ATV - A2 - Stitching - Placed & Spaced · ATV - Assignment 2 · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Stitched Pieces – pt2

I’m flying very close to my deadline (Monday!) but I’ve finished the first unresolved stitched piece.

Once the stitched and painted base had dried I decided to distress the material using the grinding tool to replicate the wear and tear on the original source garments. Ooh, I enjoyed this bit. It was far less messy than working on the paper and I loved the way you can grind away some of the colour to get texture and tonal changes.


 I started to think about ‘placement’ and detail and decided to test overlaying one of my ‘stitched on paper’ designs over the bodice on the base.

I liked the effect and chose a subtle tan thread. I laid out a few brighter and more eye catching colours but I wanted to keep this piece more nutural.

Once I’d done the first bit of stitch after drawing the design on with pencil I took a black and white photograph to check there is still enough contrast to maintain interest.

After completing all the detail stitching I have pinned the ‘completed’ piece up to review over the next few days. My instinct is to add more paint colour but time is short!!


ATV - A2 - Stitching - Placed & Spaced · ATV - Assignment 2 · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Stitched Pieces

Just a quick blog, striking whilst the iron is hot. I’ve fiffed and faffed and got caught up with planning. 

Life is full of stress at the moment and far too many excuses not to get started. I was feeling slightly numb so I thought; whilst the mind can’t think just go and start. Just to it!

And that was what I did!

This sketch of the smock coat I looked at way back when is still one of my favourites so I decided to recreate it, or at least part of it on a piece of linen that I had ready for this product.

I drew the shapes with an erasable pencil and backed the linen with interfacing and free motion stitched the design.

At times it was tricky because the interfacing wasn’t very smooth is the material didn’t flow under the needles.

I’m finding it quite hard to reconcile my love of drawing and painting with my desire to stitch so I decided to test painting the design to try and meld the two things together. 

To add more depth I painted using some luminescent Stuart Gill fabric paint mixed with Jacquard Dyn-na-flow. Then ‘seasoned’ the plain fabric with ecru Procion-dye and some Markal rub.

I’ll review it once it’s dried and decide if? And how much more stitch to add.

ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Reflections

Blithering blogging part two

Tonight I’m trying something very new. This blog is being written using the dictation button on the keyboard on my iPhone. It’s quite strange sitting talking almost to myself.

But it is so much quicker than writing it all down. I’m wondering if I can keep a written journal or a daybook and then transcribe what I’ve written into a blog using the dictation method.

I quite like this leather bound book and it would be nice to write down my thoughts as I go along. I still find writing easier than typing directly onto my phone or iPad. Sometimes the technology distracts me from really thinking about what I’m going to write. 

I have to say using the dictationbutton is very much quicker, and if I was reading out what I had written it would be even quicker. 


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

Stitching On Paper – Samples 3

The stitch sample collection is building up quite nicely now, I’m sure I probably have enough but I’m finding it very beneficial to keep stitching more and more.

It’s taken a small stack of day sketchbooks and doodle books to build up my confidence at drawing and painting and I was not convinced I would be able to find a similar level of comfort using stitch to draw. And to start off with I didn’t. I’ve found the process frustrating, limiting and at times, plain horrible but I’m working through it. I’m getting better at expressing my ideas with needle and thread. It’s feeling more normal, my co-ordination is improving and I’m starting to see a style emerging that I am comfortable with.

I have always been very envious of the way stitchers like Gwen Hedley can interpret their drawing and mark making into stitch. The transition always looks so easy when you look at it in books and I was really doubting that I would be able to even make a good stab at it, let alone create something that I was pleased with.

As I said, it”s been a slow journey towards my goal of using stitch like a pen or a pencil and I’ve tried quite a few different ways to transfer or transform the images that I had selected into stitch samples.

Selecting some simple cotton thread and an interesting piece of paper, I worked on recreating the sketch I did at the museum of a seam that was coming loose and straining.I used the single long stitches to hold together the rips in the paper to replicate this motion and highlight the weave like fibres showing through on the damaged paper.

This felt easier than the earlier samples in part 2 and although it’s not an accurate copy, I don’t think that matters.

It was interesting to see how the stitching looked on the really damaged parts of the paper I had used for the seam sample and I went off plan to test how it would work if simple lines, almost darning stitches were built up and layered onto the paper. I was quite happy with the result but feel that it doesn’t have the depth and substance of the samples that are more closely representative of the marks and drawings I selected.

I then had a go at using simple back stitches to copy another quick sketch. This still felt quite difficult and clunky, nowhere near as smooth or as free as pen strokes. I felt constrained by the way the thread pulled and found it’s own route between the holes and over the surface of the folded paper.

This piece has gone onto the back burner for now and I moved onto experimenting with more couching, it’s still one of my favourite ways to apply thread and I’m determined to make the end result as appealing as the process of stitching is.

Following on from the couching I decided to go back to using stitch in a way that more closely resembled my drawings and using a piece of quite tough and distorted paper and similar coloured thread I set out to stitch in a way that would evoke a sense of the delicateness of the garment but not hide the fact that it was made to be tough and hardwearing.

This sample developed slowly and it taught be a valuable lesson: sometimes a complicated process, in this case the overstitching and whipping of the stitches, can create a simple image with small details that provide interest.

I want to build on this concept of more can equal less. I’ve always been guilt of trying to overwork my stitch pieces in the past and have tried to steer clear of adding too much thread. In doing so I have found myself feeling that my work has lacked depth and interest. Maybe this practise of looking for ways to add subtle detail to simple ideas is my holy grail

Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Blithering Blogging

I'm trying a new thing today. I'm having a go with using the Blogger iPad app to write my blog entries. It is becoming increasing frustrating to write a blog with photographs and inserts. I have a very short short term memory and I hate complicated key chains so adding inserts and references drives me crazy but I know I have to do this is support my research and to meet the requirements of the course.

Then there are the photographs, I use iCloud and it helpfully manages my photographs for me, keeping them in that deep dark cloud, so deep and dark that I can't get to the blasted things. I get all excited and tempted by a thumbnail but click on it and all I get is that little porkie pie chart that creeps round to 3/4s and then declares my photo cannot be downloaded. Arrrrrgggghhhhhhhhhh. By now I'm so caught up in the process there is no way I am going to be able to make an kind of sensible attempt at analysing, reviewing or explaining my work. My head is frazzled and I'm fed up before I've even started!

This is the Instagram photo of my messy nest. Explanation is a couple of paragraphs down.

I am hoping Blogger with it's quick links to Google, Flickr, Instagram and Facebook will help me embed references and photographs with lots less fuss and whizzing windmills, who am I Don Quixote – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Now, that was loads easier, I tapped on the Google search button, found the page, copied it and pasted it into the blog. No leaping backwards and forwards. Phew! that works then!


So now, Instagram. Can I add a photo? Oh my God, it was so easy! It is up there not down here but all I had to do was tap the Instagram button, go into My Photos, press on the photograph (excuse the mess!) and drag it into the body of the blog, genius!

Then there is Flickr, I use Flickr a lot, its so much easier than iCloud & Apple photos to use if you want control over what you upload and organise but for God's sake don't switch on the auto uploader, it's the devil's work and you will end up with thousands of dated albums with one photograph in.

For a start, ignore the Please Wait windmill when you are setting up the link, just enter in your log in details and Bob's your uncle and your in. Okay, I've got the photo into the blog the same way as before but it's quite difficult to handle and has ended up embedded up there somewhere!

So finally, Facebook. I bet you can add links and photographs, so first a photo. Now that's not working but I won't be beat.

Now to see if it's publishes okay. Press that button!!






ATV - A2 - Stitching - Placed & Spaced · ATV - Pt2 - PJ2 - Drawing with Stitch · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Stitching on Paper – Samples 2

 It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog, I’ve been having a blog ‘wobble’ and only really admitted it to myself today. I’ve also been away on my travels again and that doesn’t help, but this work was done before my hols and could easily have been blogged about before or during my trip.

I’m finding it difficult to make decisions about how much work is required on each exercise and I seem to be over committing myself and expecting to complete far too much in the time I have given myself and this is being complicated by the feeling that I am not exploring every idea/concept to its most innovative or adventurous point.  Grrhh! its all making me feel a little crazy, and along with thinking that my blogs are too short and not full of enough detail this has all combined to sent me into a mini freeze! 

I promised myself before I started this adventure that I wouldn’t overthink my every more or the instructions and just get on with things! Time to have a reset then and just get back to getting my head down and getting on with it. I now have a deadline of November 16th to get assignment 2 submitted and I’m going to do my utmost to get done by then.

So, back to the stitching on paper samples. It’s been a slightly strange eperience this; I’ve found that sometimes I really enjoy stitching a piece but then I don’t like the result. 

This flower bud was exactly like that, I love couching and I love these Colinette Yarn ribbons but for me the end result looked garish and the stitches looked poorly executed. I was pleased with it as an interpretation of the original but overall it didn’t work for me at all and don’t get me on to how the green stitches and the ribbon clashes! 

If I was to try to make it work I would probably chuck some bleach and maybe some gesso at it to tone down the colours but then it would start to become a mixed media piece and not a stitch sample so it will stay as it is. 


I had a little more success with this piece but I really, really don’t like the knots that have become bows, what is all that about? In the first set of samples I tried to make some knots and when they split they became quite attractive little splays of thread so I thought’d I’d try to replicate the action here. Far far too twee for me. 

The paper was very solid and difficult to stitch through but I didn’t mind that and I still like the effect of stitch over the really damaged piece of paper. 

After the first 2 disappointing trials I finally got into my grove with this sample. I love this bark paper, it’s strangly both very tough and very fragile at the same time. 

During the distressing/manipulation process I had bashed mulberry paper though the sheet of paper with the embellisher and some areas of the piece had become very thin and worn. The similarities to the wear and tear I’d seen in the linen smocks (my textile archive source material) made me happy  and I decided to continue with the close associations to the smocks and use some darning.

This really has to be the stitch that I wish to include in my 3 assignment pieces. I like to paint with broad brush strokes and darning lets me replicate this with stitch, I have tried in the past to use satin stitch but have found it too loose and difficult to execute, it always turns into couching for me as I try to hold it down with more little stitches. Actually, that gives me an idea to store away!

I decided to interprate the sunflower head prints and drew a few lines around the photocopied version to block out the areas that I wanted to individually darn. I chose a bright colourway; the flowers (my picking & portraying source material) had been bold and I wanted to prove to myself that I could use bold colours after the bud failure. 

For the last block I auditioned a number of different colours and decided on the cream, as a nod to the cream linen smocks and as a nice contrast, soothing influence to the other bright threads.

Then, Oh sweet jesus, what happened here?! A strange alien man eating plant in fishnet tights? This sample is beyond redemption and it’s only saving grace is that I like the bits where the thread has pulled at the tyvek and bound it down over the scrim. All in all, it’s far too busy, far too twee and well, just plain odd!   


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?

ATV - Assignment 2 · ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Pt2 - PJ2 - Drawing with Stitch · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

A Little Preparation 

Before I threw myself into the stitch sampling I decided to review what is needed for Assignment 2.

I like to have at least a little inkling of where I’m going next and for me reading the course materials is just not enough!

Usually I would write them out, almost, word for word but there are a lot of instructions this time. 

So I had to come up with a way to review and digest the guidance that could also make it easy for me to re-read, review, take notes, jot down ideas, research, keep pictures etc etc.

I had loads of paper left over from the previous exercise and I’ve used some of it to make a workbook. 

I’ve printed the instructions off on sticky backed acetate, cut them up into paragraphs so I could read them in small bites and fixed them onto different pages. 

And this will give me lots of space for mind maps, ideas, photos and photocopies etc.

The issue now is, do I want to mess up all this uncharacteristic organisation by actually doing something??


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

It’s Audition Time.

After putting together my manipulated paper surfaces for stitch, the next stage is to sift through all of the source material and start to decide what I am going to stitch.

Tonight I have the lounge to myself (almost, if you don’t include the pets!) so I started off by printing off pictures of my surfaces and the drawings I have selected to use as direct sources for the stitching. 

Then using my view finders I selected areas of the drawings that I felt had some link or similarly to the different surfaces.

I photographed and printed off these little duos, then I worked through the actual surfaces and put them together with the print offs.

At some point it had got to the stage where I had stuff everywhere so I decided to set up some admin style folders to organise the samples and ideas.

I’m not sure if it’s really very arty or creative to be this organised but it helps me! Not so sure Gem was that impressed though!!


There is still far too many examples to stitch so there is still more auditioning to do. 

Thank you to Anne Armes for sharing this concept of ‘auditioning’ items when selecting ideas to take forward. 

It’s been a busy evening and as you can see it’s all worn Leo the cat out!!


ATV - Pt2 - PJ1 - Creating Surfaces · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Folds, Tears and Circles

Power tools scare me, they’ve always made me nervous and they never fail to make me jump! 

This happened at least once today as I ventured into the world of manipulating paper with grinders and sanders. 

This pretty gold tool (that’s the technical term!) was satisfying but a little bit too rough for my liking. It had a habit of swirling big bits of paper away from the layers and I didn’t feel any where near enough in control of what I was doing. 


In the end the whole front sheet of the layering was whipped lose by my over enthusiastic hole making. It was a happy accident and I really like this top sheet glued onto a new background layer.


So I changed the fitting for the rest of the circles and used a flat circular grinding stone. 

I like the little green half moons and the rubbed rings of texture (that sounds like somewhere on the moon!)



I’ve also been having a play with flexible filler to add some texture and as an alternative to PVA for sticking together layers of paper.


This gave me some great texture but made the paper feel quite thick. Using it with Modge Podge glue made the paper very wet and this resulted in delicate papers becoming mushy. 

It didn’t help that I had rubbed a juicy succulent leaf into the mushy mess.


I wanted to find a way to adher the layers but not have to slop on lots of glue, even if it does dry clear. Again, I had the uneasy feeling of not having enough control over the layering.

This led me to have a dig around in my workroom and to finding a tin of 505 spray, its a fabric glue that’s not designed to be permanent. There was nothing left in my can of 606, the permanent version so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the 505 holds on because this is paper and not heavy fabric.

The spray has allowed me to make a couple of samples with more defined and controlled folds.

On the next folded experiment I used a pocket file, much less scary than the power tool to mold and define the folds.


I used the spray to layer up some lighter papers on a sheet of bark paper and used another pocket file and the flat circle grinder to create some lines, folds and signs of general ‘wear and tear’. 

The file was particularly good for embedding the layers into each other.

I felt like I was getting into a rhythm then and I worked another piece of light paper glued onto painted cartridge paper, slashed with the grinder. Then more tissue paper spray glued into place with more grinding and filling. 

Next came some slightly more defined lines I made with what was left of the cartridge paper and lots more tissue paper.

I continued to explore using the same process and rhythm and put together this final piece. I particularly like the feeling of seams and slashing.



I’ve decided that I now have enough surfaces to stitch and it’s time to start considering and planning what I am going to stitch.

 This fills me with excitement and trepidation, but first, where did I put that copy of Selvedge?  Said the procrastinator to the student!!