I have been looking forward to doing this unit for ages but it took me an eternity to get started once I finally reached it!
This is an exploration of using threads etc to create a wider variety of colours with what you have available. The trouble was I had so much available I got stitcher’s block! My brain could not find a starting place. Every time I looked at the lovely colours on my wall paintings I could find those lovely colours in my sewing stash too. My brain was unravelling at the thought of having to create what I already had!!
I had to think of a strategy to deal with this dilemma head on. (No pun intended!) I gathered up all the colours I had which were suitable for my wall and hid them from sight! This left totally unsuitable colours! The best ones won… out they came to be drooled over as I pined to use them!
I placed them in rows, heaps, piles, and stacks. I shifted them from one place to another, into and out of boxes, trays and bags. I mixed bundles of cotton threads with wools, I shifted them from side to side, patted, squashed, stroked and fiddled with them but I couldn’t start doing anything with them.
A welcome distraction was a visit from my sister and a few cups of tea and coffee. I felt I could face the stitcher’s block again. The distraction had helped as I was able to make a decision about what I was going to do.
I chose a limited number of threads (5) to work with. I laid them out in the order I was going to use them starting with the reds and working my way through to the bluey, green space dyed thread.
I had planned to mix cotton threads and yarn but after the first mixture of cotton and crewel wool I decided the cotton was better to work with at this time as the threads could be separated and mixed up easily.
As I worked my way down the sample using long armed cross stitch I combined 5 strands with 1, 4 with 2, 3 with 3 etc. every couple of rows. This way the colours changed subtly . This fits perfectly with the remit for this unit. I had changed the colours to slightly different hues and added a lively, more interesting dimension to the colours. I really don’t know why I found this so difficult to start with! It should have been very simple.
I love this piece of work. I was busy sewing my next sample in my lunch break on a drawing and painting course I am doing and a fellow student fell on this piece exclaiming how wonderful it was!
Continuing with embroidery cotton I sewed zig-zag patterns in three different blues including the space dyed blue from the first sample. It was my intention to sew over sections of each colour with hues of another colour in each section.
This looked great and I was reluctant to sew over such a lovely palette of blues. But I had to do it.
As well as strands of red I did sections using a reddish purple and pink.
I followed this with a brighter blue.
As I was sewing the middle blue I noted the colours from the first section would work better on the middle. Once I had finished all three background colours I removed the threads and sewed those colours over the dark blue. They are much more effective here in working with the background colour to alter it.
I wanted the first part to change the tones of the blues to more green so I over sewed with yellows, the middle to resemble purple and lilac tones and the last one to look like vibrant lime greens so I oversewed with greens. I think I was successful in achieving what I set out to do, but I think it could have looked better if I had made some of the zig-zag stitches smaller, altering the density of colour.
For the last sample I wanted to use tapestry wool. I decided to use just three colours using different combinations of these across the sample. I used rice stitch for this work. This has created a sort of lattice work because I combined two colours to create the stitch.
In general I would say the areas with the lighter colours on top make the overall look lighter and the ones with the darker colour on top make the areas look darker.
Now I was on a role I decided to do another sample just for fun! I couldn’t start and now I can’t stop. I may frame these too!
Coming next….a design exercise using papers.