Wednesday 24 October 2012

No time to lose

There are times when it's OK to start a new project with no deadline in mind and be happy pick it up to occupy a few moments here and there. Laura started to knit a little baby sweater when she was pregnant - what could be more relaxing than knitting with your feet up in front of the TV? Of course when baby decides to arrive 5 weeks early it can throw plans into disarray so when she showed me the half finished sweater a couple of days ago I could see there was no time to waste if this was going to be finished in time to still fit.

It's a very simple pattern from Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine spring/summer 2010. The picot edge is cute isn't it?

Laura was making the newborn size but Amelie is growing like a weed now - luckily it's stretchy so maybe she'll still squeeze into it for a couple of weeks.

After months of trying to track down supplies of our favourite compressed printing sponge and failing dismally we decide to bite the bullet and approach a company to produce it for us here in the UK. Packaging our own product meant we could include step by step instructions for use and some pattern templates to get people started if they were nervous of drawing. I've enjoyed sampling the designs on paper and on fabric. This pear print is a tryout in my sketchbook using a mix of red and gold acrylic paint.

I love the bubbly texture of the print - that's the main benefit of using sponge to make a print block. The voided shapes of the bubbles allow the underlying colour to remain visible and it marries the shape to the background in a pleasingly delicate and transparent way. Of course, being an acrylic paint it also means you can wash more transparent colour over the print later with no risk of the original print lifting. Much fun to be had with this technique!!

And if it's good on paper it's even better on fabric! Here's an Attic Window Quilt I made as a thr3fold challenge a few years ago. The sycamore leaf is printed to stand on its stalk within the window. I added a shadow with Inktense pencil to make it look more convincingly 3D. The print block was drawn from an actual leaf. We are drowning in autumn leaves at the moment but I rescued a few from the garden just before I took the picture. When they dry off a bit I shall preserve them by pressing them between the leaves of some absorbent paper.

See, I keep saying I hate this time of year and then I keep finding reasons to love it!
Talk to you again soon - Linda


  1. Sycamore? Looks like a maple to me (spoken as a Canuck...) -- and it's marvellous!

    P.S. The sweater is darling, too. :-)

  2. Fabulous colours! I love the texture you get from that sponge printing

  3. Hi Margaret - I think sycamore is also known as maple. They are all Acers aren't they? I'm not too hot on tree facts despite living surrounded by so many!

    Dotty - The texture really is the best thing. Some print methods make such a solid and opaque shape but the sponge is lovely and delicate. Can't wait to play some more this weekend!

  4. Very pretty sweater - yes I love the picot edge. Printing with sponge is so satisfying - I love the randomness of the result especially when you are using several colours.