Friday, February 24, 2012

TAST 2012 - Chain Stitch


I used another sketch for this week's TAST exercise.  The hair is Chain Stitch.  Her lips look weird, I'll restitch them tomorrow:


I don't draw well freehand, so I use a trick that most painters and illustrators are familiar with - use a model or photo as a drawing guide.  Life models, still life set ups, magazine photos, etc. all help to get the proportions right.  

I have dozens of glue books in which I keep magazine photos that I like.  Clothes, hairstyles, home decor, etc. all get pasted in.  I started keeping these glue books over 25 years ago and now they're really coming in handy for embroidery!  :) 

Here's the original magazine clipping:



And here's the tracing I created from it - I just traced the major outlines and added extra flounces to the hair:


No doubt there are many of you that, like me, have no formal art training and can't draw freehand.  I encourage you to give this method a try.  It's easy and produces great results.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cascade - embroidered quilt

My chevron stitch sample took on a life of it's own and expanded into this:




I'm calling it Cascade.  I just kept layering fabrics and adding stitches.  Stitches used:  chevron, running stitch, herringbone, beading. 

I'm starting to get the hang of free form stitching as detailed in Stitch Magic and Exploring Colour with Julia Caprara.  This piece is so beautifully textured and ripply!  I love it.  My work used to always be very neat, tidy, geometric, minimalist.  And I do still love that look but I'm having fun trying new techniques and branching out.

This lacks 'something', not sure what. I'll keep playing with it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

TAST 2012 - Chevron Stitch


Love the chevron stitch, so many possibilities!  My sketchbook has many more ideas I'd like to try.  This sample shows me that I need to pay attention to the fabric grain when marking:


This one isn't finished yet, I'd like to add more stitching, some beads, etc:


Thursday, February 9, 2012

TAST 2012 - Herringbone Stitch


My sketchbook got lots of action with this stitch but nothing was original until I hit upon the idea of corset lacing:


I translated one of my quick sketches into embroidery.  It's mostly stem stitch but I had hoped the red lacing would be more dramatic.  Still a cool concept though - I'd like to try using silk ribbon, perhaps with wider and taller herringbone stitches.  I can see a series with this theme.

TAST 2012 Cretan Stitch

TAST 2012 - Week #4 - Cretan Stitch

My original cretan stitch attempt was pathetic so I gave it another try.  I flipped through some old sketchbooks and found the perfect subject for cretan stitch - brittle starfish!  



The fabric had to give the impression of watery natural habitat, yet still provide some camouflage.  

This piece of fabric is very special to me.  Back in 2001 I was fortunate to take several quilting workshops with Caryl Bryer Fallert.  The workshops were fabulous and the icing on the cake was that she had some of her hand dyed fabrics available for purchase!  I snapped up a bunch of course! 

The starfish body  is my first attempt at satin stitch.  

This isn't finished yet.  I want to quilt it but I have an idea for making it three dimensional.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Comments problems on Blogger

If you're using Blogger and aren't getting many comments, check your settings. Go to 'Dashboard', then 'Settings', then 'Comments'.  Under 'Comment Form Placement' be sure to click 'Pop Up Window'.  If your setting is currently embedded, then most of us can't leave a comment on your posts.

TAST 2012 - Cretan Stitch


Cretan stitch - blech.  So boring.  Three pages of doodles in my sketchbook produced nothing original.  The only variation I truly like is when worked as leaves but that's been done and done and done.

So I pulled out the excellent Stitch Magic by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn.  One exercise is to randomly pick descriptions from a list and work the stitch in that manner - like it or not.  My exercise was:  cretan - vertical - needle weave - irregular.  Double blech!

Here is the ugliest piece of embroidery I've ever stitched:


The original exercise in the book is meant to be worked over and over again - heavily - to almost obscure the base fabric.  Frankly, I was already bored with this tiny sample.  I probably should do the exercise properly at some point, however I disagree with the authors that working with a combination one dislikes will produce the most unexpectedly wonderful results.  If I dislike a stitch, a colour, a thread, etc, then I've already checked out. 

On my Fly Stitch post I specifically told myself to always remember I dislike stitching without a plan.  So much for that.  WHY do I keep trying crap that I already know I hate?

And WHY do random / haphazard textile experiments look wondrous and avant-garde and often beautiful when others do it, yet when I look at my own experiments all I can see is a messy sneeze?