needle weaving

These needle weaving samples were for a module on Sue Stone’s course using different yarns/threads for both warp and weft and varying the spacing etc. Some samples are anchored to the fabric at top and bottom only.

This module took me back many years to when I was a student at the (then) Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, studying for a diploma in Textile Design and used a full-sized dobby loom to weave much larger pieces than these 5 x 5 cm samples. I can hardly remember why I chose to drop out halfway through the three year course but the reasons for doing so seemed extremely valid at the time and a regret I learned to live with. Much water has passed under the bridge since then but I’ve never forgotten how to do plain and twill weave.

abracadabra…

… and behold, a wizard’s hat. Commissioned as a prop to display lapel badges. I inserted flexible curtain wire around the brim and padded the hat for stability. Two spotty stars were appliquéd but I could only get one in shot.

Exploring texture and pattern 2

Since Sue Stone’s course (see my previous post) came online just over a week ago, I’ve hardly thought about anything else stitch-wise. So far I’ve made grid samples of running stitch, back stitch and mock herringbone stitch and I’ve never found it so difficult to sew a straight line of stitches as I have for these samples but that seems to be a common problem for more than a few of us doing this course so I don’t feel so bad.

Like millions of others, I’ve had a Facebook account for years but I could count on one hand the number of posts I’ve written. I rarely log-in and frequently consider deleting the account but as a member of the FB group set up for this course I now find myself happily checking-in several times a day to look at the images posted and to read how others have interpreted the challenges set or to empathise with the difficulties they’ve also found in accomplishing what at first glance appeared to be an easy task but wasn’t particularly.

I stuck the words of the stitched and painted fabric on the front of an A4 notebook which I’m using for notes and details about the samples I’ve made. The samples will later be made into a separate book. Each challenge asks questions at the end and I find these more difficult to answer than the practicalities of stitching. For example, “How might what you discovered in today’s creative challenge inform a piece of textile art?” I haven’t answered that one yet because I don’t do textile art (?) but it’s making me think, so that can only be good.

Here’s my running stitch sample so you can see what I mean about my non-straight stitching lines!

Exploring Texture and Pattern

I’ve been reading lots of articles on TextileArtist.org lately and some of the content really resonated with me – particularly this one! The website is run by Joe and Sam Pitcher whose mother is Sue Stone (Woman With a Fish) and after signing up for and watching Joe and Sam’s free video training sessions several times, I registered for Sue’s online course, Exploring Texture and Pattern. (Enrolment is possible until Friday 23rd June if you’re interested.)

Amongst other things, the course will involve making a stitch sample book so I thought I’d prepare the book cover fabric in advance. I used another of my rubbishy painted fabric pieces, wrote the course title with Inktense blocks, and outlined the letters with free machine stitching. The image makes the text look huge but it’s only roughly 14 cm (5.5 ins) square.

what if? #2

Using yet another ‘fail’ piece of fabric painting, I placed the cut-out words from what if! #1 underneath and rubbed oil pastels and water soluble wax pastels over them before free machine stitching and couching too. I then roughly cut the piece into strips, and then small squares.

 

This simple six rows of five squares layout used all the squares and that was how I left it overnight.

 

This morning it seemed too safe and boring but more essentially, a pointless exercise if the text couldn’t be read. I also realised that I didn’t need to use all the squares so I selected the text squares, divided some other squares further and settled on this:

It reminds me of graffiti and I like that there are little pieces missing from the text. I also like how I succeeded in turning a fail piece into something I’d be happy to see on my wall.

The painted fabric is blackout curtain lining which doesn’t fray, accepts paint well and stitches through easily. The dark background is cotton sheeting and an additional layer of re-cycled white sheeting was stitched behind that.

what if?

I recently made this small collage piece and thought that if I could see it easily in my workroom and be reminded daily, I might actually challenge myself more often to take a familiar technique several steps further than I currently do. When I have a piece which I consider a fail, I try to work out what has gone wrong and mostly I think it’s my colour choices so even though I have two colour wheels and an Ultimate 3-in-1 Colour Tool within easy reach, and I decide to use colour combinations that compliment each other, what actually ends up on the fabric falls far short of the original expectations. I’ve also always known that putting random colours of paint on fabric and expecting the end result to look fabulous will rarely, if ever work, but I do it time and time again and get the same muddy results or clashing colour combinations each time. I’m never surprised when this happens and I don’t know why I haven’t stopped doing this, but I’m hoping that from now on, seeing my “what if?” collage will be like someone shouting, “STOP! What if you actually think about this before you paint/draw/sew/cut….” Maybe I need several of these collages in strategic places around my workroom. Hmmm.

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Not sure about the heavy border of black soft cord but I think the appliquéd letters are a success. The large piece of painted interfacing the letters were cut from was a fail, but in smaller pieces the poor colour combinations seem more acceptable. I would consider this collage a success but I can’t really explain why. Do you agree? I welcome your opinions and or suggestions for improvement. I’m already working on a second piece using the same letter cutouts but in a different “what if?” manner.

Cotton fabric background coloured with acrylic paints. Letters hand cut from heavy-duty interfacing previously splattered with acrylics, and free-motion stitched to the background. The blue rectangles (painted cotton sheeting scraps) were stitched around the borders using a normal sewing machine presser foot with reduced tension and a very short stitch length. Backing fabric (not shown) of bonded twill fabric.

 

6 scary chicks

I began making these chicks last December and until yesterday, I still only had two completely finished. I deviated from the original pattern after the first two were made (can’t remember now why) so I have two as per the pattern, and four with varying body shapes and skinny heads, as well as long legs. Let us just refer to them as ‘designer’ chicks and leave it at that. My original idea was to make a couple of dozen of these little birds but I couldn’t shape the wire into a consistent size and shape for the feet/claws even though I’ve made lots of samples. I solved the problem yesterday by making a jig from thick cardboard and pushpins, which I clamped to the edge of the worksurface. The jig turned a chore into a pleasure (almost) and as I had always planned to make a dozen or more of these chicks I now have no excuse not to have them made before Easter – this year.

6-scary-chicks

This image shows the underside of my little jig. I didn’t need four pins in the end but I did add a few more at the other end so that the cardboard wouldn’t crumple at the other end under the pressure of the clamp.

wire-jig