Wednesday, 24 September 2008


The book has been printed. Michael went to watch and had a great time. It is so interesting to know what happens to a book before it hits the shelves. I think I will write an article about it - wonder who would want it? The printers we use are wonderful - a little more expensive, but they take so much trouble with everything. They’ve won heaps of awards and they recycle everything - even the plastic pots the ink comes in. I shall be able to pick up the books next week from the printers in Tunbridge Wells. Every printer I have ever dealt with has been based there - must be the UK’s printing Mecca.

Here’s a shot of the finished sheets piling up. This is the cover.

Followed by shots showing the colour separation process in action.

You asked how my catalogue is getting on. It was too fanned out, which I thought might be interesting but then decided not.

So folded it back on itself.

Here are the slits.

It isn't possible to do anything in the garden without my two assistants, who hang about and try to be helpful. Smudge is inspecting the goods while Stevens is lurking.

I like the idea of us being a cult. The soggy catalogue sun worshippers (we keep the rain away). My friend Ellie was always threatening to open a convent for elderly stitchers and call it ‘The little sisters of the soldering iron’.

Help needed

I’m putting together an on-line glossary for the Textile Translations book and I think it would be a great idea to expand it eventually to cover all kinds of materials. It would also be good to include translations of terms between UK/North America/Oz. We could have pics of the materials and add new ones as they come along. Does this exist already, does anyone know - I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

In the meantime here are some things I’m not quite sure of:

Scrim. A loose woven fabric, slightly more open than muslin, that pulls apart very easily. Also builder’s scrim - on the roll in the photo. What do you call this in the USA?

Poly-cotton: a mix of polyester and cotton which is interesting to use with a soldering iron. We can buy it quite easily but where can you get it outside the UK?

Acrylic Wax: a runny wax that acts like a cross between a varnish and a wax. Where can you get that one outside the UK?

Quink: A fountain pen ink that bleaches well. Not a drawing ink. Is that called something else? Can it be obtained?

Bondaweb is fusible webbing and that seems to translate OK, doesn’t it?

Silk pods: Are these easy to get? They are like stiff silk tubes and are a by-product of the silk spinning process.

Soft Pastels: not the hard chalky ones that are more like charcoal but like soft chalk. Can be smeared with the finger and set with hair spray. Easy to find?

I think UK calico is called muslin in the States. Our muslin is more like a slightly heavier, softer scrim.

Craft Vilene - Timtex OK? Is there anything cheaper?

I’m sure there are lots more. Talk about divided by a common language! All help much appreciated.


Thanks to everyone for the replies. Catalogue thing makes an interesting saga.

Anna - leave it in two parts but put the pages back on top of each other. The rain action (if we ever get any) will mould it together. We won’t be doing anything with these for a couple of months so just let them lie.

Leanne - slashing not obligatory but, if you do, go through a chunk of pages.

Writer in Residence - thanks, that was an interesting read. I didn’t know about the print on demand problems. It seems to take away so much from what we all think of as the freedom of the web when companies get so greedy. We make a big chunk of our living from the web magazines but we keep them ‘pared to the bone’ pricewise. Haven’t put the price up for years - we just hope to go on adding subscribers to absorb the rising costs. So far this has happened but we are all in worrying times right now.


Fran├žoise said...

Can't wait to see the book in real!
Maybe you could translate the terms into French as well? (just kidding)

textile-alchemist said...

It is great to see part of the printing process to having your book printed. The closest l have got to a book is having my dissertation bound into a book. To see my work in such a format was amazing, you must be continually buzzing?
A glossary is a good idea, especially to combine different countries (and this one). I find it very frustrating trying to find something that l later find has several names and l was using a name the shop didn't know. I have given up on several occassions. Interesting to see the builders scrim l assumed it came on a wide roll as in a fabric shop....OOps.

Ruth said...

Here are my US translations - I'm sure that there will be others that can provide more information.
Scrim - Cheesecloth
Builders scrim - haven't seen
Poly cotton - I'm not sure but it seems like we should be able to get it
Acrylic wax - I couldn't find it for a class I was taking - I know it can be ordered online but not available locally for me
Quink? not sure, haven't seen it
Bondaweb - just say fusible webbing as there are so many types now
silk pods - are these the same as silk carrier rods?
Soft pastels - I think they are widely available but haven't looked for them
Craft vilene - stiff interfacing? fusible or not

Hope that helps

Aussie Jo said...

I posted some translations for other places as I wrote my last blog, I think a glossary is a fantastic idea.
You probably know the Oz ones
Scrim -muslin
(by the way, cheesecloth here is a much thicker cotton)
Poly cotton - readily available in lots of colours
Acrylic wax - I got from Dale
Quink - I just use india ink, not sure if they're the same
Bondaweb - lots of brands (I tend to use vliesofix as its cheaper and easy to buy)
silk pods - readily available dyed in lots of colours (they're the short dumpy ones, silk carrier rods are longer)
soft pastels - do you mean artist's pastels or oil pastels, lots of brands available of both in artist shops
Vilene - various weights from lightweight to pelmet, pelmet available to embroiderer's guild members in the know!

arlee said...

In Canada, Scrim is cheesecloth, Poly-cotton is Poly-cotton, Bondaweb can be specific or we buy "fusibles", Craft Vilene is Pelmet Curtain Heading/Interfacing--or Timtex.


Jacqui said...

congrats on the new book being published and its interesting to see some of the process.

Question to your USA visitors- which soldering iron do they use. The only one I can see is the Weller 15 watts but it doesn't have a changeable head.

Robin Mac said...

the book looks fabulous Maggie. the glossary sounds like an excellent idea. Couldn't believe the chatter generated in Dale's last embellishing course on the definition of scrim in different countries. I think I was still confused at the end of about two weeks of emails and photos of scrim/cheesecloth etc. I have been using quink ink (a fountain pen ink) forever, but I can no longer buy it in Mackay - will have to get it in a larger city now that fountain pens are no longer fashionable.

mzjohansen said...

Parker Quink Ink is still available in the US and is still called Quink. Good ink at that for those of us who still use fountain pens ! If you need sources in the US I'll be happy to send a list !

Can't wait for the book!

Downunderdale said...

scrim is NOT muslin in Australia - scrim is what you have Maggie - muslin is a tighter weave. Cheescloth is also not scrim in Australia
Good luck with the glossary as the questions don't ever seem to stop becasue different businesses seem determined to use different names - probably to confuse everyone.
Your glossary will be longer and longer for this reason.

Sonja said...

I've heard that Timtex went out of business so the nearest thing that I've heard of that we have here in the US is Peltex by Pellon.

I'd have to check on the Quink. I think we have a different, similar brand available.

The basic all-around fusible brand that I'm familiar with is Wonder-Under, but there are other types and brands.

The book pages pictures are wonderful. I keep thinking I should put a catalog in my window box since that's the only outside area I have definite access to. I think the herbs in it are done for the season.

Maggi said...

Great idea about a glossary. I have just done an online course with Dale Rollerson and there was much discussion about what was meant by particular terms in various countries.

Wabbit said...

Thank you! I've been wanting help in translating these terms for ages!

I thought I saw Quink at Hobby Lobby. I'll have to go back and look again.

Scrim doesn't seem to be cheesecloth which is very much more like cotton gauze without the crinkles. Cheesecloth has more threads per inch than scrim appears to have. There's a bookbinder's scrim, but it is stiffened. Maybe the builder's scrim is more like that? Why do builders use the scrim?

You can buy silk carrier rods and even cocoons from many spinners supply shops. They're really easy to dye.

Isn't acrylic wax encaustic wax? I'm not sure about that.

Sandra Wyman said...

I'm in the UK but have a lot of uS friends and connexions.
From what I understand scrim is scrim (cotton scrim that is) Rosemary Claus-Grey uses it and calls it this - US cheesecloth is much more like UK muslin. Oliver Twists scrim twists are sold in the US. However it is not widely used and is unfamiliar to many people.

I'm a dyer and a fabric junkie - may be able to help with other terms if needed - feel free to email me!

US muslin is not exactly the same as UK calico which is often quite heavy/coarse by comparison. US muslin is more of a dressweight cotton with a higher thread count but takes dye better than many equivalent-weight UK cottons.

There are various fusibles available but Bondaweb is called WonderUnder in the US - it is an identical product.

Pelmet vilene seems to be the same as pellon; for other vilenes interfacing seems to translate.

Really needs a glossary

Eileen said...

Thought I would give my translation of some of the items in question. Scrim is like Cheese Cloth here in the States. We do have scrim, but it is a little tighter weave and is found in the drapery dept of the fabric stores. We sometimes use Future Floor Wax when Acrylic Wax is called for. As for the ink, I haven't seen much fountain pen ink around here for a long time. Wonder if India Ink would be about the same??? Seems like the rest is called the same in the States.


Margaret S said...

Just come across 'Pellon' what is this??? Ken Smith uses it.

Jill said...

I believe the builder's scrim is called 'drywall mesh' in the US. It's used to bridge the gap between two sheets of drywall and give the 'mud' something to stick to for filling the seam.

Now here's one for you...what is agricultural felt? How is it used in agriculture? I can think of no US equivalent...