Sunday, May 19, 2013

Leaves to Love: Part 2

Hi. I’m Barbara Lee. Ann asked me to write up some notes for the next set of my leaves that she has posted. As a realist painter, I have wondered just how to render realistic images in thread using something other than long and short stitch. As I learned the different stitches and how they could be used, I was thrilled to discover I had lots of stitching options to choose from.

Black Willow uses a variety of chain stitches as well as sorbello. I used perle cotton on hand painted fabric. I drew the leaves on the fabric before stitching. However, due to the open nature of zigzag and feather chain, the penciled center vein shows on these leaves. Word to the wise: be careful where you put your lines on your fabric!

Sugar Maple combines fabric and stitch. The leaf itself was cut from hand painted fabric, ironed on with a 2-sided interfacing, and outlined with a running stitch. The wing portion of the maple seed is buttonhole stitch; the seed portion itself is padded satin stitch; and the two sides of the seed are joined with split stitch. Split stitch is also used in the branches and border.

Leaf Collection is made up of a variety of different leaves stitched in various leaf and trellis stitches on hand painted fabric. Stitches include: laid work, fern stitch, fishbone, Roumanian couching, stem stitch, and trellis. The Battlement couching (the multi-coloured trellis leaf) was a lot of fun.

And, last but not least, my just completed piece, Chain Oak. I had a lot of fun with this piece. It’s plain chain stitch but I used a variety of different threads: DMC floss and perle cotton, crochet cotton, Persian yarn, Merino wool, and other wools in both solid and variegated colours. The different weights of the threads made for a very textural piece.

I had a lot of fun with this class. And I have many, many more leaves (and flowers and fish and…) that I would like to stitch using the different techniques I learned this past winter.

Thanks for a wonderful class, Ann!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Leaves to Love: Part 1

Barbara Lee Johnson was a participant in the Creative Use of Stitches class in Guelph, Canada. She chose to use the stitches to portray many different kinds of leaves. Mostly, she stitched green on green. We all know how difficult it is to stitch the same colour fabric and thread. They can result in a camouflage effect but not here. She has already completed eight different samples and has plans for many more. She is as yet undecided on how to present them as a congruent whole. Barbara Lee has a background in art and art history. She does a lot of beading and I was surprised that she did not included beading in this project.

This first one is of Walnut Leaves using Running Stitch and variations with French Knots. The fabric is Quilting Cotton hand painted with Colour Vie pigments. The threads are DMC Floss and Perle Cotton.

The background of this piece is 11 Count Aida Cloth with Running Stitch using variagated Merino Wool leaving the sturdy Oak Leaves as open and negative spaces. The outlines of the leaves are done with Whipped Running Stitch.

Weeping Willow Leaves are portrayed with variations of Stem Stitch and Cross Stitch on painted fabric. The downward flow of a willow branch is most effectively displayed here. These samplers are as yet unpressed and unmounted and this accounts for the wrinkling in the background.

The Maple Leaf is stitched with Buttonhole edging while the body of the leaf is Cretan Stitch. This picture is a photo rather than a scan which is why it has not reproduced so well.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Creative Use of Stitches: Part 4, completed

Here is the completed sampler. It is stretched onto a wooden frame and backed with white felt. A pocket for provenance papers is stitched onto the backing. The completed sampler is large, 31" x 19 ", and that is big. Although I do not think it is beautiful, it does what was intended; it is a sampler of the basic stitches of embroidery and their variations. I will put it away for six months and my eyes will then see it fresh and objectivity becomes possible.
The background details were fun to conceive and stitch. They were essential to bring cohesion to these wildly different siblings.

Here is a Whipped Spider Wheel. The spokes were lengthened with Straight Stitches which also held the cording in place. Then add some beads.

Cabled Stem Stitch: I like it better than Cable Chain.

A Lovers' Knot!

Single Coral Stitch and Chain Stitch, both with two threads in the needle. Coral Stitch is used to couch a circle of sampler fabric and then add some really large French Knots. That used up all of that wool or else I would have used it again elsewhere. It is also included in the Running Stitch sample.

Whenever we are being creative, our imagination and ability take a step forward on the road to creativity. It is a road without end but, for all of us, it does have a sharply defined beginning. For a student working on a project such as this, all will create differently even though the stitches are the same. Their experience comes together with their taste, colour choice and available materials. The world of textile creation is a wonderful one with unending space for creation and with room for everyone no matter where they are on their journey. The next time I teach this project, it is inevitable that all the students, myself included, will produce a totally different creation than anything produced now.

I hope you have enjoyed visiting this project. Next, I will post samplers from my students.

And that, said Pooh, is that.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Creative Use of Stitches: Part 3

After Cross Stitch we moved on to Chain Stitch, another rigid example. I find that stitchers do not like stitching Squared Chain Stitch finding it difficult to manage the sequencing. I was determined to include it so they would have an example of it in their sample books.

The next two small samples are of Trellis Work. A favourite in Jacobean stitching, it is fun to stitch and dramatic in its impact. I had designed and drafted the first one but had never tried it out in thread. It was a nuisance but interesting to stitch. The density of the darker threads made it look heavy but the scattering of beads lightened it up. I will certainly use this variation again.

The second Trellis Work was also an experiment. I added a thread of glitter to the framework lines and purposely used Detached Chain Stitch as I had not used it elsewhere. Notice that the diamonds and Chain Stitches become smaller towards the outside of the circle.

All the stitchers had a work book. I asked them to bring a print of each of their samples for everyone in the class. On the reverse side of the print the relevant information was printed including the featured stitch, fabric, threads and the stitcher's name and contact information. The simplest way to produce prints is to place the sampler face down on a scanner as you would to copy text. Place a medium heavy book on the wrong side of the fabric. Having obtained one satisfactory image, use it to print as many copies as you wish. In this way, all participants have a rich variety of ideas in their workbooks.

The final blog on this project will be about the stitches that connect and integrate these samplers.