28 June 2007

Another Course

I've signed up for an online class with Joggles that starts on 10th July. I was browsing through their online classes a few weeks ago when it caught my eye so I decided to treat myself. I've made a few knitted dolls in the past but nothing as complicated as this looks, hope I haven't taken on too much but it should be fun finding out. I'll keep you updated with photos as I progress.

Washer Challenge

Back in May Anna set a challenge.

Does anyone fancy a small challenge? Whilst training our office junior the other day I came across some paper fasterners with washers, like those shown below. The only problem is we have a largish box of just the washers. Rather than throw them out - being a recycling bunny I decided to bring them home. How can they be used in some form of textile art? If anyone wants to have a go at the small challenge... email me your snail mail address before June and I'll sent you 20 -30 of them. Then you can do something exciting with them and email me photos by the beginning of July and I will post them here on my -blog.

She kindly sent me some and here's what I came up with. It took me ages to think of something but my Mum had said how about flowers but I wasn't sure how to do that but this afternoon it suddenly popped in to my head what to do with them. Back in 1994 I did a short class on 'Indian embroidery' and learnt how to use 'shisha glass' so that's how I used the washers. I attached them to a piece of fabric from my 1st attempt at dyeing with buttonhole stitch, then put some French knots in the centre and little clusters here and there to represent buds, stem stitch for the stems and cretan stitch for grasses. The piece was just big enough to make in to a postcard.

27 June 2007

We have hot water...

The saga of the hot water continues....the electrician turned up at 10.30 am yesterday and put a new electric lead from the power point to the hot water tank and told us to see if it heated the water up. Well we left it on for a few hours as we normally do and it seemed to have heated the tank of water that was about 1pm by 5pm the water was stone cold and all we'd done was wash 2 plates and 2 mugs after lunch. So first thing this morning I phoned again and give the Liverpool Housing Trust call centre their due the woman was very helpful she phoned the electrician who told her it probably needed a new filament so she got the plumber to come out this afternoon. He got here just before 3pm had a look and after we explained once again what was wrong he said that it probably didn't need a new filament and that we should leave the heater on until about 9pm to heat the tank of water properly then tomorrow put it on for the 2 hours like we usually do but if it does go cold as I suspect it will, he will tell the LHT that we need a new hot water tank.....to be continued.

26 June 2007

No hot water

We've had no hot water since Saturday. I think the immersion heater has been on the blink for a while. We used to put it on for a few hours and the tank of water would stay hot from morning until night, but for a few months it's only stayed hot for a few hours. On Saturday we heard a bang and couldn't work out what it was until Mum realised the light on the immersion switch had gone out. I rang the landlord first thing yesterday and the electrician turned up an hour ago. He's replaced the wiring from the plug to the immersion and we've got to give it until 1pm to see if it heats up. If not it needs either a new filament or an even bigger job of a new immersion heater. Keep your fingers crossed that if the repair he has done doesn't work that it is the new filament and not the big job. We could do without the messing.

It makes you realise how much we take for granted the amenities of modern life. We've had to boil a kettle for every scrap of hot water we've needed.

23 June 2007

More Chapter 6

I did some more bonding samples for Chapter 6 earlier this afternoon.

One of the suggested methods was to bond snippets of fabric under a layer of net.

and then cut a shape from it to bond to the background fabric. This sample also has a shape cut from painted bondaweb on the top of it.

I used some of the fabric I dyed last week for this sample with a some more painted bondaweb on the top purple shape.

These last 2 samples are some bits I had left over so rather than waste them I bonded them to some left over of fabric.

22 June 2007

Ongoing story of Nappy Liners

I didn't get much done yesterday. The 3 houses on the block next to us have been bought by a developer and have been in the process of being done up over the past 4 months. No one has been working on them for quite a few weeks but they turned up on Monday and started working again so I got woken up early yesterday when they started hammering.

As I was up early I decided to go in to the City centre and do some shopping. I needed more Bondaweb for my C & G project. But isn't it always the way the shop I usually get it in had sold the last metre the day before. Luckily I managed to get some in John Lewis but not as cheaply as in Abakhan but never mind I got a few other bargains to make up for it.

Put the flags out I finally managed to buy some nappy liners. Boots still do sell them, but it was in the larger store in Clayton Square.

This is the pack to look out for if you want any and you get 100 for £1.65.

I had a quick experiment with one last night. I used some Procion dyes I'd mixed for painting in a sketchbook but of course the dye won't be permanent on the nappy liner but it was only to try it out.

and this is what it looks like after I ironed it on to a piece of poly cotton

Talking of irons, Mum treated me to a new steam iron on Tuesday. I've always used a dry iron because I'm used to pressing clothes with a damp cloth, that's the way my Mum taught me but I thought a steam iron would be useful in my textile work so Argos had this one

for half price in their summer sale. So I'm now the owner of an iron that dry irons, has a spray of water, variable steam,vertical steam, no drip system and anti-scale system. The only thing it doesn't do is iron the clothes for you, you have to do that yourself.


i spent the rest of the day at St Paul's eye unit with my Mum. She had an appointment at 2.30pm for a check up with the consultant about the cataract she has on her left eye. She finally got to see him at 4.15pm. He's booked her in for the operation on 3rd September at 8am. Luckily they where able to fit her in for her pre-op so that saved us having to go back again another day. If it is anything like last time with the op on her right eye she will be home by lunchtime.

18 June 2007

Maggie Grey

If like me you have any of Maggie Greys' books you will be interested to know she has joined the blogging world.

17 June 2007

Lynda asked if there was different levels of marks for the Open College of Arts assessment or just a certificate like C & G.

I've copied this from the info I got with my course.
Grading is on a scale from A to D and F in all courses. In summary:

Grade A (70-100) is only awarded to work of an exceptionally high level of achievement with all the characteristics of Grades B, C and D but in addition:
. very high observational and technical skill, with exceptional invention and judgement demonstrated across a wide range of work
. written work of a very high standard

Grade B (60-69) is awarded to work of a very high standard with all the characteristics of Grade C and D but in addition:
. all the work will display a high degree of observational and technical skill
. there will be some excellent pieces of work showing a very high standard of invention and
. all written work will be of a high standard

Grade C (50-59)
is awarded to work with all the characteristics of Grade D but in addition:
. some practical work will be of a higher standard of competency
. some practical work will have a greater personal identity
. there will be more imaginative and expressive use of the relevant media
. there will be a more critical understanding of the student's own work and the work of others

Grade D (40-49) is awarded to a student who satisfactorily completes all aspects of the course and produces competent practical and written work of a standard appropriate to this level.

Grade F - Fail (retrievable) (30-39) Later assessment is possible.

Grade F - Fail (irretrievable) (29 or under) Later reassessment not possible.

You should recognise that Grade C is regarded as a good grade showing that work submitted has significant achievement and competence. Grade d should not be regarded as evidence of a lack of ability or as near-fail; it is a clear pass grade showing ability and competence but with potential for further development. Grades A and F are awarded relatively rarely.

And this is the specific criteria by which a portfolio is assessed:

. Skills (30 marks) - Observational: demonstrated through drawing, preliminary studies, etc as well as 'finished work.

. Knowledge (20 marks) - Practical; awareness of practical aspects of the visual (eg composition, optical effects) and means of expression.
- Contextual; awareness of history of the subject and useful sources of help and inspiration.

. Invention (30 marks) - The ability to produce unusual solutions, to
experiment and to produce work with a personal identity.

. Judgement (20 marks) - The ability to be critical about the technical, conceptual, structural and expressive elements of one's work.
Whatever Grade I get I can put towards a Degree with the OCA's accrediting university which used to be the University of Glamorgan but they've recently joined up with another University but they haven't released who that is yet.

This is from there website

Credit Points
Courses accredited by the University of Glamorgan enable you to obtain credit points for pass grades. These can be put towards university qualifications through the national Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

If you want to take a qualification such as a degree (360 credit points), a diploma (240 credit points) or a certificate (120 credit points) in higher education, your credit points may well be transferable to other institutions around the country. OCA has a specific credit transfer agreement with The Open University.

So if I want to go for a degree I will have to do:

3 Level 1 - 40 points each

2 Level 2 - 60 points each

2 Level 3 - 60 points each

I was intending to put the credits towards a degree but I've taken a lot longer to do the Textile and Drawing course than I expected so I may have to re-think it because at this rate I'll be about 60 before I got it.

16 June 2007

TAST French Knot Stitch

I'm still doing my French Knot sample but in the best tradition of 'Blue Peter' here's some I prepared earlier or should I say what I did for a Project in my OCA course. The exercises where based on the painting style 'Pointillism' but using french knots instead of dots of paint.

The last one reminds me of marshmallows.

Textile Assessment

I forgot to post about this yesterday but never mind. I finally packed up the 6 projects I had to send for my OCA assessment along with 2 sketchbooks, a theme book on flowers and a log book I had to keep throughout the course. I managed to make a box out of some packaging to put it all in but blimey it weighed a ton, or felt like it. I ended up taking the bag off our shopping trolley and tying the box to that so I could pull it up to the post office, I'd have either given myself a heart attack or a hernia if I'd tried carrying it and I very nearly gave Carol in the PO one. She had to lift it up on to the counter to weigh it on the scales, it came in at 7.6 kg. It doesn't have to be at OCA headquarters in Barnsley until 30th June by the latest so I sent it the cheapest way and that still cost £10.76. I'll find out 6-8 weeks after the 30th how well I've done, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Bouquet to John Lewis Liverpool

When I bought my new sewing machine last year I also bought a darning foot for it to use when I did FME. Well just over a week ago I was busy sewing away when my machine suddenly started making a different noise from usual. Of course I panicked and thought 'oh my god what's gone wrong now, I've only had this for a year it can't be broken yet can it' . Luckily it wasn't the machine it was the darning foot. A small piece of plastic had broken off.

I emailed Janome because it should have lasted longer than 1 year, shouldn't it. They emailed back that I had been sold the wrong foot for my machine it should have been category B not category A which was the one I'd been sold. I was going to order another one from their website when my Mum said why didn't I email John Lewis about it, so I did it wouldn't do any harm. Later the same day I got a reply from them - customer services had spoken to the Janome demonstrator and Yes I had been sold the wrong part and apologised for any inconvenience and would replace it FREE of charge for the correct one. Now that is service, so a Bouquet to Sharon Dreves of the Customer Services Department of John Lewis Liverpool. I couldn't get down in to town to pick it up from the store so she sent it out and it came first thing this morning.

This is the one I should have been sold originally. It only taken 7 days to come by 2nd class post.

I'll have a go with it after lunch.

15 June 2007


As you can see from my last post I've finally bought some Procion dyes. I spent Wednesday afternoon having a go with them. I tried Ruth Issett's way of putting small pieces of fabric in bags with the dye and I'm rather chuffed with the way they've turned out. Not bad for a 1st go anyway. A few of the photos are a bit out of focus but you get the general idea.

I think I may have put a bit too much dye in for the amount of fixer and fabric I was using but I suppose it is a case of trial and error until I get the hang of it.


Golden Yellow


Medium Blue

I had some Turquoise and Magenta left so mixed it for this shade of purple. I hadn't realised the middle fabric was a mix of poly cotton but I quite like the marbled effect I got. I bet I couldn't get the same again if I try though.

I also got this nice shade of green from Golden Yellow and Medium Blue.

I'm not too sure about using this method again. I've looked at Colour on Cloth again and I think I'll have a go at 'Direct Dyeing' where you paint the dyes on to the fabric. I should imagine it will give me greater control of the effect on fabrics that I want for my textile needs.

...even more Goodies....

My order came from Ario on Wednesday morning. I've mentioned this before but I'm sure the post think you stand behind the door just in case there is a delivery. He came at 8.15 am and rang the doorbell, then rattled the letterbox and then banged on the door all without a break in between to give someone a chance to answer.

I got all this:

Hurray Blogger is behaving tonight. I tried posting this earlier today but it was taking so long to upload the photo that I gave up.

10 June 2007


It's been far too hot here in Liverpool to do much this afternoon but I managed to finish a needlecase. I've needed one for a while so I adapted Sue B's padfolio.

Here's my version. I made it half the size of the original. I coloured some garden fleece and ironed it on to cotton then did a fancy stitch from my sewing machine in between some machine made cord.

I put 2 pockets on the left side to put scissor and needles in and a piece of felt attached at the top in the middle section.

It measure 4.5 inches by 3 inches when closed up.

09 June 2007

Online Class

I've just been looking up classes on Joggle.com and I found this one I'd really be interested in doing, looks as if it would be fun. Has anyone out there ever done an online class before who could give me some guidance?

08 June 2007


I can't remember who's blog I saw this on but thought it was a bit of fun, you upload a photo and pick a museum you want your work to be in. So that is what my mandala would look like 20 feet tall.
PS Just found who's blog I saw it on Maggie who got it from Helen 2.

PPS Just found out how to put a photo in my blog and also how to attach a link to it so now you can click on the photo and it will take you to 'dumpr' if you want to try it out for yourself.

Sketchbook pages

We've been having a discussion on the C & G Yahoo group I belong to about sketchbooks. When I first started my Open College of the Arts Textiles course I'd only ever done sketching for drawing or painting so wasn't too sure about keeping a sketchbook for textiles. I started of tentatively but got more confident as I went along. A number of group members have been generous and put photos of their sketchbooks on their blogs to share with us and when I compare mine with theirs I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. You have to throw any preconceived ideas out of the window and just go for it. In fact anything goes in to them and they don't have to be neat and tidy either which I've found hard to get away from. I have a very orderly mind so I like things neat and tidy though you wouldn't think that if you saw the state of my studio.

I had a go at putting some photos of my OCA sketchbook in to a slideshow and here is the result. You can click on a photo and it will take you to a larger version on the 'photobucket' website.

07 June 2007

Generous Bloggers

Aren't Bloggers a generous bunch. I left a comment on Val's blog and she kindly sent me a copy of her book 'Thank you for Giraffes'.

It's a children's book beautifully illustrated with some of her quilts. If you have little one's or need a birthday present and even thinking ahead to Christmas for nieces or nephews then I recommend this book. Check out her blog for some pictures of the inside and the story behind the book.

....more Goodies...

I got these in the post from Ivy House on Tuesday:

Clockwise from top left: 2 sheets of Tyvek, cold water soluble paper, 2 sheets of plastic canvas, transfoils, piece of wireform, 3d medium, Manutex, Walnut Ink crystals, transparent Fabric & Paper Sculpt, Transfix, metallic Rub ons, Opal Dust and finally 6 shades of Angelina.

Now I've just got to find the spare time to try them all out, hopefully at the weekend.

03 June 2007

TAST catchup

I've got behind with my TAST samples so I made an effort this past week to catch up. I've gone back to my original way of using white or cream threads on a white or cream background. Some of the stitches are new to me so I thought I would use this challenge to make a reference library of all the stitches we do. I'll find some way of putting them all together, perhaps like a book.

I finally managed to work out how to do the OYSTER stitch after a lot of unpicking.

I combined the Woven Wheel Stitch and Basque Stitch in to one sample. I enjoyed doing the 'wheels' so I can see myself using that again in the future.

Butterfly Chain Stitch is very easy to do. I used 2 thickness's of thread in white and cream which I think gave it a more textural feel.

I used the Crossed Buttonhole Stitch to couch a thick thread on to the fabric and then stitched in white a pattern around it.

When I have time I'll go back over some of the stitches I'd like to experiment more with.


I treated myself to some threads from Stef Francis I ordered them at 5pm on Wednesday evening via her website and they came at lunchtime on Friday, now that is what I call service with a capital S.

I bought an assortment of cotton and silk threads to try dyeing them in my own colourways

and some ready dyed silk threads. They should have been £2.30 a skein but they don't fit in with their colour range now so I got 10 skeins for £12. Aren't they gorgeous colours.

I also bought a metre of thin cotton fabric and some 10g pots of Procion dyes. I'm waiting for larger pots of Procion dyes in the 6 basic colours but thought I'd get some small pots of colours I probably won't use a lot of like black and brown.