Category Archives: Module 4

Chapter 6 Hard edge applqué


I couldn’t resist adding eyes to the geese and a few reeds as in the original image.

I only used one layer of padding – two would have been more effective.  I forgot to turn my tracing over so the birds are facing in the opposit direction.  I think I would have preferred them the other way.

The birds are attached simply by stitching an eye.  The feathers were tricky to stitch with all the points.

I have used simplified forms for the resolved piece.  I would have liked to put in wing feathers but knew it would look a mess.  The background was made by printing wax eggs, creasing the wax once dry to get a batik effect, before painting over.  The yellow birds are on hand dyd cotton that I had sprayed with walnut ink through a mesh which had not been very successful.  The two reddish birds are bleached cottonand are padded and together with thefree standing blue bird I made larger to contrast with the others and bring focus to the piece.  I added some shapes in a transparent fabric which I am pleased with as I think they give an added  dimension.  In the end I decided the feathers would spoil the piece so left them out.  I am pleased with the way it has turned out.

Chapter 5 Developing designs for appliqué – rubbings

I assembled various images of flying birds from my image library.

I like the effect on tissue paper – a somewhat ethereal quality, but the design is clearer on the sketchbook page and the rice paper.

I liked the three geese heads (somewhat modified from the original image) and combined these with eggs and feathers.

The double rubbing wors well. I had to scan the border pattern in two goes as it was a bit too long for the scanner.  It looks better in reality.


The above block was too simple, so I separated each piece into further sections which  I think is more successful. Reminds me now of flying geese (the sort on the wall)!



Chapter 4: Resists and Colour Discharge

I love the subtle effects that paintsticks give and how you can blend colours.  In this first example on black paper, some of the paper came away as I removed the masking tape – the lighter areas. The second sample is on black fabric.

In the bird sample below I was worried that the paint had got underneath the freezer paper,  but I rather like the effect this has produced.  I brushed on the orange first, then the blue.

The yellow fabric paint does not stand out very well from the black fabric below, but both pieces have a subtle effect.

Apart from the undesired blobs of wax, I think the two colours work well together here.  The fork gradually changed shape as I dipped it in the hot wax!

Below, the fabric was a bit too thin as the bleach spread beyond the holes.

As I love the effects you can get with compressed sponge I did several experiments with an egg shape.  Below I used bleach on black khadi paper.  This worked a bit too well, not leaving many speckles.

Bleach applied on paper painted with Koh-i-nor.  Too much removes all the colour, a bit less gives interesting effects.

Decolourant brushed on the jeans fabric

Decolorant sprayed through plastic mesh on to a predyed red cotton fabric (an old skirt), that had been passed through an indigo vat.  Only partly successful as I had trouble with the spray.  It is interesting how the greenish colour has appeared out of nowhere!

The compressed sponge egg using bleach – again a bit unpredictable.  The second sample is with Decolorant and works better.  Procion dyed cotton.

Next I dipped the sponge in wax and brushed on blue fabric paint before ironing out the wax.  I did a bit of experimental stitching, using whip stitch for the patterning on the eggs.

This was a tree mask made from freezer paper.  I then sprayed on Decolorant.  I cut a bird shaped stencil which I coloured with Brusho inks.  I added a bit of stitching.  I think this could be explored and worked on further.

Chapter 3 Working with solubles

My first attempts with automatic patterns were not very successful – too many holes. I also found it much easier to use a frame.

The bird design above was stitched using a frame.  I first stitched a simple grid which I then enhanced with a grid using an automatic stitch.  I added a machine cord along one edge.  I was originally going to have the birds the other way up, but felt it looked better this way.

The following designis taken from the egg shapes.  It didn’t work too well not using a frame, the second attempt worked a lot better.

The tassels worked well – I used medium soluble film again.  I can see the potential here for lots of uses.  I like the grids too.  The feathers would work well in appliqué, probably need to be larger.

The birds below were printed onto water soluble paper.  My first attempt at this was a disaster which fell to bits.  On this one the paint still wasn’t thick enough as it has disappeared in some areas.  Without the grid it would not have held together at all.  I find this a difficult medium to use.

Aquabond works well for holding snippets in position for stitching.  I mayve used too much stitching in the second example , it has made a very dense piece.

I love using dyed scrim with soluble film, together with other fibres.


Chapter 2 – Birdlike patterns and textures

The following are sketch ideas for the set of six pieces.  Due to my fractured shoulder they are somewhat limited but gave me enought to work with.

Birds and nests:


Border and feathers:

Egg shapes: the first multiple tracing, followed by simplification.


I decided on an A5 size as this would give me enough space to show the design but not be overwhelmed by the amount of stitching to do.


I wanted to give the feel of a flock of birds, probably crows, milling around, swooping and flying in all directions. I added extra stitching on a wing and head for the focal point.


I started by using moss stitch to suggest the softness of the inner parts of the nest and made two printing blocks, one of the surrounding coarser material and one of the eggs lying inside the nest. Red stitching over one egg print makes the focal point.  The fabric is callico I found that I had previously painted and printed with leaf shapes.  I don’t think the nest shape has worked very well and I could have done more moss stitch, it has become rather lost.


I cut out feather shapes from paper, inked and printed them. I used metallic thread bottom left as the focal point, but actually the red stitching leads you in and around more than anything else.

Decorative border

I used a bone shape which intrudes somewhat onto the stitched edging.  I could have made this border slightly wider so that the motifs sat within it.  I then added a variation of the pattern with different coloured thread.


I don’t feel this has worked very well either – stitch and print don’t enhance each other as they should do.  I now realise I haven’t added a focal point either!


I used whip stitch for the larger stitched footprints, gradually bringing the tension back to normal as the prints get smaller, ending with just a single line of stitching at the smallest print. Focal point is a print going in the different direction in red.

The blocks I made for printing: