The Finished article? Maybe not!
After 3 preliminary sketches I have begun my woven wall sample but it is not really going well, I think it is boring looking! I usually work by first looking at and thinking about different stitches and how I can use them, then baring in mind the ideas I have in my head and on paper, I work on the final piece quite spontaneously, developing my ideas as I go. I have spent much more time planning and experimenting before beginning anything and perhaps this has been my downfall. Over-thinking! Should I continue in the hope that it will get better? Yes or no?
If yes then …
What could I do to make it better?
Take away the stitches along the edges of the stitched areas? Add embellishments and/or use a greater variety of yarns etc?
Or no then…
What would I do differently?
Go back to the beginning? Noooooo!
Some of the above and/or use a different support material? Plan less or more? Leave gaps between stitched areas and/or sew over stitched areas?
Playing with ideas.
As I ponder these questions I am leaning towards starting again, and thinking about what I could do differently. Perhaps a change of background colour would help.
I have been busy dying some of the open weave fabric using Berol, Setacolour and Dylon fabric paints. Some pieces were just big enough to use as experiments and others I cut to a workable size. I have used approximately A5 for the above sample and that is about the only thing that will not change!
I am not sure how or even if, I am going to use any of these but I may come up with something!
Perhaps I should leave gaps between each section too?
Still playing around with ideas.
I have tried stitching into a black dyed sample in a more free and spontaneous way rather than in a carefully planned way. The downfall here is the dye is coming off the fabric on to the threads and making them look dull and dirty! This had to go in the bin!
After all this I decided to complete the original sample I started! I eat my words…not a lot has changed!
The finished article!
Resolved Sample 1.
I feel happier with this sample now than I did earlier. After looking at it critically and thinking about how to improve it I felt it was worth continuing with.
I took out the border stitches I had put in around various sections because they detracted from the stitching. I also changed the amount of yellow Bargello stitched work I had. It was dominating the picture as it was the largest area I had on the sample. I replaced this with the Green Tangles design in Cretan stitch which took this design across the whole sample. Looking at it now I think it would have improved it even more if I had extended the turquoise Dots design from the other side of the Yellow Streaks design towards the red diagonal stripes too.
In most areas I had to mix threads and yarns to achieve the effects I wanted. This can be seen in the following designs. Orange Stripes (top) , Lilac Curves (centre, right) Green Tangles (bottom left) and Red Diagonals (bottom right). Yarns and threads were also mixed in Pale Stripes (top right) but I think this is less obvious in this design.
In Orange Stripes and Lilac Curves I wanted a gradual change in colour in the background which space dyed threads could achieve. Because I did not have these, I had to change the colours myself by gradually changing the mix of threads from pale to darker or brighter as appropriate. Doing this myself rather than using space dyed threads gave me more control over the changes in colour.
In Tangles I wanted a pale shade of green which I did not have so I mixed green and yellow for the background stitches and for Red Diagonals I wanted bold bands of colours under the red.
In this sample I have used a lot of cotton threads because I find them easy to use in stitching and in combining threads but I have tried to vary the materials used too.
In Pale Stripes (top right) I have used stranded cotton, crewel wool and satin ribbon. For Green Tangles I used ribbon and stranded cotton. In my original sample I used tapestry yarn but the ribbon was a better colour and I preferred the ‘marks’ it made. I also used ribbon in the Lilac Curves but I had to cut this ribbon into strips causing a fibrous edge which I think works well in this design.
Towards the top and centre there are two blue designs. Crossed Blues and Blue Swirls. For Blue Swirls I used tapestry wool for the background and doubled it to give height to the design. This was raised even more by the back-stitch wheels sewn over this. I used only stranded cotton (4 strands and 2 strands) for the crossed Blues to keep it flat creating a contrast in depth between these two designs and the other surrounding designs.
As I said at the beginning of this section I am happier with this than I was but I think it is too neat and this means it lacks exciting edges and shapes.
However I did find an exciting sample when I scanned the wrong side!
Resolved Sample 2.
This sample should be taken from the same area as the 1st sample. I can only apologise for not really doing this! Although it does have similarities. I tried to include the same designs and position them in similar places. Given I was not entirely happy with the first one I really wanted to explore a different format and change the overall design. I wanted to avoid repeating my earlier mistakes.
I really enjoyed designing and weaving the papers at the beginning of this unit. I decided I would weave another smaller sample and attach this to the purple dyed canvas I made earlier. This gave me textures and shapes which were like an interesting and exciting template to work with. My enthusiasm had returned and I was fired up with ideas for this sample.
Starting at the bottom of this sample and looking at the horizontal designs, I used the fibres in the paper to dictate the stitching. I used 1 strand of thread and over-sewed some , not all, of the fibres in the paper. I wanted to have subtle contrasts in the lines here to keep it natural looking. I moved up to the Lilac Swirls design. Just as I did in the first resolved sample I used stranded cotton and ribbon. I over-sewed the ribbon into place so that I could follow the curves I had made without creating big holes through the delicate paper underneath. I added some long dark blue beads in clusters or singly along the design too, to add interest. Next I came to the turquoise Dots design. I used a series of French Knots across the paper. I varied the size of these and added some in clusters to cover larger dots. I also mixed the colour of the threads in some of these. The paper has little silver dots in it. I tried to enhance these by stitching over them with silver thread but I did not think this was very effective so I added small beads over or near the threads. This was a better reflection of the paper surface. The Blue Swirls design came next. I used tapestry wool for the curves and just like the ribbon in the lilac design I over-sewed the wool so that I did not create big holes in the paper.I mixed two hues of blue for the swirls which I stitched in a loosely sort of back-stitch wheel! Again I did not want to cover all the marks and lines as I liked the contrast between the stitched and unstitched areas.
Moving on to the vertical designs and the Red Diagonals, I sewed some long-legged stitches in dark Blue for the background then I over-stitched yellow ribbon into place. In the original design I chain stitched red cotton thread over the tapestry yarn but I did not think this would be as successful on the paper. I really need to see exactly where the needle is going for this stitch and as the paper covers the canvas this is not possible. There is also the risk of causing a lot of damage to the paper as the stitches are small and close together. I thought about over-sewing red satin ribbon over the yellow ribbon as this would be relatively safe and easy to do but this would create a very flat surface so I risked tearing the paper using wool and doing (or trying to do!) Diagonal Tent stitch in diagonal lines over the ribbon and thread.
It did create holes here and there as I had to use a larger needle but it adds roughness to the texture of the paper so it is not a total disaster!
The next vertical paper is a design that was not used in the first resolved sample but it was the first paper sample I made. It is a really fine mulberry paper which you can see through in places. When I first painted this I thought it was too delicate to be of any use but it was great to work with here. I called this design Orange Circles.(I really should have called it Orange and Yellow Circles!). I Used a deep yellow tapestry yarn and a strand of red metallic sewing machine thread for the orange spots. I did these in Rococo Stitch which looks more raised than the swirls which I did in crewel yarn using upright stitches.
The Lilac Swirl design is next so I will move on to the last one which is the Green Tangles design. I used the marks on the paper to guide the Cretan Stitches which I did using stranded cotton. On reflection I could have combined the dark green cotton with dark blue to create a darker, bluer green which would have been closer to the dark coloured marks.
I think the second piece is much more exciting and interesting than the first. I did not over-think this one and responded to the paper as well as the marks on it in a semi planned but spontaneous way too.
The end of the Embroidery Taster Module! ;o( , The beginning of my next stitching adventures :o).
Well here we are at the end of this course, but there will be more as I do intend continuing with my stitchery and I have another idea for those dyed samples I made earlier so if you are following this blog (and I am really flattered that you are, thank you!) keep coming back.
If you are interested in this great little course or more advanced stitching visit Distantstitch.co.uk. That’s where I am off to now to share my work with my lovely tutor Sian Martin.