Friday 31 August 2007

Ancient Faces

Why is it saying Thursday? Today is Friday, isn't it?
Just a quick post today to keep my habit fed. Chrissythreads I love your puppy. So wish we could have a dog again but we are away too much and it might not survive puppyhood with the ferocious cat. Good luck with the degree.
Marjorie - missed your comment the other day, sorry. Yes the metal piece is a scan of a drawing based on a most wonderful book called Ancient Faces. I have used it a lot for inspiration. It has everything from mummies to shroud portraits, some of them wonderfully distressed..
I have used the book as a basis for lots of work - usually I do a pastel painting to start with. I love pastels for faces as you can smear and smudge to get the shading. Then I put it through a filter called contour lines which highlights the different tones. I print this on tissue, place that over black felt and stitch the contours. Then fill in with heavy machine embroidery. If I need fine detail I put it in at the end with a black textile marker.


I have sold most of these pieces of work as this seems to be a popular subject. It does take a long time to work one of the heads but it is very soothing. Except for one, where I did the eyes first and the woman seemed to be staring at me malevolently all the time I was working on her. Now I do the eyes last!
Isn't it funny with blogging? I had no idea that I was going to write about the Ancient Faces series and I was wondering what to put up as a pic. This thing has a life of its own. Scary.

We had an excellent Quiltwow meeting yesterday. Carol is proving a wonderful editor, very resourceful, and she brought with her some of the articles for the December issue. They are just fantastic. She's got some really big names lined up, too. Lots of work to do so Fiona and I will do more web work to help Clive out. I don't write code like he does, so we will let him do the final tweaking. This is why I need to finish the book next month. Nearly there now - if we don't have any more power cuts.
I am going to Steeple Langford to see Jane Lemon today. This is our final meeting before the exhibition and we are going to be checking through all the work, making sure that we have ordered enough cabinets etc to display everything. The bead Society had a lot of Val's work and they have kindly let us borrow it so I'm looking forward to seeing that.
I woke up at 5am this morning and decided to do the emails instead of creeping off to the spare room to read. This is also because there is work for the embellisher course all over the spare bed. So, an early blog but now it's six am and time to get the coffee on.

Wednesday 29 August 2007

Quick Chat

Just a quick reply as I may not blog tomorrow - got a Quiltwow meeting that may go on a bit.
The Val exhibition will be at Harrogate, Fiona. I can't get there as I'm teaching so Jane Lemon and Val's daughters, Sarah and Louise will be stewarding.

I think the NEC K&S will grow, Carol. I much prefer the venue to Ally Pally.
Had a look at your blog Susan - looks good. Not sure about the goosebumps. I usually get them when the work is going badly!

We had a power cut this afternoon. Very frustrating, with so much to do. Everything I wanted to do needed power and there is a horrid feeling of being in limbo. So we went and did the food shopping instead.

A Quantum Leap

The cat wishes to thank all those who, having heard of its plight, responded with emails or other messages of sympathy. Unfortunately all the publicity has gone to its head and it has acquired an agent, bought a pair of shades and gone off to start its own blog!
Upstaged by a cat. I think I've found the downside of blogging.

As the title suggests we made a great leap forward on the work front yesterday. I was contemplating typing out all the book details from Val's millions of books when Clive said 'Why don't you print out the reviews?'. Totally brilliant. Every now and then I remember why I keep him. The Workshop on the Web ones didn't even need typing and, if I say it myself, we do very comprehensive book reviews. Clive then achieved several more gold stars by digging out all the old copies of Embroidery mag and typing out the reviews. It's good too, to have different 'voices' as there were many reviewers - ranging from Yvonne Morton to Moyra McNeill.
So, thanks to Clive, we have a nicely printed laminated sheet for each book. All done. Hooray! Everything is mounted now and I'm meeting with Jane on Friday to check it all through. We have designed our stand at the NEC and are pleased to be right next to the 62 Group, which should send us lots of people. Unfortunately our stand at Ally Pally is smaller so we may be limited to how much we can display.
Another good wheeze yesterday was my discovery that I could combine some work for the book with preparations for my embellisher course next week. I am proceeding with the Apples and Origins piece which I blogged about a while back. It has an embellished background with cut outs for machined pieces. Here is an almost finished component. I got a lot done at the Festival of Quilts when demoing. I am proud of my handstitched stalk on the apple. Don't do much hand stuff.

One of the inserts is a 'Garden of Eden' background with a stitched Adam and Eve in the foreground. Here are Adam and Eve - or a rough trial version of them.
I wanted them to be fairly abstract and this wasn't easy when they were unclothed. I thought they just be pink blobs. So they have wound up wearing a sort of tribal rug! They are stitched on felt so that I can cut them out and embellish them into the background. We will see what this afternoon's work brings.

Tuesday 28 August 2007


Interesting about your other half's reaction, Kate. Hadn't thought of it as chic lit, but I think you may be right. I've looked at your book list and we have much the same taste. I'm going to try some of yours that I haven't read. My current reading is the one about Freud in Manhattan, solving murders. The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld. Haven't got right into it yet but looks promising.

A little known fact about a book. Did you know that the lady who does the church embroidery in P D James book The Lighthouse is based on Jane Lemon? PD came to stay with Jane and was fascinated by her ecclesiastic commissions. They still keep in touch and Jane said that she is a delightful person.

Shirley, I'm glad you are a brave soul with the InkAid. Perhaps I will leave it in the book, after all. It's such a fantastic result that it's worth the hassle. Even worth buying a cheapy printer just for weird stuff. I have an old Epson that I bought from Val, years ago. It's still gives great results. Here is one of my InkAid trials. I made it for an icon type piece, but should have had more contrast in the colour - something you have to watch out for with a metal backing. I may paint over the top with alcohol inks as I rather like the face looking pale and interesting. It will need some stitching, too.

Today I am not allowing myself to work on my book as I have so many odds and ends to clear up. I must also do the 'words' part for the Val CH exhibition. Jane and I have finished mounting all the samples at last. We are theming it by her books so I need to type up all the book details and mount them to go with the boards. I must also do a mini history/CV. It has been keeping me awake at night and I'll be better when it is done.

However, I was so enjoying the book playing that I am sulking and having trouble getting down to work. I have filled several hours with the following, totally unnecessary, displacement activities:

  • Cleaned out fridge ( not much left after the locust invasion yesterday).

  • Read Sky magazine ( absolute rubbish)

  • Accompanied Clive to the local tip and persuaded him into a walk by the river.

  • Chatted to lots of people by email - including a conversation with Dale about whether it is more tiring to fill a large rubbish skip or feed five grandchildren. Decided on grandchildren.

  • Given the cat an enema. I was actually trying to put some anti furball stuff in its mouth but it turned round quickly. We are now both traumatised.

  • Drivelled on in this blog.

I'm going to do it. Now!

Monday 27 August 2007

Back to the Bucket

Hey Rosemary, just been to your blog. I really approve of your choice of books - especially Stitch, Dissolve etc. Having said that, I loved the Bonesetter's Daughter too. I also rate The Time Travellers Wife (only the title really relates, here) as one of my favourite ever books. Clive and I usually share the same liking for books but he didn't like this at all. I can't get to sleep without a good book, although I don't have time to read much in the daytime.

Leanne - I hadn't got around to using the Monshadow Spritz on black until I tried it on the envelopes. It really is much nicer. I have ordered lots of new colours and will report back.

Here is a photo which will cause much mirth to our American friends. This is known as a bucket barbecue. It came about when the grandchildren were visiting once, unexpectedly, and we couldn't be bothered to get the proper barbie out. They thought the sight of Clive, sitting on a bucket with several disposable barbies (perched on upturned flower pots) hilarious and now spurn the normal method. So it has become a family tradition at least once in the school hols to have the bucket version.

It was not such a clever idea today when the whole boiling of kids and grandkids, plus a boyfriend turned up. Too many, too noisy, too exhausting!
It was better when we got to the ice cream stage.

This is a cross section - some were missing. Fiona, of Wow fame, is sitting on the decking at the front. We did have fun but I may never see the cat again! She got smoked out from her bush, ran the gamut of kids to gain access to the house and was last seen under a bed.

Not much work done today, you will gather. I finished a scroll yesterday and was pleased with it. I've also been playing with InkAid on metal for the new book. This is fabulous but involves taping metal shim to printer paper and printing on it. Not sure that anyone but me would be daft enough to try so it may not go in the Image to Stitch book.

Saturday 25 August 2007

Sunshine and Stitch

Kate: sorry we were so busy - or perhaps not sorry about that (it would be awful to demo to yourself), but it would have been good to say Hello. Rosemary, Vancouver is my most favourite place. I've been lucky enough to teach there twice and to share an exhibition with Jane Dunnewold. It's also the home of Bonnie, Ron and Panda - two of my favourite people and certainly my favourite dog! Would love to come back. Linda and Laura Kemshall had an exhibition at FibreEssence. Did anyone get to see it?

Yesterday I was determined to get down to some serious work but the Bernina had other ideas and I spent the first hour taking the race to bits. Isn't that frustrating? Concluded that something has happened to the timing so that will another thing to get fixed. Back to my trusty Janome which has been a fixture on the dining table for a while. It's the one I use most for hooped embroidery and I had forgotten how well it performs for free machining.

So, it was a happy time stitching away with the french doors open and the CD player going full belt. Until Clive came in and reminded me that was why I got an Ipod - so the road doesn't have to share my musical tastes!

I was working on computer printed cartridge paper. It's so good if you coat it with InkAid first. Inspired by Sherrill Kahn, who has a weaving article in September's Workshop on the Web. She has some great ideas and I was expanding on some of them. It's a fantastic article. Here is one of her pieces from it.

I had a lovely surprise from Kathleen Kay. I sent her some info and pics for her C&G studies and she sent me one of her enamelled brooches as a thank you. It's so lovely that I scanned it and made this little design from it. I shall use the brooch as the focal point and print the scans on fabric. Might even stitch, as I so enjoyed yesterday. Summer at last.

Thursday 23 August 2007

Ooh! Lots of lovely comments. Thanks. Very interesting site, thanks Wendy. Will pass on to Carol Dowsett who is editing Quiltwow. Mermaid is right that sometimes computer designs look so finished that you don't feel the need to stitch them. I've transferred this one to fabric and am cutting it into bits so that there is an element of surprise.
Jacqueline - the book will be out around May/June next year if I can bear to finish it. I keep finding new things to explore and it is already too long.
Hi Anna, good to hear from you. I use Paint Shop Pro these days but Displacement maps will certainly be in both Photoshop Elements and grown up P'shop. In PSP it is in the Effects, Distortion menu. The program gives you some maps to start with but will allow you to use any open image as a map.

I think anyone who possibly can should come to the Festival of Quilts. I like it better than the K&S, now. As a demonstrator there is a bigger buzz and it's very cosmopolitan.

We went to Bournemouth, our nearest big town, yesterday. It's a seaside town, so very busy with holiday makers. The sun made an appearance but we didn't have time to see the sea! We did, of course, find ourselves unable to resist the scone cafe. They make plain ones with a strip of mazipan along the top. Lovely. In Borders book shop I was scanning the mags and picked up Fibrecraft, as I usually do. Try not to have too many mags, as there is never time to read them but I do usually buy that one. When I opened it there was a full page ad for the newly launched USA version of Stitch, Dissolve, Distort. Full colour and well designed. I was so excited as Batsford gave up advertising ages ago. Val would have been delighted.

A really interesting book arrived yesterday. Written by Ruth Lee it is called Contemporary Knitting for Textile Artists. Got some really good stuff in it. Ruth is our interviewee for December's Workshop on the Web. In addition to the knitting she does wonderful things with Tyvek. She is having an exhibition in Scotland in September (15th, possibly) at the Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, if anyone can get to it.

Must get on with the book - have allowed myself three days of solid book work and the plan is to finish part one and two. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday 22 August 2007

The Day After the Day

I did mean to blog yesterday but exhaustion set in. We both find that we are OK the day after a big event (like the Festival of Quilts) but it's the next day that we are shattered. It may also have had something to do with the invasion of four grandchildren! Actually they were all very good, even the smallest, who usually lets the side down.
Thanks for all the messages. Do, please leave comments - it's so nice to get them. Julie, the piece is lovely. I buy my MoonShadow stuff from Ario, Sue, and they have the ink, too. Haven't tried that yet. Francoise - you came from Belgium - was that just for the show? Fiona - I so agree about Jo Budd. Love her Dry Dock series and have a photo that I hope to use in the December WoW report. I also loved the Oz girl, Gloria Loughman, wonderful use of pattern.
I've almost finished unpacking and even managed to do quite a lot of work on an article for December Workshop on the Web. Such a lot of interest in inks that I thought I'd do something on that. My friend Jane does some great stuff and Dale has been posting some interesting inky stuff, too. Perhaps she'll let me show a couple of her samples. Haven't found the Apples & Origins stuff yet so will show that later.
I've been working on the Image to Stitch book this morning (and it's only 8am). Wanted to try using Displacement Maps for the purpose of extending one textile into a series. I started with a small piece of Val's, based on an egg and dart border pattern, using Paint Shop Pro 9.

Then I displaced it, using a photo of the wonderful Maggie Hambling shell sculpture which is on Aldeburgh (Suffolk) sea front. This gave me the following result.

Tiling it was interesting and would certainly stretch the original into a quilt.
But my favourite was this which resulted from one of the images given in the program. It looks like cut outs, edged with satin stitch. Will try to stitch this on a black silk background. Another one for the book. This book is already too big so tomorrow I will be pruning it.

Today we have to go into Bournemouth to do some money things. I hope it will be a quick trip but I fear we shall be diverted into the coffee shop that does such great scones. I'll let you know.

Monday 20 August 2007

Festival Fever

Home again - bliss. The Festival of Quilts was as good as ever and we had a great time, but it was exhausting. I have no voice left and suspect that this is not just down to the demo-ing but is also caused by too much chat.
It was a bit traumatic at first as they had changed the original stand we booked, which meant that all the electricals, furniture etc. had been delivered to the wrong stand and it took ages to sort out. It was also wrong in the catalogue which was annoying. We did wind up with a better stand this year, Sue. It's all a bit arbitrary and the stands are very expensive - even at demonstrator rates - so we usually have quite a small one. We don't really have a huge product range to recoup the money but this year we did have Quiltwow to promote and it was very well received. Although it's not here until December (the October issue is a free taster) we had people wanting to sign up already and lots of advertising enquiries. Gave away so many leaflets that we had to photocopy them on the last day. Carol Dowsett (editor) and I are really excited that so many people are so keen. You can see us being excited below. Here are some of our boards with previews of the taster pieces.

It was wonderful to meet so many bloggers. Julie gave me this dear little card, titled 'A Summer Garden'.

It's all a bit surreal when folk come up and introduce themselves by their blog name. Even more weird when you know exactly who they are! Sara from Kuwait (otherwise known as English Rose) was such a help on the stand and with carrying my workshop stuff up four flights of stairs. I don't know how to tell you this, Sara, but I found a lift!
I'm glad that you thought Clive was presentable, Sue. He still managed to make a hole in the seam of his new jumper by day four. I embellished it together - it worked, too. There were lots of embellishers sold - Janome ran out. People who hadn't seen it in action were quite fascinated and my demos went well. I sold more Embellish and Stitch books than I expected, so that was good. I have finished the background and one of the panels for the Apples and Origins piece and will show you tomorrow. I have also managed to make an organza quilt by embellishing all my sample bits together.

The half day workshop was great but a bit frantic, Leanne. I found that it's not quite possible to fit a whole Summer School into three hours. It was wonderfully cosmopolitan with folk from Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa and the States, as well as Dorothy and Jane, who are both members of Dundee EG but had never met. Dorothy was a hero and helped me pack up at the end. Big thanks.

We were using Moon Shadow Mists and were combining them with Glitz Spritz from the same company. We made books for samples from black envelopes. Envelope books are great as you can slip samples into them, play games with the flaps etc. Clive had punched holes in the tops and we fastened them with wrapped pipe cleaners. I like to spray with the Spritz Glitz first and then with the MS mist while it is wet. Gives a great effect. They also sprayed white tags to see the difference that the background made. You need to set the Spritz with hair spray or pastel fixative. Pics below.

I thought the show was more fantastic than ever with first class exhibitions. Andrew Salmon really does invest in getting the best and he should be applauded for that. Many visitors come for the whole four days and so many come from overseas. Lots from Europe, many from the States so it is a huge draw. The Europeans all say that it is now the best show in Europe. What did anyone else think of this year's show?

So good to be back with the blog - I've had withdrawal symptoms.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

I Hate Packing

Especially packing for the shows. We try to look slightly more respectable than usual so there is always the hateful ironing to be done. (There's a family joke about Clive having to go through quality control before he's allowed out. This is not true.) Then there's the demo materials, the work for the stand display, the stuff for the workshop. I need to lay down in a darkened room for the rest of the day. Nearly there now though and I've just had time to play with an exciting goodie.

I wanted to make a companion piece to my 'Genetics of the Fruit Bowl', which was about how long apples and oranges last and are they GMing them? The piece was worked on the embellisher with stitched insets - detail below.
I thought I'd continue the fruit theme and combine it with the Adam & Eve work. The title arrived in my head - 'Apples and Origins' - the garden, the serpent - all the stuff I'd been working on. Grandaughter Lauren did some of the preparation by embellishing on the felt. I wanted the central piece to be Adam & Eve in a landscape so I printed out a digital photo onto some new transfer paper from America.

As it was to be embossed I put it on felt, which is usually quite waxy, even if you iron it afterwards. This stuff is brilliant and really goes into the fibres. It's from a firm called Hyatt and they don't sell it in the UK yet. I'm sure I can persuade some of our mail order folks to stock it. I'll let you know.

Off to do some more packing - see you next week.

Sunday 12 August 2007

Running Away

My RHM is indeed a treasure, Julie, but I fear he is overworked at the moment. Keeping up with the web work on a huge site like Workshop on the Web is more than a full time job - and he does so much else. We always have a giggle when folk ask him if he has retired.

Thanks for the reminder about the 'saynoto0870' site, Linda. I do use it a lot and often find myself dialling in on the international number. It usually works, too.

Had a wonderful time yesterday, as we ran away to London for the day. We both wanted to see the Sacred exhibition at the British Library and kept putting it off. Eventually decided that there was never going to be a good day, so off we went. A fantastic collection of books and objects, beautifully displayed, showing the religious art of the 'people of the book'. Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Amazing. They had the pick of the exhibition displayed in a curtained area with projected images playing over the gently moving curtain. Wow! Here are some very quick sketches.

Apart from the illuminated manuscripts from all three faiths, the things that I found most fascinating were:

  • the amulets, consisting of tiny qur'ans in filigree boxes or small scraps of prayer
  • illustrated scrolls, particularly the book of Esther
  • scraps of papyrus from the dead sea scrolls

The latter really got me going. I have noticed before that papyrus distresses in an interesting linear way. This looks as though there are vertical lines behind the script. Here's a very rough sketch.

Made me see a textile with wrapped wooden strips and fragments of paper and stitch. More on this later.

The British Library is such an interesting place and there is a lot to see even when there is no special exhibition taking place. We paid a quick visit to their 'Treasures' section and had a drool. Then we had a good lunch there (another drool). That's usually good value too, for London.

On the tube, going back to the car (we always park at Richmond on Saturdays) Clive suggested that we hop off in South Kensington and go to the Ismaili centre as he'd heard there was something good on there. He was right and we visited the Spirit and Life exhibition. More fantastic books and more in the way of objects here, too. We had a touch of culture fatigue by now but were still so inspired by all the beauty. Both these exhibitions were free so our incredibly inspirational day out only cost us the train fare.

It was slightly spoiled by the mother of all traffic jams on the M3 but we enjoyed our unexpected trip through the New Forest. When I got home, after a stiff caffeine shot, I played with a text fragment. Needs some work but it's a start.

Friday 10 August 2007

Things that go bump in the night

What a fright in the night when were woken at 4am by the most terrific crash. I immediately thought that my workroom shelving system had succumbed to overload (some of the shelves have a suspicious droop in the middle). But all was fine in there so I looked further. Glanced down the stairs to see a river of glass and realised that a huge John Piper poster had crashed down the stairwell. String fatigue. Took us ages to clear all the glass and we're still finding bits. No bare feet in this house for a while. On the plus side, we had a lovely early morning river walk when we took the glass to the recycling bin.

On with the blog:
Sue and Julie, look forward to seeing you. We are at the back opposite the Ladies loo. I know my place. Actually it's a good spot as most people pass that way sooner or later. So you can have the coffee first, Julie.

We have Bradley Hand on all our machines, Leanne, so it must have come with the system. We have found that not many Macs have it so it's not good for using on the web as it substitutes Times - very boring. I had to change a lot of the Quiltwow site when we found this out.

The projector is called a Viewsonic PJ358 Janet. It was so easy to get going and the supplier, Just Projectors, were really helpful. They also have an 0800 number and I'm trying not to buy from firms that use high rate numbers for product support. Makes me so cross. Flash memory - we just saved as jpeg, plugged it in and off it went. If you didn't want movies, it would be fine for a talk. I love using the digital projector as you can take photos for talks right up to the last minute, can run little movies or demo computer design. Clive takes our mini movies with a camcorder and one we recently shot caused great mirth. I was wearing a low cut t-shirt and Clive was filming over my shoulder. It was like a Benny Hill rerun. Memo to self - check more carefully before showing cleavage to the world.

I'm still putting stuff together for the show. We are making little books and we're using Moon Shadow Spritz and Mists. These combine so well, especially on a black surface. Clive has had to make all the binding holes for 15 books. Then Lauren wanted one. He is a bit of a saint really. Not sure how I will get on with a half day workshop. I have difficulty fitting stuff in a day!

Back to matters digital. We got one of those digital picture frames as I thought it would give a good display of WoW pieces without taking up as much room as a laptop for the show. This also runs from a flash drive, also easy to set up. Looks quite good - a bit small -but it doesn't run on batteries which is a pain. As you may have gathered we are gadget junkies!

Now for some time on the book.

Thursday 9 August 2007

Festival of Quilts

Liked the empty-nester notes, Linda. Ours are more likely to say 'It's your turn to cook the dinner - back at 7pm'. (This could be from either of us). Plus lots of notes to my lovely neighbour who nurtures the cat when we are away.
Julie - how have you resisted for so long? An embellisher is a must. I was quite pleased with my Stitch article, although some of the colour is a bit odd.
You are right, Margaret, about only having a teenage grandaughter around for so long before they find better things to do. Just at the point when they're getting useful! Lauren has three younger brothers and enjoys her big sister role. I am biding my time to start with her cousin Sophie (5). Don't want to appear sexist but Clive seems to have more appeal with the boys - they like playing chess with him.

Spent the last two days getting our presentation stuff ready for the Festival next week. Takes twice as long as you think it will. I have work from Sherrill Kahn and Gwen Hedley for Workshop on the Web. Here's a sneak preview of one of the Sherrill boards.

Plus a detail as the colour is not great on the one above. Quiltwow, the new WoW for quilters has some fabulous work to show. Lots of folk have already signed up for the free Taster (

Something amazing happened today. We bought a new digital projector as our old one is getting on a bit. Guess what? It worked - straight out of the box with no hassle. It really was plug and play. Hazel Credland recommended this one as it has the ability to work with a little flash drive. I don't think there is enough room on these to run the movies we use in talks but it will be good for an emergency and will save us taking two laptops around with us.

As a displacement activity I was playing with the embellishing that Lauren did on Tuesday and tried placing over the top a piece of painted and zapped nappy liner (or agricultural fleece).

Looks promising. I'll play more at the show and report back.

Tuesday 7 August 2007

A little help...

Linda - I like the whole idea of including notes, lists, anything personal. For a long time now I've had an idea in my head for a series of works based around the notes that the family leave. It could go right through the years - the lovey-dovey bit, ferrying the kids around, the dreaded teenagers and, who knows what the empty-nesters would write? Could get quite excited about it. Font is Bradley Hand, one of my faves.

Doreen - you must get out the soluble paper. There's so much you can do with it.
Marie - just loved your collage a day blog. Great idea.

Today I have had my apprentice in to help with some embellishing. Lauren loves the embellisher and she helped me with the background for the Genetics of the Fruit bowl piece. The splashes on her jacket are part of its pattern. Honestly!



Now we plan a sequel which will be called 'Apples and Origins'. It will continue the fruit bowl theme but will combine with the Adam and Eve piece that I blogged about a while ago. You will gather from this that I have lots of pieces on the go at once. They only ever all get finished when an exhibition looms.

There will be fig leaves involved, too and the Adam and Eve figures. I've got a rough sketch but will work it up into a design. Must teach Lauren properly. We decided on the same shape as Genetics so we got cracking by ironing on Bondaweb and foiling it. Then Lauren started adding silks and denim fibres. She really loved these. (Cool).

I will continue at the Festival of Quilts, building up the surface with chiffon and making holes to insert the stitched pieces. Do come and have a look if you are at the NEC next week

Must go now as there is a thunderstorm and we tend to disconnect the telephone wires ever since our telegraph pole got hit by lightning and wiped out everything from the pcs, modems, faxes to the phones.

My mother used to open both the front and back doors when there was a storm so that the lightning bolt could go straight through. Our house had both doors on the same side so we always used to joke about putting a notice up in the hall 'Lightning, this way!'

Monday 6 August 2007

Xpandaprint - Off the Wall

Good to get such great feedback. Makes my near disaster quite worthwhile. Doreen and Sandy - don't you sometimes find that the best part of a messy session is the newspaper or clearing up cloth. Good idea for using the BW on the embellisher, Doreen.
Hey, Julie - I'm the queen of the rambling posts so don't feel obliged to stop. Look forward to seeing your piece. I love Xpandaprint and also use it with stamps (wipe it off with a BW straight away or it will set) or make marks with the edge of a piece of card.
In the sample above it is stamped with a cheap foam stamp and has a little Treasure Gold on top (Margaret R knows me well). Best of all is using it on water soluble paper. I stitch straight lines on the paper first, then stamp with xp and puff. Dissolve a lot of the paper away for lacy effect.
On to the diary. Fabulous weather this weekend and we've been catching up with the grandchildren. My daughter has four (usually called 'The Parley Four') and I try to take them out individually as they are a bit overwhelming en masse. On Saturday I took Lauren (13) with me to meet Kim and to help me spend a fortune in The Range. It was good to meet Kim and we grabbed a hasty lunch. Lauren enjoyed it and pronounced Kim as 'well cool'. Yesterday we took the two middle boys out to lunch. Sitting in a pub garden on a hot day with a cold drink - heaven.
Now back to work. Today I'm playing with layering up printed tissue. I needed some words and was stuck for inspiration so I typed my To-do list into Word and used that. Added a layer with a printed design on top of it. Could be useful for folk who don't like paint programs.
Now I'm hand stitching over the black lines to soften them. A bit like painting by numbers but soothing to do. I'd like to think I could sit in the garden and do some more. Somehow I doubt it!

Saturday 4 August 2007

Nearly a Disaster

Had an interesting experience yesterday with a hypodermic needle, some Xpandaprint and a newly painted wall. Someone gave me a big bag of new, individually packaged, needles (without the sharp bit). Just the thing, I thought for mark making with puff paint, so I used a thin palette knife to fill the reservoir. I squeezed it gently and a great arc of black Xpandaprint shot out of it, all down my nice white wall. Clive heard my anguished wail and rushed to help. As his best suggestion was to use a heat tool to puff it up and then call it a feature, he was sent on his way.
Do you know, it all came off with baby wipes? Lord knows what they do to baby's bottoms but they are my most indispensable workroom item. Great for wrapping up brushes when you're using acrylics and can't get to wash them straight away.

Phew! What a relief.

Have been working on my mini class on mixed media for the Festival of Quilts. Can't have sewing machines or make too much mess. It's a challenge but I'm getting there. Will show you after the class, if it all works.

Today I am going to have lunch with Km Thittichai at The Range - a big store which sells craft materials, among a lot of other things. Kim is doing some demoing there. Her new book 'Hot Textiles' (Batsford) arrived today - making it into September WoW's book reviews by the skin of its teeth. There are some fantastic books out just now but this book is right up there with the best. It focuses on all the heat reactive materials, such as Tyvek, Lutradur and so on. We've seen them before but she has some great ideas for combinations. Here's a pic.

Yesterday was also a good day for web work. The taster for Quiltwow is nearly there and the articles are so good. I'm starting a new spot in WoW for really good textile groups (it will be in the free bit with exhibitions, so everyone can see it). The first is a group called Art through Textiles. Lovely work. Here is a pic by Linda Bellinger to whet (wet?) your appetite.

We also cleared up lots of loose ends and my to-do list looks much better. I hate it when you have to throw it away and have a new one. I love the ticks.

Add to this a quick picnic with the grandchildren at the local forest park and it was quite a busy day!

Thursday 2 August 2007

Of Wood, Ink and Books

Hey, I never knew that Moonshadow inks existed until Dale told me a few days ago. Been using the Mists for ages. What have I been missing? Thanks to all who gave suppliers - see yesterday's comments. I've been using The Stamp Attic for ages - she is great and very fast. This blogging is so good for info sharing.

I think that it is time to introduce a particularly creative member of my family to you. This is Phil - the wood-working son in law. That is too long to type so he will be known as TWWSIL. Husband of Fiona, who many will know from WoW. He is to wood as we are to fabric - can't resist it. He has a stash and going with him to a woodstore is just like being with a quilter in a fabric shop. The furniture he makes is lovely - very Macintosh and he uses his own designs. He sometimes makes frames for me. Here are a couple - not good pics but I've sold both pieces so can't take new.

I hope he doesn't see the one I distressed - when I got it, it was wonderfully smooth and oiled, but I soon put a stop to that!

Phil writes for lots of the Woodwork magazines and has always wanted to write a book so yesterday we had a meeting with Michael Wicks, who did such a wonderful job on Embellish and Stitch. Michael is well known as a photographer but he is also skilled at book layouts, as E&S proves. He was very excited about Phil's work and I think the book will happen. Michael turned out to be a keen wood worker too, so we lost them in Phil's workshop for ages.

I must say that I loved the immediacy of doing a book with MW. The pages were constructed around the pics and anything that needed changing could happen very quickly. It would be impossible for any main stream publisher to work in this way.

I will keep you posted on the Phil book but now, it's time for coffee.

Wednesday 1 August 2007

Quitwow Site

I'm excited today because the Quiltwow website is up and running. This is our new venture - the step-by step, on-line mag for quilters. The site is an info page at the moment, but we're showing some of the pics from articles in the free October issue. Carol Dowsett has got some great articles and I think anyone with an interest in textiles will like it. Do make sure you get the freebie - not often you can get something for nothing.

Enough of the advertising - on to the day. Thanks for all the replies. I do so love getting feedback. I've ordered my Moonshadow Inks from Dale at Leanne. Haven't found them here yet, but no doubt they will come. Actually Doreen, I don't think I'm managing my time well at the moment, or perhaps it's just that I don't have enough time. My to-do list has reached epic proportions and Clive has rebelled by composing an 'inaction plan'. He is implementing it as I write, by sitting in the garden with the paper (we have some sun at last). He's such a fidgit that it will never last.

Thanks to those who liked the weaving. It's your own fault that you are being shown another one. I'm very into weaving at the moment and I plan to mount some of the weavings up for a Wessex Textiles exhibition in September.

This one is very special as the strips with the stitched flowers were done by Val. They are embellished onto milliners net (don't know where she got it) and include the motifs and embellished silks in blocks. We often used to send each other bits of stitching or, if we were stuck on something, we would send pieces for the other one to finish. A terrible resposibility. I do miss her so much.

A good day with Jane Lemon, yesterday. The only downside was that we were trying to photograph her goldwork for a Batsford book proposal and the sun was shining too brightly. I prefer to photo outside in light cloud but the weather would not cooperate. In the end I took the photos in a window, with diffused light and brought them home to twiddle with. They are good - better than I thought, so that's a relief.

Jane took me on a tour of her workrooms where The Sarum Group do most of their work. They have so many ecclesiastical commissions and the goldwork is wonderful.
Just off to meet Michael Wicks, my co-publisher for the Embellish and Stitch book. Will report tomorrow.