Thursday, 19 May 2016

Hot Layered Textiles - Nailsworth Subsrciption Rooms May 10th & 11th

 A rather delicious collection of decorated and zapped polyester organza.

 This was the last workshop on my West Country run. I must admit I was a wee bit tired by the time I got there. All these workshops seemed like such a great idea at the time!!!

Hot Layered Textiles is a combination workshop. Working with requested products. The products chosen for Nailsworth were Lutradur/CS800 Vilene Spunbond, Tyvek, Bondaweb and polyester organza. When you are teaching a run of workshops in a certain area it is important to make sure you don't teach something similar too close to another one. It's all in the planning - which took about a year!!

 The workshop organiser, Becca, approached me when she heard that I was planning a run of workshops in Devon and Cornwall and asked if I might add Nailsworth either at the beginning or the end of the run. We decided I would do it at the end.

 A very enthusiastic group working away happily.

The workshop was held in the subscription rooms in Nailsworth. A great room with a fab kitchen. Just upstairs . . . Luckily the group were VERY good at helping me,(with all my stuff) in and out of the building - they were stars.

We painted up the Lutradur/CS800 Vilene Spunbond, Tyvek and Bondaweb and then we were ready to go. It is important for the students to know how to paint these products if they wish to continue with their experiments at home. As usual, this is a process based workshop.

  Painting up the Tyvek

 The Tyvek was the first to dry so we got down to working with that - finding out how to manipulate it with heat. It is amazing what you can do with an iron. I must say it is very handy being able to show this chapter in my book Hot Textiles. When I started writing my books, it never occurred to me that they would also be my teaching aids . . .

 A few of the Tyvek samples.

 A textured piece of Tyvek laid on top of a piece of toning Lutradur/CS800 Vilene Spunbond

 Then it was the turn of the painted Bondaweb. This was ironed onto polyester organza, (with baking parchment). The painted Bondaweb was then decorated with transfer foil, glitter and all manner of sparkles.

 Decorated, painted Bondaweb.

 Zapping the decorated polyester organza with a heat gun.
Never use your fingers to move your fabric about when you use a heat gun - always use a 'poker', a pair of scissors or a paintbrush.

  A couple of images of heat distressed polyester organza. The top one is decorated with painted Bondaweb, the second is just polyester organza.

The second day the students were let loose on the Lutradur/CS800. By this time they were used to using the heat gun and could work faster and be more considered. This product is one of the best to distress with a heat gun - you get the most beautiful edge.

 As you layer the Lutradur/CS800, the sample becomes stronger - so you can make vessels . .

 Beautiful edges pinned together.

 Decorated with painted Bondaweb and sparkles and zapped almost to oblivion.

Starting to stitch the layers . . 

 The group then started to layer the Lutradur/CS800 with the distressed polyester organza. I had tried to get the group to work in similar colour tones as we were painting up several different products that would be layered together. You need the colours to blend when you paint the products, you don't want contrasting stripes, or you wont notice the edges.

 Layers of zapped Lutradur/CS800 and zapped decorated polyester organza.

 Layers of zapped Lutradur/CS800 and Tyvek

Layers of zapped Lutradur/CS800 and a synthetic fabric with a woven pattern.

Although I was very tired I had a brilliant time with this group. They were tremendous fun and the workshop was very well organised by Becca. Becca has enrolled on my Experimental Texiles course which starts in June. As have Helen and Bernice who were also in the group. Good times ahead.


I would like to point out that Lutradur/CS800 does NOT give off fumes, neither does Tyvek. There is no need to wear a respirator when working with these products - they are inert. (a bit like me after a couple of vodkas).
As long as you don't paint them with oil based products and then heat them. Watered down acrylics are just fine. I get very fed up reading articles in magazines that say you have to wear a mask when heating these products. It makes people afraid to use them. If you want to look like Darth Vader - that is fine - but not necessary.

I know it is confusing when a product is known by two names. The Vlieseline/Vilene name for Lutradur is CS800 or Spunbond. It is exactly the same product, but because of licensing issues their product can't be named the same. Even though they make most of it - I know - it's daft isn't it?? Whatever it is called - it is a fab product.

While we are on the subject of two names - Vilene is now going over to the European name - Vlieseline. This wonderful range that we know and love is only called Vilene in the UK. It seems silly to have to keep reprinting all the paperwork for the UK market. The main thing is, it starts with a 'V', ends in an 'E' and the logo is still yellow.

Vlieseline has a new website and there are a lot of projects on there - have a look at this one using the CS800. Creations/Flower-pot-cover


The ever wonderful Mary Youles.

Working at the pace I do - it can be very hard to keep up with people you would like to. I adore this woman a very talented artist and tutor, and very naughty - Mary has a great sense of mischief. I have attended several workshops when Mary was also in the group, my goodness did we all have fun. I miss seeing her.
Mary is now an associate member of the Textile Study Group as she no longer

The Textile Study Group is made up of some of the top textile artists/tutors in the UK. They are fabulous, one and all. Do have a good look at their website.

The reason why I am rambling on, is that Mary heard I was teaching in Nailsworth and popped in at lunchtime on the first day of the workshop. Mary lives in Nailsworth. It was such a great surprise. I can't tell you how delighted I was. We had a good old catch up.
After the workshop Mary picked me up and drove me to her house, up and down, and I mean down - some oh sooooo steep roads - well lanes really.
It was great see her house, it was comforting to see it was not quite chaos inside. We creatives don't seem to be able to help ourselves.

Mary is known for her love of old sheds and has one of her own . . .

 Mary's wood shed

A detail of the shed door.

That's it for a week or so, I am off to Ireland on Monday to start looking at houses. I will be using Facebook daily - so you can keep up with what I am doing on there.

Have a great weekend.


Hi Diana - 30 days ish, hopefully see you soon.
Jill, Jill!!! only 29 days - Hurrah and lashings of ginger beer, or any suitable refreshment.
Hello Tod - just wait till the photos from next week.
Hello Denise - Oh Wonderful One!!

x x x

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Transforming Transfer. Thimblestitch @ Zoe's May 7th & 8th

 Fabulous layers of colour - just fantastic.

 I seem to be in the mood to write - so here we are again. Sooner than expected.

I love teaching this workshop. Transforming Transfer is my workshop that teaches you how to work with disperse dyes/transfer paints. The dyes are made to work with synthetic fabrics and they form a chemical bond once they are ironed onto synthetic fabric. Immediately washable. These dyes can be used on natural fabrics, they transfer paler and to make then washable there is a product called Transfix. The dyes can be thickened if you want to print with them. Art Van Go do a great starter pack.

The dyes are painted onto paper . . . cheap copy paper is fine. The paper doesn't need to be absorbent or the dye wont transfer efficiently.

 Thimblestitch@Zoe's has a great studio above the shop

 Painting the dyes onto paper.

Once the painted papers are dry - the papers are ironed, paint side down onto the synthetic fabric. Baking parchment is crucial in this process. It must be placed underneath your work and on top of the transfer painted paper. The iron needs to be on it's hottest setting. Move the iron over the pile of paper and fabric using a slow circular motion. If you are using a sheer fabric such as organza, make sure you don't melt the fabric onto the paper. Keep checking. It can take a while. I took my heat press along to help things move a bit faster.

 The painted paper is on the right and the transferred image is on the left.
The paint colours look very dull, until they are transferred. It is always a surprise.

 Using  a resist or mask between your fabric and the painted paper can create fabulous effects. A Cricut paper stencil was used here.

 Lace was used as a resist here.
You can then turn over the resist and print from that.

Once the fabrics have been printed, we got down to some exciting applique work. As the fabric is synthetic it can be cut with a soldering iron. You can create more interesting cuts with a soldering iron than with scissors.

Bondaweb is ironed onto the back of the printed fabic that you wish to cut your shapes from. Leaving the backing paper from the Bondaweb on. It is a good guide to check you aren't pressing too hard with your soldering iron. If you cut through the paper, you are pressing too hard.

Cutting shapes to be ironed onto a background fabric. 

I use Margaret Beale's system for working with a soldering iron. I use an upturned terracotta flower as the soldering iron stand and wire wool in a cardboard tube or jar to clean the soldering iron as you work. Margaret has written 2 excellent books on working a soldering iron, she is the Queen of the soldering iron. - to find out more, have a look at her site. 

 Applying the shapes to the background.

Fabulous, intricate shapes.

 Once the shapes have been cut they can be ironed onto the chosen background.

 Here is a transfer printed background.

 Decorated with cut shapes.

 Gorgeous layered colour and shapes.

 Some crazy birds.

 Just gorgeous layered colour. Aren't these wonderful?

 Starting to stitch . . . 

 We didn't get a lot of chance to stitch into the samples, everyone was so into the layering.
This was a great group of ladies. They worked very hard and produced some amazing work.

A fab group of ladies, with Zoe hiding on the far left - we can see you baby!!!

I would like to teach at Zoe's again, we really did have a wonderful time. I will see what I can arrange once I am settled in Ireland.

Thimblestich@Zoe's is an Aladdins cave of fabrics and haberdashery. Zoe also stocks Vilene/Vlieseline interfacings and stabilisers, including the Solufleece that was mentioned in my previous post.
The shop and teaching studio are tucked away in the Heathpark business park in Honiton.


Zoe has regular classes in the studio upstairs, do check out the workshops on offer. 

If you fancy popping in, the address is -

Thimblestitch at Zoë’s
Devonshire Way
EX14 1YF
Tel: 01404 549871

Zoe is closed on Mondays and closes at 4pm the rest of the week. The shop is open occasional Sundays, give Zoe a ring to check which ones.

Special thanks to Zoe and Dee and Tony Priest for looking after me so well. 
I think you know I had a fabulous time. 

I will write up my final workshop on the tour early next week.


Hello girls - you know who you are. x x x