Friday, 25 January 2013


From buttons to beads, these two samples  started life as buttons but thought they sat better in the beads chapter.      Ref 3.8.1
Taking the two colour themes two shape templates were chosen from earlier chapters to work the following designs, the paisley shape for Ref 3.8.1 above  and Ref 3.8.2a below

Wanting to get a feeling of movement, but not be too formal, shapes were sketched onto fabric and built the texture to the designs as I went along.  In hindsight think a bit more consideration of the design detail may have achieved better areas of work. I seemed to move onto different ideas before a larger enough area of one idea had been worked. In the yellow/purple sample, Ref 3.8.3 think I went too far in the other direction!!
Ref 3.8.2b side detail to show raised effect
The other shape selected was the shell.
Ref 3.8.3 a                                                                                                 Ref 3.8.3 b

The shell stamp above, has gaps between the stamp giving a feeling of ridges over the surface. Perhaps a line of hand stitching would define this more in the beaded piece.

To get back on track with the specific tasks asked for in this chapter the sample Ref 3.8.4 includes a range of unconventional 'beads' and a few more methods of stitching down onto a hand dyed muslin and felt base with chiffon on the right hand side of the panel.

Going from top left hand section:
Shell fragment and short ribbons of 'pearl' beads; cogs and copper nails attached with buttonhole stitch; dyed squash seeds in a nest of threads, attached with fly stitch, covered in chiffon; assorted metal nuts covered in chiffon and secured in straight stitch and cross stitch grid and a series of bullion knots; 
bottom row left hand section:
computer floppy disk centres covered with threads or felt attached with whipped spider stitch; shells attached with button hole stitch(bottom left) or cross stitch; loop of dyed squash seeds attached with daisy stitch and waste core metal couched onto fabric; electronic circuit components attached with long and short stitch, over and under a chiffon layer.     To show more detail, see below.
                                            detail of Ref 3.8.4 a                                                   detail of Ref 3.8.4.b

Monday, 21 January 2013

Button making

 Buttons or brooches - stick pins could be added to these individual pieces.  Initially took photos of these on complimentary fabric but feel they look better set out in a more uniform arrangement.  
                                                               Ref 3.7.1                                                                     Ref 3.7.2

The top right hand button in 3.7.1- in which  twinned ombre perle thread was worked around paper 'spikes'. The top right hand brooch in 3.7.2 was a selection of threads mounted on soluble fabric, layered with beads onto a piece of suede, mounted on thin sheet of silver and then hand made card - it was one of a series made inspired by skies in the Western Isles.  
While doing these pieces it reminded me of others made before using paper yarn and basket making techniques. Two of the pictures below show pieces used as jewellery the central picture shows the begin of one of my small pots - using figure of eight weave
Now for a bit of spiralling fun, a  brooch - Highland fling  range- where spiraling wire forms the base of the body and a Celtic twist at the belt line.  Inspiration thanks to Serena de la Hay, Wicker Man and Mary Heumansperger's book Fabulous Woven Jewellery.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


  Making a series of tassels provided an indulgent activity over the festive period, made more enjoyable by finding these objects while I was away. These acorn or thistle tassels provided a wonderful pastel, faded tapestry cushion with a splendid edging where some tassels had burst open. I set out to replicate this in 3.6.2.

Setting out to combine a range of tassels in colour groups the results show:
Ref 3.6.1  from left to right                                          
Rayon thread wrapped round free machine stitched fabric toggles
Tapestry wool and ribbon
Tartan turks head withfrayed centre tassel
Ref  3.6.2
Realised  how much thread was used on acorn tassel  -mine look skinny in comparison could there been a hidden kernel in the centre?

Ref 3.6.3 a 
This shows how I used up loose threads  to make beads  that could be used as shown in 3.6.4. Thanks to Alma Stoller for this tip. Could these be used to make a 'soft centre' to a tassel and reduce the amount of thread needed for the tassel? 
Ref 3.6.3b gives the answer, not an easy task, tried to knot the tread to increase bulk.  Putting bead in middle of small tassel proved very fiddly on this scale. Think I will just have to go for slightly thicker thread and uses lots of it!

Using wooden beads, handmade beads, glass beads, wrapped rings and champagne cork to add interest to the tassels                                                                                                                 
Ref 3.6.4 a                                                                                                                                                         Ref 3.6.4.b

From left to right
The top of the red tassel is raffia, with the smaller one in perle thread 
The green tassel is made from silky thread

The yellow tassel, 3.6.4 b is pulled through a sellotape cardboard template which has been wrapped in sari yarns and is topped with coloured silk cocoon.  The body of the tassel includes tapestry wool, metallic cord

Ref 3.6.4.c
Seed beads threaded onto rayon thread with metallic thread used to make a cap and loop.
Initially I was disappointed that this tassel settled into two 'legs' as the beads seemed to 
wind around each other and seperate it rather than going into a cleaner line.
Its beginning to appeal, perhaps it would look better if the method was used on a shorter tassel
Ref 3.6.4 d
A champagne cork provides the mould for the top which was covered with fabric made from threads which had been machine stitched to soluble fabric. Two fabric skirts were added.  It looks a bit heavy handed so maybe it should be called 'morning after the night before '!! 

Making a looped head for a tassel
 Ref 3.6.7 a
This blog seems to be a series of excuses for mistakes! In splitting this tassel and handsewing the top to form a loop it became increasingly difficult to make an even wrap, perhaps a light series of machine sewn stitches would make the base easier to sew?
Ref 3.6.7 b keeping the cord uncut and trying to wrap the bunch proved ackward and slippy.  Ref 3.6.7 c, below, even wrapping the bundle was difficult to keep wrap threads from slipping when yarn was bent over                                              

Gave in and tried with thick and non slip threads!!! Thought wrapping was supposed to be easy but like all things its the starting and finishing that proves problematic!
Ref 3.6.7 d                                                                                Ref 3.6.7 e  

The metallic threads for all samples were wound over a metal frame and free machine embroidery  was used .  Samples 3.6.8a were knotted and twisted Heavy machining was done on samples 3.6.8.b right hand sample and samples 3.6.8c I found it easier to use a zig zag stitch in line with the threads rather than a straight stitch at a 90 degree angle.  

Ref 3.6.8 a                                                               Ref 3.6.8 b                                                                 Ref 3.6.8.c

For a reference point to some of my other work I have included this upside down tassel which was made for a project on small baskets made from thread.  This sample shows twining threads of string  with linen and then unwinding the string to make the 'burst'.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Cord making

Collecting together the hand dyed threads and fabrics along side a collection of purchased pieces the task began to not only consider colour and texture but how the finished cords would be used, as decoration or utility.
3.5.1From left to right: 
a) red organza silky thread oversew
b) gimp and embroidery thread, oversew as a)
c) thread encased in french knitted linen and hand dyed
d) threads as in c) oversewn
e) hand dyed calico oversewn
f) wool thread and acetate thread oversewn
g) ombre organza oversewn

3.5.2 From left to right:
a) ribbon and embroidery threads oversewn
                                                                        b) wool, gimp and lurex thread oversewn
                                                                        c) wool oversewn
                                                                        d) hand dyed fabric cut as in 3.5.6, oversewn
                                                                        e)  as b, different shade
                                                                        f)  sari yarns oversewn                                     

3.5.3 From left to right: All yarns twisted
a) organza and oliver twist silky stranded gimp
b) embroidery thread and perle thread
c)  thread as 3.5.1c and embroidery thread
d) embroidery thread and lurex thread
e) wool and embroidery thread
f) embroidery thread and ribbon
g) and h0 embroidery threads
3.5.4 From left to right: All yarns twisted
a) embroidery thread and gimp
b) various shades of hemp
c) embroidery thread and tissue paper
d) as  a)
e)  garden twine, ribbon and  space dyed wool      
f) various thicknesses and colours of gimp

3.5.5 From left to right: All yarns twisted

 a) sari ribbon
b)  and c) sari yarns and organza
c) as a)
d) tapestry wool and hand dyed paper yarn
e) calico and wire twisted and hand dyed
This 3.5.6 image right shows how a long length of fabric can be made from a small piece of fabric

Taking a combinations of cords a series of kumihimo, overhand  and half hitch knotting, braids and a variety of stranded plaiting  were used to make a bulkier texture selection left in 3.5.7
and finer texture in right 3.5.8
More complex knots have been included to show some jewellery  ideas inspired by Suzen Millodot in her books, Chinese Knots and Celtic Knots for Beaded Jewellery.
Ref 3.5.9a                                                                                                                                                                  Ref 3.5.9b

The first spiral I had photographed at the beginning this Module had been my cast! I felt it could make an interesting display for the cords showing decorative and useful options.  3.5.10 left, shows initial work which makes me think waiting until the tassel chapter is completed will be a good idea, so watch this space... here is a preview of what I will be working on.  Cutting off the cast thanks to Huntly Hospital and hole making thanks to Mike.