Thursday, 25 February 2016

My new stencils are on their way - How to use them with KK Glue, transfer foil and gilding flake.

 My new stencils - Are now sold out.

The stencils are based on one my sketches of a shell I photographed on Moreaki beach on the South Island of New Zealand. The shell is tiny - my sketch is much larger than life size.

I had decided to sell the stencil packs at my next show - Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC next month - they will be £15 for a pack of 3.

My new stencils are laser cut from 350 micron mylar and can be used for all sorts of applications. This post is showing you how to use them with KK Glue but they can be used with paints and sprays just like any other stencil.

KK Glue - a very fine glue powder.
The bottle has a screw top lid so you can return any surplus powder to the bottle. This retails for £5.90 for 50g. 
KK Glue is washable up to 40 degrees but when using with transfer foil, the transfer foil is only washable up to 
30 degrees.

 There are holes on one side of the cap for sprinkling, the other side is for pouring.

 You don't need very much KK Glue when working with transfer foils. Please do a test before you go launching into a project. You will be surprised at how little you need.

 Step 1 - LIGHTLY sprinkle the KK Glue over the stencil. I have decorated a piece of black cotton, it could be a T shirt or a pair of jeans.

 Step 2 - very carefully remove the stencil without smudging the design. This can take practice. If you make a mistake is is easy to shake of the powdered glue onto a piece of baking paper and pour back into the KK Glue bottle.
Any surplus powder on the stencil can be shaken back into the bottle in the same way.

 Step 3 - Very carefully lay a sheet of baking paper over the whole design and iron with an iron on hot till the glue has melted and looks dark. Approximately 30 seconds. This will fix the glue. Leave to cool.

 Step 4 - remove the baking paper once your work is cold and you are ready to decorate your KK Glue shape with either foil or a combination of foil and gilding flake - see further down this post.

To foil your design, turn your iron down to the silk/wool setting. If the iron is too hot the foil will pucker and not release it's colour. 
Place the transfer foil COLOUR side up over your design. Lay a sheet of baking paper over the the transfer foil and then iron the layers for 30 seconds.
Leave to cool. 
Once the foil is cold, remove the transfer oil.

 You design should be covered in in the foil.

 You will be left with a piece of foil with the design removed - keep it!


To use up the foil with the design removed - iron a square of Bondaweb/Vliesofix onto your T shirt or fabric using baking parchment to protect your iron.

  When cold remove the backing paper from the Bondaweb/Vliesofix.

Lay your foil with the design removed over the Bondaweb/Vliesofix. Lay a sheet of baking paper over the foil and iron with an iron on wool/silk for about 30 seconds.

 When cold, remove the foil from the square of Bondaweb/Vliesofix.

 Your design will be transferred to the Bondaweb/Vliesofix.

 But it doesn't stop there . . . . As there is now exposed Bondaweb/Vliesofix in the negative space of the design. You can iron a contrasting colour over the whole design. Does that make sense??

 I used a lime green foil to fill in the exposed glue.

 The finished design with the two colours of foils.

 And then of course you are left with another piece of foil with the design removed which you can iron onto Bondaweb/Vliesofix. . . . . and so it goes on . .


You can decorate the KK Glue design with all manner of sparkle, I love to combine gilding flake with the transfer foil.

Work through steps 1 - 4 and you will be left with your fixed KK Glue design.
Sprinkle the gilding flake over the fixed glue.

Lay baking paper over the gilding flake, try not to create a draft as the flake is very light and will be blown out of place. Iron with an iron on wool/silk for 30 seconds.

When cool - remove the baking paper and rub away any loose gilding flake. You will need to be quite firm when you do this. Any loose flakes will stop the foil from adhering.

Once you have removed the loose flakes, cover the design with transfer foil, colour side up. Cover the foil with baking paper and iron with an iron on wool/silk for about 30 seconds. Leave to cool.

Once cool, remove the foil and it should have filled in spaces where the flake didn't cover the glue. This will give you a very rich, metallic effect.

I hope you have enjoyed this - I just love this process.

Have fun!

x x x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Endings and beginnings . . Halfway in - and halfway out!

A stitched piece from one of the still life sessions on 
Experimental Textiles.

 I'm in a funny old place! I'm fast approaching a big birthday and planning some big changes. One decision I have made is that the next course of Experimental Textiles which runs from June 2016 - March 2017, will be my last. 
I love this course - after all, I wrote it! But it is a tie every month and stops me traveling for longer periods of time. We are recruiting now - there are only 10 places, so if you are interested - have a look here.

Feeling a bit nostalgic I have had look back at some of the work produced over the last 5 years and picked out a few pieces.

 A gorgeous little felt bowl embellished with glass beads and and hand stitch.

 Transfer printed applique and transfer foiling.

A knitted wire bangle.

The last weekend was the last session of ExTeXtra 1. This is the group that finished Experimental Textiles in March 2015 but wanted to carry on. They have had five mentoring weekends with me spread over the past year. 

They have started an exhibiting group called Out of Line. They had their first exhibition at the Bristol Quilt and Textile Show last November and will be exhibiting some of their work on the Inkberrow Design Centre Stand at The Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch Show in March.

The girls from ExTeXtra - now Out of Line, on their first sessions at least 2 years ago.

This last session was used as a tutorial/catch up/do what you fancy session. We covered procion dyeing and printing, transfer printing, devore and block printing with acrylic.

Jane printing with thickened procion dye.

Kate experimenting with my machine.

Mary experimenting with thickened procion dye.

Alison and Val dyeing natural fabrics with procion dyes.

Rachael block printing and playing with layers of print on sheer fabrics.

Marilyn experimenting with devore.

Tracey experimenting with transfer dyes.

I hate it when a long course finishes, particularly this group, we have been together for 2 years. We have all become great friends. We are even going on holiday together in the summer - appalling professional conduct!!

Goodbye ExTeXtra, Hello Out of Line - exciting new beginnings.
  x x x
New beginnings.

2016 will be the last year that I will be teaching every month. From 2017 I will be cutting my teaching time right down. I have finally decided where I want to move to - not Redditch - Ireland, probably County Clare. I just love the West Coast, the wild, lashing seas. It has a remarkable energy. 

County Clare, Ireland.

All going well, I will be putting my house on the market in May 2017. I know this seems a long time ahead, but I have a lot to plan - most importantly next years workshops. As you are probably aware, we self employed tutors are always booking at least 12 months ahead if not 24. For long haul teaching it is 3 years!!! 
I am very excited about moving, I should be able to buy a decent sized house with outbuildings. My plan is to set up a studio over there. As time is fast marching on, if I don't start taking my work more seriously - it just wont happen. With my 60th birthday looming in November, it tends to focus you. 
If not now? WHEN???
I will still teach in the UK and of course I will be doing the shows, so I will be over to the UK every 6 - 8 weeks to teach and see my family.

 The changing light at Strandhill - one minute dark . . 

  . . the next light.

Keel Beach on Achill Island.

I need a change - so this is it!! 

x x x

This weekend we will be setting up the Craft, Hobby & Stitch International Show at the NEC in Birmingham. This is a trade only show - not open to the public. 
I will running the retailer workshops for what is now Vlieseline. Vilene is re-branding. It is only Vilene in the UK and it has been decided to drop the Vilene logo and go with the European Vlieseline. A bit like Jif and Cif!!! 

There is a fabulous new website with videos and patterns and all kinds of useful information.

After that it is a downhill race to my exhibition, People & Places with Susan Chapman at The Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch Show, again at the NEC in March. 
AArrgghhh!!! Breath Kim, it will be fine!

x x x

Hello Diana, not long now, Jill, will see you even sooner, Tod - I will ring eventually - and Hello to the lovely Denise.



Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Playing with silk paper in 2 and 3 dimensions. ExTex 4 - February 6th & 7th.

 Nadines and Anna's vessels.

 The past weekend was the 8th and penultimate session of Experimental Textiles 4. Their final session is next month so the energy within the group is starting to change. You get the impression the girls are starting to put their shoulders back and their chins up, ready for the last push. Their end of year show will be at the NEC at The Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch Show in March.

As the course is not accredited, there is no pressure for the group to finish anything. They can concentrate on their work books and develop some of their samples from the course. It is up to them.
Because of this I find the work and the course workbooks are generally of a higher standard than students who are on accredited courses that have to tick boxes. We have much more freedom and we self moderate. Having taught both types of course - I know which I prefer . . . 

 Catherine's cake. A great start to the weekend. Delicious.

We had some very exciting news on Saturday morning, one of the group has got into a foundation arts course at Hereford College of Arts. She is retiring from a stressful job teaching - to become an art student. She passed the interviews with flying colours. I believe her course work from Experimental Textiles was much admired. You have never seen such a beaming smile on a girls face. She is so excited. I can't name her here, she hasn't told her school yet!

The last 2 sessions of Experimental Textiles are student choice. The group can negotiate what they do - some like to develop samples further or finish writing up their course workbooks. We decided to have the Saturday working with silk paper and the Sunday on their course work. Most of the students are in full or part time work and need some time to catch up.

 Gorgeous packs of silk from Oliver Twists.

All you need to make silk paper is silk fibres, CMC paste (from Art Van Go), protection for your table, a 'J' cloth and net. The net can be net curtain, tutu net, or small mesh plastic net. There will find loads of videos on YouTube showing you the details. It's bit like making papier mache.

We started by making paper first, once you know how little silk you need you  can plough on making vessels and and bowls. You simply layer the silk fibre with the CMC paste and allow it to dry thoroughly, you can then peel your paper off the net.

 A few of the papers

 We used plastic bowls and vases as the moulds to make the 3D pieces. CMC paste resists plastic so you don't need to use cling film as a resist. It doesn't work with ceramic or glass moulds. Once dry all the way through, the silk should slip off the bowls very easily. Tall, straight sided vessels take a bit more encouragement, but they come off eventually.

 Caroline's bowl.

 Nadine starting on her vessel.

 Catherine just beginning her vessel. Starting to paste the silk fibres onto a plastic beaker.

 Some of the group getting stuck in.

Jackie started her bowl . .

 . . And then carried on with more - and more silk fibre decoration. 
It will take ages to dry out - but it will be worth it.

 Karen's bowl and a few of her twisted paper treasures.

 I think this was another of Nadines vessels.

 2 more of Jackie's bowls. Looking at developing the edges.

A selection of the vessels and bowls.

The homework for this session is to stitch into the silk and get all their course work up to date. At the next and final session the group will be bringing all of their work, I will be choosing the work that will be going into the end of year show. It is very exciting - but also a bit sad. The end of another course.

The next course of 9 weekends for Experimental Textiles 5 will start in June this year and end in March 2017. This will be the last time I teach this course in the 9 weekend format. If you are interested we have started taking enrollments. The maximum number for the group will be 10. Have a look at the websites - 
To enroll phone 01527 69100 or email

If you have any questions about the course then do email me at

x x x

So I am back with a vengeance with lots to do this week. I am looking forward to the weekend when I will be back up in Redditch for the last session of ExTeXra. This group is comprised of Experimental Textiles 3 students that finished in March 2015. They are creating fabulous work. 
I am currently trying to find any spare weekends, when I can offer the same to the current group.

Have a great week all of you, I will report back on the ExTeXtra weekend when I get back next week.   

x x x

Hello Diana, well done on a fabulous show, Hello Jill, are you relaxing yet? Hello Tod - oh lovely one - and of course - Denise!!