Stitch Day

Today I finally spent some time in the stitch workshop, having a little go at what some of my ideas would look like on fabric. I began by looking at my wet felting samples and how they could be stitched into. I took my least favourite green piece (the fibres hadn’t quite bonded completely) and began to use just the normal sewing machine foot and a straight stitch to sew lines up and down the length. Maggie had suggested using dissolvable fabric over the felt when sewing to prevent the thread sinking in, however I actually really like this effect, as it creates more texture than if the stitches were sitting on top. I could see that I was going to like the effect it was giving but these lines weren’t quite looking organic enough, so I started making them wavier.

I was happy with this sample but it still didn’t look organic enough for what I wanted, so I changed to a free embroidery foot and started to make some more circular, natural marks.

Now this I was much, much happier with, and can definitely see it being the start of something really cool to be used in my final collection. However I’m still not sure about the look of felt with random bits of other colours, so I think for now, when making more I’ll use one colour in each piece.

I then made a start on taking my drawings of herring gulls into free embroidery and applique. I appliqued the wings in a neutral thick cotton on these initial tries and played with having the legs in black and pink threads, and the wings with black, grey and silver threads. I like all of these techniques and look forward to continuing my experiments.

I then tried some more, bigger gulls with the applique this time in a more blueish grey, poly cotton, which I think is much more effective and true to the real colour of the birds.

I’m really happy with these as an initial go.

I then moved on to taking my rough drawings of mussels into stitch. I think these were my favourite shells to draw and wanted to capture the variety of colours in them through using a range of threads. I tried five different shells, all appliqued: one with the poly cotton I used for the gulls’ wings; two in blue felt which I made yesterday and two in blue upholstery fabric.

I think the poly cotton was the least effective because, under the dense stitching, the thin fabric got lost and may as well not have been there. The felt created the best outcome because of the thickness and the way the stitches ‘sunk’ in, but also because the colour wasn’t so intense that it overpowered the colour of the threads.

I tried a few different ways of having the threads overlapping into each other, and especially like the ones with the silver thread, which I feel successfully represent the ‘pearly’ quality of the real shells.

I also had another quick go on the ruffler today, but this time instead of ribbon, using strips of organza. I really like the frayed, delicate look this achieved and can imagine big piles of the stuff, like the ones found on beaches. I’m thinking about dying some of this and creating more in the near future.

I’m beginning to also start thinking about the combination of elements in my final collection, for example the situation that a herring gull would be standing in. I’m definitely seeing potential in the samples I have created today.

I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved today and think I’ve made a good start on my stitch experimentation, it felt good to be back on the machine again. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be spending a whole lot more time there over the next couple of months!

Next week I plan to continue drawing and mark making, alongside wet felting and stitching.




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