'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Continuing my policy of writing a warts and all blog …

here are the unedited highlights of what I have done today. Apart from deleted expletives.





At around 3 a.m. I finished this – the BQL April Challenge. Not my usual style, but I had fun finding the embellishments. 

One of the drawbacks of insomnia is that when I eventually fall asleep, I don’t wake till mid morning and feel that the best of the day has gone – which is what happened this morning.

Usually I also feel like death warmed up and not much gets done  - but fortunately I’ve had quite a lot of energy today.

So I got the two quilts I’ve been intending to dye for weeks into their cat litter trays – er - dye baths.   IMG_6012

This is the black and white one, upside down.






And this is the blue and white with mistaken bits of orange. At the moment my red and purple ambitions are looking a bit – er – over-ambitious.



I did wear gloves, honest!







Then I tried the last of my discharge paste on some of the unbleachable black fabric.


Here it is with the paste drying.

If you are not familiar with discharge paste – you let it dry on the fabric  and then iron it with lots of steam.

If you are not familiar with removing batik wax, you sandwich it between absorbent paper and iron it with a dry iron.

You may have spotted a potential conflict between these two requirements. As did I. A bit late. In the end I ironed out as much wax as I could between sheets of paper and then steam pressed it uncovered.

TIMG_6018he result?

Zilch. No discharge. The grey marks you can see are wax, not discharging.

This is a good quality fabric. Unfortunately.


Of course if I had known before going to the class that we were going to discharge it I’ve had tested it. Maybe.

IMG_6020 Plan C was to paint the fabric with textile paint and iron it to get out the wax and set the paint.

Fortunately, it worked – the wax resisted the paint.

Unfortunately the wax/paint combination stuck the paper to the fabric.

Fortunately it has come out with a hot wash, and is currently drying.


This is the final piece – I was running out of paint and as the paint was thinner it didn’t stick.

I don’t think I shall bother doing the wax/paint thing again – I shall just test the fabric to be sure it discharges.



Next I tried to rust some washers. This is Chemtek Instarust on B&Q washers. Insta, maybe – but rust? I think not. And for some reason the chemical didn’t want to spread over the edge of the washers.

I don’t dislike the result but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. [These are for a postcard swap on Dyehard Surfacing.]

Maybe I’ll try the bleach and vinegar method when I’m feeling brave and have found my respirator …


And finally – the salt pans.  The commentary on the original picture in Arthus-Bertrand’s book mentions how valuable a commodity salt used to be. So I decided to add a subtle hint of glitz to show that.

Foil and I have an on-off relationship. Chiefly off. I once ruined an entire sheet by having the iron too hot. But of course I know you have to have it shiny side up or it doesn’t work.

So I got out the bonding powder – this was going to be subtle. And I found a scrap of fabric to test it first – yes. it worked.

I sprinkled the bonding powder lightly on the salt pans, covered it with foil, covered it with baking parchment and pressed.

Nothing – apart from melted grains of bonding powder. S**t – have I got the iron too hot? [I'm not convinced the thermostat is accurate.] Turn it down and try again – and again – and again. Interesting pattern of bonding powder on the surface of the foil but no foil on the salt pans. Try a different container of bonding powder – no better. Is it the quilted surface causing the problem?

Try again on the scrap – yes, works fine, I haven’t killed the foil with too much heat.

In the end I realised what you have already realised. . This foil is quite matte – and I’d got it the wrong way up. [Hangs head in shame!]

So now my salt pans are foiled, I have the threads I bought at Hobbycraft yesterday and I can put off adding stitch no longer – provided there is something decent to listen to on the TV tonight.

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