Tuesday, 15 April 2014

New Cushions

Some new/old cushion covers. The top one is a linocut of a stencil that I printed years ago; I'm finally starting to feel happy with it. The block needs a bit more work, though. I think. Not sure. 

So I'll be listing this one as a proof print in my Etsy shop; there are only two, each slightly different. (Listing will go up tomorrow, as I have to edit the photos and there's some other drawing screaming to be finished still tonight....)

Edit: they're in the shop now. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Sewing for Me!

Finally, a productive weekend: Burdastyle's Modern Minimalist skirt. I think I printed out this pattern in January; there just hasn't been time to make it.

It's quite easy - the curved darts around the pocket are fiddly, but if you just follow the instructions blindly, they magically come together. The only adjustment I had to make was to the back darts, taking them in about 5mm. The fit is great, with the front darts hidden behind the pockets, so no puffiness at the front.

The best bit? This is just the practice round. I have some gigantic woollen skirts from the secondhand shop waiting to be cut up.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Just In Time

I'm ready for winter this year, with what feels like an entire herd of alpaca snuggling my neck.

Two skeins of laceweight alpaca, 2 3/4 mm needles, trinity stitch. Cast on enough stitches, and keep going till yarn runs out. (Then undo two rows so there's enough yarn to cast off with.)

Monday, 24 March 2014

Studio Space Available

Did I mention that the other half of my studio space is available for hire?

Contact Design for Development for more details.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mustard and Coconut Milk

Mustard is one of those things I really want to like, and I add it to sandwiches eagerly. After the first bite I usually scrape it off, disappointed at its chalky yellow sourness, repulsed by its toneless flat zing.

Mustard lasts a very long time in our fridge, undisturbed and mouldering.

But this! This is mustard the way it should be, subtle and peppery and soft. It's also very very easy to make.

Something else that's very easy to make: coconut milk. (I didn't take a picture because, well, it looks like milk.) Shockingly easy to make, shockingly quick. The only way it would be quicker to buy would be if you lived above a shop, or even in a shop. And you can make exactly the amount you need, each time, so no more half-empty cans of coconut milk in the fridge, greeted each morning with a muttered: "We should try to make another curry this week..." until you can't remember how old it is and throw it out in alarm.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Place to Take Pictures!

Welcome to my new studio! It's clean and light and bright, and filled with these lovely people. It's also great for taking pictures.

It's been more than two years since I've had a place that's easy to take photos in, where I can just plonk things down and take a snap. 


No more moving furniture out the way before I can take a picture!

Monday, 3 March 2014

How to Teach Block Printing?

Last week I taught a four day course on block printing in the surface design department at CPUT. The students were second and third years. Some of them had printed lino before, but not on fabric; I had to teach them the basics of printing, and was also asked to include something about creating repeat designs. 

To start off, I had them cut a piece of lino into geometric shapes, glue these onto perspex, and print a repeat. Then I had them swap their block with someone else, and print a second colour using the new block. 

These were some of the results from the first day:

I don't think any of the students were particularly charmed with their finished prints, but they had learned an awful lot about some of the potential difficulties of the process. Armed with this knowledge, they were better prepared for designing a repeat pattern that could avoid some of the problems they'd encountered.

They'd learned how tricky it is to match up the edges of patterns perfectly, so they were able to place elements to almost match up, but not quite. (Far better to create the illusion of continuity than to have to print a seamless join.) They'd learned not to place elements too far apart, so that ink wouldn't get in to the gaps and the block have to be wiped down between each print. They'd learned that large areas of flat colour are difficult to print smoothly, but that finer details print well.

After surprisingly few cut fingers, they printed these amazing designs!

Some played around with different colour combinations and fabrics.

Some finished quickly, so I set them to coming up with new patterns using their blocks in different combinations.

I learned a lot about teaching, I think they learned quite a bit about block printing, and I now know what it feels like to spend every minute of the day on your feet. Ouch.

(Apologies to those students whose prints I haven't featured here - not all my photos came out well enough.)