City Sketch – Sketches

I’ve done some more sketches from the new photos I took in the city centre, because this was successful in bringing me on to stitch samples in my last work.

This first one was a collaboration of a few of the figures in my photos, all layered up into one sketch. It was done quickly and in charcoal.


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 I think this drawing was effective because, where the figures are sketchy and undefined, it is difficult for the viewer to pinpoint one particular person unless looking looking really closely.

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These next two were single figures on their own but facing away, therefore remaining anonymous while away from the crowd.


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These two men were walking past me (giving me a side view in the photo) carrying big bags. These left the questions: what is in the bags? Where are they going? Is it shopping? Going away somewhere?


The Body in Society – Bodies and Consumerism (Week 4)

Having studied Sociology at A Level, ‘consumer culture’ is a term I am familiar with and I enjoyed getting a more sophisticated look at it in the lecture today.

I was really interested to hear in more detail the origin of consumerism (capitalism, industrialisation) and how is had grown and changed over hundreds of years.
It was also nice to hear about the textile industry and to have a bit of context for my subject area. I’ve found it a little bit dificult in the last couple of sessions to apply these thoughts and theories to textiles when asked so this helped. I’ve read quite a lot about the textiles industry in the industrial revolution so it was really interesting to  think about its relevance within this topic (construction to consumption, people with surplus money as consumers contributing to society).

City – New Photos

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I am much happier with these new photos for which I sat on a bench and snapped the passers by. In the centre of the city, this was a very busy, pedestrianised area at about 3:00.
I tried to focus on people carrying bags because I know that, from my previous samples and experimentation, this is a good way of including some appliqué to give a bit of colour to my work.

City – Stitch Development

After my 1-2-1, I wanted to develop my stitch samples further. One suggestion Helen gave me was to ensure I don’t lose my loose, sketchy style in my drawings when they are taken into stitch. I agree with her here and only noticed once she mentioned it, but my sewn samples are very controlled and contained whereas my sketches seem to have much more movement and character. This is something I wanted to work on this afternoon.

11003948_10153106829249629_697187846_n First I tired my simplest of images and used a grey/silver thread. I wanted to convey the idea of the figure being invisible and anonymous and thought that using this colour would help. I felt like the lines are slightly more free than in my previous samples, however I need to get out of the habit of just going over lines repeatedly and instead actually create some movement. 11004951_10153106829214629_1586642451_n

 Here I used the same thread again but added some accent colour on her hair. I felt like this gave the girl some personality and character which is normally lost, especially because this image is from behind. In my initial sketch of this girl, I added the blue with watercolour and I still think this works. However, this was the last sample I did in this grey coloured thread. I don’t think it really achieved what I wanted it to and looks a bit washed out.
11022856_10153106723809629_2047360729_nI’m really pleased with this sample and feel like I’ve achieved the sketchy style I aimed for. Instead of repeatedly going over the same line I used the sewing machine in the same way that I sketch and just treated it as a pencil. As soon as I got into this frame of mind, it became a lot easier. Although I think this sample is really successful, it would work well amongst more colourful figures.
Here I added the same blue hair but with the new, ‘sketchier’ style. I also added half of the male  figure to her side. This was originally because it didn’t all fit into the embroidery hoop and I had planned to add it on afterwards, however once out of the hoop, I decided the sample looked really nice unfinished. I then also added another figure, but out of proportion to the other two. I didn’t want to create a scene, just a collection of figures, similar to the work of Rosie James.

As I had done in my previous samples, I wanted to do more appliqué within my free embroidered figures. Again with this one, it added some character that otherwise you wouldn’t get with a plain, black outlined figure. This fun, quirky print on the bag  reciprocates the suggested bubbly and confident personality suggested in the hair. I think using the different medias to create colour and accent is successful because it gives an almost gives a mixed media, multi textural feel to the sample. 10816089_10153106723869629_1515293784_nHere I did the same as previously but added even more appliqué on her coat, using just a plain, coloured poly cotton. This reminds me of the work of Caroline Kirton, who I had previously looked at. I need to be wary of copying the artists I look at and need to work on having my personal touch in my samples.
This is my favourite sample I created today, and I feel like it successfully shows my latest trial and error style of experimentation.
Although still anonymous because you can’t see her face, her clothing, accessories and hair colour almost define her and give her a character regardless.

My next step is to hopefully take some more photos in the city centre tomorrow in order to create more sketches. I feel like I need some more options of imagery to take further into stitch.

Stitch Workshop

Having missed the first stitch workshop, I used the first half of today to catch up and learn those techniques.

Cording Foot

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Piping Foot



Every 12 stitches

Every 6 stitches

Every stitch

Wing Needle


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Really liked the effect on paper and thin metal

The Body in Society – Bodies and Identity (Week 3)

I really enjoyed today’s lecture on identity and gender as a cultural construct. This was the subject which I enjoyed the most when studying for my Sociology A Level a couple of years ago. I was also happy to learn some more terminology and get more of an in depth look at the idea. Because I am almost completely decided on doing something in this area for my essay, I will be looking at what Ashley has spoken about today in more detail soon.

Heteronormativity (Warner, 1991) was a new term for me today and it is the belief that society is built upon strict norms of different genders (males and females) and that heterosexuality is the ‘norm’.
Personally I don’t think the second part of that sentence is as true now as it would have been in 1991, because it is now much more acceptable and ‘normal’.
However I do agree that there are norms for genders, although people do seem more aware of this and it is frequently talked about.

Most viewers would assume that this baby is a boy.

And that this is a girl

And this is purely down to the idea that it is the norm for a baby girl to be dressed in pink and a boy, blue.

Stitch Workshop

Today I really enjoyed learning these 5 new techniques that I had never tried before – some of them I hadn’t heard of.

Triple Needle

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  • 3 rows of stitching
  • used the same as a double needle
  • 3rd thread placed on table at the end of sewing machine – threads between bobbin winder and stopper to hold
  • DON’T go above a 2 on width

I love the effect achieved with a triple needle and the fact that you can blend three different shades/colours in one quick line.

3 Way Cording Foot



  • 3 channels under back of foot to accommodate up to 3 narrow cords (purchased or handmade)
  • cords are held in place by black clip at front

Enjoyed the effect achieved by this foot and the difference a change in stitch makes. Wanted to see what it would look like with a variety of textures layered up so I tried this using cream, grey and a bit of pink.

Pintuck Foot


  • Used with twin needle
  • Two sized feet, narrow and wide
  • Machine setting –
    Tension – 8
    Stitch – Straight
    Length – 2.5
    Width – 0
  • Put cord through guide on bobbin cover and lace fabric over the top

Before this workshop I had never heard this technique but liked how quick it was. It took me a while to get the hang of it but once I had it I found it really easy.

Fringe Foot

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  • used for creating fringes using zigzag or decorative stitches which can then be either cut or left in tact. (if cut, must stitched down the middle to secure the thread using an ordinary foot)
  • do not adjust the stitch selector or width dial unless needle is in highest position
  • hand wind first few stitches to check needle isn’t hitting the blade

This was another technique which was completely unheard of to me. Once I had tried each of the stitches, I experimented by layering up different colours of the same stitch. This created a lovely soft, fluffy texture.

Needle Punch Machine


  • Cluster of 5 needles to fuse fabrics and fibres together
  • No thread or bobbin
  • Calico’s weave is too tight – muslin is  perfect
  • Guide fabric as you would for free machine embroidery
  • More fabric slow but needle fast – don’t be afraid to put foot on pedal to the floor

This was the technique that I was the most excited about but had to wait a while because it was a popular one. I’ve done quite a lot of needle felting by hand but find it really time consuming, so this was perfect. I did two samples and worked into the second for longer, using more fibres.
I decided against using really bright colours because I wanted to focus on the technique and the effect I could achieve rather than the colours.