I have not blogged for a while for health reasons but am now trying to pick up where I left off. I had drafted Chapter 3a (and b) a few months ago but did not get round to posting it. It was good to read over it and remind myself how much I enjoy doing this work. Hopefully I can get back to working regularly on my course work.
Tonal Effects in Machine Stitchery.
In order to complete this chapter I wanted to make sure I understood how the top and bottom tensions worked. I spent an hour looking for my “Needlework School” book as recommended. I was beginning to think I had imagined buying it when I came across it hiding in a shopping bag. I swear there are naughty elves in this house! I read the relevant information which I found I have in several other books including the machine manual and the Encyclopaedia of Machine Embroidery!
My machine can do several different kinds of stitches including the basic ones. I wanted to start with a basic stitch until I was more confident sewing and adjusting the width or length of stitch at the same time.
I used a large sheet of white cotton supported by a layer of calico. I marked it off into twelve 4 x 4 inch squares and sewed a border around each square.
I used zigzags to make vertical columns and changed the length of the stitch from 5.0 to 0.2 keeping the width the same all the time.
I used zigzags to make vertical columns and changed the width of the stitch from 7.0 to 0.0 keeping the length the same all the time. I went over this twice as the columns were quite widely spaced and there was less variation in tone to begin with. Going over it improved the change in tone acceptably.
I used a knit stitch next. Keeping the width of stitch at 5.0, I altered the length of the stitch although as I learned, there is not a huge variation here from 1.0 to 2.5. I was getting more confident with changing the length so decided to jazz it up a bit! I did blocks of stitches in an L shape. The blocks got closer together and smaller as I reached the corner. It has created the illusion of distance. There are bits I could tidy up but not bad for a first effort.
This was a stitch similar to a zigzag but broken up into smaller stitches. I varied the length of the stitch but the width stayed the same. This was sewn in random intervals and directions. The darker areas were created by using shorter stitches and it was gone over more too.
A more decorative stitch creating a checker board look was used here. I altered both width and length of stitch as I went along. I started with the shortest and narrowest stitch but the machine did not like this much. It performed better with a slightly bigger stitch. I changed the settings every 2 to 3 rows until I was at the longest and widest settings. An alternative way to create tone would have been to leave wider gaps between rows.
This was a return to knit stitch. This time the length always stayed the same and the width changed from widest to narrowest from top to bottom. I can’t help thinking zebra’s legs here!
This used the same stitch as in 3.4. This time the width of stitch changed and the length stayed the same. From top to bottom the width between each row became wider too.
This was a loopy decorative stitch.Both the width and the length changed from largest to smallest as I travelled towards the centre and grew again approaching the opposite side. I went over the centre with small stitches to add to the change of tone in the centre.
A leaf stitch was used this time. I did a few evenly spaced rows of a small stitch. I made two more layers gradually increasing the size of each stitch until it was at its longest and widest. I varied the spacing of these rows to create darker and lighter areas.
I worked from top to bottom with this decorative stitch changing only the width of stitch so that the pattern was smaller towards the top. I kept each row close together to give a darker look to the shading as the earlier designs had been lighter.
This pattern used a cross stitch. It was made darker than I had expected because each stitch is sewn twice doubling the thickness of the thread. I tried to do smaller stitching from the top left, sweeping over to the bottom right getting gradually wider and longer. I think this was my least successful piece. Although there is a difference in the tone I am a bit disappointed in this one.
Going back to basics for this one I used a straight stitch. I was wondering what I would do if I did not have any fancy stitches to play about with. I kept the width and length the same all the way through this design. I did a layer of evenly spaced, horizontal rows (1 stitch wide). It was a little tricky to keep them all evenly spaced but I did my best! I altered the width of the spaces between each row on the second layer of vertical rows by increasing the spaces by more stitches every so often. I would have achieved a better range of tone here by adding more closely spaced rows to the left hand side.
It was great fun getting to experiment with the stitches and I am quite pleased with the overall resulting ‘wall hanging!