Screen printing, a purchase and an exhibition

This really is going to be quite a short post today because I have spent the week printing with soy wax screens, photographing the process and, so far, getting five blog posts written for the And Then We Set It On Fire’ blog. My posting starts on Wednesday July 1st but you don’t have to wait until then to see some great fabric collage things going on over there from Cris Winters. Although I can’t show you any details of what I have been doing, I can show you the pile of fabric that is accumulating. Lots more still to be done. However, there are also a lot of links so, if you fancy a bit of browsing, you might want to settle down with whatever is your drink of choice and enjoy.


I was thrilled, earlier this week, when my latest purchase arrived and I hurried off to the local sorting office to pick it up. Lisa Flowers Ross is a fellow SAQA member who produces award winning work and each month she has been offering up to three of her older artworks for sale under her PWYW scheme (Pay What You Want). The offer is only open to her newsletter subscribers and lasts for 24 hours from when you receive notification of that month’s offering. And it really does mean, pay what you want. You make an offer that you can afford and if yours is the highest offer then you get to purchase a piece of Lisa’s art work. I fell for the latest offering which entitled Anni’s Sunset and made my offer. I had missed out in the bidding at the Fiberlandia Spotlight Auction so still had the money that I had set aside for that. You can imagine my delight when Lisa emailed me to say that mine was the highest bid and the piece was mine. It is now hanging on my bedroom wall, in a space that has been waiting to be filled for some time and I love it.


You might want to head over to Lisa’s website and sign up for her newsletter which is worth having for itself and which will also give you the chance to own a piece of Lisa’s art.

Just over a week ago I headed off , with a friend, to Bilston Craft Gallery near to Wolverhampton to see the latest Through Our Hands group exhibition, The Liberated Quilt. It really was an excellent exhibition and is certainly worth a visit. I went to their first exhibition at Leamington Spa and, in my opinion, this one surpasses that. It was a lovely airy gallery space with very helpful staff and, if you are considering going it is on until  July 25th. They will be having an exhibition at Festival of Quilts but not all the work in that one will be the same.

Here are some general photos of the exhibition. If you want detail you will have to go and see it for yourself!

This was the view from the entrance to the gallery. The central space was filled with three wonderful installations by Els van Baarle, Eszter Bornemisza and Susan Lenz.

This was the first one by Els van Baarle


Then came Ester Bornemisza’s


And then Susan Lenz’s


And finally, a general view of one of the walls of the gallery


There were some wonderful wooden dragon sculptures in the garden, nothing to do with the exhibition but we were able to sit on one and eat our lunch. I do wish that I had taken some photos but I was too busy juggling my panini and cappuccino!

That was my week, I hope that yours was as good.

I’m linking up with Nina-Marie Sayre’s, Off the Wall Friday – another link for you to follow to see what everyone else has been doing.

Thanks for visiting


Creativity resumes

The second post in a week can’t be a bad thing and it feels good to be back in the swing of things.

One thing I did forget to mention in the previous post was that these managed to slip into my suitcase.


SAQA sells this and I use a lot of it so by purchasing 40m I managed to save myself about £50! I got hit with import duty when I ordered online before and it’s not cheap in the UK so how could I resist, especially as it’s light and takes up no space at all.

The other thing that I forgot was to say thank you to all those who gave me input about what I should choose to do for my SAQA Benefit Auction quilt in this post. In the end I decided to go with the finished piece so took that to Portland with me. However, your responses were very helpful and I am likely to go back to the suggestions, so watch this space.

I’m continuing with my journal quilts for the contemporary group and am almost up to date, just need to get June’s done now. Linking up with the East Midlands Textile Group monthly challenge, April’s challenge was to use fabric scraps 3″ square or less with the theme being landscape. They despair of me there because I just don’t have scraps that are much smaller than about a quarter of a metre but the group decided that 3″ square could also be interpreted as the area of the scrap e.g. 9″ x 1″. That was better for me so I pulled out my dyed scrim, cut it into small pieces and laid it down onto a base fabric until I felt it looked like a landscape. I then just machined across the whole piece to secure the pieces. I was going to add a field of poppies with French knots but ran out of time so just did a few. I finally added the trees after coming back home. Not one of my favourites and not really what I would call a finished piece but for me journal quilts are experiments.


May’s challenge was to use transfer paints and the theme was fish. I had so many pieces that I had done in Cherilyn Martin’s class at FOQ a few years ago that I decided I would try to use some of them rather than create anything new. Belper River Gardens have some lovely stylised fish on their gates which I had used in this quilt.


I made a stencil of the larger fish and cut it out from some transfer painted Evolon and then added it to a background of transfer painted Lutrador. The grasses are from dyed silk. Fairly quick and easy to do.


I must be getting my mojo back as I even started the quilting on this piece. It was originally planned to be for FOQ but deadlines came and went without anything happening. I decided that I was tired of it sitting on my design wall looking dejected. I haven’t done much on it but there are a million ends to bury at the moment and I’m slowly working my way through them in the evenings. if you click on the photo to enlarge you will be able to see all those threads that need to be hidden!


I have my month’s residency on the And Then We Set It On Fire blog starting in July and have started working on my posts for that. I obviously can’t go into detail at the moment but I do have a sneak peek to whet your appetite


Finally, it seems a long time ago now but I entered my Wheels and Windows #8 into the Uttoxeter Show in April and when I paid a visit to the show on the Friday, I saw this …


Yes, yellow 3rd place rosette in the top corner. I was pleased with that as I really like this piece.

Well, I really do think that this post has gone on long enough. I am linking up with Nina-Marie Sayre’s Off The Wall Friday if you fancy heading over there to take a look at the other blogs on there.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend.


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …

Apologies to Charles Dickens for using his words as the title but they seemed to be very appropriate. It has been so long since my last post, not through a lack of willingness, but simply because I came home from Portland with what I believe is a virus. Suffice it to say that the migraine-type headaches, which I was getting almost all day, every day, meant that doing most things became difficult and, trying to sit at the computer an impossibility. I’m still getting the headaches, although nowhere near as severe, and not on a daily basis so it looks like the worst is over.

All this followed on from the most wonderful visit to Portland, Oregon, for the SAQA Fiberlandia conference. The conference ran from the Thursday morning to the following Sunday lunchtime and was certainly packed with information, meeting people and visiting some of the most lovely sights that the state has to offer, not to mention the particularly warm weather. If you are a SAQA member, or are thinking of becoming one, then I can recommend trying to get to at least one conference. Financially it’s not a viable option for me to attend every year so I’m glad that I went this time.

The real highlight for me though, was that I got the opportunity to visit my dear blogging friend Jan. Jan lives approximately 80 miles north of Portland so, having arrived at the hotel at about 11pm  on Tuesday night, I set off early the next morning to pick up my rental car. I did succumb to having a GPS system fitted, simply so that I could find my way out of the city and it certainly was invaluable for that. It eventually got me to Jan’s home and we had a lovely day, walking dogs, chatting, eating home grown food and watching all the amazing birds on the feeders. I hadn’t realised that hummingbirds were so tiny! Enough chat, here are some photos of my visit to Jan’s gorgeous home. I’m not often envious of where people live but I could quite happily have stayed there.

After walking the dogs

After walking the dogs

Sitting on the deck, looking at Jan's back yard.

Sitting on the deck, looking at Jan’s back yard.

Walking the dogs on Jan's land

Walking the dogs on Jan’s land

Jan under one of her huge trees with Gunnar, Windy and Roscoe

Jan under one of her huge trees with Gunnar, Windy and Roscoe

Roscoe enjoying a cuddle.

Roscoe enjoying a cuddle.

I found it hard to drag myself away and would have liked to have spent more time with Jan. It certainly didn’t seem like it was the first time we have actually met, although we have been friends for several years now. The journey back to the city was certainly interesting, and very exhausting, on very winding road, no lights (the daylight disappeared almost as soon as I left) and almost no other traffic until I hit the Interstate. They also drive on the wrong side of the road over in America! Remind me not to do that again in a hurry!!

I’m not going to go into the actual conference details on here as I have to do a post for the SAQA regional blog (although not tonight!) so you could always pop over there if you’re really interested. We had the afternoon off on Saturday and several  trips were arranged that we could opt into. I chose to see a bit more of Oregon by going on a trip to the Multnomah Falls. We were transported in the private cars of two local SAQA members and Kent, the husband of Jill Hoddick, who was one of the other drivers. Kent was a mine of information about the area and made the trip really worthwhile.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Some of us went up as far as the bridge that you can see in the above photo whereas some, who were more fit, went right up to the top. Beautiful place but very busy. I hadn’t expected there to be so many people around although it was a weekend and a glorious one at that. We managed to commandeer someone to take a photo of us, before we set off for the bridge. Jill, one of our hosts, is in the middle.


After eating a pre-booked lunch we set off on the scenic route back into the city and stopped at a place called Vista House which is a viewing area from where you have incredible views up and down the Columbia River. You can read more about the history of Vista House here and this is just a small part of the view from up there. You can click on the image to enlarge it.



On Sunday afternoon I decided to go to Washington Park to visit the Japanese Gardens. Having taken the Max train to the street market first I thought it would be a good idea to walk. It was hot, it was further than I had anticipated and I got distracted by a very inviting yarn shop called Knit Purl. Shops like that don’t open on Sundays over here so I had to have a look inside. What a treasure trove, I came away with some yarn and a pattern. Well I had to have something to knit on Sunday evening and while I was waiting for the plane on Monday didn’t I?

This is the yarn … knitting-yarn

… and this is how far I have got so far, quite good for me, bearing in mind that I wasn’t able to pick up the needles for almost month.



I never did get to the Japanese Gardens as I took a wrong turning in the park and came across the Holocaust Memorial. It stopped me in my tracks, being both incredibly beautiful and so very moving. In the photos below, the darker strips in the wall are actually personal quotes from people who had survived. I have enlarged one of them so that you can see what I mean. Leading up to the memorial were bronze artefacts, seemingly abandoned; an old battered suitcase, a child’s shoe, a violin, a child’s doll.  The back of the wall is engraved with the names of people who died in the camps, followed by the names of their surviving relatives in Oregon and SW Washington. It was not somewhere that I wanted to leave quickly, hence not making it to the Japanese Gardens, but I’m so glad that I got to see it.



I was going to show some of the other things that I’ve been up to since but I think that this post is long enough so I’ll leave that for another day. I have no desire to go travelling again any time soon but I do know that if I had the chance I would definitely love to go back and spend more time in Oregon.

Have a lovely week and thank you for waiting patiently for me to post.


I need your help!

Last year, when I made a small art quilt, to send to SAQA’s Spotlight Auction, I couldn’t decide which one to send so I asked for your help in deciding. Although there were differing opinions, the majority chose the one that I was leaning towards and it sold. This year I am having the same problem but with my 12″ x 12″ piece for the Benefit Auction. My head is spinning from trying out different backgrounds and foregrounds so, before I begin any stitching or fusing, I am going to ask if you would be kind enough to help me out again. The inspiration for the piece has come from a journal quilt that I did last year where I disintegrated the rose spiral. This was the 8″ x 8″ piece


The backgrounds for the current piece are  silk noil for the first three in each group and a silk habotai for the fourth. The orange ‘rose’ is silk, the black ‘rose’ is cotton and the lime ‘rose is silk noil. All will be fused to the background and then quilted. If you have time I would really appreciate your opinion. I have given each one a letter and number to make it easier.




Ot the alternative is to go with this one which is already finished but wasn’t intended for the auction!


I would like to be able to take it with me to Portland next week when I go to the conference rather than have to post it. leaving things to the last minute as usual.

If you find time to comment, thank you for your help. If you don’t then I won’t be offended.

Have a good week


I haven’t dyed in a long time.

It does seem such a long time since I dyed anything so, a recent tidy up in the garage after felting, and a spell of warmer weather, inspired me to get back in there and start again.. Whether it was because I had had a break from doing anything or whether my mind was elsewhere, I’m not sure. What I do know is that the fabric that I dyed bore little relation to what I had envisioned when I started.

With the exception of one piece, all the fabric that I dyed was flag folded. Here is the fabric, having been washed out and now drying. Not one of my better moments!


And this is the piece that wasn’t flag folded – even worse.


I’m not too worried about failures as there is always something that can be done, hopefully, to improve a piece of badly dyed fabric. This next photo is of the previous piece, flag folded and then overdyed. It’s already looking better.


There will be further things to do with all the pieces but for now, this is what they looked like after they were dyed for the first time.





Watch this space for what happens next. In the meantime I’m linking up with Nina Marie Sayre’s Off The Wall Friday

A miscellany

Sometimes I think that the hardest part of writing a blog post is coming up with a title. There is plenty of advice to be found about making your title have keywords that will be searchable if you want to increase the traffic to your site. Personally I don’t like to think of you, my faithful readers, as traffic so, as I can’t think of any other way to describe what is about to follow, I have just called it a miscellany, because that’s what it is.

I haven’t been completely unproductive since I last wrote on here but much of what I have been doing involves dye process so I’ll save that for another post.

I am still doing the felting class but each piece, although small, is time consuming so I haven’t had chance to do more than one piece. This is a base of lime green merino and grey Icelandic topped with a few Wensleydale curls and then covered with a piece of dyed silk organza. The organza was shaded from purple to turquoise and I like the way that has appeared after felting. There is also some lovely texture and you can just see the curls peeping through in places. Definitely one that will be stitched into.






I actually managed to get up to date with my 2015 Journal Quilts just as we moved into April. February and March began with a background that was very similar and developed from there. For both I laid down a bead of thickened dye and then scraped it to give a sort of grassy appearance. February’s was done on silk and unfortunately the dye did create some grubby looking marks where I had been less than careful. I didn’t notice this until I had done the stitching over the dyed lines. Fortunately I had used white fabric as a backing so I just turned it over and continued to quilt the rest of it. Very minimalist and I’m not that keen.


March’s JQ was also one that serves a dual purpose for the monthly EMCT challenge which was gelli printing/trees. I did the stitching on the grass horizon again and then cut up into strips, and fused, a piece of the fabric that I had printed at our monthly meeting. I much prefer this one.


I realised after having completed first 3 month’s pieces that I didn’t want them just to sit around in a pile so I have made a book for them. I made it so that I could add the pieces each month rather than have to wait until the end of the year.


I then got out my 2014 Journal Quilts and thought, why not do a book for them as well? I made one using the same style but with 2 layers of pelmet vilene for the covers and I prefer the firmness of the greyboard I used in the previous one. Not to worry, they are now all together and I’m happy because I love having books around.


Whilst I was tidying up my workroom I came across a couple of pieces of wire weaving that I had done with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden a while back. It seemed a shame to just keep them in a drawer so I mounted them onto box canvases. I was going to paint them both black but the piece on the white box canvas is much more subdued and, against the black, it just looked dull. I need to find somewhere to hang them now.



Finally, I have been watching videos of pressure washers as I looked out onto my  patio which had really suffered from the winter weather. I wasn’t convinced that they do what they are supposed to, or at least as easily as they appear to but I couldn’t face hours of soapy water and a brush so I decided to bite the bullet and bought one on Friday. Yes they are as good as they appear to be. I only intended to try it out and do part of the paving but once started I couldn’t stop. Here’s a before and after photo of just one area!


That has to be enough for now, especially as I have to get over to Ashbourne as it is an open day at the Ark. If you are in the area, do try to drop in and say hello – the cakes are delicious. If you can’t make it then have a lovely day anyway.


Still felting

I’m continuing to do plenty of felting in Fiona Duthie‘s class. There are lots of samples to make so doing anything with them, at the moment, isn’t possible. When the class finishes though, I shall have fun adding to the basic felting samples. The images below show, clockwise from the top left, beads and sequins trapped under silk chiffon, a further example of manipulating fabric onto a felt base, (this time I tried it with hand dyed cotton scrim and I really like the texture that it creates), a piece with a pocket and bridges, (these didn’t turn out to be as dimensional as in the class example but that was probably because I used a mix of merino and silk tops to create them so they weren’t sturdy enough to hold their shape well), and finally layered felt using painters tape as a resist.


One advantage of having a birthday while your friend is away on holiday is that you get to celebrate it again when she returns. Last week Linda took me out to lunch and also introduced me to a lovely wool shop called Yarn. I now have plenty of wool to keep me going for quite some time! I also had a a lovely birthday present from her which was designed to help me to prepare for my Portland trip; a passport holder, luggage label and pencil case. Thank you Linda, I will enjoy using them.


And finally, because not much else has been going on here, I have decided to add an update to show how well the boys are getting on together still. It was raining outside and both of them preferred to watch from the window, with the warmth of the radiator underneath them.


Linking up with Nina-Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday

Thanks for visiting. Have a good weekend.


Small is good

This post is all about small things and certainly reinforces the saying that small is beautiful. Last week I received a birthday present from my dear friend Jan. She knows what I like and always manages to send me something that is delightful. This year was no exception and when I opened the parcel I discovered a gorgeous pincushion made from felt and decorated with such lovely embroidery. I will certainly enjoy using it.


Jan also sent me an ATC with a box on the front which opened to reveal two metal hearts nestling in some wool roving. I have received ATCs before but never one which was three-dimensional. Such a lot of work had gone into this too. Thank you so much Jan for the lovely presents and also for the hand made card which accompanied them.


Another package arrived on Tuesday containing two more small beauties. I recently sent some of my hand dyed threads to my friend, another Jan, and agreed that I would accept one of her beautiful postcards in return. When I opened the envelope there were two postcards inside and I love them both. Jan actually used some fabric and threads that she had previously purchased from me and it was really nice to see them being used in such a creative way. Thank you Jan for this lovely swap. Jan creates wonderful postcards which you can also see on her special postcard blog here.



I’ve been working small too. I finally got round to sending off my contribution to the SAQA Spotlight Auction. This takes place at the Fiberlandia Conference at the end of April and I am really looking forward to seeing all the contributions in person this year. If you are a SAQA member there is still time to send in a contribution. The size is 6″ x 8″ and they will be displayed in mats with a 4.5″ x 6.5″ opening. My contribution is a small version of my Wheels and Windows series. The edge is deliberately not finished except for a row of stitching because of the mat that will be covering it.


Finally I also got going on this year’s journal quilt challenge for the Contemporary Group. The size this year is 6″ x 12″ and we had to commit to portrait or landscape orientation. I decided to challenge myself and go with the landscape. I’ve also decided to combine this, whenever possible, with the monthly challenge for the East Midlands Contemporary Textiles group that I belong to. Each month we explore a different theme and technique and for February the technique was reverse appliqué and the theme was movement. I have used a piece of dyed fabric for the top and a failed printout of an image from which I made a small quilt a while back. I just machined some wave shapes and then cut them back to reveal the fabric underneath. This was then machine quilted by roughly echoing the wave shapes and then the piece was faced. I’m certainly finding it more of a challenge to work in this orientation. I am a little behind with this challenge already, although I do have a couple of pieces batching in the garage which, hopefully, will form the background for at least one more journal quilt.


That is really all I have done since last time as I’m still having problems with BT who don’t seem to be too anxious to contact me about my problem with my home hub. All it means is that everything takes twice as long to do while I wait for it to reconnect to the internet!

I hope that you have a good week and that it is filled with creative fun.


More felting samples and an elephant

I had intended to publish this post earlier in the week but, unfortunately, I have had problems with my internet connection dropping out or not connecting at all. Very frustrating, especially as I watch BT’s adverts for their super duper broadband – where is mine I wonder? Anyway, I’m taking advantage of the fact that I seem to have solved the problem for now and getting this post written before it goes haywire again.

The felting has continued since last week, sometimes with varying degrees of success.

Nuno felting using silk gauze on merino on the left and silk habotai on merino on the right. The gauze creates a much more subtle effect,


Fabric manipulation. I used silk habotai on the first piece (on the left) but there wasn’t sufficient migration of the wool through the silk so it created some quite ugly lumpy folds. I have added a few French knots and seeding stitches in a few places to see whether this would improve the lumpiness in the photo on the right. I definitely prefer it this way and there is still more stitching and beading that can be added.


I tried this again using silk chiffon and preferred the lower relief that was created.


The last lesson in the first week was to add images and text using transfer paper. This was my least favourite technique so far. There was no way to really integrate the images and the bubbling up, which was supposed to happen, does not appeal to me at all. They just appear to have been plonked on. The image that was supposed to be on the silk in the bottom left corner actually fell off!


The final samples for this post were made using resists. The one on the  right used wool balls to create the dimensional lumps. This worked quite well although, next time I need to add a little more wool over the top of the balls as it is possible to see the ball underneath in places. The piece on the left, with the craters, was not felted well enough and the resist that I used distorted the circles when I removed it. This has left them looking more ragged than they should be. On the plus side I had some very useful feedback from Fiona on how to improve these pieces.


I’ve had a busy week this week with visits to the vets, having  to cope with dieting one cat, feeding up the other and trying to remember which cat has which medication, plus an iPad workshop with Jan Bevan on Tuesday. The latter was useful and there were ideas about creating images in  various apps to use in art quilts but, I have to confess, I am still not a fan of iPads. Hopefully next week will be less busy and I can get on with being more creative. At least we have a catch up week with the felting class. I might even get around to making a start on my journal quilts for this year’s Contemporary Group Challenge.

Now to that elephant. I recently had a beautiful present from my dear friend Jan. It is a hand embroidered panel on a silk cushion cover. The elephant is there because she remembered how much I enjoyed my trip to South Africa many years ago. It is beautifully done and sits very nicely on my new sofa.


This detail shot of the elephant shows just how much stitching is in the elephant and how she has shaded it so well. Thank you so much Jan, I really love it.


I am linking up with Nina-Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday again so I hope you will pop over to her blog and take a look at the others who have linked up

Have a lovely week and thank you for reading.


Felting Samples

My felting class with Fiona Duthie has started and so I’ve been busy making samples. This is definitely a good upper-body workout class! It is going to be a picture heavy post so there won’t be much reading for you to do.

Merino base with silk top layer.


Merino base with wisps of silk top.


Merino base with yak clouds. I’ve never worked with yak before and hadn’t expected it to be so soft.


Shaded felting with Icelandic base and Merino top layer.


I also like the backs of the shaded pieces.


I am really enjoying the class and, although I have done quite a lot of wet felting before I am learning plenty of new things. I certainly would recommend the class as Fiona is a very good teacher.

I didn’t get anything done today as I had a visit from Linda who spent time stroking Casper and the felt samples, followed by lunch at Nourish. Lovely to catch up again but it was so cold down in Belper. I hope that it turns into a better weekend that you can enjoy, however you are spending it.

Linking up with Nina-Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday



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