Sunday, 20 January 2013

Module 2 Chapter 7 - page 22

Module 2 Chapter 7
Developing Stitched Textures - couching

Sample 1

I used zig-zag stitch to couch a range of wool, thin ribbons and cords to a background of black felt, with silver thread. I liked the effect of the thicker, variegated 'marshmallow' wool sticking out from the sides of the stitching and also the different texture of the yellow/gold cord, compared to the rest of the wools used. The colour scheme is quite 'cold' overall, but the purple wool add contrast and warmth.
 Sample 2 - trying out ideas

For this sample, I tried couching a range of ribbons, sari silk, wool and trims to a black felt background. I used a pink, zig-zag stitch for all of the couching, to give a feeling of unity to the sample. The more successful experiments were the hairy wool 'squiral' the twisted sari silk above it, and the layered sari silk to the right hand side of the squiral. I felt that these experiments had more texture and showed more potential for development than the straighter,less textured attempts, e.g. the gold ribbon.

Close up of the 'squiral'

Sample 3 - In the style of Bridget Riley

This is my second attempt at sewing 'Fall', in the style of Bridget Riley (the first being executed in cable stitch in Chapter 6). I thought that this version was more successful, as I was able to use quite a thick wool and this helped in creating a more three-dimensional illusion. Also, I had learnt from my previous attempt that I needed to leave a smaller gap between the yarn where the lines curved together. This meant that the finished effect was more true to the original painting.

Sample 4 - Layers and Stitch

I started with a background of black felt and began by stitching on quite wide strips of sari silk, using an automatic pattern with the foot on. Some of the strips had thinner areas where the silk threads were exposed (e.g. on the far right) and this created some variety in texture. I then couched over ribbon, ric-rac and various yarns to create a layered effect. I was pleased with the variety of textures that I managed to include and also the balance of colours. 

 Sample 5 - trying ideas with 'free embroidery'

I looked at a variety of garden pictures and chose the one below, as it had a range of colours and textures in the plants.


 My version...

I snipped different wools, including 'marshmallow' wool and quilting wool, sari silk, thin ribbon and cord and arranged on transfet painted polyester. I enlarged the areas of flowers from the original photo, as I wanted my picture to include more contrast in colour, and not so many large areas of green. I used different types of stitching to hold down the pieces of yarn and fabric:
I used granite stitch in green over areas of the green background, but also used vermicelli stitch and more random stitch shapes to create more variety.
I used a variegated pink and red thread to stitch stylised flower shapes over the pink wool and purple variegated thread to achieve the same effect over the purple wool flowers at the bottom of the sample.Similar stitching was used over the cream quilting wool flowers in the centre of the picture, but I also included small yellow stamens to provide more contrast.
For the grass at the front of the picture I used longer strips of green sari silk that had white threads attached and sewed quite loosely over these with  'straightish' stitches, so as not to flatten them. I liked the effect that this produced, as it created more variety in texture and also looked quite realistic.


Using a design source to inspire texture

Image - I found an image of Helleborus flowers in my source book that I liked and thought would be an attractive source for a design. I wanted to expand the picture, so I traced a couple of the flowers and copied them, creating a larger picture, with more flowers, to stitch.
Evaluation - The original image was too simple for a design, so I needed to trace and repeat some of the flowers to make a balanced design. I liked the spacing of the flowers in the final design and felt that they filled out the background fabric.
Pen Sketch

Pencil Sketch/Design

The Completed Design


Textures - Smooth, rough, fluffy
Evaluation - Partly achieved. I  thought that the rougher texture of the leaves was achieved through using cable stitch and that the raised, fluffy texture of the stamens mostly achieved, although the area in which I used moss-stitch was too small to create the  fluffy, looped effect that I wanted. The smooth petals were also partly achieved through using a fine thread, although I wonder if a smoother effect would have been better achieved thorugh filling in the petal spaces completely, rather than leaving spaces through which the background fabric could be seen?
Fabrics - Use a textured space-dyed felt as a background, as it will be stable enough to stitch densely on.
Evaluation - The pink/lilac felt that I used was also backed with a piece of white felt, which provided a stable enough base on which to stitch quite densely.
Colours - a light pink/purple felt for the background, as I want a quite delicate effect. The flower petals should be pink, not cream and purple as in the original photo (use a light & dark pink variegated thread: Wonderfil Tutti). The leaves should be quite a bright green, in contrast to the more delicate colours used. The flowers will be outlined in purple.
Evaluation - I though that the variegated pink thread I used for the petals matched the veined effect I was trying to create and was pleased with this. The bright variegated green thread used for the leaves provided a good contrast to the more delicate colours used elsewhere on the design and I also thought the yellow/orange variegated thread used for the stamens was a good match for the original. Next time I would use a lighter or more delicate purple to outline the flower petals, as I thought the purple I used looked a little heavy, and next time I would also aim to use a slightly darker background, so that there would be more contrast with the flower petals.

Stitches - free-machine embroidery in a fine 50 wt cotton for the petals of the flowers, cable stitch in a thicker, 12 wt thread for the leaves and for the outline of the flowers, cable stitch covered by moss-stitch in a 30 wt thread for the centres/stamens of the flowers.
Evaluation - the fine stitching was delicate enough for the flower petals and the cable stitch used for the leaves and centre of the flowers provided a contrast in texture. Close-up, the moss-stitch created the 'loopy' effect that I wanted for the stamens, but I didn't have enough surface area to create enough loops, so this was only partly successful.

Order of work - Draw/trace the flowers, create a design by repeating flower shape and rearranging shapes.
Drawing before I stitched meant that I could place the traced flowers in a pattern that I thought would fill the background space in a pleasing way.
Find background fabric
The background felt was a space dyed felt from 21st Century Yarns
Collect together selection of threads
I used a range of threads, mainly from Wonderfil Threads of different weights in 6 colours, three of which were variegated.
Stitch outline of flowers and leaves
I stitched the flowers first in a purple thread and then the outline of the leaves in green.
Add stitching to create textures
I used straight, curved and moss-stitch to create the textures I wanted.

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