Friday, 7 August 2015

Computer Printing Heavy Calico to make a Pinboard

"Compared to silk, this unbleached heavy calico fabric is so easy to work with.  No need to tack it before sewing, look, if I fold it. it keeps a crease just like paper."
Elinor paid no attention.  I tapped her on the shoulder til she pulled her headphones off.
"Calico creases like that when you wear it too, Beaut.  And the crumpled look is so last season. There's no comparison with silk."
"I bought the fabric to make a table cover, Elinor, not a frock.  It was ever so cheap."  But my companion had already plugged back in to her music.  I never was a fan of personal stereo.  Heaven knows what high tech gizmo Elinor bought herself when she was away in Canada, daresay I wouldn't understand if she told me.  I'm still not entirely sure what an app is, though I must admit, having survived without a computer printer for the last few years, now that we have a new one, I do find the performance much improved.

Despairing of generating many products to sell just by spinning and knitting, having a printer opened up the standard resort of the contemporary crafter. I had a go at doing greetings cards.  Not really cutting edge, when I showed off my hard won new command of 'word art', Elinor Gotland
just made sniffy remarks about the puppy getting into everything these days. Titting about one evening, I discovered that if you steam iron heavy calico nice and flat and cut it to exactly A4 size, the machine will print your photos out on it, giving an attractively textured and muted effect.  A4 is the maximum
width, but my printer will spit out a longer piece of calico. Having bought an A4 pin board in a stationery shop recently, I found it was mostly cardboard, the little hooks at the back weren't secure and the whole shebang was never worth a fiver. Here's how to make your own customised version. Cut a bit of old board to A4 size, drill two holes and poke a length of garden wire through, twisting the ends together to secure a loop to hang it from.  With the twisted wire side facing you, glue on a piece of 25mm thick polystyrene insulation board, which cuts easily to A4 size with a jigsaw.  Your printed strip of calico can be wrapped round the whole block and stapled on at the back, then all you need is some push pins. Seeing these, the calico suddenly became of interest to Elinor.
"Those Speckled Face Beulahs are just pushing and shoving to get themselves into the front of that shot.  I could look out a few things from my portfolio for you, if you wanted to use something more stylish and professional for your next pinboard, Beaut."
"Those sheep are Mary's flock, from Ty Cribbwr.  I took that picture when they were waiting to be scanned last January, it's a candid camera photo, nothing
posed.  Anyway, I'm going to try making covers for notebooks now."  Elinor was actually quite attentive while I fiddled about, cutting cotton interlining to pad the fabric out.  She even gave me a go of her earphones. 
"Tranquil piece you've been listening to.  What is it?" I asked.
"Sheep may safely graze. Which would be a fine thing in this house. I bet Bach would never have allowed his dog to worry sheep."
"Oh Elinor, I'll take Yarrow for a walk so you can chill out for a while." We got home to find her deep into some crafting therapy.
"Needlework is hard on the hooves, Beaut, but I've made a few book covers.  Making things to sell at the Glynogwr Show, are you?"
"Mmm, Mary asked me to sit and spin in the Wool Tent, where they judge the fleeces.  I'm doing a display all about wool, with a few

bits on sale.  She says the Show is very informal, but you aren't the only one feeling anxious."
"Ah, stage fright, always builds up before a show.  I'm a marvellous saleswoman, don't you worry about tomorrow, Beaut." Looking at her notebooks, the jitters come upon me and I cannot find this offer entirely soothing.  Best I listen to some Bach tonight.


  1. Fab notebooks Fran, I really like your designs. I've printed charts onto Aida fabric but never tried calico. Workshop perchance?

    Susan (Pembs).

    1. Thanks - next to nothing sold at Glyogwr Show, but I had a brilliant day, lots of interest in spinning from the people who keep the sheep. Not sure I could run a workshop on computer printing pictures as I am hardly an expert and couldn't transport the old pc and printer about the place, but I shall be playing about trying things that can be made from A4 calico!