Visit to the Lake District

I haven't spent much time in the studio this past little while. We did however have a little trip to the Lake District. We stayed on Bowness-on-Windermere in a hotel overlooking Lake Windermere. It was a lovely location.

This is the view from our room. A nice waslk down to the lake where we took a boat cruise around the lake. It was a bit drizzly the day we went but it didn't dampen our spirits.

We had wonderful walk up to Aira Force waterfall near Ullswater and took hundreds of photographs. It wasa lovely day and an excellent walk. You can see a nice little video here.

I call this the Money Tree. It's a felled tree which is covered in money. From a distance it looked as though it was just covered in moss but closer inspection revealed all the coins set into the wood. Forest art.

We visited Ambleside which was lovely and of course we had to visit Beatrix Potter's house at Hill Top.

As we walked along Windermere we spotted this little family - aren't they just gorgeous. We had a lovely time. Now I need to get back in the studio - I have some fabric rusting.

Rust Remover

Well, well. I tried the rust remover, thank you for your encouragement! As you can see it has worked quite well. This is the first image I posted yesterday after I applied the rust remover. I like it much better now. The colour you can see around the edges of the fabric is just some silk paint that transferred from my wooden frame - I normally use it only for silk painting.

So I must experiment a little more with the rust remover. I just tied the fabric, as I would a tie dye, but it didn't work that well. I think I might try stenciling with the rust remover. That will have to wait for another day. I am going to be busy for the next few days. Will post some pictures on Sunday.

Rust results

Well as you can see I lost the design detail which I had taken the time to create. It's funny because when I was doing doing it I just knew I would. I am sure you have been there yourself. I just had to try it though - just in case I was wrong, which is always possible.

So...... whilst I was thinking the previous one wouldn't work I had an idea I thought might work. As you can see I created another design but with more white space.

Here it is having brewed for just a couple of hours.

Here is the final piece. I washed it yesterday evening. The first piece, which didn't work, I left for my usual 2/3 days to "brew". I thought I wouldn't leave this piece too long and as you can see it has worked well. There is still too much white for my liking so I am thinking I might tea dye it - that's the safe option.

Norman brought out a container of interesting pink fluid yesterday as I was chatting on about the first piece having too much rust on it. It was labelled "rust remover". He uses it to keep his work rust free whilst he is working. I wonder what effect that will have on my first piece? Should I try it? Let me know what you think.

I have a little BBQ which lies in the garden - currently used to house wasps I think. Anyway it's rusting beautifully, we don't use it since we have a bigger one now. I took a piece off it and wrapped fabric round it. As you can see it's rusting beautifully. It's not as warm here today so it may take a little longer to brew than yesterdays piece.
I added another layer to the screen printed piece I did the other day. It has dried out nicely. I think I may add just one more layer/colour to it with perhaps a different technique. The first layer was screen printed (simple method), the second layer was stencilled. I am not sure what technique to try for the third layer - maybe a lino print as I have a lovely piece of lino just begging to be cut.

......... and as for Module 5 (fifiquilter mentioned it in her comment the other day) .... I set it aside for a while and revisited it yesterday. It's almost ready for mailing.

Experiments with Rust, Veggies and Herbs

I mentioned the other day that I was going to experiment with the lovely powders Norman saved up for me.

First of all I took a piece of white cotton and stretched it over one of my wooden frames and secured it with silk pins. I then sprinked, very gently, some of the different powders onto the cotton.

I took a magnet and ran it underneath the cotton trying to get some design going. I have to say I did help it along the way with the end of a paint brush to get some spaces between the particles. This was all very random as I really am not sure how, or if, it will work.

I mixed some water/malt vinegar in a water bottle and gently soaked the fabric. I had to be careful not to spread the particles at this stage. It worked well. I then very carefully wrapped the whole thing in cling film to help keep it moist as I wanted to leave it outside. It would have been fine in the studio but I think it would have been too warm in there and may have dried out overnight.

I checked on it this morning and it's rusting beautifully. I am not sure if the intricacy of the design is showing but it doesn't matter as I can try something different.

This is the reverse of the piece - not much design as you can see but I won't know what it's like until I remove the particles and see what is underneath.

Now for something different:

I wish you could have sensed the smell in my kitchen yesterday. I am back making bread again and made a wholegrain loaf and a cinnamon and raisin loaf - hmmmm! gorgeous. I tried using the bread maker for making dough and baking bread in the oven and it was lovely as you can get some nice shapes and all sorts of different bread. I even made some donuts which were simply delicious - not good for the waist line but a treat nevertheless.

I am trying my hand at growing a small selection of vegetables and some strawberries for Norman. I bought this container of strawberry plants a while back and they are bearing fruit. He loves them.

As you can see there are more still to come.

I thought I would try planting potatoes in a container. I don't hold up much hope but they are certainly producing plenty green leaves. Time will tell if any little potatoes appear.

This is green beans. They have already flowered so it shouldn't be long before beans appear.

I have little pea plant dotted around the garden. I have some here directly in the ground but the majority are in pots. Having transplanted them from little pots they are a little behind the others that were left in their pots but that's good as these peas will appear a little later - if they do produce peas!

The rocket is flourishing and tastes absolutely gorgeous - peppery and lovely.

I have a lovely little collection of herbs as well. Some are flourishing, some are taking a little longer. The flavours are gorgeous. There is just nothing like growing your own herbs and you don't need a lot of space either - pots are wonderful.

I have planted some lettuce in grow bags in a small corner of the garden and they are coming along nicely too.

Carrots in a container? Well I am trying them to see what happens. I also have some planted directly into the ground.

Norman loves fuschia and I have grown lots of them this year. They have lots of buds at the moment. I will post pictures when they flower.

I have been tagged twice in the past few weeks - will post details later. I was asked to post a little more about myself so I hope I have given you a little more insight into my world which is not always fibre related!

Rust - results

Here are the results of my rust dyeing. I think they are gorgeous. I am going to try using the powders again but this time a little differently. I just need to go and get some vinegar as I have run out. Thanks for dropping by.

Easy Screen Printing

Whilst I was in my studio I thought I would try some easy screen printing. This is a great way of screen printing if you want quick results. If you are not sure about drawing your design - or like me want something quick and easy to try out different media - you can stamp your design on paper. I use freezer paper but cartridge paper works just as well.

Once the design is stamped onto the paper using a craft knife (I use a scalpel as it's sharper and I get a better result) cut out your design. As you can see I have left one uncut to let you see what the stamp looked like. I just used an ordinary ink pad for paper.

I taped my fabric to the table - which was covered with a drape cloth and plastic covering. I had my screen and squeegee at the ready. I like this squeegee as it's nice and firm. I laid the cut out paper on top of the fabric with the screen on top ready for the paint. The reason for my experiment was to try some fabric medium I bought which can be used with acrylic paint. On its own acrylic paint can leave the fabric quite hard so I wanted to see what the effect the medium had.

Here it is after the first pass. I am waiting for it to dry before adding more designs. The fabric is my own hand dyed cotton which I thought would make a good background.

Once you have used finished the paper sticks to the silk screen but it is easily removed with water. The screen needs to be cleaned right away otherwise the acrylic can stick in the little holes of the silk screen. More later as I add more "layers" to the piece.

Update on the bargain paints: I found they left a "rubbery" feel to the fabric which might be difficult to stitch. When I try stitching it I will let you know how it goes.

Rust Dye and Natural Dyes

Norman has been busy machining train wheel castings over the past little while. First he takes a large cut (relatively speaking) and gradually takes finer cuts with the lathe until the wheels are shiny and smooth. He has kept me all of the different sized pieces as you can see above. What for you might ask - well rust dyeing of course. How good is he and without any prompting from me. He's a sweetheart.

I just had to try it and since it's been lovely and warm, though a little wet, the conditions were just right for a little experiment. I used some of the old train wheels he gave me a while ago (I hope he never needs them for a train). I just laid them on the wet (water and vinegar) cotton and sprinked a few of each of the various powders on the fabric. I wrapped them and they have been brewing for a couple of days. They are looking good. My next experiment will be with a magnet - I can't wait to see the results and will share these, good or bad, once they have brewed.

Borders books at the Fort in Glasgow managed to get me this book on natural dyes a while back. I have quite fancied trying dyeing with natural dues. Contrary to what you might think they are not as environmentally friendly as you might think some of the mordants are a bit iffy. No matter I wanted to try it anyway.

I bought a starter pack from Fibrecrafts: Turmeric; Elderberries; Marigold; Alkanet and Logwood. The mordants I have are Alum; Copper; Tin; Chrome and Iron.

I have tried 4 different mordants. Although wool is best for these dyes I am trying cotton just to see what happens. I don't hold out much hope but you have to try don't you? Anyway here they are sitting in those wonderful stainless steel bowls I bought at the car boot sale a year or two ago for next to nothing - they are wonderful and were brand new when I bought them.

I decided I didn't want to "cook" them in the kitchen so what better use can you make of the BBQ - well apart from BBQ'd steak, chicken or whatever. I am just heating the mordant/fabric in this picture.

I then added the marigolds in this one and kept it simmering for an hour. I did the same with the three others - Turmeric; Elderberries; Marigold and Alkanet. They are still brewing at the moment. I will share pictures when they are washed/ironed.