25 February 2010

Natural Dyeing

Clockwise from top LHS; Alkanet (didn’t work, need to extract with alcohol), Sticklac (lovely pinky purple), Safflower (disappointing), Walnut leaves (lovely green colour but needs a lot of leaves)


Excuse the plastic bags, but here are the results of a weeks worth of dyeing.


What else can you do?

keep calm and buy stuff

The new bathroom suite money is converted to Bernina’s, horn cabinet (delivery May unfortunately) and various accessories.  The Bernina’s arrived today but I can’t find the enthusiasm to unpack them.

24 February 2010

Pins and Needles show

Thursday, Friday and Saturday is my “local” needlework show in Newcastle.  The Textile Forum have a stand and if you make it you’ll see some of my work (if there is space I wasn’t at set up today).  There are also Artgirlz charms, Texere yarn variety packs, Angelina and lots of colours of Sari Yarn. 
All space dependant of course.

Impressions 4012


Impressions 4013

  24-03 24-05 

Impressions 3009


And if you are waiting for an update on the studio – well lets just say this;  Don’t ever trust anyone (especially not a man) to read the policy correctly.  Make sure you do it yourself, insist on seeing the paperwork.  I have no idea what comes next.

21 February 2010

Snow again

More snow for us, not too much this time.

I find myself fascinated with the mark making of animal tracks.  I must transfer these to my art somehow.

 21-01 21-2 21-3

We had a bit of an adventure today.  Not a welcomed one.  On a Sunday we take DS to an art class with a friend of mine – in Rothbury, which is not too far away, but up a steep road and over the moors for a short distance.  We went to collect DS and the road was clear and then 10 minutes later on the way back the road was covered and slippery as hell.

We were following a 4X4 going up the hill, over the top and then down and going really slowly and lots of distance between us - then coming down the hill there was a car in the ditch and the 4X4 stopped to look!!!!!  (no need there was already another car helping).  We couldn’t stop.

Luckily nothing coming up the hill so Ian swerved around, missed the 4X4 by inches and managed to straighten up (I thought we were going into the ditch too).  There was another car coming up and I was frantically flashing the lights to get him to slow down (he did thank goodness, but he did look a bit worried!)  Then another car in a ditch on the left just before the main road junction  - and then on the main road another car well and truly in the ditch at a right angle to the road.  It was totally mad and utter chaos.  I phoned my friend who runs the art classes and told her to get the kids out and get home asap!

I do hope the police got there quickly because there were going to be more accidents as the road was just a skating rink and with the sharp gradients it was just impossible to control the cars..... I took these a few miles down the road when it was safer.


Back here at home (about 7 miles) there was no snow on the road at all.

I’ve said it before – roll on Spring please.

20 February 2010

If you know me.

keep calm and buy stuff

How perfect is this?

17 February 2010

A Tribute from Liberty’s

From the Liberty blog

A fitting tribute, looks as if the Union Jack is crying.

16 February 2010

Bye Skittles

Whilst burying Skittles we found a rabbit skull.  Look at DS’s sad but intent face. 
We’ll make a biologist of him yet.


DS decided to put the skull on top of the stones.  We went to Ikea yesterday and came back with a fleece baby blanket for Star to snuggle up to in the pod.  He is sitting outside just now, looking all lonely.


Sunday we went to Cragside – the Lake is still frozen.  The coffee was wonderful (top marks to the National Trust for keeping soya milk).  It is still freezing here – It’s school holidays this week and it’s always cold, wet and muddy.  Not much fun for the kids.  (Or the parents).


The unit is now ready to use.  Notice boards are up with a schedule of things to do, I’ve put up paintings and hangings to make it colourful and feel like home.  But it is still cramped and its hard to get going again.

 16-10 16-11  16-13 16-14


I’ve been FME with the Pfaff, I do HATE having a plate over the feed dogs – you hit it with the hoop and it knocks you off course.  Why on earth can’t they just add the dropping mechanism?  Surely for a machine that costs £600 they could add it in?  And, my big moan – I couldn't get it stitching with gold metallic at all.

Can I stamp my foot and scream “I want my Bernina back!”? 
Actually, I think I did do this.

12 February 2010

What a sad week

Are you mourning the loss of Alexander McQueen?  I am.  What a waste of a life and such wonderful talent.


I have three favourite designers – Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Galliano.  I remember seeing one of AMcQ’s dresses in an exhibition at Belsay Hall – it was my favourite in the show.

If you want to see some wonderful images you can see some here at Google.

And today I went to feed my rabbits and only one came running out.  Skittle has died.  He was 6.5yrs old.

We are all very, very sad indeed.

Here is the last photo I took on Feb 2nd, Skittles highlighted.


This was Jan 1st.


And here they are having Christmas lunch, Skittles is at the front.  Aren’t they beautiful creatures?


They often sat snuggled up to each other, poor Star will be on his own now. 


11 February 2010

Meditation through Hand Stitch

(Alternative post title “Keeping your hands busy during the evenings so you don’t nibble”)

I’m going to create a series of works I’ve named “5 process cloth”.

1. Dye
2. Paint
3. Stitch
4. Bead
5. Piece

The process is a l-o-n-g one.  I should time myself, hundred plus hours for each piece.
Maybe even hundreds of hours.  Here one is in the process of being stitched.

Rayon fabric hand dyed with procion dye, markal paint over Indian printing blocks,
threads by Stef Francis and 21stC Yarns. Beads will be various as collected over the years.

10-4 10-5 10-3

Here is an example from a  few years ago.

Reflections Kantha

Reflections Kantha Reflections Kanthaclose3Reflections Kantha close Reflections Kantha close2

10 February 2010

Tea Dyeing – important announcement

Here are the two lots straight from the oven – I roasted them for another 5 hours this morning.

LHS is new tin, 9 tea bags, RHS old rusty tin, 6 tea bags.

Can you see the problem?


Maybe this will make it clear; below -LHS old rusty tin, RHS new tin.

LHS perfect, RHS not so perfect.


The key to getting the lovely metallic grey/brown is the old rusty tray.

I now have a very precious rusty roasting tray.  Just what every girl needs.

9 February 2010

Tea Dyeing, part one.

Took the cutting mat over today and the (new) rotary cutter (old one was rescued but squashed, but as Anne reminded me, I did need a new blade anyway). 

I spent four hours over there (I’m pleased to report that the loo is very clean, if a little chilly!)  Every time I needed something it was in a box at the bottom of the pile.  Bring back the bookcases!

I have my kettle and tea bags installed and the Ipod plugged into my speakers.  Oh yes, and the heaters too.  It’s been FREEZING today.  We’ve had hail, sleet and snow and its windy – from the north too.

But great to be back at “work”, where of course,

Work = playing with fabrics, colour and threads


I’ve been cutting up lace and silks to dye.

Tea dyeing in the simmering oven.  6 teabags (cheap, Co-op fair trade) in the RHS, 9 in the LHS.  I used the new and old roasting tin, its only tea after all. 
The RHS tin has gone rusty – maybe it will add extra interest.


Ready to cook – covered in kitchen foil to stop too much evaporation and cooked at 60 C for 3 hours.


8 February 2010

More sketches


Honister Pass, Lake District. 08-1

Lilburn Hill (just over the road and up the hill)08-2

Somewhere in the Lakes.


The ones below are drawn onto watercolour boards – just waiting for me to paint them.  The lines are very faint and the only way I could get them to show up involved this blue cast.

Berwick upon Tweed


Hadrian's Wall


I only wish it wasn’t February and freezing – would love to get out and do more of these. Sketching out of the car window isn’t quite the same, you don’t “feel” the landscape.

But you can put the heater on!

7 February 2010

Are we there yet?

Yes I think we are! 

Everything that should be in storage is now there.  It looks a bit grotty, but its been cleaned, is dry and safe (and free). 
Access is easy and its only a few minutes drive away.

 07-3 07-04

Peace of mind with a padlock on each door.


Here’s something I photographed on the 22nd Jan but haven’t got around to post before now…. these are Indigo dyed fabrics from the African Fabric Shop.  I just had to stop moving boxes for a day and do something creative.


It started off with a “wax print adventure pack” supplemented with indigo dyed damask, some shibori dyed fabrics and a few extra pieces.  I didn't have a plan, I cut up a few pieces, cut up a few more, placed them on the floor and filled in the gaps.  Being so carefree and intuitive was great fun.  The fabrics are all so different, but have the indigo dye as a theme so it all works together.
Now to hand stitching - more about this soon.

I had to prepare a CV and “photograph”, well how can you chose one photograph?  So I started playing with collages in Picasa and came up with this.  Inspiration to get me “going” again.