ATV - Pt2 - PJ2 - Drawing with Stitch · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Stitching on Paper – samples 1.

These days I’m quite comfortable with drawing, I’m no Leonardo Di Vinci but I’ve found a sort of style and I can enjoy putting pen and paint to paper.

But stitching is a different matter. I love to stitch but my spontaneous and slightly haphazard approach makes it difficult to be consistent and my love of fine lines and technical drawing/doodles doesn’t translate easily to stitch.

 I’m often caught in a world of seeding, knotting and hand quilting. Using stitch to extent my mark making and drawing has been a challenge.

I started with translating the little stitch motifs from the patch of darning on the smock shirt.

I soon became bored after completing the first row and a half but I’m glad I finished it. The tissue paper quickly became very fragile and I had to layer up the scrim on the back to make a more solid surface.


I continued with the idea of the motif and worked with a thinner thread on the Tyvek surface. The stitches were getting lost in the texture so I continued the motifs down into the plainer areas.



The splits and gaps in the Tyvek remind me of the rips and frayed areas on the linen garments. 

The colours I have chosen are influenced by the colours of the flowers I painted previously as the second design source.


I had been working with a basic motif that I was stitching randomly so I wanted to experiment with being more controlled. 

I made a collage, cut out an area and sellotaped it to the back of the paper surface. 

Using a thick thread I marked the corners with knots on the front and then wound a thinner thread around the knots to create the motifs.

It was clumsy to do and some of the knots came undone so had to be couched down.


The next sample started with the motifs (again!) but this little scrap of paper kept catching my eye so I pinned it to the paper and went for lunch.


When I got back, refreshed I decided to use the simplist influence and do some darning stitch. Obvious really. I really liked it and decided this was the way forward.  

I built up some layers and added more darning. I prefer the controlled darning from the photocopy but I do like the effect of using a thick and a thin thread. 


I’m was quite happy to leave the motifs behind and concentrate on darning. 

Stitching in this way feels very similar to cross hatching that is used to add tone to sketches.

When I had printed out the collage I’d left some acetate by mistake in the printer. This happy accident provided me with a lovely surface to stitch. 

I laid the printed acetate over a distressed paper surface which has two holes made by the rotary grinder.

I’m not sure everyone will like these explorations but I loved using the thread to highlight shapes and to run the lines from shape to shape. I find it very satisfying to use the printed shapes as anchors/pointers for linking/drawing the threads across the image.

If I had not controlled myself I would have kept adding more and more thread until every point had been joined or taken off the edge of the acetate and over the ruffled paper. 

I have a couple more prints so maybe I will. Is that the way I should be going? Exploring one idea, onwards and onwards? Or, stopping and picking up another idea to keep it fresh?

8 thoughts on “Stitching on Paper – samples 1.

  1. I like all of it Sally. It is lovely to explore like that. You could make a little sampler book of them …
    I find that when I go back later to this sort of work that I see different things … things I did not notice before. Some you will take further and others maybe not at all. The good thing is to do the exploring.


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