Much as I love the "paperwork" side of these modules, it is lovely to be stitching again.
Firstly a series of small hand stitched spirals (stitched area about 17cms square), all worked in the hoop. So, in the order I stitched them:
- bottom right - 2 lines of running stitch worked from the inside out. The second row, the pale pink rayon thread, echos the first line, which is green coton-a-broder, but is a different rythm.
- centre - deep pink tapestry wool running stitch, worked from the inside out, then a line of pale pink coton-a-broder worked very close. I then whipped the first line with the coton-a-broder.
- bottom centre - running stitch in a pale lime green soft cotton, whipped with the deep pink tapestry wool. I then added a row of back stitch worked quite close to the first line, in a green sparkly thread.
- top centre - A row of green coton-a-broder running stitch once again worked from the inside out, whipped with a pale pink thread. Then a line of running stitch in the gap using a dark pink weaving yarn, whipped with the same yarn.
- bottom left - This time I started on the outside and worked in . It doesn't appear to make a great deal of difference where you start except that the ones started in the middle are more circular. It is two rows of running stitch in coton-a-broder, worked close together and with the same spacings.
- top right and left - coral stitch spirals worked on top of each other using yarns already used in the sampler.
I became quite interested in the idea of one thread spiralling round another, which led me to the next sample (stitched area about 14cms square).
Working from the outside in, I couched the thick pale pink wool and the dark green candlewick thread that I had overdyed. The second line in is a back stitch in a green sparkly thread. The thick wool is whipped with a hand dyed pink soft cotton and a green knitting tape, the green sparkly thread is whipped with a pink chenille thread, and the candlewick cotton is whipped with a dark green knitting tape.
Then I added two rows of knotted chain stitch to fill in the gaps.
Now a series of free motion machined samples - firstly some simple spirals (stitched area about 14cms x 10cms) , and then on one of my monoprinted fabrics from the previous chapter.
Then I tried setting the machine up for whip stitch. In this first sample (stitched area about 16cms square) I used three different coloured threads - pink, dark green and variegated green and I tried different combinations. I set the machine up to do a zig-zag stitch.
The "spotty" spiral (top right) happened accidentally. When I am doing free motion embroidery, I always bring the bottom thread through to the top, take a few stitches, and then cut off the ends. As I stitched, the top thread pulled through the stitches leaving the loops from the bobbin and I really liked the effect. I tried it again (centre left) to make sure it was repeatable.
I noticed that if I worked quite fast, and made quite square spirals, I got a different quality of line when I was moving the hoop across than when I was moving it up and down. I widened the width of the stitch to its maximum, and made several spirals. (stitched area about 17cms square)
Then I decided to make a sample using the different line qualities. (stitched area about16cms x 10cms)
Using the small gelli plate (16cms square) I monoprinted a spiral on top of the embroidered spiral, and then added the line, which is a piece of printed nylon chiffon torn into a strip, twisted and couched down with a machine embroidery thread.
I took a ghost print from the gelli plate using a piece of tissue paper, which shows up the embroidered lines and I think is very delicate and beautiful. I wonder if it would be possible to iron it onto something and stitch into it - but then maybe not, it is so delicate and it would be very easy to overwork it and loose the delicacy. However, I might explore making some monoprints by pressing stitched pieces into the paint. That might make a more robust pattern that would take some stitching.
The next sample is more whip stitching, this time using a straight stitch. I stitched this in one, trying to make small tight spirals in the middle and making them more open round the outside. It makes a beautiful knobbly texture on the back. (stitched area about 15cms square) I took the photographs on different days with different light, hence the colour variation - the top image is closer to the colour of the sample.
I tried more whip stitch spirals, varying the colour of the thread in the bobbin and the top. The centre sample has been stitched very densely, and gives a beautiful texture on the back. For the bottom right sample I used two colours in the bobbin (pink and green) and pink in the top.
For the last machine sample, I tried to set the machine up for cable stitch. I've tried doing cable stitch several times, and never been terribly happy with the results. I read some instructions that said not to engage the presser foot, and for my machine it appears to work OK. I've found I have to loosen the tension on the bobbin depending on the thickness of the yarn I'm using. However, no matter how much I loosen the bobbin tension, I am unable to get the thread to really loop - it's begun to happen in the top right sample, but not with any consistency. But, these are more successful than I have achieved before!
I wanted to do another mainly hand stitched sample, and I wanted to try and interpret the lines on one of my spiral drawings from Chapter 2, so I made a selection.
I then tried to select the basic bones of the spiral and drew them onto a piece of tracing paper, laid it on my fabric, and hooped it up. As my machine was still set up for cable stitch and stitched on the lines, tore away the paper, removed the hoop and stitched by hand. I'm reasonably pleased with the result, although I don't think its quite got the energy of the painted spiral.