show this wild self-ruffling piece, another helping solve a friend knitting snafu.

What a way to spend a morning...

Crockpot Dyepots

It began like a normal spin-in, folks arriving early just to chat, spin or knit their project dujour except, there were these crockpots. Ya know, those things we all used when we worked, and could walk in after a hard day and smell dinner cooking. It didn't matter what was cooking, just that we didn't have to do it. Of course, we had really done it...organized dinner and started the fool thing that morning, but somehow it did take the sting out of the nightly routine. And here were these CROCKPOTS.

Okay, we weren't there for a potluck, but for a dying lesson...how to dye in a crockpot. You have no idea the number of comments I have floating in my brain on that one. But I will be nice.

For the spinners' program, Dwight and Vicki Tardy described a "crockpot dyepot" method and demonstrated two techniques to dye roving, one using dry chemical dye, one using a solution of the same chemical dye.

It was very interesting if you compare the two.

The methodology was the same as for any dyeing, saturating the roving with a fiber specific solution, draining that solution, adding wet fiber to a dyepot, adding the dye, steaming/heating the fiber to set the color, rinsing and drying the roving, again, fiber specific.

In crockpot dyeing the crockpot served as a steaming agent which disperses the dye throughout the roving and the heat as a setting agent. The difference lie in how the dye was applied,one dry, the other a solution .

The roving produced was similar, yet there was a distinct difference in the color uptake. The solution produced colors which were stronger, less greyed. The sprinkled undiluted technique produced more muted colors-same hue, different intensity. Both were obviously the same colors, and probably could be plied together after spinning to produce some shadows, yet each was distinctly unique. It reminds me of dye lot differences, subtle, but you don't want to mix them row by row in any project. Check out the process shown below and compare these rovings.

Can you see any difference.

Crockpot Dyepot Method

Obviously if the steaming and cooling takes all night, we didn't get to see the finished products. I cannot wait to see the finished items, maybe next month.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Student Weavers' Workshop

Each fall, beginning weavers take classes to learn the craft, only to be worried about all they don't know. And every year, I am amazed at how much they learn in such a short time. Somehow I don't remember learning this much this fast...I guess I'm just a slow learner. Or perhaps I spend too much time swearing AT my loom rather than weaving ON it.

After the primary classes were completed, a workshop was designed to provide the students with multiple opportunities to weave samples of structures and fibers new to them while only having to prepare one loom. This photo illustrates the color and weave samples of just one student. Samples, such as these, are often references during the planning phase of your next weaving, whether you're looking for color interactions, weave structure or fiber.

As each new weaver feels the joy of fiber in the hands...a light goes on somewhere in life, the excitement of creativity. Enjoy. And to all those in the workshop...what incredible samples you created.

Quilting Class Samples

This year, the quilters have taken a two focus approach to their meetings, learning and sharing. Whether it is a formal class structure or informally when a quilter simply shares a tidbit learned through experience, we frequently learn something new. This sharing holds a secret. When we see what others have done, we are inspired; a new trick is demonstrated, a problem is solved and when stories of faux paus's are told, we are consoled...Now y'all know how many times we rip out stuff. Our frustrations in the rip out become meeting fodder. All this helps us to become better and more confident quilters.

Here are two examples of blocks from a class Nancy taught in November on stack and slash blocks. They are so simple and so quick to complete.

The first block shown here is made by stacking 2 squares and cutting them into pieces. Rearrange the pieces between the blocks as shown and sew.

Another example of stacking and slashing your blocks: this begins as a simple 9 patch, it is cut in half vertically and horizontally. The sections are rearranged to form a new block design.

Happy Quilting