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.

painting the roses red 3

I lost a little interest in this because the cards seemed less challenging than the roses were but I’ve knuckled down this week and one card man is almost finished.


painting the roses 2

I bought a replacement camera this morning (woo hoo!) so here’s a little peek at some more of my Painting the Roses Red piece from Alice in Wonderland.

some of this, some of that

On Tuesday I set up my machine for some thread painting with the thought of making a short video of the process because I’ve seen so many sewing demos online and thought it couldn’t be too difficult. Ha! The lighting wasn’t quite right so the stitching didn’t show up clearly on playback (although my hands didn’t look too bad) and if the camera got knocked it sounded like a volcano erupting. Finding the ideal camera position was difficult and the lack of a zoom facility didn’t help although how I might have operated that as well as moving the fabric is still a quandry. How do others do this so successfully? Perhaps there’s just a lot of deft editing or they have someone else doing the filming or they use a camera more suitable than my webcam (which is tethered to my pc with a not-as-long-as-I’d-like-it-to-be cable). Frustratingly, I couldn’t find anything online that might explain how I could do it better so it might take a lot longer to win that oscar!

This is what was stitched during the filming and it’s obvious that I had no clear stitching plan in mind before I began. I used a layer of pelmet interfacing which had been painted with poster paints and sprinkled with salt crystals before the surface dried to give that mottled effect on the right. (I’m still finding salt on the work bench several days later.) I backed the interfacing with batting and a layer of cotton but I needn’t have done as it’s easy to thread paint on a single layer of the interfacing.

fme doodles

Yesterday I did some leaf prints on a scrap of thick canvas-type fabric and on the remaining coloured interfacing (which hadn’t been layered with anything else). I’d gathered leaves weeks ago and I wish I could now remember what I rubbed on them in an attempt to preserve them because it was quite successful! I do know that I subsequently ironed two of them between sheets of kitchen paper and those were the leaves I used for the print attempts as well as a leaf shape cut from flexible fabric in my craft supplies (there, because it hadn’t lived up to its original description as being suitable to prevent rug-creep). The backs of the leaves were rubbed with the flat side of an Inktense block and then placed upside down and the image transferred to damp interfacing/fabric with a brayer.  On dry fabric/interfacing I very lightly sprayed the coloured leaves with water before transferring. I think the interfacing as a background worked best of all because it’s quite rigid. The larger leaf stood up well to use and I think I could probably take further prints before it finally disintegrates.

leaf print

cross stitch alternative

I might be busy elsewhere for the next few days so I thought I’ve give you lovely readers the benefit of a second post today – the 340th of this blog.

When I posted the cross stitch White Village, I think I wrote that my next project would be a fabric book but I knew that what I really wanted to do was interpret the White Village in free style embroidery before tackling a book so I did! This little piece has reinforced my opinion that the world of cross stitch is much better off without me in it! I enjoyed this second version more as I much prefer the freedom that interpretive embroidery gives me as opposed to the restrictions of cross stitch. Let me state right now that I have a great deal of admiration for those who take pleasure from cross stitch – some work that I’ve seen is fantastic but it’s not for me.

Prior to stitching, I drew the village on the calico with pencil, coloured the surrounding background with Derwent Inktense blocks, and tinted the trees with Winsor and Newton watercolour paints. A fairly thick mix of chinese white tube watercolour gave an unexpected but welcome texture to the house walls. These were then left unstitched as I didn’t think I could improve on the texture with needle and thread. Stitches used – long and short, seed, straight, split, stem, and a few french knots.white village


an old wip chest

After I had made the tasseled box in June I began making a chest with a curved lid from the same book. I was very enthusiastic in the making of it for a while but then I realised that the background colour of the chest and those of the surface panels were just boring when together, individually acceptable but together – bleh. I had already made the panels so I kept tempting them to get together with the background by making little offerings of ribbons and cords in different colour combos and beads and bling too but it was to no avail. In digust I pushed all the pieces to one side on the work bench with only an occasional glance in their direction and got on with other things. They’ve been lying untouched for over a month now.

Three days ago I was colouring fabric with Derwent Inktense blocks and with nothing to lose, thought I’d colour the background of the chest while I was at it. Hey Presto! The new colour was a vast improvement on the original and yesterday I stitched the panels on. I expect know I’ll make other things before this is finished but at least my enthusiasm for this chest has been re-kindled.