Inky paws…

Yo!

I shall start by giving you all a few minutes to play your favourite David Bowie song and sing along loudly. Off you go…
 
Right. I picked Ziggy Stardust – how about you?
 
And now to business. Wait, don’t switch him off – you can leave David playing as you read.
 
I’ve always fancied having a go at screen printing. And recently it’s become a more pressing need – particularly as I’d like to be able to produce my own greetings cards, and maybe even bags, t-shirts, and other fabric goodies. The thing that’s been holding me back though is the cost of all the equipment, and the lack of space on my desk in a tiny corner of one room, which I fondly call “stupidcats HQ” (the desk, not the room!). And then, the other weekend, whilst roaming around London on a bit of a jolly, we stumbled upon a little art shop. And right at the back, rather dusty and half hidden, was one of the screen printing kits I’d been looking at as a small, easy way to try the process out, and it was reduced to half the price I’d seen it anywhere else. Well, what else could I do except buy it?!
 
Monday being a rest day (I have one of those jobs where you often have to take all or half of your weekend on random weekdays) I bounced out of bed, all keen and eager for my first venture into screen printing. I’d done a little cat doodle at the weekend and decided to use him for my first test print:

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Here’s my doodle!

 
So I drew him in Illustrator on my trusty Mac and had a play with colour fills:
 

And here are a few variations of the computer version.



I decided to go with the bottom right one for my first attempt, and step one was to trace an image for each colour onto my screen:

I’d decided to use the drawing fluid and filler method for my first attempt, as I wanted the printed cat to look sort of wobbly – not clean and crisp like the computer version. And I liked the idea of painting directly on to the screen, and creating multiples copies of something hand drawn. So the next step was to draw the images in with drawing fluid and a paintbrush:

I had no idea if I’d put too much or too little drawing fluid on! I left it to dry for a few hours, then moved on to the screen filler. This involved using the squeegee to wipe the fluid down over the image in one stroke, and not to NO NEVER EVER TO do a second stroke or you’ll risk the blue drawing fluid starting to dissolve away…

I may have panicked a bit and not pressed down enough for the first few inches. Which meant the top image was completely covered in red goo. I may then have panicked a bit more and done a second wipe over the top image which is EXACTLY what you’re not supposed to do.
 
But I thought I’d plough on, as all experience is useful! I then had to leave the screen to dry overnight, then wait until the following evening before I could do anything else because work got in the way, humph!
I washed off the blue drawing fluid, leaving just the red filler behind…

…and got a bit more convinced that my double swipe of the filler had played havoc with his whiskers. Once again the screen was put aside to dry.
 
A couple of days later, when I had a bit of time to spare between shifts, I hit the ink! I just went for the blue ink supplied with the kit, rather than trying to mix anything lighter for my first attempt.


I ran off 20 prints, then masked off the blue inky bit, and when the prints were dry I moved onto the black.

Ta-daaaaaaaa! I was right about the whiskers! Now I’ve done it once, I know what to do differently next time to hopefully improve the results. I’m rather pleased with him though – the wobblyness is what I was after, although the cat outline is too thick and, of course, his whiskers have been in the wars! But all in all, it was a hugely enjoyable lesson and I’m itching to get the screen cleaned and start again – this time without dissolving his whiskers and mixing a lighter shade of blue. I’ve also got hold of another screen with finer mesh, which should help with finer details.
 
Keep your eyes peeled on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds for progress pictures of my next attempt!
 
And finally, while we’re on the subject of screen printing, I stumbled upon something today that made me squeak!
 
Cobden Place is a restored heritage building in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter. In their own words, “Cobden Place endeavours to incubate and support an array of creatively driven independent businesses, and encourage growth within Nottingham’s design industry.” Together with print studio Dizzy Ink and screenprinting technician Tom Camp, they want to create a “School of Print”. Again, in their words: “With a variety of printing methods including risograph, screenprinting and mimeograph, the School of Print will facilitate and educate practitioners of print through a varied workshop programme and the option of membership to come and use the space and facilities once trained on the equipment!
 
COOL!!!
 
They launched a Kickstarter today to raise £8,000 to make the School of Print a reality, and have already been backed to the tune of just over £800! This would be a fantastic resource for Nottingham and beyond – please help them reach their target by backing them, and sharing the link with the world! Thank you!
 
Click here to watch their video on their Kickstarter page
 
That’s all for now folks!

Fishy flags…

Hurrah, I have a new line in my shop! Needle-felted hearts with flag designs on 🙂 Well, I say a new line, I have one at the moment!

Here’s the first prototype:

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I wasn’t happy with the thickness of the vertical and horizontal stripes though, so tried again and am more than happy with the end result:

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I’ve added a red silk thread loop decorated with a few tiny glass beads, so it can be hung in the home, or in your car… or wherever else you can think of! This one is now available in my Etsy shop.

Hoping to have a go at another flag today… Just need to decide which one!

Finally, here’s a work in progress… About 20 years ago (eeek!) I designed these fish…

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…and I’ve been wanting to try a felted version. I made a start yesterday, and here it is so far:

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Still a long way to go, but it’s taking shape!

Right, off to get felty! x

A winning wol!

Squeeeeeeeee! My little snowy owl won the CraftBlogUK Christmas Link Party!

I’m so chuffed, I never win anything!

Massive, massive thanks to everyone who voted 🙂

Here’s my winning wol…

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And huge apologies to Annie, who I pipped to the post – it was a very close thing!

Annie has a great blog – please take a look! Here’s her lovely poppy picture, and link above takes you to her post about how she made it 🙂

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Thanks again to everyone who voted, and to CraftBlogUK for hosting such a fun party!

Happy Handmade Christmas!

So – hands up! Who has handmade things amongst the pressies they’re wrapping for Christmas this year? You have? Hurrah!

Here are some of the things I’m wrapping… Believe me, it’s been rather hard not to keep them for myself!

This sweet little owly bag is made by FruteJuce – I’m going to fill it with little treats 🙂 It’s beautifully made, and you can choose the material for the lining.

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Rachel Elliott is such a talented glass artist! I’ve been eyeing up her lovely leverets for ages!

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Ok, there’s always one. *hangs head shamefully…*

I’m afraid that these beautiful earings by Alison Moore are NOT going to be wrapped. I was very good for nearly a week after they arrived, but finally crumbled and I’m wearing them right now!

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I love the mixture of elegance and rustic charm Alison breathes into her work – I have seven pairs of her earings now, next on the list are her stacking rings!

So apologies to XXXXXX who was going to be getting earings for Christmas, but will now be getting something else! Ooooops!

Finally, with only about 19 hours left to vote, CraftBlogUK’s Christmas Link Party is getting really exciting, with two crafters currently neck and neck! If you haven’t voted yet, please do – don’t forget, you can vote for up to three different items! And if you like my little snowy owl brooch and give it one of your votes – well, that’d just be lovely! 🙂

Thanks for reading! x

CraftBlogUK-tastic!

Evening all!

Just remembered about the WordPress app on my phone so thought I’d pop a wee blog!

One of my Craftbritannia teamies on Etsy told me about the Christmas Link Party that CraftBlogUK are running – you add a piccie of one of your favourite creations, and after the deadline anyone can vote on their favourites. CraftBlogUK will then feature the winner on their blog.

Being of the shy, retiring type (!) I’ve never done anything like this before, but in a sudden fit of madness I posted a piccie of my little snowy wol brooch 🙂

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And squeeeeeeee! There’s still over two days to vote, but at the mo little wol is in the lead with 32 votes!

There are some fabulous crafters featured there – including some of my Craftbritannia teamies – so if you have a mo, pop over and have a look. You can vote for up to three items, so if you join in please use all your votes 🙂

CraftBlogUK Christmas Link Party

That’s all for now peeps! Catch ya later! x

Noofings and a busy weekend for Craftbritannia!

‘Allo everyone!

I’m getting rather excited – bought a felt-making book ‘cos I want to have a go at wet felting but wasn’t quite sure where to start – it arrived yesterday, and now I’m DESPERATE to have a go! Have to get a few minor bits of kit first though, bah!

I also received some 4mm thick 100% wool felt squares I’d ordered to have a play with – here’s the result:

I cut the keyrings and motifs from the thick felt, then needlefelted the motifs on each side, so they’re the same on both sides. Oh yes, I’ve also been playing another new thing – rivet pliers, yay!

On another subject, it’s been a busy weekend for the Craftbritannia team on Etsy – we started a
BNR
on Friday night, and it’s still going! 74 sales and counting! It’s open until tonight, so you still have plenty of time to join in if you like – or just stop by to chat!

That’s all for now! Maybe next time I’ll have my first attempts at wet felting to show you… squeeeeeee!