nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘colour

a quilting story: lemons and lemonade

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I am going to share the long, twisty story of my poppy quilt.

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First, I am not a great quilter, but I have made many quilts. To illustrate, a friend once asked if I was ‘basting’ the quilt together first. I was not; I just quilt with long, uneven stitches.

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The story begins last Christmas when I ordered, on-line, a draft-stopper made from a row of stuffed sheep. It was adorable, well-constructed and perfect.

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So this Christmas I decided a cute lap-quilt with a sheep motif would be nice for the easy chair near the draft-stopper. So I looked on-line and ordered this cute little quilt.

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Something went wrong with the order (I think I ordered from a knock-off site) and when the quilt arrived I was beyond disappointed. Someone had taken a photo of the above quilt or one like it, had it printed on rayon fabric and sewed the ‘quilt’ together with a machine stitch.

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Meanwhile, I was planning to make a small quilt for our bedroom which is decorated with a poppy motif. I had some of the fabric, left over from other projects. I looked on- line and found the perfect fabric, in ready-to-quilt 5″ by 5″ squares. 42 squares, just enough for my quilt. Disappointment number 2. The fabric, when it arrived was beautiful. But, only 8 of the 42 squares were in the poppy motif! Grrrrr.

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So I said, dang the price and sent for another 42 (that is 8) squares. Now I still had to purchase a padding for the quilt. Hmmm. I have that ugly sheep quilt.

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So I used the sheep quilt for the backing, sewing individual poppy squares over the sheep in rows. Very pretty although the colours are probably the result of my flower-child years.

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Once I had the top completed, I sent for some fabric to do the underside. The first order was cancelled because the fabric did not print correctly, but, frustration aside, the final fabric is soft and beautiful. You can see my ‘basting’ stitches if you look closely!

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Now I will do a wide band for the edges, this time in a bright California poppy fabric. My quilt will be colourful and warm, and, somewhere within the layers of fabric, sleep 25 ugly sheep!

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All my best and may your quilting projects be without frustration!

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 20, 2020 at 7:00 am

Watercolour lessons

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Although I have painted in various media for years, I have never had a watercolour lesson. I decided to remedy this when a friend told me about a series of seven lessons being given in the evenings once a week at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

This week will be my third class and I have already learned so much.

Lesson one was a review of the colour chart and I learned how to find the complimentary colour and make variants of grey.

Lesson two had us trying various techniques. I have never sprinkled salt on wet watercolour before – the effects are delightful.

Although I have used resist techniques before, it was fun using wax pencil to make a moon.

Watercolour is very relaxing. I love the wet-on-wet technique, watching how colours bleed into one another.

And here is my new watercolour of tiny trees.

Looking forward to this week’s lesson.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

February 28, 2020 at 7:00 am

colour: solemn, sombre

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October in New Brunswick is an explosion of colour. However,  as the red and orange leaves fall, browns and yellows begin to dominate the landscape.

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View of Nerepis marsh looking south. The ferry is crossing the river, barely visible in the mist.

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Colour variety in the marsh grasses.

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Hay-scented fern adds yellows and browns to the ditches.

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solemn, sombre

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walked out to see you

once again as you

lay dying, somber

the soft light, marsh grass

leaning in the rain

autumn colour fades

tones solemn, ochre

of poplar and birch,

straw-pale, hay-scented

fern, Solidago

and tansy, shadows

in the ditch, the heads

of Typha

burst to seed

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Copyright Jane Tims 2019

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Best wishes everyone!

Jane

 

 

Written by jane tims

October 19, 2019 at 7:00 am

Posted in natural history

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

red, red, red

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October and autumn are upon us. I took a walk around our yard this morning and although my camera was not behaving (I bear no responsibility), I can show you some of the ‘reds’ I saw.

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the red of maple leaves turning colour (I always think they look like stained glass) …

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the red of the berries on our rose bush …

the red of the berries of lily-of-the-valley …

the red of the tiny apples in our flowering crab …

the red of the Virginia Creeper leaves …

Copyright  Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

October 2, 2017 at 11:40 am

colour of spring – a palette of twigs

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The season is rushing on! Only a week ago the branches were bare of growth and today our red maples have blossomed.

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On a recent drive to our cabin, there was still snow in some ditches. But I was thrilled to see the diversity displayed by young woody shoots and saplings.

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Green of willow …

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Red of dogwood …

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And the silver of pussy willow …

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Happy spring at last!!!!!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2107

Written by jane tims

May 3, 2017 at 7:34 am

green flame

with 4 comments

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In the afternoon, on a sunny day, the light from the stained glass window in our stairwell finds a place on the wall of our living room. For a few moments, blues, reds and greens create a gorgeous splash of colour. Yesterday afternoon, the spotlight settled behind the curtained door to the library. And a green flame shimmered among the folds of fabric, a reminder of the greenery slumbering out in the yard, beneath the snow.
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Copyright 2014 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

December 10, 2014 at 7:15 am

harvesting colour … colour of the harvest

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On our weekend drive from Canterbury to McAdam, I saw another aspect of the ‘harvesting colour’ theme.  Anywhere you travel in New Brunswick, you usually come across wood harvesting activity and Highway 630 was no exception.  About half way along, a turn in the road brought us to a large forest harvest.

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forest harvesting operation

forest harvesting operation

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The wood from the cut was stacked into gigantic walls.

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wall of cut wood

wall of cut wood

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The clearcut laid the land quite bare.  It will be many years before this area returns to the hardwood habitat typical of the area, if at all.

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spruce and fir

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The wood from the cutting had been piled according to species.  The colours of the cut wood were quite distinctive.  The largest colour contrast was between the pale almost white, ash …

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ash

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ash

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and the very orange wood of the  spruce and fir …

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spruce and fir

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I have no particular point to make, except to honour the very individual characteristics of these trees.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

June 23, 2014 at 8:57 am

harvesting colour – memorable colour

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I am starting to think about some of the colours I hope to capture in my dyeing projects.  In my reading I have discovered that plant colours come from three groups of plant pigments:

  • the porphyrins – includes chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that enables photosynthesis to occur
  • the carotenoids – includes the yellows of carrots and the red lycopene of tomatoes
  • the flavonoids – the yellows of flower petals and the red, blue and purple anthocyanins of strawberries and blueberries

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In my poems, I want to portray these colours with words.  A quick look in the thesaurus shows how many words we have for the various colours:

  • green: emerald, sage, verdigris, malachite, beryl, aquamarine, chartreuse, lime, olive …
  • yellow: ivory, lemon, saffron, gold, sallow, buff …
  • red: scarlet, carmine, vermillion, crimson, ruby, garnet, maroon, brick, rust …
  • blue: azure, phthalo, cerulean, indigo, sapphire, turquoise, watchet, navy, teal …
  • purple: lilac, violet, mauve, magenta, heliotrope, plum, lavender …

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Copyright 2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 21, 2014 at 7:06 am

harvesting colour – mordants and modifiers

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Dyeing textiles involves more than just the dyestuff.  Simmering cloth in a dye bath may initially produce a beautiful colour, but without help, the colour may fade in sunlight, or over time.

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Mordants:  Mordants are substances that assist the dyeing process by improving the colour-fastness of dyes (to washing and light), and by modifying the strength and quality of colour.  Mordants bond with both dyestuff and fibre so the resulting colour is more permanent.  Mordants include metals such as aluminum, copper and iron.  I have a quantity of a safe mordant, alum (aluminum sulphate) and I may try other mordants as I become more experienced.

Colour modifiers: After a fibre is dyed, colour modifiers can be used to increase the range of colour possibilities.  In some cases this means changing the pH with modifiers such as vinegar.  Modifiers also include after-mordants (additions of copper or iron).  Adding iron as a modifier results in ‘saddening’ of the colour …  for example, a brown obtained from a tannin-rich dye can become almost black.

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My reading about mordents and modifiers made me think about keeping colours vivid in memory.  Perhaps, when we remember a particular scene in full vibrant colour, there is some ‘memory-mordent’ involved !!!  In the poem, the mordants aluminum, copper and iron are there in the coastal environment, strengthening memory …

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Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

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colourfast

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how do I explain

the being present

the exquisite memory

the precise phthalo

of ocean, the cobalt

of sky, salt breeze,

viridian horizon

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perhaps some mordant made

this memory strong – aluminum

from my morning tea, copper sulphate

patina from the weathervane

pointed landward

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and the boathouse

mooring, rusted

saddened the colour

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near Torr Bay, Nova Scotia

near Torr Bay, Nova Scotia

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 14, 2014 at 7:25 am

harvesting colour – gathering more materials

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As I get ready for my first experiences with dyeing, I have thought about the materials I will be using.  I don’t want to get too complicated and sabotage my real aim, the poetry I will write.  I will try to keep it simple and generate lots of fuel for my writing.

Textile fibre:  As I explained in my previous post on ‘harvesting colour’, I will use both plant (three old cotton shirts) and animal fibres (unspun wool and silk fabric).

Source water:  I will be using our well water – slightly acidic and high in several minerals.  Our water is so acid, it reacts with the copper piping in our house to stain all the drains in our house a copper sulphate blue. I know that the acidity of the source water influences the colour outcome.   For some of the plant dyes I will use (for example madder), I will want to adjust the water acidity to get a full range of possible colours.

water crisis 2013

during our problems with our pump and well in 2013, we missed our tasty well water

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Utensils:  Last fall I bought myself a large stainless steel pot for my dyeing projects since I know it is important to keep my dying utensils separate from our cookware.  I also have my Mother-in-law’s copper teapot if I want to add some ‘copper kettle’ to my dye projects (copper is a mordant, an addition that helps keep textiles colourfast).

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copper kettle

my mother-in-law’s copper kettle – since my husband doubts it is solid copper, I may have to add some copper pennies to get the mordant effect of copper

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Plant material:  Even in winter, I have access to many plant materials for dying.  I have various flower petals and other plant material from my various botanizing adventures.  The drying line in my kitchen has a bouquet of tansy gathered last fall and a net bag of onion peelings I have collected since Christmas.  I have acorns collected last fall and, outside, access to the bark of various trees, including birch (I am anxious to try this since I understand birch bark can dye in hues of red).   In my freezer, I have frozen berries, including a tub of red currents picked by my Mom over ten years ago – I plan to use her berries to dye material for my weaving, after I have gained a little experience.  As for in-season plants, I know my husband is looking forward to being dragged all over the countryside in search of various kinds of plants (he was a very helpful participant in my ‘growing and gathering’ project.

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oak leaves with a cluster of acorns

oak leaves with a cluster of acorns

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For next Friday’s ‘harvesting colour’ post, I’ll talk a little about mordants and colour modifiers and I think I’ll post my first poem in the series!

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 28, 2014 at 6:43 am

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