Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 4 - Combed lines and Backstitch

It's been a very busy week! Last Friday I went to a workshop on jewellery made out of recycled fabric and leather. I made 2 things - a rolled felt flower and a padded necklace using the pattern of the fabric as my inspiration and adding a few beads for emphasis.  

On Saturday I went with the College to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. We saw some amazing and beautiful things - most of which we were not allowed to photograph. Here are a few of my favourites.

This is a giant piece inspired by computer circuit boards.
This piece features my favourite kind of subject - cow parsley machine stitched onto sheer fabric.
More seed heads in batik.
In the Upcycling Zone we could sit down and make a corsage - this one is made from old t-shirts. Circles of material with a diameter twice as long as the finished petals are cut out and each folded into a quarter circle. You then sew a long running stitch along the curved edge, threading on the next petal until you have a running stitch through all 5. Then you pull it all up and stitch some straight stitches across the back to pull it tightly into shape. I then covered a button and sewed it in the centre.
On Sunday I made a birthday card for my niece. The dog was ready made so I came up with a design to show him off.
At college on Monday we all bought in our machined samples started the previous week. It is amazing how different they all are. Some of the ladies had already made them into needle cases.

For our design work this week we made cardboard 'combs' and made patterns with acrylic paint. We then put a wash on the background using powdered pigment ink - so easy and so rewarding! You can imagine how this could help you design a piece of printed fabric.

For our stitch work we got our embroidery hoops out and had to complete some set stitches. From top left clockwise these are Ribbed Spider Web, Raised Chain Band (twice), Pekinese and a Woven Spider Web.
Our homework this week was to explore Backstitch. I don't know if I have done what was expected but all these patterns are made using backstitch in various threads. The ones in the right hand column are all laced in some way.

I enjoyed being creative with the lacing but overall I found this took too long for the reward. I can see the point of making yourself try stitches that you have never done before though.
It was such nice weather in the garden this week that I had my own harvest festival with all these goodies!

Finally, one of my library reservations came in and I have been avidly reading Machine Embroidery Stitch Techniques by Val Campbell-Harding and Pam Watts. I was inspired to sew this piece as a result. This uses the same construction as last week (red furnishing fabric background, snipped pieces of red patterned fabric and strands of black cotton on top, covered with a piece of red twinkle crepon). I stitched vertical satin stitch bands mainly using black thread on top and red in the bobbin. However I played with the tension of both to get different amounts of each colour and even turned it over to stitch with the back on top to get the colours reversed.

Flushed with the success of this I fitted a big needle and put both black and red through the needle together to see what happened. To fill in the strips between the satin bands I kept the black and red through the needle and stitched free machine embroidery 'leaves'. I finished off the edge with more black and red together satin bands. I am pleased with the overall result - I think it has a japanese feel with the red and black. I enjoyed trying out the new techniques although it felt like engineering at times with the screwdriver constantly out to adjust the bobbin tension and swapping over the different presser feet.

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