The devil is in the detail

And I have been working on details! Here it is at 4:10 PM on Thursday. NOW I will stare for a while.

This is a relatively accurate depiction of de picture! The colours are pretty true all except the deep petal . In truth, it is not as purple. 
I will still wait to layer as I MAY still doctor it a tiny bit. One thing I am thinking of is adding a titch of the palest yellow to sunny up the bottom poppy. May do it. May not. We'll ALL have to wait and see.

 It is a stunning day here with a bit of an onshore breeze from the lake . Yay, Lake! I like cooling breezes. Enjoy the rest of your day and I shall too. Our house smells of peonies! I have two big bunches and still zillions in bloom in the garden. Lucky me ! :-)


There have been several incarnations on this Poppies Aglow II piece. Here us where I am at the moment.

It has taken all week to get to this stage and there is now a LOT of fiddly, subtle detail to add. 

I do not like the "weight" of most of the background poppies so will use the more mottled section of the fabric I made and cut new poppies from that. Hopefully, they will look a little more ephemeral! Also, I am not sure I have the best colour for the little pods and buds. It looks ok in real life but the camera is not fond of the colour. I may need to make some better bronzy greens. I have moved those background blooms around - A LOT! Don't want to clutter it up too much. 

I think I will post this to the and see who is doing what over there. Have a look and share YOUR works in progress too!

BTW, I have spent this HOTTT day cleaning out and cleaning UP and organizing my laundry room/ dye studio! It is VERY nice and I have made a HUGE bagful of fabric for my old Aunty who quilts for her church. A good day for everyone :-)

First Poppy!

I have ALMOST finished my first big poppy! We were at Quilt Canada this morning- in the pouring rain! Congratulations to all those involved- winners and everyone. Great effort and lots of inspired work.

I started this last night but ran out of good light for choosing colours so I had to stop. Anyway, apart from a couple of small amendments, I THINK this one is done. I have some work to do on the underside of the front petal - the deep red one.
The colours are not quite true here but reasonably close. At least you get the feel of the process.

I still have a LOT to do. It will keep me busy for a bit. Then, once this top is finished, I will store it and If Monet Grew Hydrangeas carefully  and layer them one at a time and work over the summer quilting them and finishing them.

We are expecting "company" later in the summer, you know :-) In light of that fact, I have some heavy  duty cleaning and reorganizing to do here. Once Poppies is done to the quilting stage, I will not be doing too much more until after the visit except the quilting of these two in my "spare time".
Are we cute, or what??? This was taken two days ago :-)
So, now that I have had a little sit down, back to work!


Here I am back again, on a sort of roll ( but rolling gently as I have a sore back today- poor old me !)
I am working on dyeing a background for the poppies . Here's how!

First I studied my photo and decided which dye colours I needed to mix. Then , in a nice urea solution, I mixed some VERY intense dyes. More on that later.

I placed my paper pattern on the dry, clean , plastic covered work table. This got covered by a big sheet of plexiglass that, fortunately, fit the size needed for my background. Then, I cut a piece of the lovely silky cotton lawn a little larger than needed and I soaked it for  few minutes in pre-prepared soda ash solution. Putting the soda ash on first like this stops excessive colour bleeding . Normally, The soda would go on AFTER the dye. This SHOULD keep the colours pretty much where I painted them.

Then, with my dyes premixed in the urea solution, and a big soft paintbrush, I started painting , a section and a colour at a time. When the dye is wet, it looks VERY intense. I want good colour in the end and I KNOW some will bleed out when I rinse so I made strong dyes,strong urea and strong soda ash to fix it all. Normally, my dyes are not as intensely mixed.

Here is the fabric with the colour all painted on. The big white splotches are the places where the poppy heads will go eventually.
Now, I have all of the colour where I want it, next job is "fixing" it with soda ash. As I do NOT want to move the fabric off the plexiglass, I put my soda solution into a spray bottle and , after blotting a bit of extra wetness off the fabric, I sprayed it all over, REALLY well, THREE times with a few minutes between. Now it is "batching " on the table. I will leave it till it has been there a couple of hours , then rinse normally and dry and iron it - and hope it is good!

As well as this, I dyed a strip of silk organza - the normal way, with golden yellow and red to use as the blurry poppies in the background. It can come out of the soda pretty soon but I may leave it all till after dinner.
And here it is now, just batching away with the soda spray on it. Fingers crossed! Maybe by later tonight I will have a background ready to work with .
So...I am well on my way now. I am DYING to get to the poppy heads! Can't do them till I get my background finished! That is close to being ready so- stay tuned:-)

Hope this all makes sense! 

... and back to the needlework!

I have decided to do a larger version of Poppies Aglow. It will be called Poppies Aglow II! How novel, I hear you cry! I have only just begun and have been dyeing some new brilliant colours - in marked contrast to the pastel pretties from Monet's Hydrangeas.
The photo, the drawings, the enlarged pattern and some of the new fabric
I drew the single poppies in a little more detail to separate the petals to make the construction a little more realistic.

Caption not really necessary!
So now, I am underway with my poppies traced and ready to sort the colours- which will go where, and, do I need any more colours? I have lots of odds and sods but this is REALLY a bright piece !
The poppies ready to label and cut so I can start assembling

some of the new fabrics

You remember the photo?
I believe I might post this to the too so you can see that I AM gainfully employed! I have not quilted the hydrangeas yet. I will get this one to the quilting stage too and then I can pick away at it over the summer. Drop by and see what everyone is doing.

The other passion

I LOVE my fibre art! I Love to sew and draw and paint and design- BUT- I also love the garden! As a result of having done so MUCH art, the garden has suffered this year. First the winter took its toll, then the neglect by the "Chief Gardeness". However, Nature is very forgiving. Looking out the window the other day, I felt like there was really nothing in the garden yet. Not so!

The first thing I found was just by following my nose. DROP DEAD GORGEOUS FRAGRANCE!!!
A spinosissima rose, Kakwa. It positively drips bloom and perfumes the whole neighbourhood.
Not a spectacular bloom
.. but very pretty in a vase in the house for a short time. The entire house is fragrant while the petals remain intact.

Continuing in the white department, I found the pretty , crisp white Bleeding Hearts growing in semi oblivion at the side of the house, almost inundated by a deep morass of dead English Ivy- winter killed! Many stiff, aching muscles and six containers full later, the ivy is GONE and the dicentra shimmers in its glory!
Still in white, dicentra alba, White Bleeding Heart!

.. no fragrance, but such a clean freshness to the whole plant!

There IS colour in the garden too. There are lots of pink and purple tints in spring. Peonies are JUST breaking buds with the help? of the ants.( the jury is out on the ant story!)

Great promise of pink peony Sarah Bernhardt here .
Early pink peony Catherine Fonteyn

Deep in the heart of Ms Fonteyn! I may have plans for her later!

Allium in full explosion 

Allium Christophii

Dame's Rocket

The rest of the current pinks are in the back garden. I guess there ARE a few things in bloom! There is a scattering of purples-

Columbines- pink, purple and white

And a few early Iris Siberica

White columbine
At the front of the house, I have used Sunshine Impatiens in with Hosta Albo Marginata and I splurged on a big mixed basket of calibrachoa, Million Bells, for the big urn. As an avowed perennial gardener, it grieves me to plant annuals but I have always used shade Impatiens to fill in the blanks. The gardeners among us though will know that shade Impatiens is still on the disabled list with a fungal problem. VERY few places are selling it this year, NONE were last year. So, Million Bells and Sunshine Impatiens it is! Looks cheery and bright.

Calibrachoa and an unnamed little yellow daisy- very primary colours in an otherwise pastel garden! And last, but not least is my favourite little corner of the back garden. There is not much going on there just yet but it will soon be awash in Sarah Bernhardt Peony!

An old Amelanchier on the left, Hakonechloa  Aurea with an urn and a basket behind it and Sarah B, about to burst in the background!
I DO love gardening and MUST make more time for it. After all, half of my subjects for art quilts come from the garden!

Even though this is not needlework, it inspires my needlework so I will post this on the but I am also adding another post that IS the start of a new piece, so check that out too. It is based on my little Poppies Aglow but is version 2 - bigger.

Making progress

This is a slow slog! I have a vision in my little brain  but it is not really a concrete vision anywhere just yet so it is tough. LOTS of trial and error.

I am working on the background now, having got the foreground MOSTLY as I want it. I may have to have a little dye session as I seem not to have quite the right greens. There will be more of the "willow" branches but I wanted to leave them out for the moment until I get the background bits in and ironed. Here is where I am at the moment. It may change in the cold light of dawn :-)

Here we were at the start of the evening. 
And here is the start of some bits of background detail.

I am still not happy with the smaller hydrangea head-on the pink side in the second row back. They begin to look a bit like roses. I will have a go at making little irregularly shaped patches to suggest florets.

I need to try to find or make some soft cool green  for a few suggestions of bushes in the big gap above the blue hydrangeas. THEN, the willow can go back on in front to them. BTW, the colour in the last photo is way off. My white balance was set for automatic but this was taken under artificial light and apparently "automatic" does not do a good job with that. The colour in the first pic is much better.

I will post this tonight but tomorrow, at the appropriate time, I shall post it to the I hope you will drop in and enjoy everyone's posts this week!

....And a little addendum-
This is where I finished up tonight- well, I fixed that one purply pink hydrangea head that has a sort of "outline"
I THINK I may be ready to layer but will see tomorrow!