Sick Days...and Dyeing

I was going to title this post "Sick and Dyeing," but thought that might send a bit too much panic. Adding some elipses may at least give people pause before they assume the worst.

Although, a few days ago, it was arguable just how lively I really was. Doing ever-so-much-slightly-better now, thank you for asking. Still not quite up to a podcast. Hopefully sometime later this week.

Yes, almost two weeks ago I came down with the same cold/flu thing that's been making the circuit. For some significant percentage of the afflicted, it has gone into pneumonia. When I finally gave in and called my doctor to ask if she could prescribe me anything that would help the cough go away long enough for me to get a decent night's sleep, she required me to actually come in to see her. I wasn't aware of the pneumonia thing. Fortunately, not pneumonia in my case; she prescribed an inhaler which helped remarkably during the day and antibiotics. Nights are still rough. I'm allergic to codeine so the usual 'Tussin with Codeine thing didn't go well (the headaches it gives me are worse than the slight relief from the coughing). I'm back to Nyquil Cough and I'm glad to say, last night was the first uninterrupted night's sleep I've gotten since this nonsense began 12 days ago. I was supposed to be driving for 6+ hours today for work but gave in and called my supervisor last night. When I couldn't even make it through the conversation without coughing fits, she very kindly moved our staff meetings so now I don't have to go down for another couple of weeks. I feel like two or three more days of quiet should kick this thing for good.

Meanwhile, what to do on sick days? I hate being completely non-productive, but I had to take things v-e-r-y slow with lots of long breaks. I did manage to get some things accomplished, though.

Our Guild does Blocks of the Month most years, in which one of our guild members (Kate) chooses a block from a book and we all make it in whatever size/colors we want. No swapping--just making it for ourselves. (This year we're doing it with paper-pieced blocks that

I've posted about before

.) I'd started doing the BOM in 2008 and never finished, so I pulled out that bin this weekend. I was pleased to see I was only three blocks short. 

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After I got this block done, I realized I'd used almost exactly that same combination of fabrics in a previous block I'd made five years ago. Oops. Oh well--shows that the combination has staying power, I guess.

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I kept this one simple to balance out a few of the other busier blocks.

This was the last block, so I put all previous 11 out on the table to see what fabrics I needed to use to pull them all together. I had a rather troublesome almost-entirely-green block, and another troublesome strangely-pinkish block that I wanted to make seem more like they fit in with the rest of the collection. So I used one fabric from each of those blocks, and the third is a fabric I used often (note it in the block above).

With this one "tie it all together" block, I made the two troublesome blocks no longer troublesome. Now everything feels like it fits.

Dang, sometimes I actually know what I'm doing.

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So here are the 12 blocks together for the first time ever. You can see the originally-troublesome green block near the front of the picture; the strangely pink one is sitting right above it, although it doesn't come across as much pink in this picture.

That's the problem with taupes. When you're buying them individually, they all read "taupe." When you put them next to each other, you realize you've got a pretty wide range of colors.

Those blocks are now hanging on my design wall while I decide what I'm doing next. I'm pretty sure I've decided sashing, and I'm pretty sure I know which fabric I'm using for it. I have a border fabric already that I know will work. It won't take me that long to get the top pieced--just have to get myself to the energy level where I trust myself to do math.

I also got a couple more steps done in the Kimberly Einmo "Chain of Stars" mystery quilt on Craftsy, but I'm not allowed to post pictures of that publicly yet. She doesn't want us ruining the surprise for anyone else. I hope she lifts that stricture soon, though--I hope to have it done in another few weeks and don't want to wait too long to post it as a finish.

Thirdly, I got my Poppies quilt back from the longarmer and finished putting the binding on this morning. (Another great sick-day activity since it requires hours in front of the TV hand-sewing.) It's in the wash at the moment. I'll post pics later.

Then, because on Sunday I woke up to several inches of new snow, I got the bug to do some snow dyeing. Dyeing is a fantastic sick day project. About 20 minutes of activity and then several hours of waiting; a few more minutes of activity and then waiting...It was great. I felt like crud but I could still be creative. For the win.

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I have dyes and such because I'd bought the kit available for the

Jane Dunnewold Fabric Dyeing class on Craftsy

months ago and hadn't gotten the time to use it yet. I tweeted

Sandi Colwell of Quilt Cabana Corner

, who had recently been posting about her snow dyeing experiments, and asked if she could send me quick-like-a-bunny how she had gone about it. She immediately replied with an email of instructions. I love social networking.

I had a little bit left of some PFD Kona White I'd bought at Joanns months ago for something else, so I tore it into pieces that are something less than fat quarter sized. I scrunched two of them, then accordion-folded one and bunched and rubber-banded a second one. (That's Sandi's email open on my iPad so I could follow step-by-step what she suggested.)

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I reached out my patio door to scoop snow into the container with the fabric. Just out of sight to the left of my hand is Sam's snout. He was extremely curious as to what I was doing and I had to keep shoving him out of the way. Doofus.

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Here are all my containers ready to go.

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Must have the face mask before opening the powdered dyes. Probably should've been wearing one of these on the plane back from Phoenix--maybe I wouldn't have gotten the plague. Go figure.

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As soon as I poured the dye solution onto the snow, it melted. Oops.

In my usual "How fast can I fix this?" mode I just scooped a bunch more snow into the container, figuring it really had more to do with the water and cold temperatures or something.

I wasn't exactly thinking straight. I think all I did was dilute the dye.

I've since read information about people sprinkling the dye powder directly onto the snow rather than making it a solution first. That would likely work much better.

Still, not bad results!

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This first one was mostly yellow with some turquoise thrown in (scrunched).

This was mostly turquoise with some yellow thrown in (scrunched).

This is the one that I bunched up with rubber bands; it was in turquoise, and then I had a little yellow dye solution left over so I dumped it on one end of the banded fabric.

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This is the accordion fold one that was in what I thought was a fairly even mixture of turquoise and yellow, but it was clearly more yellow.

Hence ends my first experiment with snow-dyeing. I might try it again at some point, but today I've returned to the Dunnewold class in Craftsy and am working on doing standard dyeing using her methods. I'm in the waiting period at the moment--it's all in the dye bath and I won't know how it turns out for another couple of hours, so that'll be tomorrow's post...