Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

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Textiles 1 – A Creative Approach – Project 2, Developing your marks Review and Reflection

Can you begin to see the relationship between stitching and drawing?

Definitely, this is very clear.

Were you able to choose stitches which expressed the marks and lines of your drawings?

Yes, I think, on the whole, I chose stitches which expressed my drawing.

Did you choose the right source material to work from?

Yes I chose the source material which excited me most, in a colour combination that inspired me and which gave me an opportunity to really explore the machine techniques which involved adjusting the bobbin tension.

Do you think the sample works well irrespective of the drawing? or is the sample merely a good interpretation of the drawing?

I believe the sample works well irrespective of the drawing and is also a good interpretation.

Which did you prefer – working with stitch to create textures or working with yarns to make textures?  Which worked best for you and why?

I concentrated my efforts on working with machine stitch to create textures and that worked well for me as I mastered some new skills to create texture and identified ways to use the new stitches to influence how colour can be affected.  However,  I am very keep to explore working with yarns in more depth and intend to create a collection of sample references.

Make some comments on individual techniques and sample pieces.  Did you experiment enough?  Did you feel inhibited in any way? 

I have commented on the techniques I explored as I posted pictures of each sample.  I feel I could have experimented for some weeks …. and didn’t feel inhibited in any way.  I was conscious of my deadline approaching and as this is an area of particular interest, I didn’t want to rush it.  I intend to increase my variety of yarns, which was limited to some quite dreary and dated samples and explore hand stitch and colour in detail.

Did you prefer to work from a drawing or by playing with materials and yarns to create effects?  Which method  produced the most interesting work?

Although I like playing with materials and yarns, I have discovered that I am much more focused and experimental when working from a drawing, which resulted in more interesting work.

Is there anything you would like to change in your work?  If so, make notes for future reference.

I mentioned in an early post that I would be more careful about using heavy weight thread on a delicate piece.  It would have been wise to experiment with the six strand embroidery thread before working on the main piece, but I have learned by my mistake and developed other techniques in an endeavour to correct my mistake without unpicking.

The background I used was too small and frayed as I worked.  A larger piece would have been more practical.  The hoop was also a little too small.  I also worked on the final piece in quite a haphazard way as I was experimenting.  I think I would lay down more of the background machine stitch before adding hand stitch and considered where I would use cable stitch so I could it all at the same time (or at least the majority) rather than keep turning the fabric over to work from the opposite side.


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Textiles 1- A Creative Approach – Project 2, Stage 5, Stitches which create texture



The above are machined samples of texture.  The grey stitches and black chevrons are free machined.  The others are stitched with the feed dogs up, which I was surprised to note was a laborious process, having vastly improved my free-machining techniques.

Although I have made my main focus machined embroidery so far.  I am very interested in exploring hand stitch and will continue to produce a detailed collection of samples using different stitches, yarns and colours.

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Textiles 1 – A Creative Approach – Project 2, Stage 5, Stitches which create texture




The above is a sample exploring hand stitches and materials which create texture, details of which are noted beneath the sample.

I selected materials in Stage 4 to help decide which drawing I would use for my next piece and,when I started this, I chose my least favourite selection of three, intending only to stitch a few individual stitch samples, but got carried away.   As as exercise in not being inhibited, using thin, thick, matt, shiny threads, working in a haphazard rather than formal way, this has been successful.  It was inspired by the bark collages, the materials were carefully selected, but I’m not sure I was really focusing on recreating the texture of the bark as I stitched.   I think its a bit too haphazard and feel I achieved a more cohesive piece on the grey linen in Stage 3.    However I really liked the effect of the paper string which looks a bit like pine needles, the knitted background was very easy to work with the thick yarns and was effective.  The stitches all suited the piece, although I would use some of them differently if starting again.  French knots are very versatile and stem stitch is particularly useful for creating movement and curved lines with different weight threads.  I didn’t like the use of raffia in this case and the moss green braid was a bit too chunky and needed more work to incorporate it into the piece.

This was was a useful experience.  I enjoyed working on the sample and whilst I’m not sure I like the overall composition, it makes me want to touch it and explore the texture, which is a step in the right direction.

Here is the sample again on a slightly bigger scale:


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Textiles 1 – A Creative Approach – Project 2, Stage 4 Preparing to make textures

The next section explores the textural qualities of stitch by looking at stitches worked in different directions and densities using a wide variety of materials.  In preparation, I am considering some collaged images of bark and a sketch of a rusty metal table.  The following images show a variety of materials being auditioned for the piece.


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Textiles 1 – A Creative Approach – Project 2, Stage 3 A sample

In considering the drawing to use for this sample, I was very keen to pick something which would enable me to experiment with cable stitch.  I selected a 5 minute sketch of some bark.   As the sketch was almost in black and white, I decided to stick to a limited colour palette which was influence by the piece of smoke grey linen I selected as a background.   I wanted to capture the different tones of grey in the sketch and create a textural piece which reflected the light and would encourage a closer look.



Overall, I am very pleased with the results.  I have always admired this type of work but not tried it.  Initially, I was worried that my stitching wasn’t capturing the essence of the sketch, but as I worked I could see that some stitches looked static and others created some movement and managed to let the ideas evolve from the drawing.   I found it useful to work from the sketch as it gave me some parameters to work within and a definite outcome to aim for.  In the past I would have been happy to experiment but without a focus, may not have felt as satisfied.  The following is the same sample in a slightly larger scale.