Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Full Works - 2 day workshop, Solihull Embroiderers Guild 17th & 18th July

 3 layers of 75gm Tyvek layered with polyester organza.

The Full Works is my basic workshop learning how to use heat tools. We work with Tyvek, Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond and painted Bondaweb. 
Solihull Embroiderers Guild is a great group. Good fun and well organised. Have a look at their website. All Guilds can do with new members, if you fancy joining, you won't be disappointed.  and the website -

We started off painting up all the products which took a couple of hours. It is important for students to know how to paint up all the products if they want to do this kind of work at home. When working with heat distressable materials, it is important not to paint them too thickly or the paint will form a barrier.

 Painting up the products.

 Painting Bondaweb.

Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond.

We started off playng with the Tyvek, laying it between 2 sheets of baking parchment and 'stroking' it with the iron. The Tyvek bubbles up and creates a fabulous texture. It is important not press the iron onto the Tyvek or nothing will happen.

 Distressed Tyvek.

Layering Tyvek is fun. Here we have layered 3 sheets of 75gm with polyester organza and then free machine stitched the layers together. The layers were then zapped with a heat gun to reveal the different layers.

 Zapped layered Tyvek.

 Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond also zaps well with a heat gun. You get a fabulous 'crunchy' edge. It is important to keep the colours subtle or you wont notice the the edges.

 'Crunchy' edges.

Polyester organza also zaps well with a heat gun and looks great when layered with the Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond.

 Zapping polyester organza with a heat gun.

Working with painted Bondaweb is still my favourite technique. It is so simple and creates such fabulous effects, a superb background for stitch.

Painted Bondaweb samples.
Painted Bondaweb decorated with fabric snips, transfer foil, mica flakes and distressed Tyvek shapes.

Then is was time to work with the soldering irons. Bondaweb was ironed onto the back of the Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond. With the backing paper still on, soldering irons were used to cut shapes out. The shapes were lifted off the backing paper and then ironed onto a background. Basically applique, but cut with a soldering iron rather than a pair of scissors.

 Cut shapes ironed onto a toning background. I love the way the colours and shapes bleed in and out.

 You can only cut the Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond as fast as it will melt - so it is very relaxing to cut. 

It was good fun working with the Solihull Guild and the ladies who joined us from Birmingham Embroiderers Guild were also very good value.
Many thanks to all of you for working so hard. I hope you enjoy stitching into your samples.


I am off to Redditch to teach my new ExTex girls at the weekend - we will be making printing blocks from the designs they isolated last month.  Then I am on a course for a few days actually being a student for a change.  I am very much looking forward to it. Then it is onto The Festival of Quilts and running the stand for Vilene. I think the recuperation is over . . . 

More next week.

Jill - 4 sleeps to go!! Whoo hoo. x

Thursday, 16 July 2015

ExTeXtra . . . a developing group! First session - 11th & 12th July

 Alison brought in a very delicious rhubarb and ginger cake.
 We didn't have a knife to cut the cake, so we used my 24"steel ruler - well, you do have to be adaptable!!

 ExTeXtra is a group of 8 students from past Experimental Textiles courses, affectionately known as ExTex. We are now running ExTex4 and I am currently sorting the dates for ExTex5 which will start June 2016. The name ExTeXtra will probably change as the group work together and start to book their own exhibitions. This newly formed group will have have 4 more weekends together at The Old Needle Works in the IDC studios between now and March 2016.

The group are learning to negotiate between themselves and me to decide what we will be doing, discussing and working on during this time. I am now mentoring this group and guiding them as well as teaching any techniques, skills they think they need.

 Playing with white cartridge paper and staples, having a look at 3D.

It had been decided through a flurry of group emails that we would look at working in 3D this weekend and I would demonstrate the heavier iron interfacings. To decorate the interfacings we used old papers and painted Bondaweb.

Some of the paper samples.

 The girls were very intent on their experiments - it was a very quiet morning in the studio - such concentration.

Of course, we do need sustenance, most of this group bake as well as create fabulous work. So we do have breaks for for food, cake, biscuits!!!

 Rhubarb and ginger cake with a mug of coffee - divine!

 The Crafty Cafe at The Old Needle Works makes the most delicious sandwiches. It is important to stop for a break, even if the students don't want to stop because they are so engrossed in what they are doing. I love sitting with the girls while they relax together. I leave them for the last part of their lunch break so they can chat without me there . . . .

 A happy group tucking in to gorgeous grub.

Then it was back to work - making up the decorated paper to iron onto the interfacings.

 A bit more colour in the afternoon.

The group had a great time playing with the interfacings, working out which one to use, which was firm enough to hold the shape, be manipulated . . . .

 Some of the samples that will be developed.

I think you can see they had great couple of days. The next ExTeXtra weekend will be in August. I am very much looking forward to seeing what they have got up to.

I am off to Soihull in a minute ready to teach a 2 day Full Works Workshop. The car is loaded, I just wanted to get this post up before I left.
Wish me luck with the M25 . . . 

I apologise for the very bright links, have no idea why that has happened, I have Superstar Jayne coming on Monday - she will sort it out!!!

More next week, Have a great weekend.


10 days to go Jill- Whooo hooo!!!

x x x

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Hot Textiles - North Kent Embroiderers Guild June 27th - and feed dogs!!!

Newspaper decorated with painted Bondweb, silk fibres, glitter and transfer foil.

On Saturday I drove over to Meopham in Kent to teach one of my last one day workshops. The workshop was Hot Textiles, working with Bondaweb, Tyvek and Lutrdur/Vilene Spunbond. As some of you will know, I no longer take bookings for one day workshops, you can never get enough done. This workshop was booked 18 months ago. 
Having given a lecture to this group the previous Saturday in Gravesend, I knew I was in for a good day with plenty of fun and laughter. 

We started off painting up the Tyvek, Bondaweb and Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond.
When working with materials that distress with heat, it is important to know how to apply colour to them, most importantly, how thinly to apply the colour. If the paint is applied too thickly, the paint will form a barrier and form a resist to the heat.

The group painting up their products.

The Tyvek is always the first to dry - so we we experimented with that.

This is one of my samples, you need something to look at!! 75gm Tyvek painted with silver paint, once dry it was printed through an ink jet printer, distressed with an iron between baking parchment and decorated with gold transfer foil.

I, of course was so excited with what the students were doing with the Tyvek, I forgot to take photos . . .

I had better luck with the Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond. The group really enjoyed working with this versatile product. We didn't have time to get out the soldering irons but we did have fun with the heat guns.

Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond coloured with watered down acrylic and Inktensesticks. Inktense pencils or sticks are great for colouring Tyvek or Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond as it dries waterproof.

We looked at 'cutting' the Lutradur/Vilene Spunbond with heat guns.

And layering the cut strips . . .

A fabulous edge can be created with a heat gun, As long as the colours are muted, you can see the edges.

Layering up and then choosing the thread to stitch it all together.

Lovely colours, ready to be layered.

Layering and decorating Bondaweb was also popular with the group, such a simple process that can layered with all manner of delights.

Painted Bondaweb ironed onto gold polyester organza, decorated with silk fibres, transfer foil and glitter.

Newspaper decorated with painted Bondaweb and strips of torn fabric.

Black pelmet Vilene light decorated with painted Bondaweb, threads and sequins.

Black pelmet Vilene light decorated with painted Bondaweb, transfer foil, glitter and snips of polyester organza.

 Newspaper decorated with painted Bondaweb, transfer foil, glitter, snips of polyester organza and sequins . . .  in no particular order.
This Guild is very organised and good fun to be with - if you live in the area you fancy joining, and I would recommend it - this is their website.
 You can go to a meeting as a guest, have a look at their lecture timetable - they only have Maggie Grey lecturing on the 18th July. It will be very entertaining.


During workshops there is always chat amongst the group. We got onto the subject of sewing machines and feed dogs, and why feed dogs are called 'feed dogs'. We couldn't work it out between us - so I put it out to the Facebook community (the joy of the internet) and within 10 minutes we had several answers. The most succinct was from Jaqueline Duff-Turner - 

A dog is a device which transmits or prevents movement by clamping or releasing; e.g. A dog clutch which has castellated gears which match to transmit torque or if separated allow the power source to rotate but not the driven shaft. I guess in the case of the four motion feed on a sewing machine the logic would be that the foot clamps and releases the fabric against the toothed or serrated dogs which move it forward or back. Hope this helps.

It all makes sense now - I love having questions answered. There are always questions I can't answer when I am teaching, I love to find the answers and I find the Facebook community very helpful.
Have a great week and enjoy the sun. 


                                         25 days to go Jill - whoo hoo!!!