Friday, January 29, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 01/29

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Elizabeth Barton, my instructor for
Basic Dyeing for Quiltmakers,
encourages her students to keep a
record, much a like a recipe book,
of how we achieved the various colors
we dyed, so that if we need more we
can dye more. Apparently the Strong
Orange dye has been reformulated
because most of the students had
the same results I had - too much
orange in their red. The good news is
that once you know what you will
get you can make adjustments next time
if needed.
It has been a difficult week. The kind where I just want to throw up my hands and give up. I don't. That isn't my nature. I just keep pushing through hoping that my efforts will eventually pay off. What would we do without hope? It is our salvation, as the myth of Pandora's Box proves.

I've been ruminating about two books I read (actually listened to) recently along with the one that is currently downloaded on my iPod Touch. Why did all three books captivate me? At first glance they appear to have nothing in common. Then, bam, it hit me as I wrote the opening paragraph to this blog, the unifying theme is hope.

The books that have me in a reflective mood are, Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova and I Will Always Write You Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka. The first book examines how life would be different if the central character were to die at different points of her life and start over. It is set primarily during the period just before WWI through WWII. The second book is set in the present. It addresses the question of what would happen when a wife, mother of three young children with a high powered career must fight her way back from a brain injury that results in syndrome called left neglected. As someone who is dependent on my sight to create my art, the idea of not being aware or able to see anything to my left (how left neglected manifests itself) was morbidly fascinating. Finally, and perhaps the most captivating of all is I Will Always Write You Back. This is the true story of a young girl from Hatfield, Pennsylvania and  a young boy from a slums in Zimbabwe, who start a pen pal  relationship through their mutual schools. Not only are their letters shared in the book, but with each letter comes their adult reflections on what they opted to share, what they held back and what it was like to live their two very, very different lives.
The result of my personal
experiment. I wanted
to see if I could achieve
a gradation of dappled
vegetation green. I did!

Just writing about these books puts my own fretting and upsets in perspective. I am ready to trudge on. Here is just a hint of how my week went:

1) Work on Deep Waters - (Due March 15) - Done!

I am not a happy camper. I really don't like how the white caps turned out. I tried removing the most offensive one. Not possible. Tried covering it with a fused patch and adding stitching. Better visually, but not there yet. I am staying OPEN (this year's word/mantra) to a miracle solution next week.
2) Free motion quilting practice. - Done!

I thread painted and free motion quilted white caps on Deep Waters.
3 Do some surface design work - Done!

This week the assignments were to finish dyeing the remaining colors in the color wheel and to do an experiment. The experiment was the highlight of my week. My hypothesis was that I could achieve a vegetation green range with dappled light if I combined yellow and black, then diluted the dye solution for each progressive step while simultaneously slightly increasing the yellow in the yellow to black ratio. The result is proof positive that it worked. 
4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open.

I can just imagine Linda McLaughlin
working her magic with stitch and
leaf shape on this fabric.

I was asked to attend a morning coffee and conversation group by my yoga teacher, a true Renaissance woman who is a talented artist, musician and writer. It meets on the best day of the week for me and the time commitment is only 90 minutes. Still I was resistant. How could I squeeze one more thing into an overpacked schedule. Sometimes you just have to say yes and do it. I did.
How will making the conscientious effort to stay open impact next week? Hopefully, I will be open to my muse sufficiently to pick up possible solutions for my Deep Water piece and then have the courage to follow through. I can always start with some free motion quilting practice or do some dyeing. Both get me into the studio and started on the following agenda:

1) Work on Deep Waters - (Due March 15)

2) Free motion quilting practice.

3 Do some surface design work

4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open.

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. I love experiments and you got beautiful results with your greens!

  2. Love the greens! I'll have to see if our library has those books, they sound quite interesting.

  3. Life after life is on my to-read list, and I've been wondering about whether to bump it up or not. Would you recommend it? It sounds like it contributed to some turmoil for you, which is not something I need to add in my life....

  4. It does help when we have things happen to us that are hard to think of what others have gone thru and usually our problems seem trivial compared to some. That's why books are so great, they bring you into another world so you have that world in your memory without actually living thru it. I just finished Unbroken - a true story about a WW2 pilot who was shot down, spent 30 days on a raft with no food or water, then after floating 2,000 miles came to an island only to be captured by the Japanese and put in a POW camp and WA then tortured for another 2 years. I am amazed he survived. Now when something gets me down I will think of Louis Zamperini and know how blessed I am to have what I do.

  5. I am a voracious reader, and Life After Life is the best book I've read in years!!! Her newest book (A God in Ruins) is very good too, involving some of the same characters, but Life After Life is my favorite. (Beautiful dyeing you're doing!)

  6. I agree about your greens -- wonderful. I can see grass...and leaves... (grin). I heard Ms. Atkinson interviewed about that book (and her work in general) on CBC..."Writers and Company", as I recall. Whereas once upon a time I'd have enjoyed those books, I confess that because I 'get into' books so deeply, I can no longer read the kind of stories these are...I have, for over a decade now, stuck to cozy memoir and mysteries...and spiritual non-fiction or books about making art...and poetry...nothing too dark...

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