Thursday, 25 October 2012


if you can spot the problems with this picture of some transfer paint, drying.  There are two.  Neither of them are huge problems, but this is not the best way of painting on transfer dye...  Why?  See if you can work it out.  One is obvious; the other, less so.  Good luck!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Inspiration Monday : Pattern

Pattern is everywhere, if you only look for it.  There may be a good practical reasonw hy this hillside looks like this, but it's an amazing pattern... wonder what I could do with it.  What about you...what would you do with it?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

See It Sunday : Likely Links

There is an interesting journal  project on this page ; it shows that lutradur is an ideal mixed media material.  The image above is a close up of an Artists Trading Card which features Lutradur on a base of mount board, and embellished with paint.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Inspiration Monday : Up Close And Personal

We rarely get up close and personal with things... we prefer to keep our distance.  But there are amazing things to be seen when we do.  Take your camera, and get up close and personal with a flower today... see what you can see.  You don't actually have to take any pictures (unless you want to...); just see what you can see through the viewfinder. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

See It Saturday : Useful Links

Thought I would follow up yesterday's post on Sally Ann Westcott's work, with a link to her blog, showing that she's just as good at working with Lutradur...  check it out here

Friday, 21 September 2012

Photo Friday : Sally Ann Westcott

It's always delightful to feature other artists' work on this blog, and I particularly like this 12 x 12  lino print on lutradur by Sally Ann Westcott, from Tasmania, called 'Red and Brown Algae'.
Sally says of the piece;
I carved the algae image into a 12 x 12 (piece of)lino.  I then painted the lino with transfer dyes and printed the image onto lithograph paper.  Once the print was dry, I transferred the image onto light weight white lutradur, using a hot iron.  I then sandwiched the lutradur, green cotton fabric, cotton batting and a backing.  I machine quilted it using pebble shapes and 'di-atoms".  After it was satin stitched around the edges I used a soldering iron to burn away some of the lutradur to expose the green cotton underneath.
Being me, I was wondering why the lithograph paper (as opposed to any other kind), but forgot to ask before I wrote this post, so consider that as your first question, Sally!   You can see more of Sally's work here, on her blog.  Thanks, Sally, for sharing your work with us.  

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Try It Out : Featuring Fabric

So... if you have rust dyed fabric that has only partly been successful, as I have, what do you do with it?  Well, one thing you can do is fussy cut it for card making, or into a small mount, for framing.  It's a really good idea to try several sizes, shapes and even colours when you are deciding what to do; I'm showing what happens when you work with one section of the cloth, this one (above).  I even like the creases that are left because I squeezed surplus water out of it before leaving it to dry.  In fact, I like this distressed look so much, I decide to make it a bit stronger, and scrunched up the fabric in my fist...roughly like this...(but more unravelled when I tried to take the photo...sigh).

I then straightened it out; if it won't lie flat after this type of treatment, give it a tug, top and bottom...that will help.  Remember that you'll tape the fabric onto the card, so it will be stretched flat; there's no need to iron it (in fact, better not to, all things considered...).  I ended up with this;

You can see the original form of the knocker, curve at the bottom, knob at the top.  I tried two different types of mount on it, first a square one;

I like this, it has lovely movement in it.  Some hand stitching would look great in the areas where there is less rust; that would emphasise the movement.  I've never really taken to machine stitching with rust dyed fabric, and I'm not sure why... perhaps it's the organic nature of the cloth.  Machine stitching is so regular, that it doesn't seem to go well with the type of marks that rust leaves.

Then, I tried a rectangle;

This is even better; some of the markings from higher up are showing in this, and again, there is lots of movement.  I decided to go with this one.  But there is still the 'knob' of the knocker at the top of the fabric which isn't being used by the frame... so, I try this;

Interesting.  I think, with some beading, and a bit more crunching up of the squares top and bottom, and some stitch, this will be quite good.  Result!  Now, of course, I just have to make them...<G>.

The last image I'm showing you is a card, all bagged up and ready to go (probably to Etsy).  This one is made from Evolon which has been rust dyed, but this one has been stitched by hand, using variegated hand dyed yarn.  It's a different size from the rectangular mount above, and I thought it would be interesting to look at it, to see the effect of the stitching.  What do you think?

This is a great way of using scrap, or things that don't quite work out the way you planned them!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Try It Out : More Rust Dyeing...

...or, nothing succeeds as planned.  You may remember that I put the Lutradur back in to rust some more with my trusty rusty door knocker?  Well... once again, I got quite excited about things when I took the lutradur out of the bag...
...yup, happy with that....  but after rinsing, yes, you guessed it...

Better markings, but not quite what it seemed to be...sigh.  Though if you look closely...

...there is a brownish tinge to most of the fabric, that wasn't there before. 

Conclusion?  Well, it would be simplest to write it off, really, to say that Lutradur doesn't rust dye well.  I've done it several times now, and been disappointed with the results.  Could try it with Lutradur 30, instead of Lutradur 70... Or I could try washing it first... I don't think that will make a difference, but perhaps it's worth trying. 

Have any of you had better results with rust dyeing on Lutradur?  Please, do share with us if you have...and if you'd like to be a guest blogger, to tell us how you did it, I'd be delighted to welcome you!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

See It Sunday : Useful Links

Zeelon's turn this week... you have already seen two of the pieces featured here; Maggi and Angela are, I'm glad to say, regular contributors and readers here, and have already been generous in sharing their work (thanks, guys!).  Popular Patchwork ran a competition, asking people to use zeelon to create a piece on the theme of Winter; the link shows you the three prize winners.  Enjoy...  what I found interesting was how three people take the same material, and the same directions and theme, and yet make completely different work.  The sky really is the limit when it comes to personal creativity!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Try it Out : Rust Dyeing Results

Well, as usual, I'm a bit belated.  Fortunately, leaving the cloth to soak in the vinegar solution a bit longer (see Tuesday's post here), won't have done it any harm.'s now Saturday, and when I took the plastic off the top of the cat litter tray, this is what I saw; the lutradur which had been wrapped round some long, thin pieces of rusted metal.

I got quite excited... looked good; lots of brown, with some patterning;

So then, I unwrapped the lightweight Zeelon;

again, not bad...some good patterning...

The Zeelon rinsed well, stayed pretty much as it was.  The Lutradur, however, went from this ;

to this:

It's actually not as white as the photo suggests, but still a lot whiter than I thought it was.  I'm not sure why so much of the colour rinsed off, but wondered if perhaps I hadn't had the metal close enough to the cloth.  I had also noticed that the lutradur was a lot dryer than the zeelon, which may have been a factor.  So, I rewrapped the Lutradur round the door knocker, encased it in plastic and weighed it down as I had done before to the zeelon.  I then added some more vinegar, and put it back in the conservatory.  I'll check it again on Tuesday.

Still, the results I got are not bad... I could have used the Lutradur as it was, but wanted to get a bit more patterning onto it. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Wondering Wednesday : Once More, With Feeling...

Sadly, the feeling has to be imaginary... I can't offer you a sample piece through the wonders of the internet!  Last week I asked you what this was...

Maggi said it was Evolon, with stitch.  And it is...but she didn't get the colouring method.  So, let me show you what happens when you use the same technique on Lutradur...

Let me give you a clue... to use this technique, you need heat... and not from a conventional iron.  So.... who knows how I did it?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : Rust Dyeing

I thought that as it is continuing to be (relatively) warm, I'd rust dye some Zeelon.  I've rust dyed both Lutradur and Evolon in the past, to good effect, and wanted to see what Zeelon would be like.  Rust dyeing is simple and quick; a google search will bring up lots of images and information.  This is the way I do it.

First, I took some vinegar (Wine vinegar, because it was what was to hand), and made up a quarter pint of water/vinegar mixed half and half, and then put the Zeelon into it.

I then took a rusty door knocker...
...and wrapped the damp Zeelon over and round it, trying to get the cloth as close to the rust as possible: good contact makes for good dyeing.
I then wrapped the cloth up in a plastic bag, and put a weight on it, to encourage the cloth to stay in contact with the door knocker, and to keep it moist; no moisture, no dyeing.  As you can see, the oddest things get pressed into service in my house!
Since I had some of the vinegar mixture left over, I used it to moisten some Lutradur 70, which I wrapped round various bits of rusty metal, using the same process, put both in a basin and left it in the conservatory, which is definitely the warmest place in the house at the moment.  In the winter, I would pop the basin onto my central heating boiler.

And now...we wait.  We'll have a look on Thursday, to see what we've got.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Inspiration Monday : Reculer Pour Mieux Sauter

Sometimes, you have to go backwards to go forwards.  I was looking at this piece, which I made several years ago, paint and charcoal on hand dyed cloth, with stitch.  The pink stuff hanging down is silk organza.  Looking at it, I wondered if perhaps I would have added something by using Lutradur instead of silk.  In this case, I don't think I would have done...but I wouldn't know, if I hadn't considered it.  It's often worth looking to what you have done before, to see if the techniques you know now would allow you to take that work forward...going backwards, to go forwards.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Friday, 7 September 2012

Photo Friday : Elizabeth Peters


Peacocks are fabulous birds, and this one, by Elizabeth Peters, is no exception. `It is a lovely example of how you can combine Evolon with other fabrics to produce a partially three dimensional image.

Elizabeth says of her Evolon creation:

I absolute love using Evelon in projects. It is such a versatile fabric. I first bought some about two years ago with another friend, at the Textiles show in Brisbane Australia. We had read about it in one of Isobel Hall's books & was interested to see how it worked. So we bought some.

I have painted it and dyed it. And it is absolutely amazing to stitch into.  The inspiration for the peacock came from the earring that I used for the tail. I saw the earrings on a stall in the shopping centre & thought that they would make a great peacock's tail. So I bought them. Along with quite a few other pairs of earrings that I will use to embellish other pieces of work.

I used the evelon as the base fabric, as I knew it would colour just the way I wanted it to do. It is great stuff for colouring, & feels so lovely in the hoop when stitching on it. I coloured the Evelon with water colour paints then hit it with the heat gun to dry it so that I could start stitching on it straight away.

I embroidered on the tree design & made the detached leaves first.

Then drew up a design for the body of the peacock. I made a padded body from felt. After which I then stitched over the top of in the colours of a peacock. There are about 7 different colours used in the body of the peacock. Then I secured on the earring for the tail. And hay presto the peacock was made.

After all the stitching was done, I took the piece out of the hoop, then machine stitched around the edges. Again Evelon is a wonderful fabric for sewing on the machine as well as in the hand. I mounted the whole piece behind a framed card & posted it off to my very dear friend, who lives in the UK, for her Birthday.

Sadly though. I completely forgot to take a photo of the completed card before posting it☹☹☹ I was running short on time to get it posted over to the UK on time, & it completely slipped my mind. The good thing is though I know if I ever have to, I can get my friend to take a photo of it & email it to me.

I am a great advocate of Evelon. It is such a versatile fabric to work with. It is great for painting on or dying. It is also wonderful to stitch on both hand & machine & is strong & sturdy for uses in book covers as well as backing embroideries.
If you have any questions, I'm sure Elizabeth will be delighted to answer them here.  Once again, many thanks to her for sharing this lovely piece of work with us.  Te see more of her work, check out her blog.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Try It Out Thursday : When Evolon Met Bondaweb (Pt 2)

Okay, so far so good, we have a piece of bondawebbed Evolon, making a lovely background.  But for what?
Well... as you know, Bondaweb is simply glue in a sheet.  So, by definition, we could add pieces of cloth or paper (or whatever) and fuse them onto the Evolon.  But I thought that it would be more interesting to add some foiling...there's nothing like a bit of glitz... so I cut a spiral shape, and some thin tendrils, from blue foil, and fused them on, having carefully covered the piece with greaseproof paper first.  But it seemed too shiny, so I then added a little more bondaweb, and fused again.  That produced this;

Which I rather like.  Particularly the texture on top of the foiling.  It looks super complicated...but in fact, was super easy.  Why not try it out?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wondering Wednesday : What IS that?

...well, okay, it's a sample.  But what is it a sample of?  And how was it coloured?  It's not perhaps as obvious as it seems... how do you think it was made?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : When Evolon Met Bondaweb (Pt 1)

I love Evolon's texture, and the way it retains that texture when you paint it.  The piece here had been painted with diluted acrylic paints...notice that I've varied the strength of the paint in different places, suggesting a land or sea scape.
So far so good... now what?  I came across this piece last week, and it has been lying in my dining room, muttering under its breath, as unfinished things do.  This morning, though, I came across some scraps of painted Bondaweb and thought... I wonder...

Where the Evolon is blue, the bondaweb has a variety of blues moving into purples, and into greys.  I thought that would enrich the background, and decided to iron it on, just to see what happened.  I didn't have a whole piece to lay over the top, so I tore it up, and laid it in different places, some of it overlapping, until it looked like this;
I then covered it with greaseproof paper, and ironed it on...

I like it... but there isn't enough unevenness about the top left hand side, and just at the bottom, there's a very light piece that also draws the eye... so I tore up more painted Bondaweb, and added it.
That, I thought, would improve the overall balance.  Even if you're just (just?) preparing a background, you need to have balance and good design in it.  Anyway, so far so good...

Then I spotted a piece of very fine white florist's wrap...I have no idea where it came from.  I thought about adding it, to just add a little more texture, but also to even out the surface.  Again, I added greaseproof paper and ironed it down.  Interesting how it is starting to look shiny in places where there is three or more layers of Bondaweb. 
For me, this is an interesting background, now, just waiting for Something To Happen...  we'll see what did happen on Thursday. 

PS I can't remember what I used to colour the Bondaweb; could have been Brusho, could have been watered down fabric paint...I think the latter is more likely.  Experiment with what you have to hand if you want to try this; just don't apply paint too thickly, or you will lose the textural effect of the bondaweb.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

See It Saturday : Likely Links.

I know, I've said it before... but I think normal service is about to resume, after another bout of illness.  Many apologies. 

I'm introducing a new feature today, 'See It Saturday'.  I'm going to give a link to an interesting article or blog post on the net to do with spunbonded fabrics, so that you can see not just how I use it, but other people do, too.  Today, it's lutradur's turn.  Click here for a basic tutorial on different ways to colour lutradur.  Enjoy!

ps It may seem obvious, but I'm not responsible for or recommending any of the blogs or other articles I may send you to; I'm just pointing you in the direction of interesting articles.  As with anything on this blog, you try things out at your own risk; be sure to follow the instructions, especially safety guidance.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Inspiration Monday : Do Something Different

...or at least, differently.  We all have routines, ways of thinking about and doing things that become habits, that become a rut.  Today, do something differently!  Combine two colours that you wouldn't usually combine; see where it takes you.  Use a new material, see what it does.  Go for a walk in a place you've thought about visiting, but never have; see what you see.  Ask yourself the question, What If I Just...  , finish it to suit yourself, and then, most importantly, DO IT!  This week, I'll show you a couple of my experiments in this way, using materials I wouldn't have considered using with Lutradur and Evolon.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Wondering Wednesday... Why Spunbonded?

I've often been asked why I work with spunbonded fabrics at all.  The argument runs that there are plenty natural fabrics which have been used traditionally to great effect, so why do we need these new fabrics?  And I must admit, that I start all my talks with the sentence, if you had said to me ten years ago that I'd spend 90% of my time working with polyesters and nylons, I'd have laughed at you...and yet here I am, doing just that!

Well, arguably, we don't.  Silk will give us many of the effects that Lutradur and Zeelon give us; it's more difficult to find a natural fabric that corresponds to Evolon; brushed cotton, perhaps, cotton velvet or suede?  Suede is probably the closest to the unique textures of Evolon, as it is not woven...but then, of course, it isn't a cloth at all... The reasons why I use spunbonded fabrics are simple; they are quick and easy to dye, they take colour really well, they have amazing textures, they don't fray, they do what they are told (not something that can be said of silk organza...).  Easy to work with, great effects.

And what of tradition?  Well... I think stitchers of yesteryear used what was available; if polyester had been available, they would have used it.  Ditto for spunbonded fabrics.  If you haven't used them yet, give it a try...there are a number of short projects on this blog for you to attempt (try searching on Try It Out to get a selection). 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : From The Brink

Sometimes, you just plain get it wrong.  I put a piece of Lutradur 30 together with a piece of Evolon, and transfer dyed them yellow, with blue/green stripes running across it.  It was...errr... loud. Screamingly loud.  I like bright colours, but this was eye watering.  So I did what I always do when I make a mistake; I lived with it for a while.  It didn't get any better.  So I decided to treat it as a background and go for A Bold Statement.  I made a rune shape from wool, and felted it into the cloth.  As bold statements go, it screeched.  Definitely Worse.   (Trust me, it was even louder than the photo...sigh.)

So... what to do?  The obvious thing to do was to add another layer; semi transparency is what Lutradur is best at, right?  Mmm.  On this occasion, though, I did have another option.  Taking the lutradur firmly, I began to peel it off the Evolon until I got to the first of the felted wool.  I then cut round the wool, and continued until I had freed the whole of the piece except the centre of the circle. 

You can see the difference; the colour is nowhere near as strong, except in the circle.  It gives the impression of something that is faded.If you look in the close up, you can see how Lutradur has acted as a resist, giving a crackle effect to the colour.  I've talked about this before on the blog, so the technique is perhaps not new to you, but using it in this way, to remove colour from a piece, is an interesting variation.  Why not try it at postcard size, to see the effects for yourself.

Now, I have to decide what to do with it... I think stitch, first.  And then, we'll see.  What would you do with this developing piece?