Barnacle Obsessed…

I spent today in the stitch room, I’m beginning to think I may as well sleep there!

I started with some barnacles stitched onto dissolvable fabric. I was worried that this may not work because of the linear design but I was pleasantly surprised.

At the moment I am as of yet undecided what to do with this finished sample, whether to leave it free hanging or to stitch it on to some backing fabric.
I forgot to change the bobbin colour from white so this was unfortunately showing through, however this didn’t result in a bad effect, making it look almost two tone.

One thing that I’ve been meaning to try again was organza under the needle punch machine, since the sample I created during the stitch ‘speed dating’ a few weeks ago. I asked Maggie if I specifically needed to use a wide weave fabric, or if I could use my chosen linen background, and she told me to just give it a go!
I’m so pleased I did because I achieved some really nice effects and ended up spending most of the day on the machine.
I did also try some other thin fabrics but the needles seemed to be unable to bind them together, I think because the fibres were too close together.

Once I finished this one I decided it was much too bare on its own, so appliqued some calico barnacles on top (of course!), which I think really finishes it off nicely. This can be seen as a stylistic interpretation of seaweed found on the beach with things growing on it.

I then tried the needle puncher and organza again, this time adding some felting fibres in, which I think looked really organic, especially when appliqued with some (more) barnacles.

I carried on making samples like this, adding brittle star fish to one of them.

I appliqued these with a soft upholstery fabric, which frayed a lot – at first this was frustrating but did actually work to my advantage, in adding texture to the stars.

I did one last sample with the needle puncher, this time just using the brown organza, and then added some hand embroidery on top for texture. I did a combination of french knots and the limpet shapes, which I think are really successful. They may look better when combined together.


I appliqued some more brittle stars, this time onto the linen in order to perfect the shape. I recently came across a video ( of a brittle star fish moving in an aquarium, and it was described as dancing. I was really inspired by the way it shifted along the tank, and now really want to capture that movement in my interpretations. Here I also added some french knots to the stars to try to capture the texture of them, however I’m not sure if this is really working.

Following one of Helen’s comments in the tutorial last Thursday, I’ve had a think about the idea of including text in my pieces, presenting the scientific names. I do like this concept, and today had a quick go at some lettering on the sewing machine.

Automatically, first I tried the font which I have been using in my sketchbook. Initially, I thought it looked a little informal for my customer, however looking back at it, the letters do look quite effective. I also had a little try at some joined up wording, which I also like. This is something that I need to experiment more with, but it was useful to make a start.

I think tomorrow I am going to do some more wet felting, and possibly go back into stitch (again..!).


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