My embroidery and creative stitching experiences.


These are my tonal columns  using 4 different papers. I have occasionally shown the same image vertically and horizontally (marked as a, and b.), because I am fascinated by the difference to the eye and imagination this makes. Also some designs naturally lend themselves better to one format or the other and others conform well to both.

1. a, b.

IMG_5745 IMG_5746

Here I have used the same papers but arranged them in a different way.

2. a, b.

IMG_5742 IMG_5743

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 Not what it seams?  Seams it is!



1. Squares of fabric overlapped then sewn between seams, cut and frayed on the vertical line.



2. The other side of sample 1 shows shorter ends that have been frayed along the horizontal edge.



3. A strip of fabric has been loosely rolled up ad sewn between the seam.



4. Trying to create 3D decoration, 2 layers of fabric strips were spaced and sewn in close to the edge of the seam.



5. The other side of 4. I had more success with fabric standing up because of  longer lengths and the support of  the raw seams.



6. Loops of tufty  yarn have been sewn between two strips of fabric. The top fabric strip has been folded over and sewn down so that loops are held down by a broad strip of fabric.  Contrasting fabric would look good here too.



7.thin strips of the same fabric were sewn onto cloth in haphazard directions. The fabric has then ben cut in half and loose pieces sewn between the seams.



8. Using contrasting materials here, fabric strips have been laid between seams before sewing together.  The finished piece has then been cut into smaller strips and sewn together along the short sides. Strips were sewn down as they (mostly) naturally lay.



9. White ribbon was placed ,folded between seams then stitched over so that the ribbon alternates down sides of seams. Lines of black thread were sewn over the rest of the fabric to add continuity to design and reduce the ‘glaring’ of white ribbon!



10. Whorls of yarn were stitched between seams giving a 3D look.

IMG_5721 IMG_5723


11. This started life as my ‘aha’ sample mentioned in the previous publication. The idea was to put the twisted loops used in 12. below between the seams. However after lots of fiddling about, unpicking seams and never feeling happy with the look I put the loops to one side for another sample . I was not happy because the pattern on the fabric was light and delicate. I felt something lighter and  lacier  would work better so I crocheted the centre piece and added crocheted  ‘tails’ to one side. I left the other side bare so that you can see the lines I have referred to. It started off reminding me of rippling water, now it reminds me of a skeleton rib cage!



12. Was just playing around with the loops from 11. 1st two just tightly twirled, 2nd two had a strip of fluffy yarn twisted into them. 3rd pair started off the same as 2nd two but were then wrapped over in the fluffy yarn. They were sewn on the diagonal for a change. I added cotton threads above this which were cut short and rubbed to separate the threads. I was going to add another row of something which I had not really thought through at that point but quite liked the creases I had made in folding the fabric to see where I would cut it, so didn’t do anything else!


Not what it seams? Not seams, trims!


I started this chapter by skipping the seams part as I felt really lacking in inspiration or imagination.

However working through the trimmings etc helped me over this hump and it seems I can seam seams after all!


Each photograph shows a variety of samples which are each numbered according to the order in which they have been made. (I hope you can see the numbers well enough, I ran out of black pens, which seems incredible as I have a bit of an obsession for pens and mechanical pencils!  A bit like shoes, I am always on the look out for the perfect fit!).

Lot no. 1 – 5.

Trims 1



1. I layered strips of fabric using straight stitch  horizontally, spaced about 1cm apart and leaving tails of thread at the end.  There are many possibilities  for variations of this simple sample e.g. adding more strips of white stitching, adding alternate coloured threads, using different kinds of thread or using wavy lines are a few that spring to mind.

2. Here I changed the bobbin to one filled with embroidery thread and using zigzag stitching both types of thread can be seen on the bottom edge.

3. Similar to 2., except the bobbin thread is on the front of the sample. The strands from the start of each line of stitching have been folded down and sewn over to hold in place.  As an extension to this I could also have separated the strands of embroidery thread.

It does say in the notes to make ‘interesting’ samples. As my creative juices brewed with the help of the above samples (which are okay but not bursting with imagination!), I had one of those ‘aha’ moments and made the following two samples.

4. I layered lots of threads between pieces of bondaweb and ironed them together. I then pulled away at the treads and edges. I sewed a layer of this over the front of black cotton and another layer behind which hangs below the cotton.

5. I sewed the bondaweb sample over black cotton topped this with a strip of white cotton and sewed over everything using a free-motion foot and black quilting thread.

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Chapter 7 continued.

 Seminole Method

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Traditional Piecing Methods.

The first method used in this chapter is the ‘Log Cabin ‘ method. Traditionally cloth was sewn around a square, usually but not always, in the centre.

I made a few of the samples shown on page 30 of the course notes. After many attempts at sample 7 (sample 8 in the unit notes) and much cutting and sticking I gave up on making a sample until I did a bit of research on how to do it! Eventually I came up with something. It is one of those things I can do without thinking about it but when I had to do it logically I couldn’t.

I have pinned a few samples of this one onto my Pinterest board ‘Things I’d like to make’ for future reference.

I went on to make the samples up in cloth. I am displaying the matching work together.


IMG_0119 IMG_0129


IMG_0124  IMG_0133


IMG_0114  IMG_0137


IMG_0114  IMG_0139


IMG_0110  IMG_0142


IMG_0107  IMG_0143


IMG_0105  IMG_0146


IMG_0102  IMG_0148


I made a mistake on this fabric sample (although it could be an alternative take on the original plan). I’m not telling where it is though, perhaps you can spot it!

I enjoyed this ‘log cabin experience’ which has extended my knowledge of quilting techniques. Up until now I had only ever attempted a very basic block which I am currently turning into a quilt!


       Using Acrylic Paints

The dying process was quite long compared to the process of using acrylic paints however I think I prefer the marks made by dying. There is still merit in using acrylics though. I am a fan of mono-printing and this is what I used most of the time on these samples.

I haven’t done a lot of these as I ran out of cut samples and even worse, acrylic paint. I will continue when I get more paint.

I took some painting and printing tools out to my shed so that I could work without worrying about any mess.

I mixed some acrylic with an extender (specific names and photo!) before rolling it out onto the work surface.

I then brushed in some quick marks zigzag fashion but I was not very happy with these.


I wondered how I could alter them without wasting ink. That’s when I wondered what would happen if I altered the cloth instead. I rubbed over it with a clear oil bar I have and pressed it into the paint. The paint clung to the cloth, especially where the oil was. I later  ironed this off onto grease proof paper.

This sample is the ghost of the previous one with thin scored lines, using a bamboo ink pen, made into the existing ink.


I was thinking about the various patterns I made on paper and the inspiration for them. I started making turtle rings into the paint using a stiff brush.  The ink was thinner round the edges giving a faded effect to the outer sides.


Continuing with the above inspiration I took a different approach to this piece. I dabbed some spots on the paint surface, printed this onto the cloth then added the loops of paint using a thick brush. I think this might have been more effective if the spots had been more defined.


Keeping the pattern and technique simple I made these marks with the edge of the bamboo pen which scraped the paint away quite well. I was thinking about feathers at this point.


Rather than print I decided to paint onto this sample. I have a small fan-shaped brush which worked quite well when pressed onto the cloth.  Although the marks look repetitive the painterly marks change over the sample in tone and shape.


This lead me to thinking about the shibori sample I did in ch.6.(Karamatsu Shibori). I folded the cloth and pressed the fan brush into the cloth so that the marks would show on the other side. This worked quite well at times and left paler areas at others. I had sprayed the cloth to make it damp so perhaps this had some influence on how the paint behaved.


The last sample was also inspired by shibori. I dampened and folded the cloth and made random marks on the  cloth on the top and underside. These show as the darker areas on the left and right.  I could probably have achieved better results through mono-printing or leaving the sample for longer before unfolding it.


I am moving on to chapter 7 now. It is great to feel like I am making some progress with this module and I am looking forward to doing some more sewing although I am having reservations about cutting up all these lovely samples.


The cat’s face says it all, I am so busy with shibori I have no time for him!

After completing the stitching, winding and tying I moved everything out to the summer house, where the dying was taking place.

For this part of chapter 6 I did a bit more research into dying the cotton. There seems to be a lot of different opinions on what is needed and how to mix each solution. Eventually I settled for ………………..Shibori p? (list ing, and process)but I missed out the urea. Further reading on the use of this would suggest for my purposes it was not really necessary.

I did not remove anything from the dye bucket until after the recommended 1 hour.

I had tied a sample piece to a bit of thread and looped it over the side so that I could take it out and see the depth of colour before removing anything else. I was really happy with the results so the exciting bit went ahead.

I took samples out in batches as this was easier to work with in the untying, rinsing and washing process. This meant that some samples were in longer than others but I can’t see that this had any impact on the colour so I have put these samples into technique groups rather than groups of batches of various techniques.

Tritik Shibori



1. Diagonal stitching was used here. Unfortunately there is a tear in the left hand side. I could kick myself, I should have been more careful.

2. This sheet was folded concertina fashion. I drew semi-circles on the folds and sewed around the lines. (p. 45, Karamatsu Shibori, Shibori for Textile Artists by Janice Gunner.)

I only did 2 tritik pieces. I should hang my head in shame but still I find the other methods more exciting! Perhaps I will go back and do more of these later. I do like the results you can get but I am lacking patience these days and the poor results from my experiments have put me off a little.(And to be fair there is a tiny bit of tritik in a sample still to come.)

Tie & Dye






3. I used elastic bands, twine and thread to wind round sections of material. I also stitched some circles with thread. ( Tritik again!). I should have sewn more circles in different areas. Why do these things always occur to me when it is too late. I guess this is called ” learning from your mistakes!”

4. I used garden wire to secure different sized buttons into place. It was easy to wind round and tighten up securely and easier to remove than thread. I appreciate though that the resulting marks will be different.

5. Lots of elastic bands  at about 1 cm apart, wound round bunched and twisted fabric created this  delight.




6 and 7 have both been scrunched up into a ball. 6. was tied up with twine and 7. was held together with elastic bands. They are very similar but on closer inspection the lines on 7. are softer and on 6. they are finer and sharper.




I used little clamps on the folded edges of 8.

Although I did not use clamps on 9. I thought they looked similar enough to group together. I simply folded this the same way as 8. and tied it with garden wire to hold it together. I am delighted with the contrast of light and dark and the shapes in 8. but  the softer quality of marks in 9. is easier on the eye and not quite so dramatic!


IMG_552110.  I wondered (quite late at night!) what would happen if the material was braided, so I tore this A4 sheet of fabric into strips,  braided, folded and tied up with elastic bands. It can only be described as very random and I am not sure how I feel about it apart from liking the lines on the top part!

Arashi Shibori






11. and 12. were on the same pole. However the material could not be pushed down far enough for all of it to be immersed in the dye so I poured the dye over 11. at intervals. If I had made the pole shorter I could have used the cat litter tray but I would still have needed to turn the pole or pour dye over it.

13. I found a cylindrical, wooden candle holder which has a larger diameter than the other pipe! It is also much shorter. I had a piece of cloth, I quickly wrapped it with bits of twine and thread I had lying around and pushed  it into the bucket. It floated! I had to laugh, I thought I had found the answer to all my problems and it bobbed back up at me! However I had another candlestick which I wedged it down with. Revenge is sweet!





Just like 11. and 12. above, I4. and 15. were on the same pole and I had to go through the same process with 14. This one was held in place with elastic bands whereas 15 was wrapped with thread. I love the fine lines created by the thread, especially where the colour is at it’s deepest.

And Finally!

IMG_5524I had a few bits n bobs of calico, cotton and wool lying around so I threw them in the dye for a short while. I did not take the wrapper off the middle of the wool. I was surprised to see spaces where it had been given it was not tightly wrapped.


I thought it would be a good idea o cut the fat quarter of this hexagon material in half and throw part into the dye as it was.

I later began to think perhaps this was not such a good idea and when I removed it from the dye after a short time my fears were vindicated as it was completely black with no pattern showing at all! However after a good wash the pattern reappeared. Whew! The image shows the original cloth on the left and on the right top the right side and on the bottom the wrong side, after dying.

I am so much happier with these results compared to the first experiments. I would definitely use the same formula for mixing again, it was so easy to do and gave really satisfying results quite quickly. The only thing I would say is I would half the quantities for the amount of cloth I used here, as I could easily have dyed twice as much fabric.

I could think more about combining techniques, taking materials out earlier to get a greater range in shade and trying out other materials.

The cat is still waiting for attention but has moved behind me so that I am perched on the edge of my seat. Time for a little cat cuddle!

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