Monday, July 27, 2009

mono printing

My friend Diane (aka yarngoddess) is having great fun doing deconstructed screen printing and has inspired me to get back into the studio. I made up my thickened dye print paste but decided to mono print with it instead. My print surface is an A4 sheet of thin acrylic which I cleaned with a baby wipe. When I rolled my paste, the surface resisted and dots started to appear. The longer I waited, the more dots. The vertical stripes in the greenish piece are from my folding the wet print in plastic. Next time I will roll instead.
Iused cotton soaked in soda ash and wrapped the printed fabric in black plastic, then left it for 48 hours. That was the hardest part.

Of course not everything went swimmingly. I normally print with acrylic paint (mixed with a fabric medium) and so don't need to use gloves. I forgot that procion dyes skin and had lovely bright red finger tips. Then I put the pasted acrylic sheet down, dye side up and pressed with my hand. I had a lovely red print on the palm of my hand. Tried to wash it out with soap but no luck. There was a bottle of synthapol on the sink so I tried that. The dye washed right out of my hand. I don't know whether it only worked because there was no soda ash in my dye paste or maybe synthrapol just works, but either way it was much kinder to my skin than the stuff I normally use.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blue John

It was the grand-kids birthday last weekend and we decided to meet in Castleton and take them down a mine. Seemed like a good idea at the time. This the view from the pub where we had lunch. We don't have hills in my part of the country so it was nice to see these.

There are several interesting mines and caverns around Castleton (Derbyshire, UK) and we chose to go down the Blue John mine. Blue John is the mineral only found in this area, it is purple and

ocre coloured and very delicate.

It is very damp down there and we saw 100's of stalagmites

We went down about 300 slippery stone steps and then we had to climb back up again. The kids were fine but me and B had to take it a bit slower, by the time we got back out into daylight, everyone had been in the gift shop and ordered tea and coffee :)

Electric lighting was only installed fairly recently but that has given enough light to allow moss to grow in the depths. I love the lime green.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Duh and double Duh

I have been doing a grand impersonation of a headless chicken the past couple of weeks. I went to a family wedding in Sheffield (lovely ceremony, lovely family atmosphere, lovely to see people I haven't seen for a few years) on the way home we had to do a bit of a detour as there had been a shooting and the road was blocked off. I am so glad I live in a sleepy little rural town.
The following day I was teaching atcs to the Bailgate guild in Lincoln. I think that went well everyone worked very hard. Then I went to see TAKE THAT in Manchester with C, (those boys still have the old magic.) Got home from that in time to pack my stuff up for the workshop with Pauline Verrinder.
For the last few weeks my pc has been playing up, with dire warnings of hard drive failure popping up and it would not log on to the net. I un-installed and re-installed stuff and decided that I needed a new modem so ordered one. Whilst waiting for that to be delivered I thought I would decorate the study. In a heatwave! My walls are now lovely and clean (and I lost a couple of pounds)
The modem arrived and I attached it to the pc and ran the set up programe but it wouldn't talk to the pc. After a few hours of tinkering, swearing and sitting in front of the fan to cool off - (heatwave, not all temper tantrums) I worked out that the ethernet switch on the pc isn't working. Duh!! The new modem needs an ethernet connection but the old one works wirelessly, so I re-set that one and it now connects just fine.
It was my birthday last week and my lovely in-laws paid for a new chair which I can raise and lower as needed. This is so that I can raise myself to the right height to sew on my new Janome 6600. To get my shoulders to the right height to use the machine, I raise the chair seat. But then my feet dangle and I can't reach the foot pedal. Not a problem, I will make a wooden box to put the pedal on. I have a 15% off voucher to use in the local diy store as long as I pay using a particular credit card. So I go to the diy store to buy a sheet of mdf with the intention of getting them to cut it to the right size - they do that free of charge. The machine was out of order (or there was no-one in to operate it), so that was out. But I had the voucher so I bought a small and lightweight staple gun to use to make print frames. Went to the checkout and handed over the voucher and the credit card and couldn't remember the blooming pin number for that card. Duh! By the time I got home I was hot and harrassed. I pulled the bag out of the boot of the car and forgot to take my hand out, pulled the lid down. DuhDuhDuh. Goodness I did say a naughty word. The first finger on my left hand took the brunt of the damage and is a bit swollen and turning a funny colour, but at least I can still move the joints so hopefully it will be ok. It doesn't half hurt though.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

John James Needles

Karen from 'John James' came to talk to us (Sleaford Embroiderers) about needles. We learned how they were made and a little about the history of needles and the company that make them. She had some interesting ones with her, some were huge and very ferocious looking. It was fascinating stuff, I use them but had never thought much about needles. Pictured are some of the harder to find needles that I bought. Well, the pebbles are not that hard to find but they are a delight, and that is why I had to have one ;)
There is now an on-line store for buying at and you can contact Karen by emailing her at

Embellisher workshop

I went to Belstead House for a weekend workshop with Pauline Verrinder. We started at 7 on Friday evening, worked until 10.30, slept and then back in the classroom by 9 on Saturday morning. Although we did stop to eat we worked until 10 again and on Sunday from 9 until 3.30. Some from the group were in the classroom from 7 each morning!!!
Pauline worked us very hard, each time we thought we might catch up she would show us new ways to use the embellisher machine. We are having a heatwave in my part of the world and it was very hot in the room, huge picture windows let in fabulous light, but also the sun, and the heat from 15 machines added to the heat from 15 women of a certain age meant that we sweltered and melted. Didn't stop us working though :) I have done a little collage of some of the examples I made, more on flickr - see link on sidebar.