Monday, 20 October 2014

Chapter 3

Ordered somke larger 100 + needle sizes and considered how to tackle this chapter.  
Always find small pieces of fabric difficult to work, particularly if its machine stitching, so considered a large piece of calico and squared it up with pencil and stitch outlines for easy viewing on both sides.  Also needed to consider the threads and colour sequences so that once I started I could get a flow.
Contemplating is probably the most important part before setting off, so STITCH
Ref 6.3.1
Simple, select
Thread, texture
Ideas, imagine
Track, turn
Coils, contrast
Handle, hazards
To get ideas for the mood of the movement in water and sky I chose words  such as: swirl, meander, ripple, choppy, lapping, ebb and flow, waves, undulating, reflections, pools and pinned them to my work board.  The calico and a variety of backings were used.
With even tension on top thread and spool, I started free machine embroidery. 
 Sample one
Ref 6.3.2 front
Row 1 selected Sulky as top thread and plain blue cotton as spool needle 70.  As sample d looked similar to c decided to unpick, but rather liked how the  'splash' loops from bobbin appeared left it in place!
Row 2 change needle to 100 but kept threads and tension the same. Trying to get a rounded and wave like movement set of across the 4 squares
Ref 6.3.2 back
Row 3 change colour over to reverse sequence of top thread and spool for this series of tight and loose circles and error made on c which should have been in row 4c!,  
Row 4 using same threads needle and setting wanted to meander in various directions but left it looking open so decided to work it over with the new threads introduced in row 5 
Row 5 introduced new colour of bottom thread and worked fast and furious and the result a more gathered and condensed square.  I realised perhaps a thicker vilene would have held shape better.  Stitching in small squares was a challenge, just getting into feel of it and was over the edge!! 
Sample two
Ref 6.3.3 front
Thicker vilene placed behind calico to help prevent puckering, perhaps my stitching needs to be more controlled!Wanted to replicate the stitches in each row of Sample 1 in order to assess how the changing of tension affected the appearance of the stitch.  The idea in this sample was to loosen bottom tension and tighten top tension

Ref 6.3.3 back

Row 1 Keeping 100 needle tried a different colour combination, top tension moved up to between 8 and 10 and bottom spool tension reduced by half turn.  As I worked realised the bottom spool thread showed more as speed increased in speed of stitch - but how to control the speed of movement of fabric to get the look was becoming an issue.

Ref 6.3.4 front
Ref 6.3.4 back
Sample three was a complete disaster with trialling zig zag stitch, why does it look as though I kept doing the same thing when I was trying to improve it!!!Try as I might it kept having the same appearance and going over it again in row 4 and 5 did nothing to improve the situation!
Oh dear things were going from bad to worse in this series...
I had always enjoyed free machine embroidery but realised my forte was in larger areas. I often used zig zag stitch to cover fabric, but in most instances I colour fabric before stitching and go over the stitches in multiple directions.  The restriction of 3m squares was producing just a mess. I was trying to do different directions, speeds and tensions and it had just puckered.  Looking for an excuse decided Sample four would need to iron on a thicker vilene, but perhaps I should bring out the hoop and read back over my notes of good practise from previous DS chapters. I realised I had fallen into bad habits and had not experimented as much as I should have.  I left this sample in as a lesson with a note attached saying ...'when you are in a hole stop digging!'

Sample four from this sample on through to Sample 5 and 6 used needle 120.
Ref 6.3.5 front
Ref 6.3.5 back
So with all that in place what happened next... the puckering stopped and the result was cleaner but realised when I contrasted Sample 4 with Sample 1 there could be times when pucker was a design feature that could be useful!!  The use of thicker yarns provided more drama, and have shown back and front of samples to show contrast.  The pity of using the thicker yarn in spool is that it runs out very quickly, so did do an applique of thicker yarn that wouldn't go through the spool in Row 1 D. Thicker cotton perle, silky rope and knobbled silk threads were used in spool with thinner sulky  and cotton yarn threads.

Sample five Was a little more adventurous with yarns in this sample but had a multitude of
Ref 6.3.6 front
Ref 6.3.5 back

problems with rayon yarn that kept breaking if I tried to increase tension on top thread.  The pink perle shown in first row samples A,  B and reverse of C and again in row 5 was susceptible to distorting and run out very fast. The hand dyed string Sample 1D, sari yarn Sample 2A , 2D and 4 C were appliqued as was embroidery floss in 4C

Ref 6.3.7 front
Ref 6.3.7 back
Sample six did this sample see me coming out of the tunnel? It seemed that It produced

better images and I felt that by turning fabric over and showing contrast of back on front on one square Sample 4B and 5 A I achieved an interesting result that gave contrast of movement and colour.

Ref 6.3.8
My critique on this chapter would be that the series looked a bit repetitive and while I noted how I had done the stitch the variations were not always that visible.   I feel that a larger square would allow more experimentation and was happy to see in Chapter 5 we can have 10cms squares


  1. You have done fantastically well Judith, given the restrictions. I like sample 3 - do keep it because one day you will surely want just that particular effect! I did enjoy the story of your experimentation and the fact that some are puckered and some not.