Thursday, 26 July 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces - the first stitches!

and there has been a few changes!

I'm using an antique white 28 count linen (type) fabric.

I used a Perle No 8 for the path and sky in a cream colour. I tried the charcoal stranded cotton and it didn't look right, too dark and imposing. I then used a very pale grey Perle No. 8 for the wall (I used a dark grey cotton thread under this). I've started the white stranded cotton for the buildings.

I think things are progressing well and I hope to get this first level of stitching finished at the weekend. I can then move onto the bushes. For inspiration I took some photos of the actual bushes.

Since this piece is in monotone I need to rely on texture....

Stay tuned!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces - stitch diagram

I've refined the basic design (by removing one of the bushes on the left) and noted some of the stitches I intend to use.

The piece will measure 6"x4". I'm using a cream linen fabric and cream, white and grey threads. Nearly monotone! I love the sketchy look of charcoal so I couldn't resist using another colour. At least its not black.

I plan to do a pulled backstitch for the main path and sky using charcoal stranded cotton. I will vary the width of the lines and the thickness of the threads to create the illusion of depth. I am toying with the idea of splitting the skyline at the roofline (on the left) and doing some pulled backstitch (or possibly another pulled stitch) in a different direction. Possibly echoing the path line (bottom right).

The buildings will be stitched using random straight stitches in white stranded cotton with some shiny threads added to the building closest to viewer. All buildings will be outlined in charcoal stranded cotton. I'm hoping to achieve a sketched look.

The walls will either be padded satin stitch or I will applique some twill tape (nice texture and lovely warm cream colour).

The bushes will have various stitches, fabric and beads added to give a sense of depth and richness of foliage. Stitches I'm considering here include, detached chain, straight, thorn, french knots, bullion, but I'll research this part later. One technique I am also considering is darning.

This is quite detailed (normally I'd just start stitching), but I want to draw the viewers eye to the patch of sea in the middle of the piece and for this I need to get the perspective right.

all subject to change of course!

the letter B

Friday, 20 July 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces - a sketch...

at last.

Its based on a view of the sea. Just as you round a bend you look right and you can see the sea between the houses. I have simplified the shapes and may do so again (I'll leave the sketch lying around tomorrow and take quick glances at it!)

The premise is a glimpse of the sea. Through the bushes, walls and houses you can see the water. Since this exercise is in monotone and is all about texture, I'll have to build a sense of perspective through stitch alone. I want to draw the viewers eye to the little rectangle of sea in the middle of the picture. This will be untouched whilst everything around it will be stitched.

That is the theory!

Some stitching ideas at the moment:-
  • drawn thread work for the sky and path. I think these should be the same pattern and worked in the same direction to give some balance and not look too busy. I hadn't consider this treatment until I read the notes to lesson 2 and Sharon showed her Lizard piece.
  • at the moment the buildings are worked as just lines, but this may not make the sea pop.
  • the bushes will be worked in different highly textured threads and beads etc, hopefully giving a since of foreground and background.
  • the walls may be padded....
After sketching and tracing with an 8B pencil I'm now drawn to my black and white threads. I think that monotone scheme will make a more pleasing picture.


I need to be careful that it doesn't look cluttered and that I get the sight lines correct. I think once I get it drawn up a few more times and start laying down the outlines and first layer of stitches I'll have a better feel for it.

I feel abit unsure publishing this at this stage as I don't know how its going to turn out... oh the lack of control!

Monday, 16 July 2007

oh dear, another project.

I'm trying to sort through all my notebooks and folders that I've collected over the past 3 years.

I collect ideas (from books, classes, magazines etc) but they're scattered across folders, notebooks, sketchbooks etc and I don't look through them very often for inspiration or consult them whilst working on a project. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

so another new task - create a 'system' that helps me use all these ideas, without getting sidetracked.....

Bullion Sample

Take a Stitch Tuesday, week 27 - Bullion Stitch.


finally. after many years of trying it finally clicked. I'm sooooo chuffed.

things I need to remember:-

* don't wind the thread too tight
* don't go through the same hole, as it just tangles the thread
* use a needle with a small, slim eye.


Sunday, 15 July 2007

stitching emotions

Another student on the Sumptuous Surfaces course asked which stitches would be able to convey acceptance and peacefulness.

I find this a very interesting question... how to convey emotions with stitches, especially if we can't use colour.

Thread type, size and placement of stitch will all have a baring, so many stitches may be able to convey multiple emotions. I feel the need for another list....

Also, looking through my Take a Stitch Tuesday sample book I wished I had noted my circumstances and feelings at the time of stitching. For example, lack of sleep!

Sumptuous Surfaces - week 1

Sharon B has described the design process of Concept, Form and Content. Despite the numerous creative courses I've taken over the years I've never consciously thought about my designs in this formal context. I'm hoping it will appeal to my analytical side and keep me focused on completing an original piece of work.

I'm working in 6"x4" format, purely because its small and I'm confident I'll get the stitching finished (TAST is good evidence of that)

I'm going back to one of the first ideas I had when I started my C&G course and I'm using my home - a small fishing village - as inspiration.

Which also fits well with the format - seaside postcards.

3 years ago when I started a workbook of ideas I concentrated on the 'elements' - sky, sea and sand (or in my case, shingle). My first impressions. But now I want to concentrate on what I love about the village and thus make a more personal piece.

I'm using the sketchbook that I made 3 years ago in response to my first impressions to collect my new ideas.

I'm sure that if I revisit this concept over the years, what I love will change, so this will be a long term idea!

So far a bit of mind mapping and daydreaming has thrown up a very simple concept.

The sea. In particular how I see it - catching a small glimpse through some houses as I turn a corner, or getting up high and seeing an expanse of water. I love the juxtaposition of the green fields and the blue water. And the noise they both make when its windy...

I'm hoping to get some sketching done in next couple of days of my different vantage points. I'm sure some interesting shapes will come up.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday to do list

I'm playing catch up. I still need to do:-

week 27 - bullion (eek!)
week 26 - half chevron
week 24 - french knots
week 20 - butterfly chain

beige update

I have more natural tones than I thought....

long and short stitch

Take a Stitch Tuesday, week 25 - long and short stitch.

This is my first attempt at this stitch (which I found surprising!). I used leftover pink threads from my recent counted cross stitch project. I stuck with the regular straight stitch on plastic canvas and played about with the length of the stitch and added a little bit of weaving. I also added a piece of calico with some (messy) circle experiments.

wheatear sample

Take a Stitch Tuesday, week 23 - wheatear stitch. I used the scraps of fabric leftover from my recent ATC to create a sunset effect. It took a while before I loosened up and the stitch started to evolve, so there are many 'straight' wheatears before the 'interesting' ones showed up:-

* I like the layered effect on the left hand side, thick and thin threads slightly overlapping
* the super thin wheatears, achieved by using the same hole for the ears and the chain
* the angular wheatears at the far right are my favourite and definitely warrant further exploration.
* I also like the wheatears layered over the frayed fabric (right off center)

not the sunset effect I first imagined but a decent (and quick) exploration

Sunday, 8 July 2007

where has the week gone?

the materials list for Sumptuous Surfaces has arrived. Sharon wants us to work in monotone for the first three lessons and suggests cream, white, bone and natural muted tones. I don't have a great supply of these, certainly not a variety of threads, probably because I'm not drawn to these colours. I do have a selection of black and white fibres (not much grey though...) which may be appropriate. But I'm much black and white can I take! Maybe I should use this class to challenge my beige prejudice....

I'll wait until the lesson arrives and see how it goes....
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