Friday, August 21, 2009

At the Uptown Squared Show

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the opening of Uptown Squared at Gallery M (123 W 135 St between Lenox & Adam Clayton Powell) in Harlem. The event was festive, and featured a variety of media; the artists had one constraint in common: they had to do their thing on a 12 x 12 canvas. The outcome is wonderfully varied, and worth a quick trip uptown. The show was curated by Laura Gadson.

I've posted a photo of Joyce Stroman, and her piece, Meditation. Joyce is a talented artist and AWESOME dollmaker, and runs Art-Zee Sistas with her friend Minnie Curry. For additional photos, click here visit my Picasa gallery for this event.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekly Tip: Sewing with Black Fabric & Unsewing

This week's tip is actually two tips in one:

If you are piecing with black fabric, use black thread on the top but navy blue thread in the bobbin. If you have to unsew, and you KNOW you will, it will be easier.

Speaking of unsewing, a speedy way to do this is to use a scalpel type seam ripper, cut every third stitch on the bobbin side, then turn it over and roll a lint remover (looks like an inside-out roll of masking tape with a handle) over the top. Voila, quick unsewing!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hand Dyeing Class Aug 2, 2009

The summer is simply awesome for hand dyeing. I can get outside, not worry about dye splatter, lugging buckets or space. It is typically when I host dyeing classes in my driveway. I have a nearby water source, a couple of large tables, buckets galore, and a long clothesline.

Having said all that, Mother Nature forced me to take my show indoors. My students (3) took it all in stride.

We started the day doing full immersion. I wanted to do this because low water immersion (LWI) is so popular and easy that it is rare to see the technique for full immersion done. Full immersion is the best way to guarantee a solid result, as opposed to a mottled (varied shading) result.

I mixed the dyes and the dye chemicals beforehand, and asked the students to choose two colors from the 64 box of Crayola Crayons. They chose: (left to right, pictured above) chestnut, mulberry, cadet blue, turquoise, orange. I added saffron (not pictured) and we also dyed t-shirts. With some of the leftover dye, I dyed a pair of cotton slippers.

The next technique was LWI; my sample is the blue fabric (third from left). I'm sure one of the things they took away from the day was an understanding of why hand dyes are so expensive, and why it is important to write things down in case they want to repeat their results.

We also did a parfait technique --I think that is what dye expert Ann Johnston calls it as well. The fabric second from the right was dyed squeezing they dye we had mixed on t-shirts.

The only color that didn't seem to be what I expected was the chestnut (far left). It seemed it might in the photo, but does not look that way when I hold it up to plum colored fabrics. It does look brown. The eye can fool you. When I spoke with them after the class, they were very pleased with their results, and want to come out and play with dyes again, though I'm not prepared to do this in my kitchen!

I am preparing to use the oranges on a candy corn quilt for Halloween....stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Singin Wid a Sword in Ma Han

You just never know when someone is gonna need a quilt. Vienna Carroll, a talented vocalist has interpreted a slice of African American history incorporating storytelling and song, Singing Wid A Sword in Ma Han. I wanted to support her efforts, offered a sampler quilt which contained several blocks mentioned as Underground Railroad quilt blocks, and she accepted.

Singin Wid A Sword in Ma Han was accepted as part of the NY Intl Fringe Festival, and is running August 16-21. Its runtime is about an hour, and tickets are at the bargain price of $15. Keep your eye on this one, folks, and you'll be able to say, "I saw it when....".

Thus I am the proud Mama of a quilt on off-off Broadway!


It is finished. Sometimes, hearing those three words is as good as hearing I love you...especially when you're talking about a creative project....or a WEBSITE. After months of hemming and hawing I finished the maiden version of my site. It's simple but useful for now, and will allow me to get in front of more people...I think.

The site contains (or will shortly) a gallery, tips, links, favorite things recommendations, workshops and lectures, a calendar of quilting events, and recipes.

Please visit the site, and give me your feedback!