Chapter 7 – Developing Stitched Textures

Couching yarns

Couching yarn, zigzag, foot on

I loved combing the colours for this piece and for the one with automatic patterns below.

a couple of experiments
in the style of Bridget Riley

I probably needed a larger piece of stitching and more curves to achieve a real optical illusion, so this sample is only partly successful.

couching yarns with automatic patterns

Bits and bobs

view of a flowerbed

I chose an image that was relatively simple in shape and colour and although the over-riding colour is green, there are lots of different textures and shapes.

stitched sample

I am quite pleased with the result, but it took forever to do as I had mainly quite thin pieces of yarn and it was difficult to keep them down on the backing layer of felt as I stitched them.  I just didn’t seem to have much in the way of thick yarns that might have made it easier.

Design source to inspire texture

I love this image of the lotus flower seed head and I felt it had lots of texture to get to grips with.  I spent a long time thinking about how I could stitch this – even after I had drawn it and planned the design, there didn’t seem to be an obvious solution.

photograph of sample

The phot shows the texture better than the scanned sample from my sketchbook.

I was pleased with the result and feel it is a good interpretation of the image.  The procrastination paid off!


Chapter Six – Texture

Texture images




Bridget Riley and stitching texture


Mark making

Mark making into stitch

I’m struggling with the cocoon of vine leaves – this reminds me more of Amnesty’s candle surrounded by barbed wire!  So not very successful.

I really enjoyed doing these little pieces.  The cactus is the least successful, but this is partly because it is a bit of an odd shape.


Below is the first stitched sample, with the raised areas stitched on to the base fabric by hand.  Some of them are quite bumpy where I have manipulated them, but this doesn’t show too well in the scanned image.  I found this piece quite difficult and time consuming as I wanted to do each bit seperately to see how it looked stitched on.  It is all cable stitch with free embroidery, except for the final zigzag stitching done with mercerised cotton from the front with a 100 topstitch needle.

The second sample below is done using kunin felt, with the unstitched areas melted away with the heat gun to show the base layer stitching.  I simplified the stitching by doing it lengthways.  I’m not so keen on the base colours, but I had run out of everything else!  The sense of texture is not so pronounced on this piece, but it was a lot quicker to do!

photo of the first stitched sample

I think this shows the texture a little better than the scanned image.

Collage, paint and print workshop with Karen Carter

Last week I went to the Oxford Summer School for the Arts to do the above course.  I had a wonderful time and felt truly inspired.

The first thing we made was this little book of sample techniques.

front cover

All pages covered with a diluted wash of acrylic paint.

Page 1 – Acrylic paint on a fern pressed on paper for a positive image, paint around fern for negative image.  Tissue paper glued over the image, the darker area from where the paper got wet.

Page 2 – Image drawn into polystyrene with gel pen, printed onto paper and on tissue paper on right, with plain tissue paper glued on.

Page 3 – Funky foam print block printed on to paper, tissue paper glued on and some of this discharged with bleach on the block.

Page 4 – Monoprint.  ater based printing ink painted onto plastic sheet, drawn into.

Page 5 – Collaged background of mixed papers and tissue paper, knocked back with dilute white acryllic, sponged a little for texture, then pale red acrylic splattered and dripped.

Page 6 – Various stencils (piece of lace far right), both positive and negative images which also spread onto previous page.

Page 7 – Oil pastels.  1) Washed over with koh-i-nor, 2) sgraffito on acrylic, 3) transfer from tracing paper – pastel rubbed hard on to tracing paper, then drawn into over page.

Page 8 –  From left to right – gold leaf rubbed onto marks made with glue pen, gold gutta, anaglypta paper painted with acrylic, rubbed with Treasure Gold.

The following pages are on callico, which were then glued to the paper pages.

Page 9 – Gel transfer using inkjet print (glossy paper on left), thinner magazine print on right, plus stencils and tissue paper.

Page 10 – Tansfer print using acrylic paint on plastic sheet, left to dry then adhered to fabric with gel medium.  Plus fern print.

Image on T-shirt transfer paper ironed onto fabric. On the right, image drawn into transfer paper and ironed.

Final page is blank- technique was painting onto bondaweb and lutadur, heating the latter. There is a narrow strip of lutradur pasted onto the front cover.

back cover

The following are two monoprints.  On both,  yellow ink was painted onto the plate in the shape of the poppy seed heads and printed onto the paper.   The plate was then completely inked up with black ink. The outline of the image was traced onto tracing paper which was lined up to the original imaged and taped in place.  This was laid on the plate and the image drawn so that the ink printed onto the paper with this image.  Gentle pressure produced the surrounding smudged areas.  Leaf images were also drawn in and a couple printed on afterwards, in the second one on tissue paper that was then glued on.

Below is part of a collaged background, using various patterned papers and tissue paper, knocked back with white acrylic, some pale red paint dripped in places.  I have the idea of a triptych with a poppy theme, going from flower buds, through flowers to seed heads.  When I get time!