Tag Archive | stitching

Peeled and resewn

Once it was a flat piece of cloth, then it  encased a stone, then it was broken off and made flat again, showing all the c

landscapestone peeled

First stages- tacked on and a few lines stitched.

uts, folds and pleats  as pattern and scars.

It is now being stitched down to hold its shape and its history.  The backing cloth has had its own saga,  loosely snagged up in elastic bands before tea staining and then  drenched with dilute inks.  The plain cloth was too machined and perfect, this now is offering more.

It is slow at present – hand stitching outwards, following lines and seams. I have tried to raise some, the backing is a bit thick but it is trying to behave.

I have tried various threads, matching the ones sewn with on the stone and also experimenting with the frayed threads of the backing fabric.  It may be an odd shape but I have hopes – It has a sense of landscape,  it has a sense of having evolved rather than being  designed. There are plenty of decisions still to make – blending over some of the edges to hide the fusion of the two  layers of fabric,  how neat to stitch,  how much to stitch, whether to work in some paint, how about pencil marks and shading, or graphite powder?

Some of these techniques are covered in my classes and workshops – check out the list on the Want to Try page.

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Badges and brooches.

yos badgesStraight from why do I make them so big, to why are they so small!   Who likes easy…..

These are for York Open Studios – The last few big pieces are so layered and complex they are going to be silly expensive…..   the badges are going to be pocket money prices, so hopefully can fill that little impulse buy spot.

These are fun and quick to do –  only 1.5″  across. They are modified cover buttons  with a brooch back attached, so quite easy to make up and pretty robust.   The only difficulty is the change in scale. It is so tempting to go slow and to be careful – if I do that then I get big awkward stitches, so have to stitch as fast as I dare!

The other limitation is keeping the fabric lightweight – not getting carried away with too much stitching or applique bits – thicker fabric is more difficult to stretch over the button – so I have had to hoop it using my vintage Bernina’s darning hoop rather than using stabiliser. It is so small!!! but does work a treat.

Went back up to Barnyarns on Monday with the ladies who come to my “open \house\” mornings – some of these mini broideries are testing out the new polyester variegated threads –  – their Polyneon range.  Really pleased with them.

Taking work into Blossom Street Gallery next YOS Logo Short_CMYK 2018week for the York Literary Festival – that will be on for the whole of March.

And don’t forget YOS starts the weekend of April 14th.

rules not to follow.

Rule one : don’t have rules, don’t follow them

– Difficult to do, by following the no rule rule I am following a rule  so can’t be following the rule of having no rules, umm. Welcome to my idea of logical and sense.

Rules  make my responses predictable and formulaic. As soon as I make rules the fun goes out it. Yes, there are ways of doing, approaches that work, but they must not become a rut.  The techniques must serve my purposes, not dictate what I can do.

Rule two

Stitching must be neat, lines parallel, corners precise.  Thread must match the fabric and always use the ‘right’ needle. 

Use what you have,  use what you need, use what works. Make not having the ‘right’ colour an asset.  This is a tree with only one green, the variations give it life.

 

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Your tension must be perfect. Either the threads should cross within the fabric or ideally just below for freehand machining. Looping is very very naughty.

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Nah . You sew with 2 threads so why not use both of them?  It can be fun to let the bobbin thread show to give little picks of added colour or tone.,  pull loops through to the surface – get more texture and volume out of that row of stitching..  I am not making seams, there is not going to be that sudden draught  as you sit down too quickly.

Rule three

Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.  Edges must be neat and all ends sewn in.

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Nope. Surfaces are fun. Okay, sewing through a dense jungle can pose problems but there are always ways and means, from the excellent kebab stick to tissue paper.

Rule four.

Never give up.

Do. Don’t be precious. Let go.

Scissors can be a creative tool. Sometimes the premise is wrong  so putting more and more time into a piece will never work.  Chop it, cannibalise it, use it in another way. Don’t let it hang like a millstone.     This was  one – never happy with it, with the soggy blob of a focal point, now it is in two,   much, much better. machine-emroidery-fran-brammerWill look even better with proper framing

 

landscape with coats

This is it.

Spot the handstitching, echoing the  original crewel work. Spot the pink and  high lustre green/gold. I am still not sure that this is right yet, some days it reads as a landscape, others it is a mish mash, others it is enigmatic and intriguing.  Not all of the ideas have worked as planned, or even worked as not planned, but do they have mileage? Even the photography has improved a bit!P1170626

The writing  has lost it’s sense of purpose, along with most of its legibility – merging into the other lines and patterns , only fragments come into focus. Inclination is to do more, tried whipping with slight contrast colour, but would rather get it right first time.

The long stitch towards the horizon is done with machine thread, 30 or 40 wt,  so is too thin  to cover the fabric. It is much more delicate looking than the areas machine stitched. The differences are fun and add to the vocabulary.  As for using the crewel patterns – maybe they read as too random but in places they do mimic the field and ridge patterns

I have another about to begin-…… hmm……… may be less colour, may be tighter …..

Do not ask and gallery page.

do not askThis is the do not ask.  The posh term is responding intuitively and instinctively  to a walk  along Horse and Holmdale and then along some of the tops.  It feels more like fishing at the moment. There are elements I want to include- the warmth, the light, the textures, the stillness, but not  any specific picture of one place.  It is more a response to the fabrics chosen  at present, I will have to be more brutal to bend it to my will!  Need to be braver, or dafter.

So far I have made apple and blackberry crumble, dismembered various buddleia, etc, etc. Also experimented with adding an informal gallery page to the blog site….. please take a look. Good idea or not worth it?

This is in a state of undone and pending. How it will end up I do not know, so please don’t ask.

 

Lustres

Well I have used the Wonderfil, and I have not used Wonderfil. Was there a real difference? Did the work suddenly shine seductively in the afternoon sunlight? Was the work enhanced?

 

June BarleyI took a selection to an art event at Sledmere House on Sunday, set it all out and waited. And waited. And waited. Lots of very flattering  comments, ego definitely swelled, lots of interest, some very knowledgeable visitors and plenty of enthusiasm.  But no one  rushed impetuously across the room crying ” ooooh what a lovely lustre! ”

Folk wanted to  understand how the images were  built, and insisted on telling me how long they must have taken, but most common was are they really stitched? Not actually asked  why? but…..

So  either they were so well used and integrated that they looked so right that comment was not necessary, or, they had sunk without trace.  I am finding this difficult to judge. I am still finding the degree of lustre stops me seeing the colours with clarity. See what I mean? thread painting lustreThis should be zinging with acidy greens, yellows, pale purple.  Spot the difference between this and the mostly cotton threads on this one-Moor Path thread painting I think I will have to find a different approach to using these threads.  Umm.

At the moment I am thinking of them as an indulgence, and a greedy one . I need them to be in the spool box, potential and limitations understood, waiting to be used.

So thought shift – how about this as a start point?  As part of the sunlight in the garden series? Use them for the light, contrast against the deeper colours of the matt threads working the shadows. Probably need a warm, strong ground colour to lift them. Oh er, that could be this week sorted then!

ouch

The Silver Birch fights back!

first sketch for the new silver birch embroideryJoy! From this to this!

I don’t feel any responsibility for it now. It can stand on its own and fight its own battles.hanging birch

 

Ok, so it may not be totally finished, as in finished, but I have been cutting those creative apron strings. In cycling terms it is off the stabilisers  and is pedalling away.

The last few stages are always the worst – there is more to lose with each decision,  but it is now in the last fester stage  of blocking, stretching and framing and the occasional tweak. One of the very worst is sorting the backing fabric – this stayed determinedly bright white so an attack of tea and dye took place!(Yep, an English Summer – outside in the rain) This can affect how the colours work against each other, I’d been judging and building against a white ground – and now it isn’t…….

 

7.30 this morning – want to get this done.

9/10s early there. Still WIP.

9/10s

Things to consider – the “white” trunk. Too short, too white (it is pale blue and grey, but it was a rayon thread so shows up cleaner and brighter than the matt finishes around it). Have already extended the trunk into the canopy but more required upwards and downwards.  Did too many height extensions on the tree – looks like Mr Whippy (soft icecream  before you get too excited) .  Not sure how it starts and finishes – I had wanted to leave the margins emptier and build the complexity toward the centre, just plain got carried away. Do I deconstruct or leave – do the margins look   deliberate or not? Asking the question is enough of a warning.

And so this it….. at the moment, perched in the garden while I have breakfast…..

nearly there......current final birch

And sorted.  single line suggestions for the cow parsley foliage, more density on their heads, grew the tree trunk, added more rayon to the tree top and attacked the ground line with the dread tweezers.

Hmmm.

Now the path looks stilted and “neat”. Tree looks like taking off,  cow parsley leaves have disappeared.

It will look different depending on the light. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

  May never win.

How about reducing the size? or switching to larger stretcher? or just having some more toast….

It is much denser than last year’s work, why?  There is much more  of the worked textures but without that cavalier attitude to colour – is it less or is it just refined and redirected?  This feels heavy?  heavy can be fine, lunpen or clumsy is not. Is this just because it was later in the day and also later in the year? I do find mid summer woods oppressive.

More fester required!