Saturday, February 18, 2012

Using Markal paintstiks!

Doing one of my periodic tidy ups and see what I can find efforts I came across a box of Markal paintstiks that I must have had for several years. I can't remember when I last used them but I do know that it was fun! 

Paintstiks - known as Markal in this country and Shiva in the US - are remarkably easy to use. They are an oil and wax crayon and work on any fibre, paper, leather, etc. I have usually used them on cotton or silk. And more often than not I use them for taking rubbings from rubbing plates though occasionally I will use them directly onto the fabric. 

An unused paintstik.
The first thing to do is to take off the 'skin' that forms on the paintstik. This hardened layer protects the crayon and stops it drying out. Each time one uses a crayon it will form a new hard layer of 'skin' when it is put away, thus keeping it in a good state for the next time. This is why these crayons can be kept for years. They come in a variety of colours including gold, silver and iridescent colours. 

One places the rubbing plate under the fabric which is taped to a mat or plastic sheet to keep it in place. I find plastic floor tiles are good here. Then one rubs the crayon over the fabric bringing up the image from the rubbing plate. It is necessary to leave the fabric to dry for anything up to three days and then to thoroughly iron the fabric on the hottest setting possible for the fibre content. After this the fabric can be washed and used as normal. It is now fast to washing. 

The piece above was drawn directly onto the fabric. 

The pieces above and below are from the same piece of hand-dyed cotton. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


The show at Ardingly at the end of January was very good. I'm glad it was the weekend before last as the weather was cold but OK whereas this weekend that's just gone, it snowed in the South East quite heavily and I wouldn't have enjoyed the drive home at all. As it was it snowed slightly as we came over the Blackdown Hills but I was able to cope! 

Unfortunately upon arriving home I became quite sick and was in bed for several days. I think it was something I picked up at the show as several people had been complaining of feeling unwell! And hot air systems although brilliant in cold weather are good for passing bugs around indiscriminately.  However all is well now and I am on the mend bar a few relapses. 

The quilts on display were amazing. Such a variety. I meant to take some pictures but never found the time. In fact I meant to take pictures of lots of things but time got in the way! 

I have been very impressed with the Simplicity bias tape maker. A friend wanted me to get her one at the show if I saw one. Well I got her one and now wish I'd got one for me as it is very good and I can see how useful it could be. Look here and you can see a very good video. I did treat myself to a rotary blade sharpener. 
And very good it is too! 

Our next show will be Exeter at the end of March. There is a lot to be done as I want to introduce small silk ribbon kits. So it will be busy, busy, busy!