Thursday, 28 October 2010

Experiments with Thermofaxes

I don't know what's happened to October.  Actually that's not true.  I always think that October is the month when you have to sort out the garden and as usual my eyes were bigger than my pots when it came to buying bulbs.  I have now done all of them except for one pot of tulips.  The shrubs in our garden are gradually taking over which is a bit of a pity as I keep thinking that in another five years (we have been here nearly five) there will be no gardening to do other than the pots.  Then I tell myself I will have more time for textiles.

I have been working hard on Zelah's quilt.  She turned two in September and is now in a 'big' bed so I feel a little pressure to get on with it.  I managed to make the quilt sandwich on the dining room table without the cats crawling all over it.

 Now I am quilting it in the ditch with invisible thread in the top.  I am very aware that invisible thread does not last and as this is a bed quilt rather than a cot quilt, I would like to think she will still be able to use it when she is a teenager.  I plan to put some more quilting (not in invisible thread) in some of the larger blocks once I have finished this stage, but I have to say that it is looking quite good.  I like the way quilts begin to get texture once you start quilting them.  I am telling myself not to over-quilt it as I am so used to doing very heavily quilted art pieces.

Anyway, today I decided I really must get back to some art quilt work, not least because I am very behind with my journal quilts.  I bought a starter kit of Thermofax inks from Claire Higgott at Festival of Quilts but I have not had time to use it so I got out the three screens that I have bought from her and two pieces of fabric: one plain white cotton and the other a piece of blue cotton that I dyed several years ago.  I had a lovely couple of hours trying things out:

The first layer was yellow which did not show up at all on the blue - until it dried.

It was better on the white.  I then mixed some green but this was a bit disastrous as I put far too much blue in it -I should know as I have done this sort of thing with dyes many times.  I did not put this on the blue piece and it came out almost black on the white.  Then, still using the same stencil I added scarlet to both.

I was beginning to like this so I then changed stencils and added an overall pattern to the blue piece.

And here is a detail.

I then went back and put some more yellow on the white piece but I have an awful feeling that at some stage in the afternoon the ink began to solidify in the mesh and I may have semi-wrecked the stencil!  

I am not sure that the colours of these photos are quite true but I have realised that having photographed each stage I now have photos that I can manipulate in Elements so the potential is enormous.  Now I just have to wait for the pieces to dry and heat set them before considering what use I can make of them.


  1. Your quilt looks lovely, I do like the combination of houses and trees that I've never tried myself. Maybe that should be my next Journal Quilt, I'm behind with mine too! I didn't know invisible thread decayed so I've learnt something today. I hope your screen is salvageable. I bought the same starter set and still haven't used it!

  2. The quilt is fabulous. Zelah is a lucky girl. There is a certain little man in my life who turns one year old on Monday - really must make a special quilt for him. The thermofax pieces are great.

  3. I was told that invisible thread lasts about ten years which may or may not be important. The house quilt was a design by Katherine Guerrier which appeared in Patchwork and Quilting magazine in 2009. It worked out quite expensive as it was spread over three issues! However, there was plenty of scope for adapting it and changing the size.

  4. Thank you very much for your comment and for following. I do believe I might know you. I think I once went to an exhibition you had with Jo in St. Ives Arts Club! I greatly admired your textiles and quilt art and your sketchbook was very interesting to me. It will be nice to stay in touch