Friday, December 16, 2011

the start of something else

pretty boring ah?  This is just the beginning of a round robin, four of us are going to pass work around until we either finish or get bored.   We are working on fire, air earth, fire, and water.  I bagged fire of course.  The grand plan is to chop each piece into four and sew them back together then send them round again for embellising.  We can't wait to get to that part :)
This is a piece of hand dyed cotton, with a 'hoop' of the painted silk velvet from a couple of posts back.  I don't know whether I will keep any of the blue once it is completed, but for now it cheers me up on a dreary grey day.
Watch this space for updates.. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


You know when someone tells you something and you think "Yeh, right". 

The Post Office has run out of 2nd class stamps!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I needed some fabric to represent 'fire' for a round robin I am taking part in.  After a lot of thought I decided that silk velvet would be the idea fabric to use.  I just happend to have some white velvet so carefully scrumpled it and threw acid dye over it.  Into the microwave for 5 minutes.  Hmm.  It must be viscose/silk.  It came out a bit wishy washy. 
I just happenned to have some more so this time I carefully crumpled it into a litter tray and poured 'dyn-a-flo' over. 
I put the litter tray with the soaking fabric on a box behind me and dampened some habitai, put it into a smaller tray.  Reached behind me to grab the dye and knocked the first tray over.  Sigh.  Not much I could do, so just shoved the velvet back into the tray.  I put it in the airing cupboard overnight to dry.  Next morning, it was still soaking wet.  I got an old towel and wrapped the silk in it, along with some other bits of stray fabric (waste not want not) and got ready to wring.  Oops, the dye paint had dripped out of the towel and I had lovely orange dots all over my oatmeal covered bedroom carpet.  Sigh.  I can't remember what made me think working in the bedroom was an idea.
I scrubbed the carpet and then, with the towel, fabric and dye over the bath tub, I wrung the excess dye out.  Scrubbed the bath.  Sigh.  Then I put a black sack in the bottom of the bathtub, a drying rack over and hung up the fabrics to dry.  Got fed up waiting and got the hair dryer out.  10 minutes later I was ironing.  And if I say so myself, it is a nice firey piece of velvet. 
This is the piece of silk habitai that I coloured at the same time.

The old towel that I borrowed from the dogs went into the washing machine and came out perfect.  No staining of the dyn-a-flo at all.  The carpet has some echoes of orange but I guess it will disapear in time.  I sat in the bath and found the stray paint splots before anyone else could...

Bad hair day

Pocket angels for a swap over at cloth paper studio, each one is around 3.5 inches tall. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

2012 colour of the year announced

Tangerine Tango

I won't be the only one being fashionable next year as I know at least one person who loves orange more than I do

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sad news and a huge loss to us all

Sarah Lawrence of Crafty Notions has died.  How can that be?  Sarah inspired me to stretch and grow, she shared her talents and experience so readily, exhibitions just won't be the same without stopping by and seeing what she is up to.
I am gutted, I can't imagine what her family are feeling. RIP Sarah

Friday, December 02, 2011


Everyone is doing it - following Sharon's take a stitch challenge.  I plan to follow Sharon's example and make a band sampler using one of my carefully hoarded pianola rolls as the base for my scroll.  I don't suppose mine will look as nice as Sharon's band sample but who cares. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

I went to the knitting and stitching show in Harrogate

Please remind me next year not to go on Thursday.  The place was heaving with people, I couldn't get to the booths to see what was for sale!!  I did manage to buy Jan and Jeans video and some wool felt scraps from Oliver Twists.  But mostly I wandered around in a daze sniffling and avoiding elbows.

 I did get my elbow spurs out to squish to Jean Bennetts exhbition.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Harrogate knitting and stitching

It is that time of year again and I am really excited to be going this year.  See you there :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I went to Durham for a couple of days

I have wanted to go to Durham for many years, my Grand-mother was born in Sunderland and I needed to go to the archives to advance my family history project.  I heard fantastic things about the city so had a long list of things to do to cram into my two days.Sigh.  The record office is only open three days a week, guess which two I went.  Closed!
I walked up to the Cathedral, it is Norman so not as breathtaking as the Gothic one I am used to here in Lincoln.  But it is interesting and has the shrine of St Cuthbert, unfortunately photos weren't allowed.  I headed deep inside the Cathedral to find the 'Treasures of St Cuthbert' exhibition.  "This is a permanent exhibition that includes the Saxon relics of St Cuthbert, illuminated manuscripts, historic church silverware and textiles. This summer the exhibition is joined by biblical rarities from the Cathedral’s collections including a first edition of the 1611 King James Bible, in celebration of its 400th anniversary."  Wow!  It closed in October, the exhbition space is being turned into a bookshop. I didn't cry.
I walked across the courtyard to the Heritage Centre.  They have a brass rubbing centre and I was looking forward to having a go and maybe collecting some inspiration for future work.  They were having solar panels installed on the roof, so "everything had been put away".  So close and yet...
The opposite side of the courtward was the 'Treasures of Durham University - Library special collections'.  1/2 price entrance fee.  Sigh.  Around 1/3 of the exhibitions were replaced with a piece of card saying "exhibit removed".
The castle is being used for student accomadation so tourists aren't allowed inside, but you can normally wander around outside.  But, there was a barrier with a no entry sign, workmen were working with hard hats.
I was tired and hungry so had some lunch and wandered around the shops until it was time to go back to the hotel.  By 3.30 I wanted to come home! 

The photos are of the "War Memorial" for the Durham Light Infantrymen.  It is a beautifully carved monolith with a celtic cross.

Durham and the Tentmakers exhibition

The hangings are made by the tentmakers in Cairo.  Most are men who are working to support their families.  The work is exquisite, the applique finely stitched and embroidered.  The prices were heartbreaking, ranging from around £50 to one or two at £350.  I was very happy to hear that the University bought one very large hanging for their Oriental Museum.  There are more photos in my flickr album the prices of the pieces is included within the titles. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Black birds singing in the dead of night

I woke up in the middle of the night with Paul McCartney's blackbird song in my head. It stayed with me for a couple of days and I thought this might be a good time to make the birds I have been meaning to for years.
Coincidentally, clothpaperstudio is having a challenge to celebrate our 7th anniversary, we are to make something with 7. 
This why there are 7 black and white birds in my little tableau.

I found the pattern here

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I just looked in my comments folder and found several that needed moderating.  I am so sorry if you commented and it didn't appear, blogger usually sends an email to let me know when there is a comment - I guess the spam filter sent them to the black hole.

I do appreciate every comment, it is nice to know there is someone else out there, please don't stop

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

exhibition news

New exhibition at the Carre Gallery should be interesting to all textile artists in the area.  Linda Westerman, Patricia McMillan, and Moira West.

If anyone is coming over, want to meet for a cup of tea?

Friday, September 30, 2011

using my stash

Well not all of it obviously :)

I wanted to make something to give to someone special and this piece of fabric jumped into my hand. 

My sewing skills need work but I am proud of the fact that this was the first time I have made bias facings, and they lay flat - yippee.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Spending time in the diy store waiting for my paint to be mixed is not my ideal.  So I wandered off to the wallpaper section and saw one or two big and bold embossed wallpapers.  I picked up a couple of nice big samples.  This is a mustardy coloured Markal stick on white cotton rubbed over one of the samples.  I can see what I did wrong, masking tape and a few pins will make all the difference!
Once again the hardest thing is waiting (for the paint to cure so I can dip this into a dye bucket.) 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Murphy stood in soft poo this morning and trod it into the carpet in the study. 

It is one of those days when the duvet looks very inviting.....

why oh why

Why do I change things that aren't broke?

My broadband provider is putting the monthly fee up by £5, their letter made it clear that this isn't negotiable and if I wanted to change to another company, so what!

Enraged by this cavalier attitude and swayed by a special offer of cheap internet and calls, I decided to switch.  Filled in my on-line application and sent it off.  I got an acknowledgement everything was in order and I would be connected on Thursday (of last week).  The new router came on time and I waited with great expectation to be told I was connected.  Waited some more.  Sigh.

On Friday I rang the 'service' centre and the 'nice' gentleman told me that I had filled in my on-line application wrong and the only thing they could do was cancel the order and start again.  I think he may have been a robot because when I asked what I had done wrong he simply repeated himself. Sadly we were disconnected.  I can't believe he would be so rude as to hang up on me!  I said a rude word and Brian rang them back.  He spoke to a 'lovely' man who more or less repeated what had been said but told B that he would do the re-order himself and make sure we kept exactly the same promised deal.  He also promised to ring back after 8pm to confirm everything was good to go.  The date for connection would be Tuesday.

Guess what?  He didn't ring back, but I did get an email saying the order had been placed. 

Yesterday we received a returns envelope for the router.  I didn't really understand why they would have to send a new one, so put that to one side.

So It is Tuesday.  The day.  I followed the link to the order to look at the status.  It said completed.  Yeh.  sigh! 

I did managed to speak to a human this time.  (I may have 'accidently' pressed the wrong button when the telephonist robot gave me options) I started by telling Jason that I understand that none of the above is his fault but.......

I have been assured that both my phoneline and my broadband will be connected on Friday, that the router I already have is the one I will be using and I will receive a text on my mobile phone to let me know when I am connected. 

If you don't hear from me for a while you will know where I am..........

sods blinking law

I repainted the walls in my kitchen a couple of months ago.  This looks lovely but has made the rest of the house look a bit shabby. 
Murphy threw up all down the stairs, I did my best but in the end I had to get the carpet cleaned.  I thought I may as well get the living room and study carpet done at the same time.  In order to be able to move downstairs, I humped all the books/bookcases etc from the study up into one of the bedrooms, (put the furniture from the living room in the kitchen).  Apart from the desk the study is empty so I thought I would paint the walls in there before I move on to the bigger jobs.
I chose the paint to co-ordinate with the kitchen so that I get a nice flow through the house.  Went to buy it and the diy shop locally doesn't stock that type.  Went to the next town, (Grantham) they don't have it either. On Friday I was in Worksop, so I went into the big diy store.  They have had a fire recently and the paint sort of blew up.  No paint.
I got out my paint charts to find a similar colour but I really wanted my first choice.  So on Sunday I drove to Lincoln and hurrah, they have my paint.
Monday, I got up early, masked everything in the room, lay dropclothes to cover every inch of carpet and the desk and got on with it.  Hmm.  It didn't look quite right, but paint does look different wet so I carried on. 
I think the technical term for the colour is HORRIBLE!  Not really - it is a lovely sky blue, and I do like it, but it is not anything like  the kitchen paint, not anything like the swatch on the chart and oh so not what I want on those walls. 

Anyway for a few days, until I rest my hand enough to start again, I will be enjoying blue sky, both inside and out if the weathermen are to be believed

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Autumn is coming

Two rainbows, great light, pity about the telephone pole.

Slightly better composition.  Both pics taken on my mobile phone.  Autumn is definately on it's way.

Monday, September 12, 2011

playing with print paste again

I called in Homebase the other day and had them cut some mdf into 18" x 24", I got 4 for £11.  Two layers of polyester felt stapled over and I have 4 new print boards.  Bargain! 
I had some perspex blocks in a drawer.  I glued little wooden door knobs on the back (no more nails glue) and they are now really easy to use.

The first piece has a base cover of lemon yellow.  I added turquoise to the leftover paste and used it to print using one of my perspex blocks.  It is batching now, because I have no idea what to do next.
The next started with lemon yellow.  I added turquoise and indigo blue to my paste and printed using a square block.  The circles were made using a jar lid, same dye paste but with extra indigo added. 

I used a credit card to get the print paste onto the fabric on this one.  First I scraped on lemon yellow (I mixed up a big batch this morning, gotta use it up).
I added a little golden yellow and indigo dye and used the edge of the card to print the block shapes.  Then scraped a tiny bit of scarlet in places.  I kept adding layers until it started to go muddy.  I used bottle tops in various sizes to stamp the circles.

Friends know that I hate green and rarely use it, but a lover of everything green has been heavily influencing me lately.  I know that I will be adding orange or red to the first two prints at some point though. 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thank you Leslie

Did I mention that I spent too much of my day at the FofQ watching Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan demonstrating?  I am not sorry.
Inspired by Leslie I did a little printing yesterday.  I started with scarlet and slapped it onto the fabric using a credit card.  Then I went over it with wine red print paste.
Of course then I went a bit mad and added black.  I was good and left it to batch overnight, and rinsed it out today.

Here's a peek at the rinsed fabric.  I am sad that I lost the glow of the vibrant scarlet, and there is some bleeding, but Leslie was right when she said 'the original marks own the cloth'. 
This has been well rinsed, but not washed in detergent yet, it will be back in the soda bucket ready for more work later

I won a prize

I won a prize at the NEC FofQ and it came today.  I didn't know what to expect, but I was very happy to recieve a set of 7 blue cotton fat quarters from simplysolids
Will I use them as they are or will I give in to temptation and print on them ?

Perhaps I could do a hop, skip and two little jumps today..

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I had a bit of a tidy up in my studio, re-arranged a few things.  Tried to put the inspiring stuff on show and the ordinary everyday stuff in the cupboards.  I need to do lots more work but have one or two nice areas.  I smile now whenever I see these, instead of ignoring the mess that used to be on that shelf.  I am hoping to be more inspired to use my stuff.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

sometimes only orange will do

You may need to wear your sun glasses to read this one :)

Imagine a little grey haired woman, doing a tiny skip and just one jump.  That was me when I pulled these out of the washing machine.  How could anyone not be happy with orange and yellow all around...

My ironing leaves a bit to be desired, sorry about the creases.  The plan with these bits of cloth was to over dye them in a bucket of magenta dye.  But I like the yellow!!!  I may keep one piece to cheer me up on the grey winter days and fiddle with the rest.  The first is a candidate for having blue added to give me a forest-y effect.   I have some bits that will be discharged before going in the bucket too. 

wishy washy revisited

I re-soaked most of the wishy washy pieces in soda ash and put them back into the tray, dyed again with the same two colours of procion dye.  Robins Egg Blue and Bronze.  Left it for 24 hours before rinsing this time :)    Now I have light and medium coloured pieced.  I will be re-soaking some of these and dyeing again to get some darker pieces of cloth.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

stamps from cheap erasers

I cut some stamps from cheap rubber erasers using the tracings from the heart design from here I cut one in reverse by mistake, duh!

But once I started playing around with the stamps, the 'wrong' one was my favorite and has potential.  Pity about the spec of dust on the stamp, that has now been cleaned off...

dyed and discharged

I bought a thermofax screen at the FofQ and gave it an outing this afternoon.  This was a piece of dyed cotton from last summer, more colourful (orange) than it shows here.  I had some Jacquard discharge paste at the back of the cupboard, I won't own up to how long it has been there but years rather than months..

I love it! 

What potential!, it needs over printing and work and stitch and beads and stuff, but it is a fine start and I doing an teeny tiny happy hop.

I have been reading Leslie Morgan's 'Tray Dyeing' book and if Leslie can tray dye her fabric three times, then I am not dispondent about my limp dyed cloth fiasco.  It can go back in the soda bath and then back into the tray. 

wishy washy

I crammed my washed and soda soaked fabric into a cat litter tray, scrunching and pleating.  I poured the dye over and watched as amazing splodges and patterns formed.  It looked delicious.  I walked off intending to leave it for a couple of days, but it looked so good.  I couldn't wait and went back and rinsed it.  BIG MISTAKE!

I have the most insipid pile of wishy washy nothing cotton I have ever seen.  Most of it is soaking in the soda bucket ready to over dye.  Or do I strip the colour out and start fresh? My impatience is my downfall.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Playing with paper

I have been having a little play following the book 'Finding your own visual language' (Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan).  Playing with black paper, I cut a heart shape and then cut that into pieces. 

I traced around part of the cut out heart to find this shape

And when I played around using the shape, I had this - my very own angel :)

Just playing around with the one cut out heart and a piece of tracing paper, I have a nice selection of abstract shapes, some have already been cut into stamps using cheap erasers.