More Sketchbooks

I’ve also been doing some other printing in my sketchbooks, trying out some new mini stencils I bought at the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch show:   


And adding dabbers- acrylic paint in bingo dabber style bottles, over gelatos:  


Also, I find it interesting that I don’t (usually) decorate the covers of my sketchbooks straight away – I decorate them once I’m happy working in the book.

This book got a decorated cover:


Turners Hill TV Transmitter

The Embroiderers’ Guild West Midlands Regional Day competition this year is Within 1000 Footsteps, drawing inspiration from the local area. I live within walking distance of Turners Hill, near Dudley, which many Black Country folk will know because of its distinctive TV transmitter:


I cut a stencil mask of it, and a couple of stamps (both positive and negative) of the daisies which cover the nearby Darbys Hill in summer.

First I printed in my sketchbook, using the mask to print both negative images as normal, and positive ones, by rolling firmly over it onto other pages once it had paint on it.

I then went on to printing on fabric:

I worked into the sketchbook pages with gelatos, getting to know the colours better:

I also over dyed the background for this, my competition entry:

Sadly, when pressing it, I scorched it:

Gelatos to the rescue! They are opaque, so covered the scorch well:

I’m now working on adding hand stitching to the flowers, so I’ll share progress soon.

My WordPress app kept crashing whenever I added pictures to a blog post, but that seems to be fixed now, so hopefully I can get back to blogging more regularly.

Playing with Rollagraphs

I got a Rollagraph and 4 pattern wheels from Hilary Beattie’s shop recently, and had a chance this evening to try them out. 

L to R: Floral Blocks, Jumbo Weave, Alphabet B, Happy Hands (in handle).

They are basically big rolling stamps which you snap into a handle, and they are a great way to make quick patterns and layers.

I decided to overprint some of the fabrics and papers I had Gelli printed the other day, adding more layers of colour before I add dye.


A page of happy hands on the left, and a stripe of Alphabet in orange, over some plain roller printing. I found that the paint on the pallete needed to be rolled out flat first, so as not to clog the detail on the stamp. This left me with paint on my brayer, so I rolled this gently on various papers, to add another texture.

Rolling in a curve was fun!

The rolling was also useful to go over the white bits at the edges of my Gelli printed pages – as my Gelli plate is less than A4 sized, I always get white margins, and this will add another layer under dye. 

Lovely and mucky!

I also rolled a row of each pattern onto the front of my softback Khadi sketchbook.

And they have added another layer to my exciting print table paper!

All in all, a fun and exciting tool, a quick and easy way to add another layer, and quick to clean too – I just washed them in the sink with warm water and an old washing up brush.

Lemons and Limes

I had a couple of lemon and lime halves left over from my water bottle yesterday, so I dried them out on the radiator overnight, and set to printing with them today.

They make a lovely textured print:


 My camping washing line came in handy to dry prints again:


 I got some lovely sketchbook pages with the off prints, which will give me good colouring in fodder in the evenings: 

Happy hands!


More Photos from the Stitch Retreat

I have found some more photos I took at the stitch retreat, on my phone, so I thought I’d share them here.

Hilary brought her shop with her, look at all the wonderful products we had a chance to play with and buy:



My focal point images, before over dyeing…


And after…


Mustn’t get the dye and the Jack Daniels muddled…


My lovely messy creative work table:


Overdyeing on fabric with purple and green lumiere paint underneath:


The results of an evening’s efforts:



On Saturday, I decided to print on my hoodie. I got a white one for Christmas in the hope that I could print on it so it started to look like my print table.  Unfortunately, all I’d managed to get on it so far was a bit of tomato sauce and a spot of biro, despite wearing it for two print and dye sessions.

I set it up on my table and used the mini gelli plate to print patterns on the back:




Another creative work area during the composition exercises:


As I’ve already mentioned, wine featured rather heavily on the Saturday night, and apparently I felt the need to take several in progress shots of it!

A glass of each at dinner!


The wine we brought back from dinner:


Back at my work table:


Late night colouring in progress:


A day of printing

On the Monday after the stitch retreat, I had the day off work, so that I could carry on making. I decided to do some printing, as I had realised that I was very short of background papers.

My work table, all set up and ready to go:

Midway through printing. I’ve suspended a camping washing line above the table, and it is really useful for drying prints.

I was making black and white prints with stencils and stamps, to provide contrast as I mentioned in my last post. I discovered that you can get some lovely off prints if you place a piece of paper over the painty stencil and roll firmly with a hard brayer, it really brings out the lines on the stencil, often far more finely than I would expect.

My print table surface is a flip chart pad, which means I get these lovely happenstance prints to use in collage.

The finished stack of black and white papers; they should keep me going for a while.

After that, I went on to do a similar amount of printing for backgrounds in pink and blue, to overdye.

I’m really looking forward to having volumes of backgrounds to select from when working, rather than having to go with just a few as that is all I printed. It was also very quick to print up about 300 sheets.

Stitch Retreat Part 2

In mid-January I went on the second instalment of the Stitch Retreat with Hilary Beattie. Here are my blog posts about the first one last year: day 1, day 2 and day 3.

This year, the plan was to work with a pallete of materials and work towards a finished wallhanging or canvas with them. We spent the Friday night evaluating our materials and working out what needed to be added to them. I had a range of good prints, but the colours did not hang together well, so I spent the time overdyeing them with slate, fig, orange and turquoise dyes.

On Saturday, we did various composition exercises, including using quilt block patterns to create backgrounds.
I used the Attic Window block to create this spread in my sketchbook:
I liked the layout so much that I used it as the background for my two final pieces, a pair of canvases to go either side of the clock above my front door.

I also used the offcuts to make these two sketchbook spreads:

 With a bit of washi tape and some gelatos  


And then I also added some ivy leaves to the earlier backgrounds:

 I then went on to my main pieces. After quite a lot of experimenting, I ended up with two background compositions that I liked:

  I like this secondary triad colour scheme, but when I added my focal point figures they disappeared into the background. One tip I picked up from Hilary was to add an area of black and white behind the focal points for contrast, which worked for me.   


On Saturday night, we ended up with quite a lot of wine left over from dinner! Slowly people started to go to bed, and we ended up with just Hilary, Maureen, Judith, Vicki, Nichola and I still polishing off the wine and working on into the night.

Hilary working into an altered book

 Hilary and I colouring 

I did 10 double sketchbook spreads that were really relaxed and enjoyable (AKA wine-assisted!). I only have this picture of one spread, so I will have to scan the rest in soon:


At 2am, this was the state of the wine:

On Sunday, I spent the morning finishing bonding down my collage, having decided about 10pm on Saturday that ironing was rapidly becoming dangerous.

I then freemachined everything down with a wiggly grid:


Now I need to add more free machining, hand stitch, and work to draw out the focal points more.

All in all, an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to the next one already.

Day 332 and an update

It’s been rather too long since my last post, as I’ve been busy, with lots of lovely family and friends visiting, a couple of heavy colds, and lots of busy-ness at work. I did keep up with the 15 mins a day, but the blogging sadly fell by the wayside.

I made two minion hats, just need to finish crocheting the eyes and sew them on:

I started a top secret project, hopefully to be finished by Christmas, but no pics so as not to spoil the surprise.

I did lots of image manipulation:

I also crocheted part of a toy pig, and did more stuff in sketchbooks.

I learned to make pizza from scratch:

Today, I went to an Embroiderers’ Guild Dayschool with Sarah Burgess, creating monoprinted landscapes.

I had a great time, learning a lot about mono printing on both paper and fabric.

This is the piece I worked into most, and am rather happy with. It’s monoprinted, with sari silk, lace, and collaged tissue, with a bit of gelatos for good measure.


Day 263

I realised that I wanted some square areas with the figure on, so I did more printing, with the plate masked to a square again:

Lokta paper takes print wonderfully:

I loved the pattern in this pool of lumiere paint:  

There’s nothing like a messy desk:

And a big pile of used stamps: