Thursday, 30 July 2015

I Miss Thunderstorms!

This past week has been mostly wet and cool ... hard to believe in the middle of summer, that you  need to wear a light jacket. There have been a couple of small rumbling thunderstorms that everyone here excitedly talks about .... but what I really miss about southern Ontario is a 'good afternoon intense thunderstorm' or an overnight show of lightning flashing through the dark sky followed by the long roll of thunder.  You don't get good convection air currents next to the ocean, and as much as I love to see the fingers of fog stretch up the harbour, an occasional convective thunder storm would make my day (or night).

So ... during the wet, cool days of the past week, I decided to read and then read some more. A friend mentioned the site .... and I reserved a few interesting books through the local library. As would be expected, all the reservations came within 3 days.

I also tried dyeing some fabric with what I had around the house .... liquid dyes and ice are a lost cause!  The dyes coagulated on the ice and left little blobs on the fabric. Large areas of the fabric remained white ... which I guess in the long run is a good thing. Now I can reuse most of the fabric with the powdered dyes I will now order on-line.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Halifax Harbour

     On the same theme as the bridges "Crossing Halifax", I've decided to work on "Crossing the Harbour" or maybe "Crossing Halifax Harbour". It will consists of 3 landscape quilts: the MacKay Bridge (which I've done before), the MacDonald Bridge and the Dartmouth-Halifax ferry.
     So far I have been working on the ferry.
     This is the Halifax skyline ... I realized that some buildings didn't quite follow perspective so I trimmed a couple. I am not sure how I want to quilt the sky since the day I stood at Alderney Landing to photograph the ferry coming to dock, the sky was a smooth pale blue with no wispy clouds.
     I just remembered: I meant to add the tugboat: Theodore, a "little" bright yellow tugboat with an orange hat and a big smile on the bow.  I may add him later, tied up along the wharf.
     I added the ferry today ... it needs a lot of thread-painting to give it some character. It needs an antenna or two & a flag on top. I also realized when I looked back at my photograph that there is a church steeple about mid-picture -- will add that, but I am going to leave out the large cranes that seem to be popping out of the top of a couple highrises.
The next challenge will be adding the waves to the front of the ferry and in its wake.  (Unlike the sailboat quilt, I won't be creating large waves so there is no need of extra dark water that might be mistaken for minke whales!!)
 Original photograph of the ferry "Dartmouth II" crossing Halifax Harbour.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Ice Cube Dyeing

     Beth Bleasdale gave a short workshop on dying fabric with ice cubes at Bonnie's store "Sew With Vision", Halifax ... we used the parking lot out behind the new store location. After soaking our fabric pieces in a soda ash solution for 20 minutes and wringing it out, we placed our fabric pieces on a rack in a plastic tray, and drowned them in ice cubes. I chose a mid-blue and a mid-green colour (can't remember the actual colour names) and lightly sprinkled the dye powder over the ice cubes.
     It looks pretty dark here ... the blue powder turned almost black.   
 Everything was left overnight to melt ... by having the fabric sit on a small rack above the bottom of the tray, it allows the ice cubes & dye to drip through and the fabric won't be sitting in a bath of all of the colours together (unless, of course, you'd prefer that.)
     On the 2nd day, we "discovered" our masterpieces!  and repeatedly rinsed them out in cool water until the water ran clear.  At home, I gave my fabric samples an extra salt-water bath to secure the colours before hanging them out to dry.
                             I love the turquoise ... didn't expect it. The picture (taken in the sun outside) doesn't do the colours justice.   
     I didn't expect the purply colour and thought that the green would have been a bit darker, but overall, I am pleased with the results.  In hindsight, instead of crumpling all 4 fabric pieces, I should have tried different methods of folding for each to see how that would impact the dye saturation ... (twisting the fabric, flat folds, circles with elastics or thread holding them in place ... kind of like tye-dying of the '70's.)
     So ... will I do this again? Most definitely! This might give me more of the variations I need in producing 'water' colours for some of the art quilts.  I have some liquid fabric dye already & will try the same methods to see the difference between liquid & powder dyes.
     Beth says she gets her powdered dyes from ... I've been checking out their website to consider my next purchase!! I will also need to find a source for soda ash.
     Thank you Beth & Bonnie for a chance to try something new!