Monday, April 18, 2011

Part One: Project 2 - an introduction. Stage 1

Friday 8th April - Developing Marks into Stitching and making Textures.

I am really looking forward to starting Project 2, I love stitching, I love fabrics and I love to experiment.

I've read through most of the chapter.....and I am hoping I will be able to be as experimental as I was in the first project. Will it be harder to translate my sketches into stitch once an embroidery hoop is in my hand?

My Great Grandmothers Pearsall's Silks
I came across my Great Grandmother's collection of silk threads when I was quite young.... I just fell in love with the beautiful colours, the incredible sheen, the softness of the thread. I take the threads out every now and then....

My Mum's sampler from school
I still have this book - it has stitching examples of all kinds in it, from the embroidery above to putting a placket in a skirt. What a fantastic resource to have made at school.

These are the things that I loved to look at when I was little, they inspired me to stitch and to make.


Stage 1 - Preparation

Stage 1 is about preparing for the next few exercises.

I will need visual information: I have selected some of the pen and ink exercises created in the first project. They are limited in colour and have variety of marks used within them.

Fabrics: I have decided to keep to a neutral background initially. I am going to use calico, linen and sheeting to start off with.

Threads: I will keep to a simple colour range at the beginning, I have a selection of stranded cottons, crochet cotton, cotton perle and some wool threads.

I will collect and create the colour bags as I work through the project... I know I own these items (beads, more fabrics, more threads, etc) but where they are...?
I also plan to have a dyeing day - this will be time well spent and will create a good range of colours for my thread and fabric collections.

I do have my sewing equipment ready, and I plan to use hand stitching for the majority of these exercises. I enjoy machine embroidery, but I think I would like to keep the exercises simple to start off with.

Some of the threads I will use
This is a visual record of some of the threads in my collection - some I only have a small amount of, like Fils-A-Dentelles - others, like stranded cotton, I have a lot of and it is relatively easy to buy.

I am armed with 2 of my favourite books: Stitch Dictionary - Lucinda Ganderton (published by Dorling Kindersley), and Complete Guide to Needlework (published by Readers Digest), and of course the OCA instructions for the individual stitches.

My first stitch sampler
I thought I would start off sewing in nice neat lines!
I created (from left to right) running stitch, threaded back stitch, chain stitch, herringbone, closed cretan stitch, basic feather stitch, french knots, pekinese stitch, feathered chain stitch, magic chain stitch and lazy daisy.
I used a finen linen fabric background, stranded cotton and soft cotton threads.

I really enjoyed doing this, I sat with the hoop on my knee, cup of tea nearby and a good film on tv!
My second stitch sampler
I then used a coarser linen fabric and some variegated threads, crochet cotton and bulky rayon thread.
With a less formal approach (ie. no lines!) I practiced some more of the basic stitches: running, satin, chain, stem, herringbone, seed, cross, open and closed cretan, blanket, couching, french knots. As well as a few more: bullion knot, fly, sheaf, raised needle weaving, wave and a buttonhole wheel.

It was nice to see how the variegated threads worked when using the different stitches, and good to try out some of the stitches I hadn't used in a long time. A good record of stitches to keep.
A sample of textures
This sampler I really enjoyed creating. I used fine linen to stitch on and sheeting underneath. The threads were a soft cotton, cotton perle, silk thread and a stranded cotton. The colours: all cream so that the textures showed up.
Stitches: Spiders webs - woven and ribbed; Raised chain band; Needle weaving - the rabbit ears!; Buttohole stitch - this grew and grew, layer after layer of stitches - resulting in something that resembled the centre of a daffodil: and  a plastic curtain ring was sandwiched and stitched between the 2 layers of fabric and then filled with french knots.

A sample of couching
The fabric base was sheeting, the threads a range of wools, soft cottons and knitting ribbon.
I used a simple organic shape and held the threads down with a basic sewing thread in coordinating colours.
It was nice to sew with such a range of textures in the threads - all threads which could not be used for conventional stitching because of their thickness.

Canvas work sampler
I had some plastic canvas and a range of tapestry threads so I created this sampler - any of these stitches would work well on canvas and loosely woven fabrics.
The stitches used were:
(top) French; Fir/leaf; Norwich waffle; Rya; Mosaic and Web
(middle) Rhodes; Dbl Leviathan; Rice; Star; Dbl Cross; Rice; Interlaced Cross; Leviathan.
(bottom) Broad Cross; Cross corner; Tent; Cross.

Another enjoyable few hours with a needle and thread in hand - and a great record to keep for the future. All samples have keys for cross referencing in my notes.

I feel I am ready to face the challenges of the project - I think the preparation done helps to prepare you for work. It takes away some of the fears, the starting part is the hard part.

I have learnt how to create the stitches.
I know which ones will create a good outline - running, back, stem and chain.
I know which ones fill in areas quickly - satin, buttonhole, couching and Cretan.
I know which ones are good for texture - French and Bullion knots, couching and Blanket.

These samplers were created over a few days, I am hoping it was time well spent and that the next few exercises will be easier as a result!

The finished pages:
Stitch and Thread sampler
Further Stitch Samples
Canvas work and Couching Samples

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