It has been a while since I posted anything but I have completed 2 units in this time. Both units entail working on canvas and I had enough canvas on the frame to complete more than one unit so, as I have to sew the canvas onto the frame I thought I would save myself some time.
What type of frame is best I wonder? When I bought this one it was the only one on offer in my local craft shop but I have read about others on -line which get mixed reviews so I am looking for recommendations!
Log book v sketch book.
It doesn’t do to leave things for too long or you forget the nitty-gritty of what you were doing. You might think this would be the case for unit 6 given the time it has taken me to get here but you would be wrong! (Smug smile on my face!). I keep a log book, separate from my sketch book. Some people get a bit confused with sketch books and log books. It is simple really, it is more like a diary than a sketch book although you can of course keep sketches in it too although I use it more as an ‘after the event’ rather than planning for the event type book which is more what a sketch book tends to be. Any research or interesting facts and to do lists go in here too. This works for me but may not be how everyone works. Any other methods out there?
Ok enough of rambling on, and get down to the nitty gritty…..where is the log book?
This exercise required the use of only one stitch but in a variety of yarns. As you can see from the photograph above I was able to find a nice collection of materials to use in a variety of purple hues including embroidery cotton and silk threads, ribbons, crewel and tapestry wool as well as 4 ply and double knitting wool.
When I was learning a variety of stitches in unit 5 I marked the stitches I enjoyed and found interesting with *. I listed these stitches and selected my favourite from this list. I was very pleased with my cleverness here as I suffer from indecision and felt if I had to choose from tons of stitches I would still be sitting in a state of indecision. Some things are harder than selecting that night out’s outfit!
I initially decided to do Rhodes Stitch but just like getting ready to go on a night out I changed my mind at the last minute! I then went with Chequer stitch.
Starting from the top left hand side I used 4 ply wool. This is a delicate, variegated wool with a lovely flecking of rusty colours through it. It was great to work with and has a misty, delicate finish to it. Moving along the top I used ribbon as a contrast to the 4 ply. This was the first time I had sewn with ribbon and at first I found it a bit tricky controlling the twisting of it as it was pulled through the weaving but this improved with practise. Of course the twisting could add another dimension to the overall effect and could also be manipulated to do so but I wanted it to be smooth and shiny! Here I liked the longer stitches better than the shorter ones as I think they show the qualities of the ribbon better. The overlapping edges create interesting lines which could be useful on large areas of stone. This is not to say the short stitches are not useful and have their own linier quality.
Moving down and back to the left hand side (LHS) I used some tapestry wool. This worked well at covering the canvas as some of the other materials leave gaps between threads where the white canvas shows through. I liked the density of the wool and the way it moved well through the canvas. The long stitches are prominently raised in comparison to the short stitches giving a nice contrasting textural effect. Beside this I used crewel wool which again was a new experience for me. You can clearly see the difference between this and the tapestry wool. It is a much finer yarn and I felt the pattern of the stitch was lost in this colour. The darker colour underneath this was done using crewel wool too but given the effect of one strand of this I doubled it up.The pattern comes over a bit better because of this but not by much. If I was using this again, depending on the effect I wanted I would consider blending strands with other materials or keeping it for a different stitch.
Continuing along we come to a patch of what I can only describe as a hairy monstrosity! Like some people I have encountered in life, it was difficult to work with! (Thankfully I no longer work with them!). You can’t really tell from the jungle scene but I started covering squares of 4×4 holes. I thought it might be easier to use this wool over a larger area of 8×8 holes but really it made no difference. I finished off with shorter stitches but hated using it so much I did not complete the square. It might be ok for knitting scarves or rugs but I would not be in a rush to use this for a tapestry stitch. Despite my displeasure at this yarn it was a great and valuable experience. I have learned hairy stuff is not so good on canvas!
This time working from what you will see as the right hand side I did the next block of stitches using 6 strands of embroidery thread and the pattern moves vertically down rather than across the canvas. The embroidery thread was easy to work with, covered the canvas well and showed the different textures of the pattern nicely. It was a pleasing and relaxing experience after the trauma of the hairy monstrosity!
Moving along again into the middle of the last row we have two different types of yarn but the colours were so close I was amazed by this! The RHS is an acrylic wool whereas the LHS is tapestry wool. I wanted to go large this time to see the effect of doing this and it produced a very effective result. I like shiny , glittery things and have this great shimmery embroidery thread which is just that. When I did the first top block and the one underneath it, of the pattern I used the shimmering thread (two strands) and yarn together. This created a random pattern of lines over the yarn and reminded me of stones found on the beach or on hill walks. It had a very natural look to it which I liked.
The same threads were used underneath but with only one strand of shimmer. This time I sewed the yarn on it’s own first and went over this with the shimmering thread. This gave a slightly different effect in that it was more controlled and neat. I liked this too, perhaps it would be more appropriate for emulating man-made materials. It would also be interesting to have left the short stitch blocks without the shimmering thread to add greater contrasts in the pattern.
Still in combination mode, I finished off this piece combining the 4 ply wool, which I was itching to sew with again,with a very pale pink wool I had. This combination was okay but nothing great or exciting. It took away from the magic of the 4 ply wool and the delicacy of the colours and the overall pattern became flattened which I did not like as I was interested in the contrasting textural effects of this stitch.
And there’s more…
I had more threads and ribbons I wanted to try so I did another smaller sampler using some of these. I also changed the stitch to star stitch which isn’t even on my ‘clever thing to do’ list!!
This sample shows from top LHS the 4 ply and pink combination again. This time they work nicely together. Next the 4 ply has been doubled to create a bulkier, more raised star. There then follows a square of acrylic wool stars. I don’t think this yarn is as successful in this stitch as the strands don’t seem to hold together as well.
Moving on to the middle row I used embroidery thread (6 strands) for three of the stars finishing with a star of 3 strands. I always enjoy using this material and it works well for this stitch. I then combined a dark purple crewel wool with a lively silky thread and varied the sizes of the stars. This looks great and would look even better over a background of smaller light filling stitches. More crewel threads follow but have been doubled. The smaller star here has been sewn over twice to raise it a bit.
Back to the LHS and I had a stroke of genius! I was looking for a patterned ribbon and came across a broad spotty ribbon. It was too wide for the canvas but I cut it into narrow strips. I let it turn naturally so that the appearance of the spots was random in both the larger and small stars. The block of six stars in the palest colour creates a nice textured patch. This could be further developed into individual stones by filling in around each star with a simple filling stitch of some sort.
Not one to miss a chance to use a glittery thread I filled in those little spaces on both sides with some pinkish embroidery thread and a strand of metallic machine thread . If the sun shone on stone stitched with this it would be very eye-catching.
I think star stitch could be very useful as a stitch used as part of the design for a wall used over other stitches but not on it’s own as it looks more like a garden or posy of flowers! The chequer stitch would work well on it’s own for individual stones, as a background stitch to be worked into (depending on the threads used and the overall effect required) and for a man-made wall design where stones tend to be regular in shape.
This ends my, and the cat’s, journey in using one stitch and a variety of threads. (Although it was 2 stitches!)
Coming soon….Unit 7 :Stitchery from rubbings.