Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Play Day

We had a great play day was way too hot to go outside and dye, so we worked inside. Pat Rodgers was here from we of course had to get together. Esterita Austin stopped for an hour and caught us up on what she's doing and where she's going to teach.

Pat was showing us some techniques she uses and we were good students! Nancy's piece was put into a piece of leather to make the front of a purse. I made scrunched flowers with different silks...mmmmmm! Pat, of course, finished three pieces....with her eyes closed?!!! :)

Nancy brought a couple jackets for show and tell. The first, below, needs some finishing touches.

This one is done and really looks great

The back is fabulous...she dyed this canvas over the rack...then did some silk-screening with a thermofax screen.

Nancy also made and brought lunch...a yummy ratatouille with chicken....and left the leftovers...YES!!!



A while back I saw an auction on ebay for a lot of 6 white Hot Cotton shirts (linen/cotton)....they were $5 I took a chance and bought them. I scoured and washed them in synthrapol and dyed one....I love the results. The color is saturated and the shirt didn't shrink...whew!!!

This youth top is from dyed beautifully, but when done I realized it was sewn with poly thread....which didn't dye. AAARRRGGGHHH! I don't know if it said that and I missed it, or if it's a mistake (I think this is the case) I must contact Dharma. One of the kids will wear it without even noticing that...

A few of us are having a playday today...Pat Rodgers is in town...she's going to show us some new techniques...always fun! And Esterita may stop by....ttyl!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Prom Day in Port Jefferson

Fifty years ago there was a horrible accident after the Port Jefferson Prom, and parents vowed to keep their kids safe by holding the prom at the High School....but to make it something the kids would like, the parents work from October to June to transform the gym into a themed wonderland. The theme is chosen in October (different each year and kept top-secret) and after much planning, work is started in January on the painting. Work is done in a room in the basement of the HS, so the kids can't see anything. I ran this prom in 1995 (Manhattan Magic was our theme), so I know well what is is a true (hard) labor of love! These two pictures are the outside front of the gym....these are painted cardboard flats.
Graduation was last Friday, and Saturday morning set-up starts and goes till Monday at 4 pm....when the community can come and go through to see the results. The theme was "The Pirates of Port Jefferson Harbor". Terry and I went to see, waited in line and walked on to the "pirate ship"...with cannons sounding and pirates everywhere.

These two pictures show some of the painted flats that line the gym walls...all themed. The girl's and boy's rooms are also decorated. The main painter is Peter Hahn (of Port Jefferson) who did his first prom in 1995 with me...and has worked on every one since...even though he doesn't have a child in the class...he just loves it...and the prom parents feed him every night! And that is the spirit of this small village.

The ships line the back wall...this is always the most spectacular scene since it is so long and high. Above it all is a HUGE lace canopy that requires so many people to install each year...but it blocks out all ideas of being in a gym...and transports you to the themed setting. There used to be a lace mill in PJ and the owners (PJ residents at that time) donated the lace for the original canopy 50 years disintegrated after 49 years and had to be replaced this the son of the original owner, who is now at a mill in RI, donated a new one in honor of his parents.

Crowds of people then go back to the school at 8pm to watch the limos and carriages and buses and fire engines (yes, if one of the kids is a member of the PJFD, they get to ride in with the sirens blaring escorted by the FD...everyone LOVES that!) arrive...the kids are announced, applauded, and then walk in to the prom. If they arrive under any influences (limos are checked at the entrance to the school driveway, away from the crowds), they are not allowed in. They have to stay at the prom until at least 2...if they leave they can't return. And a breakfast is served at a site nearby at 5am. And the parents do all of this for their graduates...and the kids absolutely love it and make their parents continue the tradition.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Long Haiku Jacket

A month or so ago I wrote about a problem I had with a pattern from The Sewing Workshop (see my post May 23rd). I sent the already cut jacket to Linda Lee and I just got it back....she made the necessary adjustments and finished the jacket. This is cut to be a size is a very generous XS....more like a medium to me.

It is made with the linen/rayon....I have a second one in blues, cut at the same time, with the same mistakes in the pattern. Linda made adjustments and I will sew this one. One more thing taken care of.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Quilt

My quilt is back from the quilter and I am thrilled with the outcome. Eileen from did a great job. I used some of my hand-dyed binding pulled to the back and top-stitched down...then I washed and dried the quilt to fluff it's ready to give.

I've told Eileen there will be more coming....the quilting is my least favorite thing to do myself. quilting never looked as good as this....and my hands can't take the stress.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Way

This is my tutorial for dyeing over the rack....I begin by soaking the fabric in a dye activator solution for 15 minutes....spin out the excess in the washer (careful not to let any rinse water in during the spin...all washers are different), and place it over the rack, evenly on both sides. I start dripping dyes from the top, making sure to get both sides with the colors. On this piece I started with sun and lemon yellows. The first colors soak up quickly, so don't be want saturation.

Next I added soft orange and golden yellow, filling in spaces AND going over previous colors. As the fabric saturates, the colors will flow more freely, so watch the progress so you don't have a lot of waste that just drips off the fabric.

Last two colors were deep orange and fire red. I again dripped from the top...I get better lines that way...if you squirt crosswise you won't get that nice directional striation. ***With the linen/rayon fabric that I use, and sometimes the cotton canvas, you will notice fuzzy looking areas as you go....they will be areas where the dye was not the halo areas...and you want to get more dye on these areas or that area on the finished fabric will not be as pleasing. (Remember...these are my best may be looking for a different look).

So I really saturated with the last two dyes....I wanted every area to be sufficiently full.

Then I scrunch the piece together and lightly squeeze from top to bottom...take it off the rack carefully and lay it on a large plastic tarp in the sun.

I leave it pleated for a couple hours...that's the orange linen, and a piece of cotton canvas on the right...done the same way with turquoise, intense blue, bubble gum, amethyst, and deep purple.

Then I open the pieces as space will allow and let it dry in the sun....ideally another couple hours. Then I wash (multiple...till water runs clear), dry and iron.

Here are the two finished pieces. I hope this helps and answers your questions. Have fun!


Friday, June 15, 2007

People Magazine

Here is the article about my daughter and son-in-law's wedding....chosen because it wasn't the typical Walt Disney World wedding....she did it her way! And I helped! In fact I had a blast...and I know all our guests did too! Click on the pictures to see up close...there's a surprise or two in the cake (tombstone) picture.

On stands today.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jacket Story

I wanted to make a jacket for my sister Teresa...she lives in AZ, but I think this linen blend fabric would be ok on the cooler days. This piece of linen said "Southwest" to me so I chose it for the jacket. The strip of turquoise is richer in person and I had to work it in to a predominant place. This is a Vogue pattern (7914) that doesn't require setting in was very easy to put together. I edited a had a longer back...I cut it straight across.

I made a size 8, but it may be a bit too big for her...but it is meant to be looser...I have to wait till July when I see her to find out. Meanwhile I have to decide on buttons. This is the hardest part of any garment construction for is such an art to pick the right buttons. I've made wrong decisions so many times I don't always trust my decisions. I think I need to spend some time online and see what's available....because the stores out this way have very little in the way of great buttons....and I don't know when I'll get in to NYC next.

This last picture just shows how the side/sleeve piece is done so all there is is a straight seam. The collar is a little tricky, but the rest of the jacket is easy.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reds Day

Tuesday I was in the mood to dye red....and I love the results. All three were done over the rack...left to right they are linen/rayon, cotton canvas and silk charmeuse. I like the backside (crepe side)of charmeuse even more than the shiny's more pleasing to my eye.

On another note...for family and friends reading this...Friday is the day the "Real Life Weddings" issue from People Magazine should be on the stands (It's not the regular People's a special edition). My daughter and son-in-law's wedding is going to be in there. They were married at Disney World (they are both character artists there) last Halloween...we had a masquerade reception...not your typical Fairytale Wedding...which is why it made the magazine!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Weather Permitting...

Our weekend weather was not especially conducive to dyeing I cleaned, shopped and did busy work around the house (about time!) I did play a little with the came from one 1/2 yard piece of fabric in which I used 3 or 4 dyes with the green at one end and the orange at the other, with sun yellow and mustard in-between. So two colors you wouldn't necessarily put together flow nicely into each other. I want to start making some pillows, using our bias binding in different ways.
We had about 2 hours on Sunday with a bit of sun, so I quick dyed some pieces for my friend Teri who teaches classes all over the world....she's off to England soon. I hope these work for her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ode to Mel & Laura

When I belonged to the local Quilt Guild, I was Program Chairperson for many years...a job I LOVED! I met some amazing teachers, and I call some of them friends today. Melody Johnson and Laura Wasilowski came together to teach classes one year. And, nasty weather aside, we had a blast and all learned alot about the Chicago School of Fusing and it's faculty :)

I bought Laura's jacket pattern, Mel's fabric and dyed threads....and with my new-found knowledge of fusing, dared to cut up the fabric and cut out the pattern. Is this not a gorgeous piece of fabric....they are masters at what they do...I have aspired to that level since I met them many years ago in Paducah.

I haven't finished the jacket yet...when I had to give up my sewing room for a bedroom for a couple years, I lost track of a lot of things. Now I'm ready to complete it.

I'm wondering if I should do more top-stitching. I guess I can decide that after it's done, since I sewed right through the lining. I put a silky lining in so it would not cling to the body.

So, thank you Mel and Laura for all the inspiration, knowledge, fabric and friendship.


Saturday, June 2, 2007


These are obviously the same piece of fabric....couldn't decide which to both! The fabric shows up better with more than one layer so it is folded over. It turned out great...I can see this in a jacket or sarong (not on me!) or many other things.

I have to tell you that I did something today that I try to avoid...just forgot. I washed and dried this organza along with the raw silk....WRONG!!!! Raw silk should be washed and dried by itself, one piece at a time. It creates the worst lint and it was very attracted to the organza. It took two washings of the organza alone to remove the it looks great.
And silk organza washes and irons beautifully. I'm tempted to cut out a jacket right now!!!!

Too Darn Hot!

Today is hazy, hot and humid on Long I got up early to do some dyeing before the sun was in view. I DO NOT work well in the 3H's. My idea was to use up all the dyes I had made last week. First up was a piece of silk organza. I hung it over the rack and drizzled colors down the length. While it was wet from the dye activator soaking it grabbed the dye great in this position. It dried quickly though, so I took it down and laid it on plastic tarp and soaked it with golden yellow and made sure there were no white areas left. It is beautiful. I'll photograph it again when it is finished.
Then I did a piece of silk noil. There are so many colors in this will make a great jacket or blouse. Since I drip the colors down these pieces, I can put colors together that I couldn't if dyeing another way. And those that do mix from being next to each other make (usually) beautiful colors (many shades of brown sometimes) that I couldn't get otherwise. This piece has chartreuse and deep purple and amethyst and mustard and golden yellow and a few more.

And last is another piece of the linen/rayon. I'm going to build up a supply so whenever the mood strikes I can cut something out and start sewing.
Tax season is over (YEA!!!) and I have one more week of work...have to put through all those mail payments....then I can play full time.