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Posts Tagged ‘needle-weaving’

We’re currently about three-quarters of the way through the prompts for the SpringBoard Project and although I haven’t finished any more of my responses, I thought we’d have a bit of a break from the jewellery and I’d share the work in progress.

Week 4: Twist

Last time I showed my attempt at Twisted Lattice Stitch I’d only managed to work the base grid. I did started to work the twisted layer but I struggled to follow the diagram in my Mary Thomas and two strands of thread were too heavy, so I took it all out, went down to one strand and concentrated. I used a variegated darker green thread and found it interesting that the twisted/wrapped element is quite difficult to make out as distinct stitches.

What it does seem to do is to soften the grid and mask the lines. Next job is to put a twisted chain stitch border (or two) round it.

Week 5: Cut

I was a bit spoilt for choice with this prompt. I liked the ideas of reverse applique and versions of traditional and contemporary broderie anglaise but in the end I was inspired by an image I found on Pinterest of a scarf full of large circular holes which appeared to be filled with different needleweaving designs.

I had a piece of fabric I created in a batik workshop with a pattern of leaves and I thought about cutting out the leaf shapes and filling the spaces with something similar but I really liked the crackled effect of the leaves and I was loathe to destroy them. The negative space between the leaves, however, was much more suitable for cutting away. I edged the shape with blanket stitch to help minimise fraying and used the stitches as anchor points for the cream silk thread I used to criss cross the hole.

I’ve used blanket stitch over a triangle of the centre stitches to keep the threads in place and then added random blocks of needleweaving to partly fill the gaps. I enjoyed the challenge of working in an irregular space and the next step is to cut away another section and do the same with that.

Week 6: Fray

I stuck rather more to my comfort zone for this prompt with a set of frayed strips of fabric in sea, beach and sky colours, loosely stitched to the background fabric with lines of running stitch.

I wanted to add more fraying so I found a piece of heavy weight fabric and literally hacked a hole in the middle that I could fray out further with the idea of putting it over the seascape as if you were looking through a hole in a groyne.

It was a bit floppy on its own so I ended up stitching it on and round a piece of pelmet vilene, pulling pleats and folds in the fabric and stitching them in place to give the feel of weathered wood. I’m currently couching some threads down to add to the woodgrain feel and try and improve the rather untidy stitching.

And finally, Week 7: Layers.

There has been some overlap with some of the last prompts and I was able to return to the reverse applique I had fancied for Week 5. I started by laying out a series of interlocking shapes in various shades of blue felt on a piece of scrap felt and then stitched over them with running stitch lines to keep the different pieces in place. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any photographs until after I added the top layer of felt and started to back stitch wavy lines across it.

I’ve stitched the lines into leaf shapes which will then have the top layer cut away to reveal the multicoloured felt and stitching underneath. I’m really enjoying this one – it’s a nice easy stitch.

Next week is Weave. Still considering what angle I’m going to take on that one.

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With this month’s Move It On project safely put to bed, I’ve been able to think about other things, including a piece inspired partly by a recent trip to Withernsea beach which always turns up some interesting beachcombed treasures, and partly by some recent images that caught my attention on Pinterest of densely encrusted stitching around seashells.

I rediscovered a fabulous piece of silk matka which looks like a hessian sack but feels like velvet, some scraps of organza to add subtle shading to the background and some assorted shells and literally started to doodle in stitch.

I had an odd pony bead and I knew I wanted to cover it in stem stitch band like one I did for the North Cornwall Wallhanging. I used a much thicker thread for this one but it still has the sea urchin sort of look that I was looking for. The raised cup stitch that was so successful as poppies on the Harvest Wreath was a complete disaster here, so I filled them with seed beads and started to surround them with French knots to try and blend them in.

Next I added feather, threaded chain and Palestrina stitches over the strips of organza to hold them down and continued to build up the French knots and add some little mottled sandy coloured beads.

I love the depth and texture of the stitching.

More French knots interspersed with bullions and pearl beads. I liked the shaded effect on the needleweaving on the left from the variegated silk threads I was using so I added some more of those.

Finally finished. Well, in the end I had to tell myself to put down the needle and walk away. With this sort of free form stitching it’s so tempting to just add another dozen French knots or another seaweedy frond. The hardest thing is knowing when to stop!

I finished the Mothers’ Day card in good time too and am told it went down very well with the recipient. Despite my best efforts the the tea bags did shred a bit and the whole thing had to be restabilised by stuffing scraps of Bondaweb under the flapping areas and ironing carefully. You can see some spidery areas of glue but it’s less obvious in real life and was much better than having bits dropping off!

Next job is to decide on April’s Move It On Project and I’m torn between revisiting an existing project or starting a kit that’s been hanging around for a while and of course, also needs moving on.

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That’s just my Kamal Kadai work! I did wonder a few weeks ago what would happen if I used a very tight tension on the needle weaving bit of the Kamal Kadai work and since I had a partly worked piece from the workshop, I decided to find out. This is what it looks like when you ensure the weaving isn’t pulled tight:

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And this is how it turns out when you pull each row up tightly:

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French knot middle in rayon thread. It’s the perfect colour, but behaved appallingly. I really hate rayon thread!

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I’ve also started a piece incorporating found objects – plastic rings of varying materials and ages – and fragments of fabric on a hand dyed indigo background.

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Exploring different ways of attaching the rings.

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It’s exercising my ingenuity and very gently pushing at the edges of my colour comfort zone. I still couldn’t bring myself to use a riot of every colour in the scrap bag but it isn’t just blues and aquas!

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I’ve always kept a folder on my computer of images of things that I’ve come across on blogs and other lovely places across the internet that have piqued my interest. My own private Pinterest, I suppose. As the lovely group of ladies at Brigg Allsorts, (I taught a felted spiral brooches workshop there last September), have asked me to work with them on a regular basis, it is proving a treasure trove of ideas for things to teach.

My first workshop of 2019 with them was earlier in the month and from a selection of my treasure trove ideas they chose Kamal Kadai work. This is a type of needle weaving, sometimes beaded, which I believe originates in India and it was a real pleasure after the intensity of panto costume to get down to some sample pieces.

My first sample was a piece of beaded Kamal Kadai. My first attempt at guidelines was based on four diamonds which meet in the middle.  I also drew my lines by eye, but measuring accurately would help improve the result!

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The beads are added during the initial phase when the warp threads are being laid down. I found the single stranded thread such as perle and coton a broder worked best for this.

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Then, one section at a time, you fill the diamonds with needle weaving. Once you reach the first pair of beads you stop weaving on those warp threads and carry on on the ones left until you reach the final three threads.  It’s quite a challenge to get it even!

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I also found some examples of Kamal Kadai worked over buttons which I was keen to experiment with. I used the button as the basis for the guidelines.

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First with five threads per section:

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They look quite attractive even before you add the needle weaving.

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Then seven threads:

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And completed in the centre.

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It was a nice quiet relatively easy post-Christmas and New Year stitching workshop.

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The actual basics are relatively simple – straight stitches for the warp and then needle weaving, but as with a lot of fundamentally straightforward stitching, it’s the care and precision of working that gives the best results and we certainly had some lovely work from the group. I’ve added Kamal Kadai work to my range of workshops, so if you are interested please see the workshops page for further details and contact me (details in the side bar) for prices and further information.

After being extremely careful to keep the tension even on all my samples, I did wonder what would happen if I pulled the weaving up tight on each row. This is definitely something to explore.

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First the french knots…

From this:

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to this:

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I’ve focussed on finishing the top edges and am trying to reduce the amount of white at the bottom. It’s still very slow going!

And now for something completely different. I’m upcycling another damaged brooch.

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Apart from the loss of one of the ribs, it’s in lovely condition.

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My idea, to fill the ribs with weaving.

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A nice heavy spring green perle has a lovely shine to it.

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The silver metal central vein and the edges should contrast nicely with the glossy thread and a little ladybird charm will sit over the damaged area.

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We spent a wonderful day at The Eden Project during our holiday. I’ve been before but it was all as fresh and new and even more awe-inspiring this time round. So as a textile response, did I soar to the heights of the tree canopy in the rain forest biome?

Eden Project rainforest biome

Quite the reverse, but very much in keeping with the Eden ethos, I feel. 

Eden rusty washer 1

Near the den building area, one of the friends we went with found a chunky, heavily rusted washer on the grass. Knowing how much I love things like this, and the rustier the better, he picked it up for me.

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I had some rusted soft cotton with me and a scrap of fine, floaty silk in a pale rust colour. They went together beautifully and the washer was attached with long straight stitches in hand dyed turquoise stranded silk thread.

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I did needle weaving around some of the bars and buttonhole stitched others to vary the density of thread to washer.

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Then fly stiches around the outside, lining them up with the straight stitch spokes of the washer…Eden rusty washer 4

…and meandering lines of running stitch in a rusty coloured stranded cotton radiating out from the point of the fly stitches to the edge of the fabric.

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A thing of beauty from a used and discarded object.  A tiny, tiny echo of the ethos of the Eden Project.

 

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“…the merrow took up her story stick; shook it until the clattering of stone and bone brought silence and then began her tale…”

Story sticks 1

This is the piece I created to go with the first full day of our holiday, Sunday 11th August. We spent a wonderful afternoon and early evening at a quiet, secluded and sandy beach just north of Padstow and these were some sticks that I picked up at the top of the beach.

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I had no fixed idea of what I wanted to do with them, but later that evening I decided to start wrapping them and embroidering around them, much to the bemusement of some of the rest of the party.

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This one, with its lovely weathered ends, has been wrapped with a soft slubby browny grey blue thread, overwrapped with a variegated turquoise silk thread and embellished with tiny turquoise chips, stitched down with a fine silk thread which shades from sand through to sea.

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The middle one was wrapped with a hand dyed silk strip at one end and then over with various other hand dyed threads.  which were left loose to form a tassel to which I added a brass dragonfly charm to remind me of the huge dragon flies we often see here and also some beads and sodalite chips.

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There is some needle weaving at the end of the silk wrapping and some buttonhole stitch over the longer threads in the middle. The slubby thread at the ends has been criss-crossed and a cream buttonhole thread used to tie the crosses together.

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For the last one I had some variegated thread I wanted to showcase, so after I’d tied some scraps of silk round the stick…

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…I wrapped most of the rest of it in the thread.

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Some detached buttonhole stitch just to see if it would  work, and then the ends of the silk were finished with little Fimo charms and a cluster of beads.

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All three story sticks were then stitched onto a piece of my own eucalyptus hand dyed silk matka.

Who knows what stories the merrow (the mer-folk) might tell with them.

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Also…

Hawker's Cove scallop shells 1

Hawker's Cove scallop shells 2

More treasure from the sea.

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A little early, I know, but this is a fragment piece I started last October with some oddments of table confetti left over from SLTC’s after show/Hallowe’en party.

Layers of calico, overdyed brown poly-cotton from the tree costumes I made for lats year’s panto and some tie-dyed fabric I did at school. The pumpkins are secured with french knots through the eye and mouth holes and the cat and bat with black thread. Chain stitch and needle-weaving in oddments of hand dyed silk for the greenery.

Happy Hallowe’en!

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