Sunday, 14 November 2010

Learning and moving on

In one of her October posts, entitled The nature of woven cloth, Jude wrote:

"The basic understanding of your materials is crucial in developing the character and individual style of your craft and the satisfaction that comes with that...."

For folks like myself, just beginning to translate into cloth, this is a fine piece of wisdom. Because, not everything works! And that kind of understanding only comes through experience, trial and error, [and in my case, some pretty steep learning curves!]

This morning I finished the embroidered pillow that I've been working on for the past few weeks. Hurrah!

It's far from perfect! But I did my best, learnt alot, and will be moving on shortly. Before I do that though, I'll share a couple of simple little things that I learnt - or was reminded of - along the way with this piece [although not illustrated by the greatest images!]

The importance of trying to make even-lengthed stitches, particulary when filling in geometric patterns.

Blanket stitch twists the thread as you stitch. The finer the thread, [in this case I used a regular black cotton thread to hand piece the central panel to the border] the more it twists. This makes for a lot of knotting when you try to pull the thread through to the back!

White embroidery transfer paper does NOT vanish when made damp, after a while!

Kantha stitching, on some cloths, acts like elastic smocking. Instead of just adding a pleasing surface texture to the cloth, it gathers the cloth and pulls it out of shape. I started to do a running kantha over the borders of this piece, but ended up unpicking all of it because it just warped the cloth too much, even though it was stitched even and loosely.

This is the finished center panel before being pressed. I was reminded that I least like the part of construction! Hence, the appeal of moving into scarf design!

And here is the finished item [momentarily stuffed with some kapok to give me some idea of how it will look when it finally gets a pillow inside it]. Wish I had some fancy piece of furniture to model it on, instead of the cream-colored plastic patio chairs that we have at the farm these days [the nicer wooden chairs are in the house in town].

Kellie, forgive me! ;)

I'm hoping that the next time this piece gets featured here, it will be sitting pretty on the sofa that it was intended for. That should be the week after next, as I have an upcoming business trip to Florida. YIPEE! A brief escape and a few hours of in-flight time to work on whatever I plan to do next!

Hope everyone's having a great weekend :)


Karen said...

I think your embroidery on the pillow is fantastic! I really like the design. The Kantha stitching can indeed sometimes pucker. I use a fairly heavy batting( cotton ) and find that helps to prevent that from happening.

Anonymous said...

beautiful catherine. i too experienced the kantha smocking first hand. it is all about experience, an open mind and the ability to remember or document. i often forget things too easily in regard to materials i've used.

i love this piece!!

Anonymous said...

That is such a great design. I love the way you've stitched those little green spots in the background.

neki desu said...

handmade things show the maker's hand. and that's no defect.i much prefer that to the soulless perfection of the machine.
have fun in florida!

nandas said...

catherine, this is indeed a lovely piece. that is a lot of embroidery and stunning on the black... i love the way you have designed it...with the green dots and the swirls and curlicues! have you tried a stabilizer on the back before you stitched the kantha....? it might help. regardless... its a beauty!

Kellie Collis said...

Forgive you on what? For creating a really beautifully embroidered pillow? It is not a sin. Have a lovely day, Kellie xx

Puddleduck said...

This is just beautiful Catherine... I've enjoyed watching it's evolution...!
Haven't forgotten you! Still drop in from time to time...
Busy, busy, busy...! Sandi xo

Els said...

Wow! This pillowcase turned out SO beautiful!!! Great stitching!
(I also find it difficult to make even stitches, espesially when filling up a space.... is that a split-backstitch??)

nandas said...

what happened? my post didn't post...? hmmm what i wanted to say was how i loved your needlework. nice to see the light upon the dark...and the green really shines!

Eben said...

I think it's lovely!

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