My embroidery and creative stitching experiences.

Design development based on a 6 point star.

Design Sheet A

Some interesting shapes emerging from negative spaces and using distorted shapes.

At last I am on Chapter 3.Various things have hindered my progress with the course at the moment but I am hoping to get back on track and am looking forward to more design and experiment work.

For  design sheet A I chose to use mainly gold papers on a blue background. A few of these shapes look silver on here but they were cut from a light gold patterned paper. I chose a 6 point star as my design motif.

i. Counterchange. (Top left)

I used a simple 6 point star shape for this. This was an easy, basic design and a good start to the chapter!

ii Positive and negative. (Top right)

This was a tiny bit more challenging and I got hooked on playing around with positioning the stars. I decided to show them in a square  shape and rhombus  shape. The squared stars have formed an interesting cross pattern in the centre. The rhombus shape has split the negative shapes down into separate diamonds. The change in the negative pattern is quite dramatic. I couldn’t help it I had to see what I could do with more stars. I printed off some star shapes I created on my lap-top so that they would all be more regular in shape and size, to use as templates before sticking the real thing down.

  Experimenting with negative patterns using more than 4 stars.    Experimenting with negative patterns using more than 4 stars.   Experimenting with negative patterns using more than 4 stars.

The first image here looks like a flower in the centre and I think the middle looks like a stylised person. Not so sure how to describe the last one, it could be interpreted lots of different ways!

iii symmetry (Middle left)

My star has 2 lines of symmetry. the top and bottom halves are symmetrical and the left and right sides are symmetrical. I have shown one line of symmetry on the left by halving the star and leaving a gap between each side. I then made another and cut it into four to show both horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry.

iv Asymmetry (Middle right)

It was quite difficult to design a star without the lines of symmetry! My initial drawing still had 1 line of symmetry down the centre. I should have shown this in the sample!) so I had to go back to the drawing board and make the distortions even greater. This created a very strange star shape!

v &vi Distortion (Bottom left)

I really found this more difficult than I expected! Perhaps I should have used larger shapes than I was. Even the tights method (goodbye supporters!) didn’t help so I apologise for the lack of imagination and ability here. I think when I did this I was coming down with something because looking at it now I am wondering how I managed to make a star inside a diamond shape look so bad! I can’t explain how it would fit! More apologies! The circle is probably more acceptable but I am not totally convinced!  The triangle one is a bit more convincing. (just a bit!)

vii Repeat pattern (bottom right)

It had to be the triangle shape for this exercise given the others weren’t very successful! Having said that I liked the design created by the repeated shapes. Design a) or the top design, shows the outline of each shape. The positioning of the points above or bellow each other gives the design a slight rise and fall.  This can be seen more obviously in the bottom sample where I have used the top design as a template and not included the individual outlines. It reminded me of barbed wire!

Design Sheet B

scale, border and pattern.Stars woven and linked together to create new design.I found I could not decide how I should do vi, so I have included a variety of attempts!

I used  purples and gold papers for the following designs. Because my shapes were quite big I had to display them over three design sheets.

Starting with the first sheet on the left…

i Scale. (Top left)

I used a square negative for this design. I placed the smaller centre star so that each point would be between the points of the larger star and not in line with them as in sample a).  Sample b) shows a large star over a circular negative from a smaller star design. Although this is quite a pleasing design I wanted to keep more of the star qualities of both shapes so opted for the one shown above.

a)                                          b)

small star centred in negative space from a larger star within a rectangle.   Large star and negative from small star in a circle.

Before I did this one I experimented with other left over negative shapes. Unfortunately one piece went missing from a hexagonal design! I now digress a little from the designing side of things! I had that shape in my hand ! I put them all out on the table, I even counted to make sure I had six! I turned away for some reason and looked back and it was gone!! I could not believe my eyes! There were no cats around either so they were not the culprits. A frantic search ensued but it was like hunting for a needle in a haystack! As you can see it was time to tidy up anyway as the bits of paper soon mount up. Still how frustrating was this! It never turned up either. It is probably tucked under the teaspoon fairy’s jumper!

A bit is missing!

I thought the negative and hexagonal shape would create an interesting design but guess what…!

Time to tidy up!

Looking for a needle in a haystack!

ii)Pattern (Bottom right).

It does get a bit monotonous cutting out hundreds of shapes even for me! But as you can see I used the same shapes over and over to experiment before making a final decision and I photographed  as I went along so that I had a record of what I had done otherwise I would have gone round in circles. (Pardon the  pun!)

Experiment with colour and pattern using large and small stars. Experiment with colour and pattern using large and small stars. Experiment with colour and pattern using large and small stars.

The first and third designs are pleasing especially the first . The position of the small stars create nice negative shapes too. I felt the dark stars in the middle sample overpowered the large paler star and I did not like the over all look of this pattern. The first and last samples don’t actually have touching sides so I modified the position of the small stars in the middle one and changed them to the same colour as the large star. It looks ok but would have looked better against the gold background if they had been darker.

iii) Border and corner. (middle, left to right).

Again I did a few experiments with the stars. I made the centre star darker so that the corner piece would be obvious. In order to make the border manageable I placed the points touching to the left( side) and right (above) . This formed a diamond shape. The stars then joined at the sides. If this pattern was to continue it would gradually move out at a curve. The three stars on each side have a higher middle star and lower outer stars so the next star would sit higher and the next lower etc.There are many other options too.

An alternative layout of stars to create a corner.  Alternative positioning of stars to create a corner.  Alternative positioning of stars to create a corner.

iv)Linking border (end sheet/image above,top left)

I didn’t have any problems with this task but I decided to mount it on another sheet of paper as I did not like the colour combination in the pattern sample.

I tried to create  consistent shapes inside and outside the chain of stars. The points meet in a diamond shape around the outside. It was more difficult to keep the inner shapes the same because of the slight variation in size and space inside the star .

v)Linking 2 Different shapes.

The top star should still be in the centre ! Tsk! I didn't think this one through obviously! This is what it should look like. All I needed to do was cut a small triangle shape from each point.Large and small stars are atttched to each other. This is an alternative way to look at them.

Centre cut out ,  centre in place again,  all linked together!

My initial plan was to try weaving two stars together and then chaining a few together. I tried weaving smaller stars into larger ones through horizontal lines cut into a solid star but it looked clumsy and the star shapes were not clear, it was not a great idea after all! However I experimented with other ways of weaving one through another and came up with the design displayed in the middle (above).  When it came to cutting out areas to link stars together I completely cut  the centre out! (left image above). I really do not know what I was thinking! (still suffering from the cold at this point, so my brain was a bit addled I think!) I only needed to cut little triangles out from the tips of each point. I snipped them off the centre before I then sellotaped the centre back into place. I did learn from this mistake though as I got the next two right.  I wanted to keep the smaller stars as intact as possible so I trimmed away as little as I could when creating the gap for the linking arms.

The centre star is slightly different in design from the two outer stars. The small stars are all the same size and made from the same paper . The larger stars are all the same size but different colours (although the first and last are similar).

This chain of stars looks like a necklace to me, especially when displayed in a curve as in the Design Sheet B above. I also looked at it vertically where it resembles a hanging Christmas decoration.

vi) Old and new shape.

I know I must seem very thick but I really couldn’t get to grips with this one! Felt very confused!

So I have done what I always do when in doubt…do lots and hope you hit on the right one!

IMG_1403  IMG_1406

My first attempts used the same shape on both sides so I did not end up with a new shape just the same one but with marks of the original drawing on the right side. I outlined these in gold. I know this can’t be right as there is not a new shape! The cat could not help either!

Next I drew the same shape on the same side, but in different positions and cut a new shape from that. This could not be right either as I had not used the other side! (But I did get another shape!)  Ho hum, tried the original method, methodically following instructions carefully! Doh… still no joy!


I then thought I would introduce a different shape.I cut out a small star and stuck it on to the square. I then drew the new shape on the back and cut this out. I still was not convinced I was doing the right thing. ( I am sure you are scratching your head thinking ‘eh! how can she be so daft! lol)

I decided a larger square that might help ( I am also thinking I could laugh or cry!). You can see the results of  using the larger square above. It looks quite pretty but I know I have missed something!

Final attempt was tried in a flash of inspiration as I was writing this so it is not on the official Sheet B.


Still not convinced I have this right but I need to move on and my hair is quite thin as it is, so I am not going to pull it out anymore!

Design Sheet C

More complex patterns and shapes from original designs.The designs in this unit were fiddly at times but not nearly as difficult for me to comprehend, so were much more fun to do.

i)Complex Counterchange.

I started out with a very simple counterchange. A> Each quarter of star sat on a square of the opposite colour. I then made a more complex version of this by dividing the square into alternating , stripes of colours. B>I repeated this exercise but this time I used the outline of a star over opposite  square colours. I again added strips of colour around the outside of the star. They are similar but different!

ii) Divide and Separate.

An indigo star was quartered and stuck onto a gold background.

iii) – iv) Pattern with a new design unit.

iii) On the right hand side I have shown the unit I used to make the following patterns. Before I chose this unit I tried several other pieces cut from the 2nd counterchange design. I  did a selection of drawings for different pieces and a variety of patterns. Non of them really looked great, so it had to be the same as in the sample sheet. It was a shape I had admired earlier  but was trying to avoid until I had explored other options in an effort to be original. My unit may not be original but I am hoping there is some level of originality in the patterns I created with it.

 IMG_1423 IMG_1421 IMG_1420

Examples of tying out other units.

I got so carried away with placing the unit side by side I forgot to do iii) an interlocking method. However I did do it later but it is not on the  actual sheet, so for the moment I will progress to…

iv) Edge to Edge repeats.


Practise piece

This sample almost fitted together at the end. Perhaps with more accurate drawing and cutting it would have. This design shows yellow colours back to back followed by  blues back to back in a repeating pattern all round.  The finished piece in the centre of design sheet C is very similar but uses alternate yellow and blue shapes. It looks like a collar or heavy necklace. I can just imagine it in real gold and some other precious metal draped around Cleopatra’s neck! There is another example of edge to edge patterns on the bottom right hand side. The shapes have been rotated and the negative spaces reflect the shape of the star.

V) Symmetrical design.

Example A shows the shapes in symmetry although the colours are not. This was mounted on to printed paper. I also included a non-symmetrical design. This is more like a tessellation. Again the shapes were mounted on printed paper.

Interlocking and Overlapping Designs


Above we have samples of interlocking designs on printed backgrounds. The way they have been positioned has shown two different negative spaces. Next is the overlapping design missing from iii)! I overlapped and slotted the units together in the first sample and laid them over each other showing a little of the negative space in each one in the second sample.

This unit has taught me  to read instructions carefully, to plan carefully, and do lots of experimenting before settling on your last piece.

I am looking forward to the next unit now and hopefully soon I willl be cutting and sewing fabric!


Comments on: "Dist.Stitch 3. module 1. Chapter 3." (1)

  1. Elaine, you have been so inventive in your paper exercises and it looks like you and your cat had fun doing them, even though you did have a nasty cold. Hope you are feeling better now. I love your colours too.

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