One of the basic requirements for this course is canvas. Naturally I did not have any when I started this unit! Unperturbed I thought I would continue using other sewing materials until I could hunt down the required kind. This does have its disadvantages as I discovered, but I desperately wanted to get on with this unit so I ploughed on using open weave material which is normally used for cross stitch sewing.
I have done quite a lot of cross stitch in the past and was taught some embroidery stitches as a child. As a teenager I used to sew pictures, patterns and names of bands or heart-throbs onto friends school shirts, bags and scarves ( payment was usually a box of malteasers. I didn’t have any business acumen!). I did this using chain stitch or satin stitch so I have a limited repertoire which is very rusty!
Before putting these samples in my sketch book I zig-zag stitched them on to calico to help stop the edges fraying.
Samples of canvas stitches.
In my notes I have marked some comments with * to show stitches I have enjoyed doing and/or would consider using for my wall piece.
In the blue sample I really liked the look of Rhodes stitch and in the red sample I thought the rice stitch looked interesting.
For most of my samples I used embroidery thread varying the amount of strands I used. The disadvantages of not having the proper material to work on were
- I could not use thicker threads and yarns because the holes in the weave of the materials I had were not big enough.
- The effect the stitches had on the material used would be different from its effect on canvas.
- Some of the stitches did not lend themselves well to the material used.
Some stitches are perhaps more suited for certain things e.g. the green sample includes fern stitch (1) and leaf stitch(2) . As their names suggest they would be very good for foliage but I wanted to try as many different stitches as I could and not dismiss any because they might not fit with my particular theme.
For the orange sample I used a very fine type of canvas. It was very flimsy and quite hard to control. The threads would slip under the weave if I pulled too hard and I would have to start again. I liked this collection of stitches but Norwich stitch was the most difficult one so far. I had to draw out the book’s sample chart so that it was larger and I could see where I had to go next. It looks great in the book but I am not so sure about my own. I do like the effect it has and I will try to continue practising it . Perhaps this would be easier on the correct material.
It is a shame I could not buy canvas locally. There are only two retailers within a 20 mile radius of me who have quite a good range of lots of other craft materials but only stocked kits for embroidery and tapestry and have a limited supply of threads and yarns.
After checking out the above shops I had to order from a site on the internet. I gave them a call to see if I could buy smaller quantities as it is quite expensive to buy by the metre. It was only possible to buy metre lengths but I could have two 1/2 metres which were roll ends so I took them and some tapestry wool and crewel wool too. I did not know what crewel wool looked like but it was on sale for 10 for £2.50 so I bought some anyway!
It took a few days to arrive and I had finished all the samples I intended doing but when it did arrive I could not resist making one more sample using the correct material and my new yarns.
I had also been on holiday for a few days before starting this work and found some lovely silky threads in a nice little craft shop in Callander which I could not resist. I wish I had bought more as the colours were beautiful and they felt wonderful. They were slippery customers to use though! 1 and 2 in the sample above were done using tapestry wool. The back stitch wheels were much easier to do in a larger size until I got the hang of them. Also to do a smaller one well would require a finer yarn. I should have tried this in crewel wool.
It was great having the correct material to work on at last. I cut a piece to size and fitted it on to a frame ready for the next unit… Using one colour, one stitch but different yarns etc.