Monday, March 30, 2009

Work in Progress!

It's bliss to stitch on the sewing machine, and I love using my Embellisher, but....

The problem with both of the above is that they need space and electrcity and that's fine when working at home. However, over the last few weeks I have hardly been at home long enough to think about stitching, let alone actually do any. Sometimes I get withdrawal symptoms! My main creative outlet is dyeing, and I love this too, but it is such a luxury to hold a needle in my fingers and create. For this reason, when I know that there are going to be gaps in our selling, I carry around a piece of hand stitching. This is usually something that can be quickly folded away, so I do something that doesn't need to be hooped. I thought I'd show you my current piece.

It's a representation of a piece of coastline I know well, but there's a fair way to go yet. I don't expect it to be recognised as it is on a little visited part of the Welsh coast. If you look closely I think you can see the needle! The background is Silk Scrimble and the yarn is, of course, Sassa Lynne.
There won't be much stitching this week, it's time for stock-taking! Oh joy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Embellisher, Let's Get Started

This is just a quick post to announce a new day workshop to be held at Studio Fay and Kay in Aldershot Hampshire. It will be a fun day, full of tips and techniques to start you on an exciting adventure with your Embellisher.

Don't forget that loan machines are always available, so this is also a chance to 'try' before you 'buy'.

Tuesday 12th May 10am - 4pm

You can find more information by clicking here or by emailing

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day workshop

I love stitching on scrim.  It is such a versatile surface, and can be used to create many effects.  Whether stitching by hand or machine it is amenable and easily manipulated.  One of my favourite techniques also involves the use of water-soluble paper.  This is an interesting surface, quite unlike other water-soluble fabrics, which can be incorporated into the design and used as added texture.  Last Thursday I taught a workshop using both these materials.  Here are some quick pictures of parts of the workshop.

The scrim is in evidence here, but not much water-soluble paper in visible yet.

Beginning to add colour.

We used Kohinoor for speed as there was a lot to get through
Almost there.  A little more detail needed.
We also looked at landscapes

These two samples show the technique part way through.  Those ugly white lines will disappear by the time these works are finished.

But maybe I'll show you those another day........

Friday, March 13, 2009

Red and Yellow make Orange. Right?

As a dyer I play with colour every day. On many days this is the only 'textile expression' that I get, and it is a very satisfying occupation. Dyeing our Serendipity range is fun and often unexpected results can lead to exciting further adventures. Our named range, however, is slightly different, these have to be dyed with precision and mistakes mean that the process has to start all over again. I use a number of dyes to produce the ranges. The cotton fibres are dyed using Fibre Reactive dyes, of which Procion is only one type. What would be the worst piece of news that a dyer could receive? How bad would it be if a particular dye was no longer made?

The safest way to mix a colour is to use a pure dye, that is a dye in the form in which it was manufactured. Many of the dyes on the market, named colours, are in fact mixes of one or more of these pure dyes and, although they produce beautiful colours in their own right, can be a bit of a minefield if you don't know what colours are actually in them. I buy my dyes from a number of sources, and some come in from abroad. Many of them are manufactured overseas, some of them in Japan, and unfortunately one of these was recently discontinued. One of my suppliers, trying to be helpful, attempted to recreate the colour by mixing various dyes, so when it arrived I knew that I had to 'tread carefully' and do a series of experiments.

The first thing I did was to mix a batch and dye a few sample threads using decreasing quantities of colour. I was expecting a deep orange-red which changed by degrees through coral to a peachy-pink, maybe heading towards peach. The results weren't what I expected, but the biggest surprise came when I went on to begin the next series of experiments.

This is a spot sample of the neat red dye. This sample is shown on paper, but it is similar to that on fabric
You can see that it is quite a strong orange-red, adding yellow should reinforce this combination. So what happened when I added the first yellow - a pure yellow, no other colours added.

The effect was amazing, and totally unexpected. The yellow was consumed in the first three stages leaving a light blue which continued through several more samples (I've only shown four of those here). This told me that the new red dye is a combination containing blue. The 'red' and yellow have combined in the early samples, pushing the small amount of blue further down the scale. More experiments are needed to see how it will work with other colours, but I can see that I will have to spend some considerable time experimenting in order to be able to create at least one of my named range colours. Time consuming it may be - but it will be worth it, and who knows what interesting combinations I may find in the process.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Waiting for the postman......

It's always good to get something in the mail, even when Royal Mail has taken a little longer than it should to deliver it! What's inside the envelope?

Hmm. That doesn't tell us much, does it? Let's get rid of the bubblewrap.

Ooh, pretty, Is that a Moo card? What's inside?

Beautifully presented. Hand written letter too. What's that coiled up?
It's a bracelet! From tastykaeru. It's beautiful! It's Kumihimo! It's very comfortable to wear!

Who would have thought that one of these could end up like that?

(Different colour, obviously!.
If you would like one too there are more! Here's one

and another

which is here , but there are many more and the best place to look is in her shop.
As for the yarn selection - well you can find that here. I'll be listing more, but first I'll have to dye them!
Thank you tastykaeru!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thursday Theme

Click here if you want to find the Thursday Theme

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Woof Woof

Is this a true story?

It was late.  Almost midnight.  The couple (we'll call them Freda and George) retired to bed to rest and sleep.
No sooner had they done this than their thoughtless neighbour (Bob) opened his back door and let the dog into the garden.  It ran around, excited by the sounds and smells of the night, barking and snapping at moths and mice and the like.  It happened every night and Freda had had enough.

"George!  It's no good, you'll have to go and sort this out once and for all!"

Reluctantly George got dressed and trudged downstairs and into the night.

It was some three quarters of an hour later before he returned to the bedroom, cold and dishevelled.

"Well, George, have you sorted it?"

"Yes dear.  The dog's now in our garden.  Let's see how Bob likes having a thoughtless neighbour."

Wordless Wednesday

If you are looking for Wordless Wednesday you will find it HeRE

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spam, Spam, Wonderful Spam

If I had £1.00 for every Spam email I received I would be a very wealthy woman. I receive so many that I suspect I would be able to solve the current world economic problems by donating those ££££'s to the appropriate authority. Unfortunately, though, I haven't received any ££'s, so I have started to look at them in another way. Instead of finding them a nuisance, I actually find them a great source of mirth.

Fortunately my firewall program will direct most spam messages directly to the spam folder, however occasionally one creeps into my main mail box and I have to physically move it. This is when I get my giggles. Like most people I have been offered all sorts of implements to help my sexual prowess, I have won millions on various lotteries and have been enlisted as help in removing millions from a variety of frozen bank accounts. I have discovered all this without even having to open the mails - who knows what else I would have discovered if I had actually read them - so what do I find so amusing?

The names...... Yes, the names of the people who have sent these emails. Has it not occurred to these people that the names and titles that they choose are a 'dead giveaway'?

Here are a few that have arrived recently

Rodgron Nobbligod
Blewittly Jebewit
Tahirami Walkelwi
Gochnouri Lemonskoweriski (I think this one sounds like a kitchen cleaner, maybe I'd buy it if it was on the supermarket shelf!)

Then there are the ones that want me to verify my bank details. The best giveaway here is that they are all from banks with whom I have no dealings, and, frankly, won't have in the present economic climate.

Yet more just greet me with a simple 'Hi'. In very recent days I've been especially not tempted by those from

Jafari Shameerio
Keeshandr Hilcocker and
Pauline Landrockervich

I would go on, but now I'm off to not read the one that has just arrived from Jos""Ram%nid^^oi>mer who is apparently my new best friend.......