As I mentioned below I've signed up for Jesse's Swatch Swap. This inspired me to get out the lino the other day and transfer a pattern I've been thinking about for a while. The design I had in mind was quite detailed though and I struggled to cut the lino. I'm out of practice. I still have some softcut left from my experiments in stamping so I swapped to that. By using a knife to outline the areas and then gouging areas between lines I got much better results. Can I say though I am still amazed at the results some people can get and I am going to practice and work more slowly next time. This afternoon, despite having a million more pressing (boring) things to do I pulled out some material I had left over from screenprinting. This was already washed and I quickly ironed it to get a good surface. I have a large container of red screenprinting inks and following a hint, which I think I saw on Jezzeblog a sponge roller I bought at the hardware a while ago. I've tried using a hard roller but I find the fabric ink is much thinnner than block printing ink and just rolls into the cracks, giving a patchy result. The sponge roller is a great idea and gives a much denser cover.
Cutting the blocks from the background gave me a nice clean background and meant I wasn't limited in my layout. It was a bit fiddly though. I laid it out by eye but I'd be interested in learning better methods for lining up designs. It would also be good to have a group of softcut shapes arranged on a wooden block so larger areas can be covered quickly and with even pressure, and I'd love to have a go at two or more colours. I am a visual person and someone who needs to try things to be able to understand what results I can get so it was great to experiment. As she mentioned on her blog today, I emailled Jesse the other day to suggest a Flickr group for her Swap. I thought it would be great to share information about successes, failures, materials, process etc. I really hope that other people will share their printing and we can all learn from each other.