Translating layered designs into embroidery
I have really enjoyed this chapter. It amazed me to see how different the same design appeared in different colour combinations, and the difference that using a variety of stitches introduced.
I stitched 8 samples. How I went about these is described alongside each piece with appropriate numbering on sample and writing. However in case the writing is difficult to read on the sketchbook pages I have repeated it in the blog text.
a. Blue and Orange Crosses
Using a pale blue background, for the first dark blue layer I stitched both edges of the cross from the design at the end of Chapter 4. It was too complicated to add the third element but the colour change was produced instead by removing the centres from both cut layers. The dark blue fabric was outlined in a small running stitch in fine thread. On the top layer I used a thicker thread and stitched a single line of cross stitch down the centre and cut on either side of it.
b. Solid Blue and Gold Crosses.
The base layer was one of the printed fabrics I had produced using a stamp. Onto this I put the shiny gold fabric stitched with coral stitch. The fabric was a nightmare to work with as it tended to slide and frayed alarmingly. I chose therefore to deliberately fray it back to the stitching line and not to cut out the central panel. Over the top I laid a pale blue fabric which I buttonholed in place. To keep the balance of the piece I left the centre of this piece in place too.
This is one of the least effective of my samples – I do not feel that the printing adds anything to this piece and the stitching is not as neat as most of the others
c. Brown Star on Irregular Blue Square
This did not technically fit with the brief that was given. But I just wanted to see what would happen with the design from design sheet B in Chapter 3. I wondered what I could do about making the link and intertwining the shape, but having visually played with it in my mind I decided it was not possible to do that, but I still like the design.
Originally I had planned to use the gold layer on the square, but when I realised how difficult it was to handle on the previous sample, I switched and used that as the background. On the blue outline of an extended square I used a running stitch in a stranded silk thread for the first time and loved the feel of it. I used the same thread for the star shape but changed the stitch to herringbone over the edge. However when I came to work the internal edge of the star the edges were not long enough to cope with the herringbone with this thickness of thread. So I reverted to the running stitch I had used on the previous layer.
The next five samples, over two pages, are all based on one design from the first coloured design in Chapter 4.
d. Yellow Criss-Cross on Blues
Dark blue background with pale blue straight cross as first layer. All stitched with small running stitch. Second applied layer is yellow, with tan cross stitch over the cut edge.
e. Blue Criss-Cross on Brown and Gold
Dark brown background with gold cross over the top. Stitched with single strand of yellow so that it is almost hidden. Top layer is blue, with blue running stitches, interlaced with gold. I love this sample
f. Blue Criss-Cross on Pale Blue and Yellow.
On this one, the pale blue background gets lost, rather than the stronger colours of the previous two samples. Then the first applied colour was yellow, which I stitched with a feather stitch over the edge. However this was a waste of time and energy. Most of it is covered by the upper layer, and what is not covered just looks messy. The top dark blue layer is the dominant one and in the end the design does not look dissimilar to sample ‘e’.
g. Pale blues and yellow.
The pale blue was the background to this. I wanted to work using the negative shape from the straight cross used in the first applied layer of the previous designs. So the yellow triangles were what was left and I attached them using a blue glittery thread using chain stitch to make a statement. The top layer is a blue chiffon stitched with small stitches in a fine thread. However I made some adjustments. Having stitched the outside edge of this shape I decided that I would cut squares rather than diamonds for the internal cutting pieces. Then the final change was to add back in a small yellow central square.
I like this piece. The colours are very subtle and effective.
h. Orange and Blues
This is a complete contrast to the previous piece with bright, bold colours and a different, though related design. For this piece I switched the order of the layers and put the dark blue as the first applied layer on the bright orange background. This was attached using buttonhole stitch over the edges of the fabric. Then for the second applied layer I cut out the corner triangles from the negative section of the vertical cross. However they did not work when placed in the original position, so I have moved them to form a star across the centre of the piece. The small central square is retained to finish it off.
Now I look forward to what comes next!