Wednesday, July 29, 2009

QBL Update

When leaving my family to attend Quilting By The Lake, I told everyone I was going to a quilting conference. I wanted them to take me seriously and understand that this is serious business. My friend Christine old her family that she was going to Quilt Camp. They howled and made fun of her. QBL can be serious, but it really is like camp for us adult quilters. We get to play with fabric and designs all day, have someone else prepare our meals and have an evening program.
The last time I went to QBL was 2 years ago and it was held at SUNY Morrisville, a NY state college. It was blazing hot, in the high 90's and very few places were air conditioned. We stayed in dorm rooms without air conditioning and some of the classrooms did not have A/C either. I vowed NEVER to go back. It was hard to have fun when you were roasting. They did set up these industrial size fans in the classrooms that were so noisy and ended up blowing your fabric and papers all over.
So this year QBL moved to Onondaga Community College with air conditioned dorms AND air conditioned classrooms. I decided to give it a try again. As I wrote in the last post, I signed up for a class with Bob Adams. It's about the stitch. The facilities are a million percent better. The dorms and classrooms seem brand new. We were assigned to a suite with bedrooms and a living area and kitchenette. There were dollies and elevators to ensure a smooth move in experience. Dinner the first night was even accompanied by tablecloths and wine. And there is a lovely 3 mile walking loop around the campus so that I can do an early morning walk to burn off those dessert calories from the previous night's dinner. There was a great quilt show and vendors in the gym. (Of course there must be vendors. What if you forgot something, or just had to have some new fabric?)
One of the best parts of QBL is being in a quilting community and meeting quilters from a diverse geographic atmosphere. Not only do you learn from the teachers, but you also learn from the other participants. To the right is a photo of my favorite storage solution. (I was also extremely impressed by the number of sewing machine needles that Mary Ann owns!)Who would have thought of using one of those JUMBO pill containers?
Will I come back next year? They have already listed the faculty and classes for next year, but I think I will take a year off again. But it certainly won't be because of the facilities or how we were treated!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quilting By The Lake

Quilting By The Lake (QBL) is a 2 week long quilting conference that now takes place at Onondaga College in Syracuse, NY. It is mainly geared towards art quilters and the teaching staff includes a lot of the "big" names. You can take a course as short as 2 days or stay for the entire conference. Most people stay for a 5 day workshop. You sleep in the college dorms and eat in the cafeteria.

It is currently Friday afternoon and I am leaving Sunday morning and panic is starting to set in. I dread this part. Why did I sign up? What supplies do I bring? Will I be able to sleep? Can I focus for 5 days? (Probably not - my head usually starts to explode on Thursday afternoon.) What will I learn and is it worth being away from my family and studio for 6 days (including travel)?

The class I am taking is with Bob Adams and is called, "Color, Texture, Line and Shape with Free Motion Quilting". I am hoping that I will learn about how to use free motion quilting and different threads to add an element of design to my quilts.

The supply list is not that extensive, but I never know what fabric I will want to use. They do have a vendor mall, but I hate to buy something that I already have in my stash. Maybe I'll want to experiment with batiks, or maybe my luscious dupioni silks. Bob recommends hand dyes. Do you think I am bringing enough?

I will try to blog during the conference and give you a glimpse into all the different classes in addition to the one I'm taking.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chicago Inspiration

My husband and I just returned from a weekend trip to Chicago. We went to attend the wedding of a young man that we have known since he was 4 years old. My younger son was a groomsman. I just can't believe how time flies, and how it passes faster the older we get. So, I was pretty excited to go to the wedding and to visit Chicago for the first time.
The architectural boat tour was our first tourist destination. Who knew that a river ran through Chicago? The buildings were just amazing consisting of so many different styles. We walked our feet off and then walked some more down Michigan Ave to Millenium Park the next day. Thank goodness for digital cameras, because I took over 100 photos. You see, this is where I find inspiration for my quilts. Building edifices, their details, the sidewalks, windows, grates are so interesting and usually very geometric. They can be translated into line drawings for piecing or conceptualized as applique. The possibilities of translating these details into fabric overwhelms me sometimes. If there were just more hours in the day.
So I would like to share some of my photos with you and maybe in the near future you'll see one of my quilts and say "I know where that idea came from".

Lattice Work

Potential applique

More applique - folk art?

How great would this be to piece?

And how about these curlicues on a basement window?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quilters On Bikes

I belong to a small art quilt group that tries to meet at least twice a month. We usually meet for breakfast or lunch to encourage, critique and challenge each other. Since the weather here in PA has been so nice, we decided to take to the roads - on our bikes. That's Lisa, Terry, me and Kelly. Actually, as a group we have been riding on multi-use paths where cars are not allowed. We pedal along and chat about quilting and try to solve all the problems of the world. And of course we stop for lunch along the way. Life is good!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Removal Of The Red Dye

Thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions about how to remove the color bleed from my hand dyed thread - especially all of the knowledgeable women from the quiltart list. I tried several of the suggestions with limited results. I then found Carbona Color Remover (thanks Wheat). I probably should have tested it first in a small area, but my MO is to just forge ahead and hope for the best.

I wish I could show you the entire piece but it's for a challenge and I don't want my quilt group to see it until our big unveiling. My first problem with treating the piece was that it's in mid-construction. This is only one section and it is not a complete quilt sandwich yet. The piece is quilted and embellished and the backing is to be put on later. So this eliminated the use of the washing machine.

So I decided to try the Carbona with a dye catcher. I followed the directions on the box of Carbona, filled up the sink with water, dissolved the powder and added the dye catcher. As I lowered my piece into the sink, many changes took place. It did remove the red dye that ran from the background fabric. Whoopee! But it also unexpectedly removed some color from the other fabrics. The bad news is that almost immediately I could see that it was removing the blue color from my sky. Check out the before and after. The original blue fabric is on the right. So now I'll have to come up with a Plan B for the sky. But a bonus was that although it changed the green color of the grass, some gold appeared. The original fabric before treatment is on the top. That's good news to me, because it's a panel for an Autumn scene.

So now to get the blue back into the sky .......

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Hand-Dyed Thread Has Bled and I Need Help

Over a year ago I was dyeing some fabric and decided to use the leftovers to dye some perle cotton. I painted on the dye so that it was chunks of color - I think it's called space dyeing. I couldn't wait to find the right project.
So I found a project for using the thread. I used the lazy daisy stitch to make leaves on a tree. It was perfect for a Fall scene. The gradation in the thread color made the changing color of the leaves look so natural (as natural as a lazy daisy stitch can look).
To add to the piece, I used the disappearing blue marker to test out the placement for a few appliques. After deciding where I wanted everything to be located. I needed to remove the blue marker. Not thinking about the hand-dyed thread, I dunked the whole piece and hung it outside over my desk railing to dry.

So you can imagine my horror when I went outside to check on my piece and the red dye had run! Why hadn't I just blotted the blue marker with a damp cloth? What was I thinking? I ran inside and looked to see if I had any Retayne or something. I did find Bubble Jet Rinse. After several soakings it did remove some of the dye from the background, but you can see there is still some of the red dye remaining. HELP! I know it looks a little fuzzy, but it is visible on my quilt. Please let me know if you have had any success removing dye that has bled to someplace that it doesn't belong. And any tips for what I could have done to the thread to have kept it from bleeding would be much appreciated.