Sunday, 1 June 2014

Module 3 Chapter 3 (page 28)

Module 3 Chapter 3
Fancy Edges

Bound edges
Sample 1

I used decorative stitch patterns to cover a space dyed piece of calico, going across the diagonal. I cut this on the bias and used straight stitch to attach the bias strip to the background (dark pink). Once the edging was in place, I used an automatic stitch pattern of flowers in orange and zig zag stitch in a dark pink to create a sense of continuity.

Sample 2

Bound edge with pin tucks
I used a a twin needle with orange thread through one needle and purple through the other to create pin tucks on the diagonal of a dark pink piece of cotton. I attached the pin tucked piece of fabric to a background fabric, using the same technique that I used for sample 1. I then decorated the background fabric using the flower automatic stitch pattern that I used in sample 1, but in a variegated purple thread.

Burnt edges with automatic stitching

Sample 3

I stitched several lines of automatic stitch patterns on a piece of black kunin felt. Using a soldering iron, I burnt away the felt from the edge of the stitching and also between the lines, inside the square. This created a more irregular edge than the bound edges created in samples 1 & 2. 

Burnt edges with free embroidery

Sample 4

I repeated the same exercise, but this time used free machine embroidery on black felt. This time I was able to create a very irregular edge and also burnt away the felt inside the circles that I stitched. I preferred this edge to the one made by the automatic stitch patterns, as there was more freedom to created an irregular edge which could then be taken forward to be used in a future design.

Corded edges

Sample 5

For this sample, I placed a green cord next to the edge of a space dyed piece of felt and then, using an edging foot, stitched a wide zigzag in gold thread. I then stitched along the fabric in gold thread in an automatic stitch pattern to enhance the edging.

Sample 6

For this sample, I used gold cord and knotted it as I sewed along the edge. It was quite difficult to attach the cord as it was quite thick, so I needed to sew along the length twice. I then used a spiral automatic stitch pattern in gold and then red to enhance the edging and to 'pull' the colour scheme together. Even though the zig zag stitching along the edge is quite untidy, I liked the final 'textured' result.

Corded sample 7

I used lengths of blue cord and a zig zag stitch to attach them to a piece of orange felt that had been decorated with automatic stitch patterns. I then used satin stitch to bind the lengths of cord that met at each corner of the fabric. These look like very rudimentary tassels!

Sample 8

For this sample, I used space-dyed felt as my background fabric and attached a space-dyed, silky cord using zig-zag stitch in a variegated yellow/cream thread. I created loops in the thread (I made these different lengths and deliberately spaced spaced them randomly). I decorated the felt background in the same yellow/cream thread that I used to attach the cord and then used a very small zig-zag stitch in dark green to create a colour link to the cord that I had used.

Sample 9

For this sample, I tried to attach a cord to a curved edge. I used felt as my background fabric, as it was quite thick and therefore more stable to sew on. I found it too difficult to sew around the curve using the edging foot, so just used the normal foot and kept adjusting the cord and fabric as I went along. It was very difficult to keep the cord along the edge - it kept falling off the edge or ended up being too far in, leaving fabric showing. My curve was quite pronounced, so perhaps this would have been easier with a more gentle one?

Sample 10

For this sample, I attached two cords for the edging on a space-dyed felt background. I then decorated the background fabric with automatic stitch patterns in pink, variegated green and gold thread. The gold cord was attached with a gold thread in zig-zag stitch. I thought the colours of the threads linked well with the background fabric, but didn't really like the gold cord or thread. The felt already had attractive colours and I felt the gold detracted from this.

Wired edges

Sample 11

For this sample, I used floristry paper as my background and two thin pieces of craft wire, which I managed to thread through channels between stitching in order to shape the sample as I wished. I used automatic stitching to decorate the sample in variegated pink/red and also gold.

Close up of sample

Decorated stitch edges

Sample 12

For this sample, I used some of the printed and waxed paper I had made in an earlier module as my background. I stitched quite heavily over this in an automatic pattern, using a variegated rust/red thread, green and gold. I then used a second automatic stitch pattern in yellow and orange. I cut the paper into thin strips, close to the stitched edges and then sewed one green and one orange strip together to make the bottom layered edge. I then made a zig-zag pattern with some of the orange and green strips and stitched these to the upper green strip. I enjoyed sewing on paper and liked the effect of using both layering and spaces when joining the strips together. Some of the printed paper can be seen through the stitching and I felt that the colours worked well together.

Lettuce edges

Sample 13
I used a red stretchy jersey fabric and stitched along the edge using satin stitch, pulling as I sewed. When I let go, the edge curved gently in and out.

Layers of lettuce edges sewn together

I found that lettuce edges were more difficult to create than I thought they would be. I did pull the jersey quite hard when sewing, so I thought the waves would be more pronounced, but couldn't get the effect I was trying for. Perhaps a different material would be more effective?

Eyelet and button hole edges

Sample 14

For this sample, I used the eyelet stitch pattern on my machine and then punched holes through the background felt to create a row of holes through which I could thread stitched cord. I then decorated the black felt using a variegated green thread, using a leaf shape pattern, zig-zag and a small, 'nobbled' stitch (running across the top of the picture).

Sample 15

For sample 15, I tried the same effect as sample 14, but used printed paper as my background fabric. As the paper was quite thick, it was easy to manage when sewing and I could see potential for decorating and edging paper this way to use in future work.

Sample 16

I tried to be a little more adventurous for sample 16, by creating eyelet holes and also a scalloped edge on felt, so that I would be able to lace the two pieces together with a decorated cord. The scalloped edge was burnt away along the stitching. The felt was decorated with automatic stitch patterns in red and gold thread. It was quite difficult to lace and join the two pieces together, as the cords were quite stiff - perhaps this would be easier with a softer/ more flexible cord? I thought that lacing pieces of fabric together had potential to be developed - maybe to lace layers of fabric together?

Sample 17

For sample 17, I used denim as my background fabric and create a row of buttonholes edged with a thick, variegated pink thread. I then decorated the background, using the same colour thread using a leaf pattern and a small zig-zag stitch. I made two wide strips/cords by stitching translucent fabric and then burning the sides away. I threaded both cords through the button holes.

Sample 18

For sample 18, I decided to angle the buttonholes in opposite directions in rows. This time I used a variegated purple thread to outline them. I decorated the lilac felt background in variegated green thread in an automatic stitch pattern, as well as straight stitch and also gold thread in a narrow zig-zag stitch. I then decorated an olive translucent fabric in the same automatic stitch pattern as the felt background, but this time using gold thread. I burnt the edges of the strip away and threaded it through the buttonholes. I liked having the buttonholes at different angles, as this is a different way of using a functional stitch - I hadn't really thought of using buttonholes in a decorative way before.

Layered edges

Layered corded edges
Sample 19

For this sample, I edged different pieces of felt with a purple cord. I chose different shades of purple/lilac for the background in order to create a link throughout the sample and arranges them in order of darkness. The darkest piece also had some blue/green tones. I decorated each piece of felt with the same automatic stitch pattern, but using a different colour thread each time (gold, purple and teal) and also decorated each piece with a narrow zig-zag stitch. The purple cord was joined to the edge of each piece of felt with the metallic teal thread. I then sewed the pieces together. I liked the overall effect created by the layers, colour scheme and stitching and would be interested in developing this technique in future work (perhaps using thinner fabric?)

Layered paper edges
Sample 20

For sample 20, I decided to create a layered effect using Japanese paper strips. First I decorated each piece of paper, using metallic red, gold and navy threads, using zig-zag, a 'zig-zag' type automatic stitch and a more decorative stitch.  I then tore the pieces of paper so that they had rough edges. These were arranged in strips (the more decorative, red piece being on top) and were then sewn together, using the same stitches that I had used to decorate them with. This is my favourite sample, as I think that the colours of the papers and stitches link well together and also because I liked the effect of the torn paper edges. I could imagine layering stitched paper together in this way to create the edge of a butterfly wing in a future piece of work.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Module 3 Chapter 2 (Page 27)

Module 3 Chapter 2

Sample 1
Cut edges - straight
I looked through the collection of images I made for chapter 1 and liked this image of a dragonfly (below). I copied the triangle pattern on the body to use as a basis for my design.

I made a stamp of the same shape and printed a crinkled piece of blue silk with gold fabric paint, using a random print effect.

I then cut out the same shape in a light blue silk and placed these in a design over the top of the printed background. I sewed around the edge of each shape in straight stitch, using a lime green thread. I managed to sew two rows of stitches quite close together, but could perhaps have sewn closer to the edge of each shape. I liked the colour combination that I used, and also the way the printed shape echoed that of the appliqued light blue shapes. Perhaps if I had outlined some of the printed gold shapes in the background, this would have added more 'depth' to the finished sample.

Sample 2
For this sample, I found this picture of a Chinese kite and used the shape of the tail as a basis for my design. This time I cut out five different sized shapes in space-dyed felt.

I used a maroon piece of silk as the background fabric and decorated this with automatic stitching in light green, orange and pink. For the orange and green stitching I used a 'leaf' shaped stitch and the pink stitching I decided on a more triangular shaped  automatic stitch to provide contrast. I placed the felt pieces so that they seemed to 'point' towards the centre of the fabric and then used a narrow satin stitch to secure these to the background, keeping the 'foot on'. The corners were quite tricky to sew - I tried going over the stitching twice and this seemed to cover any untidy stitches from the first attempt at sewing around the shape. I tried sewing from the centre of each side to the next corner and this seemed to make life easier!

I liked the colour combination of this sample, especially how the lime green lifts the other colours and also how the stitching picks up the colours in the space dyed felt.

Sample 3
Curved edges - for the next sample, I chose this picture of a butterfly Chinese kite design, as it contained some interesting shapes with curved lines. I used the shape at the bottom of the kite tails as a basis for this sample.

For the background, I covered a black piece of felt with Angelica fibres in gold, silver, metallic blue and pink and fused these together. I cut out five pieces of blue silk in my chosen shape and placed these over the background, overlapping two of them as this created an interesting effect and allowed the background to be seen too. I then sewed around the edges of the shapes using straight stitch, but 'foot up', in order to make it easier to sew around the curved edges. I used a gold thread, to pick up the metallic fibres of the background.

I quite liked the final design, but I feel as if something is missing from it. I'm not sure if I should have chosen a patterned fabric for the shapes, but maybe this would have been too 'busy' against the background?

Sample 4
For sample 4, I went back to the Chinese kite that I also used for sample 2, but this time used the curved fin shapes of the goldfish as the shape in my design.

I cut out five fin shapes in different sizes in a blue/green and purple spaced dyed felt. I used denim as the background fabric and decorated this with metallic fabric paint that had first been painted onto fusible webbing and then bonded to the denim. I placed the fin shapes in a design that looked a little like a flower separated into its petals, starting with the largest at the top and becoming smaller in a clockwise direction. I used a narrow satin stitch to secure these to the background in metallic purple thread. I left the foot up so that I could manipulate the needle around the curved edges of the shape and sewed around each one twice in order to create a neat stitched effect.

I liked the final sample as I felt the arrangement of the shapes worked well and that the colours worked well with each other. I also felt that I had arranged the fabric painted pieces more effectively over the background than my previous attempt in chapter 1.

Sample 5
Torn and frayed edges with fabric
I prepared a background on black felt by printing the shape I used for sample 1, in metallic green fabric paint, in a random pattern. I then fused strips of sheer fabrics over the top of this, using black 'Mistyfuse'. Over this base, I sewed strips of torn silk in orange and a deep warm red, using an automatic stitch pattern with a triangular shape in overlapping rows. Once this was complete, I used a heat gun to melt away areas of the sheer fabrics to reveal parts of the printed background.

It was interesting to combine different techniques I had learnt to create the background and I felt this was quite successful because I tried to link the colours of each different layer together. The different layers also add depth to the finished sample. This would be interesting to use as the edges to feathers or wings, as the frayed edges have the same fragile quality.

Sample 6

Torn and frayed edges with paper
I created the background for this sample by printing onto a textured green paper, using the dragonfly print shape used in earlier samples, but this time creating a 'shadow' effect by printing gold over a dark navy. I then tore strips of dark navy paper and a cream Japanese printed paper. I placed these over the green  background with the cream paper layered over the navy one and secured these by using a triangular automatic stitch. I used navy and gold thread and layered the stitches over each other.

I felt that this sample was very effective because lots of the elements linked together. E.g. the shadow prints were echoed by layering the papers over each other and then the stitching. The colours of the printed shapes, the papers and the stitching were also similar and this created a feeling of unity in the design.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Module 3 Chapter 1 (Page 26)

Module 3 Chapter 1 - Flight of Fancy

Design sources
I spent some time thinking about objects that can fly, e.g. birds, some insects, butterflies, planes, kites etc. and decided to collect images of Chinese kites, which quite often are representations of butterflies, birds, dragons and dragonflies. I collected images of these and also made drawings and sketches of the ones I liked or found most interesting.

Chinese butterfly kites

This drawing was made with pencil and then coloured in felt tip as I wanted to use quite bold colours. The proportions of the top set of wings are not quite accurate.

This drawing was more successful and I also made close-up drawings of parts of the patterns on the wings that I liked. Again the colouring was completed in felt tip. I like the detail on this kite and there is potential to develop some parts into future designs.

Pencil sketches of some of the line detail on this butterfly kite.

Some bird kites...

I sketched part of the wing on the second bird kite as I liked the detail and colours of the original. I like this drawing as I think I have captured the proportions and also the colours. I used pencil here as the colours needed were quite subtle and some darker shading was needed in places.

Imaginary birds
Another theme that I thought fitted the flights of fancy theme was imaginary birds, e.g the phoenix.
I discovered a multitude of images and have uploaded a few of my favourite ones.

I particularly liked these pictures of birds by the artist Sarah Utter (above).

Chapter 1 Sample 1
Creating backgrounds
I chose this image of a butterfly from my collection of source materials, as I liked the colour combinations used.

I tried to match the colours I could see, using Caran D'ache water soluble pencils. When looking closely, I could see a large range of colours that weren't obvious at a first glance.

I then made a design of some of the colours I could see - I used a darker blue, red, purple and yellow.

Once I had finished my design, I went over the colours with a wet brush, letting some of the colours blend together.

I tried to recreate the pattern I had designed using transfer paints on satin. This was reasonably successful, although the blue was lighter than I expected and the purple came out darker! 

I sewed over the background using a zigzag stitch, in similar colours to the transfer paints. Where the colours blended together, I let the rows of stitching overlap each other. I also let some patches of the background fabric show through the stitching as I like the contrast in texture this created. I preferred the stitched sample to the painted one, as I could choose a deeper blue to brighten up the pale blue of the transfer paint. Overall, I thought that I managed to create a good balance between the lighter and darker colours. This type of background has potential to be stitched over and embellished even more if used in a future project.

More stitched backgrounds

Sample 2

I chose one of the Chinese butterfly kites from my collection of pictures as inspiration for this design. I went back to my sketches and liked the shape of the pattern below from my drawings and thought that it would make an interesting stitch design for a background.

I adapted the design to make a shape that kept the original teardrop shape, but had smoother edges.
I then used gold thread to make the outline of the stitched pattern, cable stitch in an orange/gold 12wt thread inside the design, and then a light green and red to fill in the centre of the pattern. I filled in the space between the gold outline and orange cable stitch with granite stitch in gold thread.

I stitched over a space dyed felt background in purples and pinks, and left this showing between the stitched pattern. The stitching was quite dense and created an almost 'quilted' effect against the background.

I liked the final sample, as the shape worked well as a design and I liked the colours that I chose against the purple/pink background. The light green provided a lift against the other colours that I used.  I found the cable stitch quite difficult to control, as some of the orange thread looped whilst I was sewing. Maybe I need more practice at selecting the correct tension for this stitch & thread?

Close up

Automatic stitch patterns on velvet

For the following samples I used a piece of silk velvet that I had previously dyed in red and yellow.

Sample 3

This was an automatic stitch pattern that created an 'x' shape on the velvet. I used a variegated thread, that created and interesting effect against the space dyed fabric. I placed the rows of stitching at different widths from each other, but I could have also tried overlapping them for a more textured effect.

Sample 4

vermicelli automatic stitch pattern

This stood out quite clearly from the velvet background as it was quite a dense stitch pattern. I like how the effect of the stitch appears to change as the colour of the background changes.

Sample 5 
Tulip stitch

This had a tendency to disappear into the pile of the velvet and it is quite difficult to detect the tulip flower. However, this might useful to use, depending on the effect I am trying to create.

Sample 6
scalloped stitch

I thought that this stitch pattern had quite a lot of potential for future use as it combined both the density needed to be visible and also the flexibility to create space or overlapping of stitching, depending upon how it was used.

Fabric Backgrounds

Layers of sheers - Sample 7

I layered strips of purple, green, gold and bronze sheers against a cream calico background. I then burnt away some of the fabric, using a heat gun.
I liked the effect of the fabric curling up from the heat and also the darker patches where it had started to singe. It gave the background a worn and aged effect, which could be stitched over as part of a background in later work.
I could have let the fabric burn away more, but didn't want big patches of the calico to show through - perhaps I could have burnt away more if I had used a darker background fabric?

Snippets of Sheers - Sample 8

For this sample, I used snippets of red, green, orange, purple and bronze sheer fabric, between light purple and green outer layers.  I twisted the sheer fabric before snipping, so that I created curly and spiral snippets, which created interesting patterns when fixed between the two outer layers.

(Purple side)

This was a very interesting sample to create, as the snippets appeared to change colour depending on which side of the fabric they are viewed from. The dark green snippets look as thought they are dark purple or brown when viewed from the 'green' side of the sample.
If this kind of sample was stitched and then manipulated as a 3D structure, some very interesting effects could be created by the translucent fabrics.

(Green side)

Snippets of black fabric - Sample 9

For this sample I gathered black fabrics such as velvet, silk, cotton and satin, which I then cut unto small snippets, overlapping each other on a black felt background. I stitched a grid pattern over the snippets to secure them in place. The resulting sample showed that there are many different shades of black, even though it is a colour that we usually think of there being only one shade of! This sample was quite difficult to photograph, as some of the snippets look grey, even though they are black 'in the flesh'! The different textures of the fabrics used created the interest here - this would be useful to try in different shades of other colours, perhaps blues or golds?

Angelina fibres - Sample 10

This was my first experiment with Angelina fibres - I had heard of them and seen them in bags in shops but had never really understood how they were used.
I bonded these to a black felt background and liked the combination of colours that I had chosen, but I think that I probably made a beginners' mistake of not realising that a little goes a long way - I have created quite a dense 'cloud' of colour! I did think that this kind of background held a lot of potential for stitching over and working into textile designs. Also, it was fun to guess how the final result would turn out and then see if I was right!

Painted fusible webbing - Sample 11

I painted the fusible webbing with a mixture of pink, blue and gold fabric paint. I then transferred strips of the painted webbing onto a dusky pink silk fabric background. I stitched over this in lines of dark pink, blue and gold metallic thread. I felt that the stitching blended well with the fabric colour and painted background, but didn't really like the finished sample as the painted fusible webbing stood out too much from the background. perhaps the painted I used were too bright compared with the dark pink, or more stitching/ embellishment would be needed to make the different elements used  be more cohesive?

Printed and stitched background - Sample 12

For this sample, I went back to some of the pictures of birds by the artist Sarah Utter, that I had collected as design sources. I particularly liked the shapes of the wings and outlines of the birds on these prints.

I made a sketch of the wing shape and thought that this would make a good basis for a printing block design, as it had an interesting shape. I liked the mix of curved and straight lines and also the lined effect in the middle.

I made the printing block design quite 'chunky' out of foam and mounted it onto thick card.

I printed over a cream felt background, deciding on a randomly printed effect. I used metallic fabric paint in a dark green and pink. I then embellished the printed shapes with variegated thread. I used a variegated green around the green printed shapes - sewing around the straight edges and inside the printed shape. I used a variegated purple thread around the pink printed shapes, sewing around the curved edges and half of the inside edges.

I liked this sample most out of all the samples for this chapter, as I thought there was a good balance between the printed areas and the background. I also thought that the stitching enhanced the printed shapes and that there was an effective balance and contrast in colour.

Close up of the completed design