final course sample

The last part of the final module of Sue Stone’s course focused on building on the repetition of shapes from the previous class. I went with simple shapes, a limited colour range, and only running stitch in different weights of thread. Some pieces were fused to the background or other pieces, some were not. It was well received by the Facebook group so I took that as a sign that I had met the brief. For me the course is all but over but if you might be tempted to sign up for a future course and wish to know what I thought of it, read on …

When I began the first module of this course it all seemed a bit too easy. It would be concentrating only on a few simple stitches and I would be making small samples with no major piece of textile art produced by the end of the course. As I had been sewing for most of my life and felt that I knew a fair amount about things stitch-related, I seriously wondered if I had made a huge mistake in signing up. How wrong I was. I’ve had fun. I’ve been challenged. I’ve had a few Eureka! moments. I’ve made contact with lots of lovely like-minded people (and will continue to do so as long as the FB group exists). I’ve discovered why my former method for planning a project didn’t always result in a satisfactory outcome and what to do about it. I have re-discovered the pleasure and usefulness that can result from sampling, keeping notes, sketching design ideas, and then keeping them all for future reference. In the past I rarely made notes about anything I was working on and any samples were usually discarded once I’d finished. This course required me to make notes for every sample and I found myself additionally sketching ideas beforehand and sometimes I even did a test sample before making the proper sample required! I also had to answer questions when each sample was completed (not always easy to do but very useful). Everything related to this course has been labelled as to module and class and is now stored in a box file or on my computer so that I can refer to them at any time.

A few of the goodies for the course included the Facebook group; a private online members’ area containing lots of useful resources; a workbook and video for each module; access to webinars run by Sue, links to other textile artists’ works for inspiration and much more besides. TextileArtist.org is the website of Sue’s sons, where I first found out about the course and it’s worth a look even if you’re not interested in the course.

 

2nd last course sample

This sample was for the module on hand stitch appliqué in which we develop patterns. I posted this to the Facebook group page earlier this week but I’ve only just realised that I fused the shapes to the background fabric instead of hand stitching them. Just as well there is no pass or fail for this course! Only one more sample to make before all the modules are complete.

applique portrait pt2

Gosh, this course module class seems to have taken the longest time to do but I’m happy with the end result. Stitches used were back stitch and straight stitch, with buttonhole stitch only to appliqué the red pinafore because the wool cloth frayed badly.  I re-stitched all the face in a brown thread, finer than the black I’d used when stitching through the tissue paper (see previous post) and the lighter thread colour and closer stitching enabled me to put in more detail. I have to confess that I’ve given my mother brown eyes here instead of the blue that they really were but if I hadn’t told you, you’d never have known. Call it artist licence. Size is approx 12 x 17 cm. I’m off now to write up my notes for this module, put this little portrait with my other samples, and then have a look to see what’s next on Sue Stone’s online course which is almost at an end!

applique portrait

After six weeks blog silence I’m happy to be able to post about my stitching adventures once again.

The latest module for Sue Stone’s online course that I’m doing is about bringing to life the previous hand-stitched images we made with the addition of appliqué and further stitching. I wanted to keep my original image sample just as it is and instead chose the photograph of my mother that I’d used as the basis for the portrait quilt I made in 2015. (The quilt was made with the image in reverse.)

Sue gives suggestions on how to indicate hair using simple stitches but I was having difficulties interpreting her method for my photo even after several trial pieces so I opted for a sort of raised embroidery/stumpwork/appliqué combo, lightly padding some loosely woven crinkly fabric with strands of knitting yarn to indicate volume and then over-stitching with three different coloured strands of sewing machine thread in the needle to imitate the highlights of the hair. I will probably re-stitch the facial features at a later stage but the next thing to do is add appliqué for the clothes and background and embellish those with more hand stitching.

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.

having fun with stitches

These two little portraits were for a drawing class in the online course, using back stitch or running stitch instead of pen or pencil. A photo is traced and the outline is stitched through the paper and the ground fabric with the paper gently torn away when all the stitching is completed. Tissue paper is more flexible than tracing paper and easier to stitch through but you have to ensure that your stitches are fairly tight. My first portrait using mainly running stitch wasn’t tight enough and I ended up with lots of raised stitches but I like the resultant shadow/loop effect in unexpected places. In the second portrait I used back stitch mainly and tightened the tension and the final look is different again. I was really surprised when my camera automatically recognised these as faces. If any family members recognise these two portraits I’ll be delighted!

 

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!