Saturday, September 24, 2016

quilts

I had the pleasure of viewing many, many quilts this week, at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA. Here are some snapshots I took to share with the needlefolk and sewing-persons and quilters among you.
And anyone who just enjoys color!

Sorry I couldn't get close to the quilts to photograph them,
but you'll get a taste, at least.

There were also lovely garments displayed on these nifty wooden silhouettes.
This simple design looks like something I could really use,
and might possibly even be able to make!


I like this tunic-y smock very much also, but it's harder to see the structure of the garment through the pattern of the fabric. (Making a note in my new Fabric Design sketchbook.)

Some of the stitchwork made me think of Sally at Crafts, Cavies and Cooking :)




I just realized I have no photographs of the hexi-shape quilts that are very popular right now. They must have been there. There was a huge variety of quilts - at least to my eye. Some of the simple repeating patterns made with lots of tiny pieces remind me of the quilts I grew up with.



Oh, and this last one is not a quilt. It's a hooked rug.
This really caught my eye, as it is a view I have experienced hundreds of times in my life, and which has never failed to provide a warm thrill of anticipation.
Can't you smell that salt air?


I couldn't determine if the rug-maker, Robin Salmaggi,  is also the designer.

Here's a closer look, so you can see the color detail:


And now I'm going to sign off before evening chores, which are starting earlier. It's no fun carrying buckets across a paddock in the dark - my paddocks have a lot of micro-topography - and I've done it several times in the past week.
There has been stumbling and cursing.
It's possible the goats learned a new word or two.

Guess it's time to admit the days are not just "getting" shorter here in the northern hemisphere...they are shorter.

Onward!
~~~~~

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

heads-up right now contest alert

NB: Update at bottom of post


Remember the Chaffhaye feed contest that began a month ago?
It's FINALLY Tsuga and Lily's turn for the first round voting!

If their picture gets more votes in this one-on-one round,
they will progress to the next level of voting.

Here's the Facebook page link. A comment with #47 is a vote. 
Voting ends at 5PM ET today.

Here's what the voting post looks like.



Thanks to everyone who has asked me about this since I first posted; otherwise I would have been reluctant to bring it up again on the blog. It seems very me-me-me, but it's really feed for them-them-them! And Chaffhaye clearly wants everyone to ask all their friends to come and vote, so...

(looking down, shuffling feet, twisting toe of barn boot in the mud)

Thanks :)

p.s. If my link to the voting page doesn't work, just look for Chaffhaye on Facebook. There are only a couple of pairs being voted for each day - which is why this contest is going on soooooo looooong - so it shouldn't take long to find the picture.

~~~
9 PM Update:
the voting was close, but Tsuga and Lily will "proceed to the next level."
So far, so good!
Thanks to everyone who voted and/or sent good wishes :)
~~~~~


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

tuesday tip

I was thinking about the ways we make extra work for ourselves.
(I say "we" just in case I am not the only one.)

No  matter how long my "to do" list feels before I get started, it feels so much longer when I have to stop for a task that was completely preventable. Like searching high and low for a particular article of clothing because I left a tottering tower of folded laundry atop the dryer two days ago and forgot about it, instead of just putting it away.

Or having to interrupt a cooking adventure to sharpen a dull knife.

So here's a tip that won't prevent a task, but may delay the necessity for a longer time. When chopping/slicing/dicing, try using the spine instead of the cutting edge to push chopped vegetables, etc., from board to bowl.


You may find your knives stay sharper, longer.


(Note to self: put the clean clothes away every time. Sheesh.)
~~~~~

Saturday, September 17, 2016

draw august, paint september

To try to keep the momentum up on some sort of daily sketching, I've been participating in #PaintSeptember this year. It's just like #DrawingAugust, but posting a daily painting of some kind on twitter. Well, it sure hasn't been every day for me. Every time I have my hired helper here for a few hours, it means No Extra Things on that day and at least a day afterward (Recovery Day). I also missed an entire week when the kittens arrived, which was a very fair trade-off :)

But I have been trying. I think there have been eight September paintings so far. Yesterday I tried to sit in the South Paddock and draw my workshop, but Campion became very interested in my watercolor pencils.


And decided to fight me for them. The rogue!


I gave up (but did not surrender my pencils!) and settled on the porch with a stalk of Solomon's Plume. Here it is, and as always, you can left-click any image to see it more clearly in a gallery window, then just click the "x" to come back to this page:



Now I want to share with you something I've been thinking about for a year.

Last autumn, I tried an experiment. I had a few of my #DrawingAugust pieces printed by Spoonflower to get a sense of how different original materials on paper might translate into fabric. The results were surprisingly satisfying - clear, detailed, nuanced - although you will have to take my word for it this morning because this is an extremely poor photograph of the sample:

watercolor (daylily detail)
graphite (beans)
Ink line drawing (sunflower)
digital composite of colored line drawing (fern)

Had some help with the photography. That's all I'm sayin' ;)



That swatch has been on my fridge for months now, reminding me to think in terms of potential fabric design during #DrawingAugust this year. I'm leaning toward printing cotton fabric with a botanical design. What do you think? Perhaps some of the line drawings, like this:


And/or some of the watercolors, like this:



It occurred to me this week that I have plenty of ideas and enough raw material to work with already, but am just apprehensive about the expense of a fabric-printing venture. What if it's a dud project, just because I didn't think through the technical aspect beforehand? But...what is the technical aspect of fabric design?

Spoonflower's website is fantastic for the logistics of getting your design ready to print, but - does this make sense? - I'm pondering the technical aspects of using fabric.

I don't know enough about the uses of fabric to know the answer!

Then light dawned: many of my readers sew - and sew amazingly beautiful things! So, may I ask a favor? If any of you have suggestions about what makes a printed fabric work for you, or - and this might be even more important - if there are things that make a particular printed fabric a problem for you...please leave a comment or pop me an email! My sewing-person skills are minimal, and there are probably loads of things I wouldn't even think of, that are totally obvious to a skilled and experienced sewing-person. I gratefully welcome your thoughts and recommendations!

And now, since the humid, overheated, bug-filled weather is beginning to relent, Piper and I will try to have more time in our "studio." This folding chair with backrest and added cushions makes a wonderful difference in the length of time I can work before I must creakily move again. Instead of 10 or 15 minutes, I have worked steadily for over an hour! A few years ago, I would never have imagined that such a statement could be a cause for celebration. But it is, it is, it is!


The chair weighs over 7 pounds and is One More Thing to carry - along with backpack, cushions, water bottle, treats, etc., so we don't go far. That's okay! At least we GO! Sometimes I take Piper for a walk in the woods first, then we go back to the car for my gear and walk back in just a little ways to set up the studio. And buffet.

Cool enough this day to bring buttered bread for a snack.
Not to belabor the point, but: spread to the edge ;)

This is a portrait of a Studio Companion who has already had five treats,
but who knows you put six treats in your pocket:


I hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start!
Will you have an opportunity to spend some time outdoors today?
~~~~~