Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 25 - Machine-stitch samples

For my machine-stitch design, the last thing to do was to determine which lines I would stitch from the pylon photo. Luckily at college there were some giant pieces of tracing paper and I just traced off the ones I wanted. It's amazing how curved the lines actually are even though they are straight pieces of metal! I guess that's the effect of perspective and camera distortion. As a result I feel I need to copy the same lines to get the perspective effect and to ensure that it looks 'real' and not too perfect.

The purple lines are the horizontal structures that carry the electricity wires at the top of the pylon, which I have simplified out. I am going to stitch them in a paler colour to make them recede. I have also omitted some of the electricity cables as they didn't work.
Then I started on some samples. First I stitched some random lines on dissolvable fleece in metallic threads and different coloured bobbin threads using free-machining. This is quite easy to do once you have got the thread started as long you make sure the stitches overlap. I was generally stitching in horizontal lines so I needed to make sure I looped back up the rows above otherwise it would all fall apart when the fabric was dissolved.
A quick rinse under hot water and ironed dry between 2 tea towels. You can see that not all my rows linked together enough.
Then I decided to see if I could reproduced a section of my design successfully. I masked off this area as it had most of the colours in and was also an interesting section of the lines to stitch because the centre is on the right at the bottom of the yellow part.
I cut a pale blue piece to cover the whole area as my backing piece. Then I layered on strips of the other colours, roughly cut to shape to mimic the colours I saw in the design. My sample last week taught me that the chiffons are bold and difficult to integrate so I tried to partially shape and fray them at this stage.

I also incorporated some small sections of fused Angelina fibre behind the top layer. I wanted to put some of the machine-lace I made above in on the yellow section, top right, to mimic the blue spotty bits in the design but was unsure how I would fray the fabric below so in the end I left it out.
Next I cut a piece of Soluvlies to size and traced off the lines for this section of the design. The Soluvlies is fairly transparent and I had gone over my tracing with a thick felt-tip so this was quite easy. I traced the lines with pencil, however, as I didn't want any ink to bleed onto my finished sample when I dissolved the fleece.

I pinned it down and stitched the lines. I started with the purple lines as they are supposed to be the most distant. It didn't sew as well as I hoped, initally, but got a lot better as I added more rows. I think in my final piece I may have to put more layers of pale organza on the back to make it thicker.
I did the vertical lines first and then the horizontal ones. By the time I got to the latter I had realised that it looked a lot better if I could start with a narrow stitch width and then get gradually bigger.

Here it is after washing the dissolvable fabric away completely. I am really pleased with the richness and variations in colour.

The stitching the centre didn't work very well so I will have to try again on this. The wide diagonal lines would look too messy if I tried to satin stitch them so my intention is to bond some strips of dark blue fabric on for them and just stitch up the edges.
Here it is after cutting and fraying the relevant areas. The really sparkly areas have Angelina behind so that worked well. I am very pleased with the result and have learnt a lot from making this sample.

I have also been progressing my hand-stitch. My goal this week was to finish the Dandelion but I have also managed to do the stem and leaves of the Goosegrass too.

The Dandelion stalks took forever and are not that neat - satin-stitch needs a lot of skill and patience.

I enjoyed doing the octagonal trellis blackwork pattern on the flower head but wonder if it is too much now that it is complete. Compared to my design the overall effect is darker and I may have lost something in the overall composition as a result. I'm not changing it though!

The Goosegrass was relatively quick and easy by comparison. The stem is multiple rows of Stem stitch and the leaves are just 3 rows of Straight stitch, all sewn with 3 strands of embroidery floss.

Finally, I went to an event at Brockenhurst Village Hall in the New Forest yesterday and saw this hanging (below) that the local quilters had made about the village!

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