Module 2, Chapter 5 (Mainly Stitched Shapes)

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Everything in this chapter seems to have got muddled up, and I’ve hopped backwards and forwards, and experimented, and I haven’t put activity numbers on anything, but I have been ticking things off my check list, and I think I’m covering everything. The A3 pages are still scanned in in two parts because I haven’t found a satisfactory way of dealing with them.

This page was really to practice stitching with the embroidery foot on and the feed dogs down, and I was pleased with it.

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More stitching, on layers of newspaper.

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Trying to stitching in interlocking circles. I’ve used lots of strips in neat, tidy arrangements, but I wanted to try something different, so I used long thin strips of tissue paper (left over from my elder daughter’s wedding), and sandwiched it between two layers of Bondaweb, with a newspaper backing. Then I used the embroidery foot to stich interlocking circle-like shapes to hold it all down, in various shades of purple thread (darkest first). Then I used silver metallic thread on top, which worked quite well and was surprisingly easy to use – I thought if would be tricky to use in the machine.Would love to try this with something like soluble film, but that would be no good, because you couldn’t get the paper wet.

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Next up, Layers of newspaper and tissue, stitched in straight lines, then cut between the rows of stitching with sharp scissors to create a chenille effect. These samples were bigger to start with, but I got a bit over-enthusiastic with the scissors! And they got flattened when I scanned them – the cut edges stand up beautifully when you rub a soft brush over them.

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The next page has lots of little squares of different papers stitched to newspaper, withe embroidery foot, using different tensions and techniques. As I went along I made some very hasty notes ob an old notepad, so I stuck them in the Sketchbook. I could have been a bit more organised in my approach.mainly-stitch-11mainly-stitch-12

Who remembers making rows of little dancing girls, all holding hands, from paper?

Or Snowflakes? I was trying to practice stitching spirals, on different kinds of paper, but I think they would have looked better with star-like straight lines through each point. On the plus side, I have managed to cover an A3 sheet of paper!!! It’s a sheet from a huge book on Norman Rockwell, which was destined for the recycling sacks in Oxfam because no-one wanted it.

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Next up… Hand stitching on paper. Loved this, and kept notes! Snowflakes led to experiments cutting holes in other shapes.  I cut a rectangle from the cover of a manuscript sheet music book, then folded it and cut shapes to make diamonds when it was unfolded. I was going to stitch it straight into the sketchbook but, as I’ve said before, an A3 sketchbook is very cumbersome to work with, so I cut a page out. As it was still unwieldy I cut it in half again, so I’m still working on a much smaller scale than I’d planned.

I used soft embroidery thread to stitch French knots, with a tapestry needle, because it had a big eye which was easy to thread, but it was like sewing with a poker and was really difficult to push or pull through the paper – making holes beforehand might have made it easier. And, should anyone wonder, although tapestry needles have blunt ends, they can inflict a surprising amount of damage to fingers and thumbs…

Then I used ordinary sewing thread to make a kind of star stitch over the diamond holes, with a nice, sharp, pointed needle which enabled me to make holes from the front as I went along, so it was easier to pull thread through from the back of the work. The back is a mess. Lots of knots, and the odd blob of glue to keep ends from unravelling – but no-one is going to see it. When I’d finished I had a brainstorm and trimmed off all the excess sketchbook page, which was silly, because it was supposed to be a vital part of my work.

Anyway, in the interests on experimentation I brushed watered-down white acrylic over it, but it didn’t make much impact, so I let the stitched paper dry, then used the paint straight from the tube, but the stitching is still black. However, I’m not sure if I like the effect, but I might add more paint. I think a similar design with a different colour background would be better.

I kept the cut-out diamonds, cut them all in half to make triangles, then used doubled purple sewing thread and French knots (again) to stich them to layers of a brown napkin made from recycled paper (I accidently took more than I needed when I had some coffee in a café!). I sewed them in a random pattern (which means there is no pattern), and used one French on each, so the edges curled up a little, and it looked quite textured, and I enjoyed doing this – the napkin was actually quite easy to sew, as it handled more like fabric, and was very soft. However, painting it may have been a mistake. Thick acrylic just went patchy and was difficult to paint on, while watered-down acrylic soaks into the paper napkins. And it stuck my little triangles down, but I’ve managed to prise some of them loose! ! On reflection, I wonder if a different type of paint would be better. Emulsion is probably too thick, but gesso might have worked.

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Stitched and glued shapes:

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And shapes/patterns with counterchange. This was SUCH fun when I worked out what I was doing.And I made notes (again!). I like the arched shapes cut from an OS map and a magazine page If you put it the other way round, with the small shapes at the top, you have a tree. This way they look like some of  the The Arches (the railway viaduct which is very much a feature of Tamworth), viewed diagonally as they cross the River Anker and surrounding land.

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This one was done with magazine pages, and I love it – I want some wallpaper with a design like this…

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The design above was created from newspaper and magazine pages.

The next page is samples, to see if this technique works with other shapes, like circles, and it does, but I think it’s best left simple. Would love to use this method to design patchwork, or embroidery.

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The two pictures for the next page are quite self-explanatory – because I was looking at ways of creating patterns with paper, rather than simply using strips or squares, I wanted to try using a bit from a photo I’d taken. I enjoyed the process and, on the whole I’m quite pleased with the result. I kept it really simple, but I’d like to develop this idea, and try something more complicated, and add stitching.

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The next few pieces are all made by using large jigsaw pieces as templates for my shapes – I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and bought a children’s puzzle from a charity shop. They’re fun shapes to work with, because you can actually use them to make a picture or, better still you can mess around with them – take some out to leave gaps, or use different papers, so when they’re joined they make no sense, or just replace one or two pieces. I stitched round them to attach them to backing paper, and they are a bit fiddly, but I like the effect. The first was a nightmare though – the picture on the paper I cut up was just too strong, and I couldn’t see what I was doing, so I gave up and glued the pieces into shape.

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I’ve cropped and enlarged the piece with the holes in, but they still don’t show very well.

mainly-stitch-38-2And now for an experiment:

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I enjoyed doing this soooo much. It’s not perfect, and there are things I would do differently next time around, and the stitching could be better, and I’m not sure if it needed more stitching, or less stitching, and a touch of a contrasting colour might have been good., and you can’t really see  that it’s done with paper. But it ended up looking and feeling like fabric, which is quite magical, and I love it the way it is. I’ve transformed flat smooth papers into a shimmering textured surface, with lovely, bright, vibrant colours – hot pink, copper and orange, and it gleams and glitters, and glistens but, sadly,  it doesn’t show up very well in photos or scans. However, I’ve downloaded a photograph of the finished piece as well, in the hopes that it might look slightly better than the scan.dscn9351

 

 

 

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About chrisharding53

I'm a former journalist and sub-editor who loves needlework, reading and writing, and is still searching for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. Until I find the answer I'm volunteering at an Oxfam Book Shop and learning about Creative Sketchbooks!

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