Saturday, December 6, 2014
Woolly Alphabet and embroidery progress
I finished the Woolly Alphabet quilt in September and am now writing the pattern. This is a pattern that needs to have all the designs in color detail photos. We have decided to add an extra color page or two so you can see all the stitches and beads and color changes, not for you to copy exactly what I’ve done, but to show you options.
The first time I will be teaching the Woolly Alphabet pattern will be at Mancuso’s best show on the east coast: Hampton VA. Nothing like having a deadline over your head to get things done. I entered the quilt in PIQF, Mancuso's best show on the west coast, and it didn't win any prizes. When I saw the judges comments I understood. They said glowing things about the quilt until they got to the zinger (encouragement to make better quilts in the future). They said I should have hand quilted it. Okay, my next crazy quilt will have no batting…I am thinking it might have a fish theme.
Paul and I have decided that posters of Crazy Sheep and Sheep Wannabees will be our next offering. Then Paul came up with a unique idea: let’s print one quilt on each side. The paper is the same as we use on our pattern covers and the ink doesn’t bleed through it. That gives you, the customer, options. Which one will you hang? Or maybe you want to buy two posters. You know Pau, l he’ll give you a deal. And the Wooly Alphabet and the Dragonflies in Wool will be another poster. Our thinking is that these posters could be incentive for quilters to finish one of these quilts if they had it hanging on the sewing room wall, or it is something that show goers could take home to remember what they saw at the show.
Because we have five shows bunched up close together in the Spring, I have been dyeing up a storm. We were invited at the last minute to the Fiber Festival of New England in November. There were large bags of fleeces to be had, and I bought four of them. I thought that was a LOT of wool. They are now all washed and dyed and some are still drying so the rovings will be bagged up shortly. In this photo, the curly fibers are goat hair (angora) which are shiny and take dye well, and the smooth fibers are sheep wool which sometimes have different colors on the tiny curls on the tips. None of the fibers I dyed look like anything you can buy at a big box store. They only sell flat one color dyed combed roving. My colors in the baggies are assorted because I want more variety in my colors to work with. I never mix one color and dye that in a batch. I put the fibers in a container, and pour one color and then another shade of that or another color close on the color wheel, or sometimes opposite color on the color wheel, and heat set it. Then the fun happens when I rinse the wool and see how the colors took.
So this is what three of my baggie assortments might look like:
Two on the left are going sideways, and one on the right going up and down. The goat hair is on the very left. All my white wool is now dyed or bagged up, and I asked one of the suppliers for more of her Cotswold wool and all she had left was "natural". What color is that I asked? It arrived this morning and it is heather grays, beiges, and darker, all with nice curls. I washed some right away and this afternoon it will be dyed. I can't wait to see how it comes out. The natural color will change the dyed colors, but how?
I am also dyeing wool fabrics in 6” strips (think quilt border) and 10” strips x the width of the wool fabric, to be sold at shows. They are all different, so it would be hard to put them on line. I used these colored wools as my backgrounds in the Wool Alphabet. If you are interested in having some of these to play with, give me a call or email what colors you like and I can take photos of some for you. They can be cut into shorter pieces. The price is not outrageous.. for a unique piece(s) for your art. A 10” square is $4.00, a strip 10” x 58” is $24.00, a 6” strip is $14.
This is a piece I’ve been working on. It is still a work in progress, but it gives you an idea of what can be done with a piece of hand dyed wool in odd colors for a landscape. What is it going to be? I don’t know. The important thing is that I am having fun talking back and forth with this piece. My friend thinks that is a fire going on in the forest. It looks like fog to me. I took lots of photos of trees to make this piece.