Archive for July, 2010

More Knitting Publications and my Grand Dogs

July 19, 2010

As I’m looking through my bookcases, I’m finding yet more knitting publications:

Mary Weaver’s excellent books on the ribber – everything, and I do mean everything a knitting machine ribber can do is included in these two books:

Next is the Puffins and Pine Tree book with the Brother Compuknit III pattern book.  Both are filled with great designs for machine knitting and hand knitting:

And last but not least are 7 issues of Machine Knit Monthly:  Lots of great patterns and there is a Singer fine gauge pattern book.  This book has 30 stitch repeat patterns in it and very hard to locate:

Last week, we took a drive to visit my daughter and son-in-law where they keep their boat.  We were going to go for a ride, but the waves were 6-8 feet and we decided it was better to stay put.  My son-in-law – the grill master – made  hamburgers for us, and we enjoyed spending time with them, and our grand dogs:

Are they not gorgeous dogs?  I’m partial to her Golden Retriever – Reilly, but Diesel is starting to shape up.  Reilly listens and behaves beautifully.  Diesel, ah Diesel.  He is quite possibly the most stubborn Samoyed in existence.  He listens when he feels like it, and doesn’t when he is distracted.  If it’s possible for a dog to have attention deficit disorder, this dog has it.  It’s a darn good thing he’s adorable.  It’s his saving grace.



Katazome Wash Out Results

July 19, 2010

I was patient and waited a full 10 days for the pigments to cure on the katazome feather print, but Saturday was THE day, and here is a picture of the piece in the sink:

The orangey sections are the rice paste slowly dissolving, and you can see I did get some pigment wash out from the blue rinse water.  I got a bit worried I’d lose too much color, but here is a picture of the dried piece:


I am thrilled with these results.  The rice paste resist kept the fabric crisp and white.  There was no backstaining like there was with the scarf, and I did not lose a lot of color.  Yippee!!!   Now how will I use this piece of cotton/linen blend fabric?  Any and all suggestions are welcome.  It’s 20″ square. 

We’ve been having some really hot sunny days here. and the lilies my husband planted in between our evergreens were in riotous bloom:

And a close up of one of the sections:

Our gravel driveway is 550′ long, and my husband loves to plant – flowers, veggies, trees… you name it, he’ll grow it.  Our 13 acres was a corn field when we purchased the property over 30 years ago, and now it has over 1,000 trees, and numerous naturalized areas.  Nestling the lilies between the evergreens was inspired though, and this year the lilies outdid themselves.  These are up by the house:

The blue spruce by the house provide a striking background for the mixed lily colors.  If you enlarge the picture (double click on the image) you can just see the grape arbor in the distance. 

And here is a picture of the lilies he planted in a circle around our well head:

The tall pink flowers behind the lilies were my contribution, and the monarch butterflies use them as resting stops as they swoop across our yard.  You can see a bit of the vegetable garden behind the flowers.  So far the deer have really been enjoying our green beans, lettuce, spinach, strawberries and blueberries.  We’re not getting much, but they are dining well.  For some reason, they leave the zucchini alone.  LOL  I’ve been passing out zucchini to everybody I know, and we’ve been eating it like crazy.

And speaking about the deer, brings to mind our little red fox.  We spotted him hunting this evening.  I’m so glad he’s managing to do well. 


A Day to Relax and Reflect on the Katazome Workshop

July 9, 2010

It was oh so nice to be in my air conditioned house today for yet another day of horribly hot, horribly humid weather.  And Beth, you were right.  The 3 pounds I lost the first day are right back.  Guess they missed me.    That’s the difference between staying cool in air condtioning vs “glowing” in the warm meeting room. 

Here is the picture of my feather piece at stage two:


It’s going to be hard to wait a week to wash out the resist.

And here is a picture of my scarf:

The backstaining I was talking about is more evident in the design on the right side.  Please remember to double click on the image so it will be enlarged.  You’ll be able to see the color migration better.  The printed image is supposed to be clear, crisp, and white.  This is not earth shattering, but it was disappointing.  I’m still planning on overdyeing it. 

As I think back on the workshop, I wish I had cut only one stencil – from a design I had brought with me.  I can understand why it was a good idea to use something from Karen’s selection.  They were designs that worked well for stencil making, and at the level we could all successfully cut, but I’ll probably never use them again.  I’m not a floral type of person, and I usually don’t work with Asian designs.  I had a great fish from Dover’s free images, and really wanted to cut that.  No rice paper or silk mesh came home with me so I could cut another stencil, but who knows?  If I feel ambitious, I might purchase the supplies at a later date.

This is a wonderful technique to learn.  We came out of the workshop with the knowledge to create our own stencils and print images.   The written word – Karen included a handout with the class, combined with the visual demonstrations, followed by us physically doing all the steps, covered all the bases on how to learn. 

I also appreciated the fact that we could reuse our mixing bowls, measuring spoons – any equipment needed to prepare for Katazome – to prepare food.  Rice paste (what we used for the resist) isn’t toxic.  The soy milk we made (which was the  protein mordant) is also safe.  The stencils will survive beyond my life expectancy, and didn’t require any plastic.  This is one stencil technique that is green as green can be.

I was not a big fan of the muted colors though.  While I appreciate subtle color shifts and greyed hues on other people’s work, it’s not my style at all.  I like vibrant colors.  I adore red.  There is no true red in the pigments. 

The piece I saved to paint at home (Thank-you, Julie for thinking of that idea.) will be a juxtaposition of two aesthetics – a Japanese inspired stencil, combined with my love of using vibrant color.  It might be great, it might be horrendous,  but I’ll be happy as a clam painting it. 

As an artist, I personally think it’s a good idea to take every opportunity to learn something new.  It might be something we reuse ,or it might spark another idea, and it’s always good to be in a room filled with other artists.  Our conversations were lively and varied.  This was an extra perk of taking the class.

In closing, this post has gotten pretty long, here is a picture of the little critter I talked about yesterday:


Red fox are such pretty animals.  We watched a pair of them playing with each other all through June.   This one must be darn smart, because my neighbors raise chickens, and eventually trap all the fox in the area.  I’m rooting for this one  to survive. 


Karen Miller’s Katazome Class – Day Two

July 8, 2010

Another hot, humid day made bearable by turning on a fan.  Don’t ask me why I didn’t turn it on yesterday, because it was downright comfortable in our meeting room with the fan on today. 

We started out the day by selecting silk scarves and then pasting them with our stencils:

While they were drying, we started painting the designs we pasted yesterday.  We stirred dry pigments into soy milk – not the kind you buy in the grocery store though.  Soy beans were soaked in water for 6 hours and then put into a blender to create our fresh milk.  The soy protein binds the pigments to the fabric. 

The really nice thing about this techinque is nothing we used was toxic.  I’m used to dyeing with Procion MX. and keeping all my equipment separate from eating utensils.  This was a very nice earth friendly alternative. 

Here is Donna proudly holding up her painted designs for a photo session:

We took a break for lunch, and somehow I missed getting any of Glynnis’ blueberry and peach cobbler.  Actually, it was just too hot for me to eat much.  Would you believe I  lost 3 pounds yesterday?  Shocked the bejeebers out of me when I weighed myself this morning.  Maybe we should market these workshops as weight loss workshops.  LOL

Then it was time for show and tell.  Karen had brought a wonderful assortment of her work to share with us.  The pictures on her website are much, much better than what I took, but I will share a picture of my favorite piece:

Cutting the tree stencil must have taken quite a bit of time, and it was gorgeous in person.

Then more painting on our stretched designs.  I only painted one as I want to experiment with Procion MX dyes and textile paints for the second piece.  Plus, I like working very slowly and thinking out what colors I want to use, so I saved my favorite pasted design to paint at home.  I don’t have a picture of it yet, but will post one tomorrow so you can see my feather design in the second stage.

Next was dyeing our scarves.  We used ColorHue dyes and I can’t say I’m in love with them.  I thought I had rinsed it well.  I was holding up the line of people waiting to rinse their scarves for a long time, so I know it was rinsed properly, but when I folded the wet scarf to bring home, my nice white, crisp pasted design ended up having fugitve dye go into the design.  Also, I had placed the wet scarf on top of my plastic apron for the drive home, and it stained my apron. 

When I got home, I put the scarf  in a container of water, and got yet more back staining on my white design.  While I was disappointed with the scarf, all is not lost.  I’ll overdye the whole thing and see what happens. 

And, I received a consolation prize.  When I looked out my laundry room window this is what I saw:

 Are those fawns adorable or what?  I guess they like the taste of Crimson King maple trees, because you can actually see part of a leaf in one fawn’s mouth. 

I am blessed to live in a very pretty area of Upstate New York.  My husband and I enjoy watching the wildlife walk by our windows.Tomorrow I’ll put up a picture of a critter who likes to play in the front yard. 

I really enjoy keeping photographic records of each stage of a process, and I’m so glad I could share it with all of you.  The pigments need time to cure, so my piece won’t be washed out for a few days.  I’m going to try and wait 7-10 days before I rinse the resist out. 


Karen Miller’s Katazome Class – Day One

July 6, 2010

What a day!!!  Record heat, no air conditioning in our meeting room, yet a wonderful day shared with good friends, and I learned a lot about Katazome.  A good explanation of Katazome is on our illustrious teacher’s web site – – so I won’t repeat what she discusses so much better than I could.  I can share with you my workshop day though.

It started off around 9:30 with us selecting from the wide variety of photos that Karen brought with her.  We each got to choose 2.  Then off to the copy machine so they could be transferred to our rice paper. 

The next 2 hours were spent cutting out our stencils.  Karen brought mats for each of us and some wonderful blades  for our Xacto tools. They were much sharper than the usual Xacto blades.  Here is a picture of Karen cutting a stencil for her collection:

Next it was time to paint our stencils.  A layer of silk is placed over the cut stencil, and black paint is used to adhere it to the stencil.   Then the stencil is repeatedly turned and blotted with old newspaper that has been spritzed with water.  It took us all morning to get our stencils cut, painted and stacked flat to dry.

A potluck lunch was enjoyed by all – my big contribution was a big tub of Twizzlers.  What can I say?  I wasn’t assigned a dish to bring as I eat yogurt for lunch, but I wanted to share something with everybody, and who doesn’t love candy? 

Then we had a wonderful lecture by Karen illustrated by piece after gorgeous piece of indigo and painted fabric.  Some were antiques, some were made by Karen, and all of them were drop dead gorgeous.  See:

Can you believe these designs came from handcut stencils?  And the cloth can be repeatedly dipped in an indigo bath with the resist not coming off.  Please double click on the pictures so you can see just how tiny the lines are, and the one with the shadow leaves was my favorite. 

We then printed 2 designs each from Karen’s stencils.  It was awfully hard deciding which 2 to select as each one was wonderful.  One was printed onto linen and the other on silk broadcloth.  These are the 2 designs I selected:

And these are the 2 that my friend Donna selected:

Tomorrow we will be dyeing them.  We will have to wait to rinse off the resist, but I’ll be sure to post pictures tomorrow of the medium step, then pictures of the final result when the dyes are cured. 

We ended the day by putting  another coat of black paint on the stencils we cut in the morning.  More spritzing, more blotting, and hopefully, they’ll be dry by tomorrow because we get to use them to print our very own silk scarf. 

Tired as I am, and believe me, I’m tired, I’m so excited by this workshop, I had to put the pictures up tonight.  I hope you enjoy looking at them, as much as I enjoyed today’s workshop.


June Ogden Art Group Polymer Clay Buttons and QBL Venue

July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate this holiday.  I’m taking the day to get caught up with 4 months of paperwork, update my poor ignored blog, post some items on ebay – free to list right now, and enjoy some rotisserie chicken later this evening.

Last month the Ogden Art Group experimented with polymer clay.  I brought my mini oven and pasta maker, and we had a grand time.  These are the pieces I made:


Karen – one of the members – showed us how to make a kaleidoscope effect button.  Each one is a bit different, and it was an awfully lot of fun to see how all our little tubes and triangles were assembled to create this effect.

That big art deco type button at the bottom of the photo started out looking just like the first 3 buttons, but I thought it might be fun to put it through the pasta maker before I baked it.  It distorted beautifully and gave an entire new look to the button.

I experimented with the wavy cutter too.  That’s how the small triangle buttons were cut.  And yes, I did mean to have only one hole in all the buttons.  I’ll share with you all how I plan on using them in another post.

My hand knit sweater is slowly but surely growing in length, and I reworked a previous quilt, packaged it, and delivered it so it can be shown at the upcoming Quilting By the Lake venue.  I am quite honored to have one of my art quilts shown there.