Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wasting Time

I ran across a link to another of those Internet quizzes. Most of the time I can resist them, but this was to determine what type of punctuation mark you are. Now, as someone who spent 7 years doing post-graduate work in English, I couldn't pass this one up. Here are the results:

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

What Punctuation Mark Are You?

The really fascinating thing about this is that it seems to be so accurate; at least, this is how I see myself (and my friends DO complain that I hardly have time for them). I'm not sure how this personality type equates to a comma, but I guess someone thought it was relevant.

I Felt . . .

exhilarated, exhausted, and thoroughly drenched at the end of my full-day wet-felting workshop with Jilly Gully from Outback Fibers. I took an online felting class at Joggles a while back and was pretty disappointed with my samples, so I decided that felting is probably better learned in a live class. Sure enough, I found out that I had been laying the wool roving on too thickly, using the wrong kind of "netting," and that the quality of materials makes a huge difference in the outcome.

Jill had plenty of other tips to help improve my felting, and she has the most beautiful wool and silk roving, dyed silk hankies, and something called Felbi prefelt which is wonderful to work with.

I was off yesterday and so played some more. I used my old, cheap wool from Jo Ann Fabrics for the first piece I felted (no pic here), and it was a big disappointment--the fibers just didn't seem to felt well, and the piece was thicker than I had hoped for. For the next two pieces (below), I used the wool & silk from Outback, and created both pieces on a Felbi prefelt base. They felted like a dream, and I think the pieces came out very nicely. I'm anxious to do something with them; I want to try stitching on a piece to see how that feels and works.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Since my Quilter's Palette class at Quilt U was drawing to a close, I felt like I should actually USE some of the hand-dyed fabric (this doesn't count the hand-dyed fabric quilted sweatshirt jacket I've been working on for the last month and that will likely be finished around July or August, of course). So I made this little journal quilt to commemorate the class with some of my hand-dyed fabrics, all except the "trees," which are black fabric discharged with bleach. It's interesting how photos play up some aspects of the piece and downplay others; the rings aren't really that prominent in RL, but I stitched them with invisible thread, which the flash reflects off of and makes more visible in the photo. I almost didn't post this because, as usual, I'm now picking the piece apart for all its flaws, but I have to keep reminding myself that these little journal quilts are for experimentation and practice.

Speaking of practice, my hand-quilting is improving! It's all that stitching in front of the television while watching episodes of Lost. We're almost through Season 2 and will probably finish the season this weekend.

The other big project I started this week was a clean-sweep of my home office. I have had enough of paper-slides from my desk, tripping over stuff all over the floor, and not being able to find anything. I started by tossing everything off of my desk onto the floor. We have wonderful cabinets in the office--full of junk, of course, so next I tackled those and cleaned them out. I found all these diskettes and tossed them into trash. Then that evil, never-throw-anything-away-crafter side of me kicked in, and I made the mistake of going online to see how these might be recycled. It turns out you can make all kinds of nifty, geeky things from old diskettes. Sigh. Now they're back in the cabinet, but at least they're stacked neatly in a corner.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

LOST in TVLand

First, Happy Valentine's Day!

Second, it was bound to happen. After months of the writer's strike and no new episodes of our favorite shows on television, we went crazy. Literally. Someone mentioned that you could watch episodes of ABC shows on their website. I wandered into the den last weekend and my lovely partner had her laptop open to "Lost," a show we never watched, despite all the media hype. I watched the first episode and was intrigued, but was tired of straining my neck to see her laptop screen. We called my son, the electronics genius, and he told us how to hook the laptop up to the television. We spent the rest of the weekend engrossed in the show, watching one episode after another, and made it through the entire first season. We're now on Season 2.

All of which explains why I haven't accomplished much over the past week, with the exception of in-front-of-the-tv projects. Why else would I crochet an entire bag from scrap fabric???

What else could explain the masochistic desire to teach myself how to hand-quilt???
Of course, I am a responsible adult and I can't sit around watching television all night every night. So I did take some time to hand dye some red gradiations (you thought I was going to say I finally did the dishes, didn't you? HA!). My fabric dyeing class is over, so I wanted to wrap up the final exercise. And, I had homework for the fabric painting class, so of course I had to take a break and become un-Lost long enough to do that.

No more time for chatting--Season 2, Episode 4 awaits.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romper Room

I've had to snatch bits and pieces of time for projects this week because I'm so busy at work. I also started the Quilt U Painted Fabrics class, so now I'm painting AND dyeing whenever I get a chance. These pics are from this week's lesson, which was about dyeing landscape fabrics--specifically, skies. I don't have a frame or stretcher bars to pin my fabric to when dyeing with a brush, and I've noticed that laying the fabric directly on the plastic results in the "tiny bubbles" effect, as seen on the blue-sky piece. However, the interesting thing is that these bubbles don't show (or are much less obvious) on the back of the piece (or is this the front?), as seen on the gray-sky piece. Anyway, this is handy because sometimes I might want the bubbles, and other times not. In the fabric painting class, the first lesson was about creating a color sampler using the fabric paints. This was really helpful in getting a feel for how the paints behave on the fabric, as well as for figuring out to make lots of tints, shades, and color mixes.

After all this work, though, I just needed some fun. I was going through some of my saved recordings of Simply Quilts, and ran across the episode with Laura Wasilowski creating a fused piece. This just looked like too much fun, so I had to try it. It was like being a kid again, only this time I got to play with sharp scissors and hot irons!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Free Stuff!

I saw an email this morning to one of my groups for free Valentine's images. This is a countdown, so a new free, online clipart image will be available every day for the next two weeks at Ten Two Studios.

Ok, technically it's not "free," it's "linkware"--the site asks in return that you provide a link to them on a blog or through email. I've done my part!