Dyed Fabric collage

Task- to use procian dyes with different fabrics to observe “take up” of dyes. Create a collage from the the three materials- muslin, calico and polycotton sheeting. stitch with floss dyed at the same time.

I enjoyed this exercise a lot. I felt confident with the dyeing process , and I loved the slow stitching- no profound thoughts this time, just mindfullness.

I felt very tranquil whilst I made this.

Stitching on rust dyed fabric.

The brief for the rust dyed fabric was to stitch into the surface of the fabric, remembering to let the fabric do the talking. Often I have found myself in the stitchbook imposing myself on the material with some pre-conceived ideas. This time I wanted the fabric and the rust marks to really speak to me.

The piece will be stitched onto a calico page , so my first thought was to find a backing fabric which complemented the rust dyed fabric. I had a piece of black denim left over from my single attempt to make dungarees for a grandson which did the trick. I frayed it a bit and trapped the pulled threads with some fabric and netting left over from the Texture box.

I choose some floss to stitch with.

I began to stitch with  simple running stitch around the marks. I loved the negative space  which I hadn’t noticed before.

As I stitched up the fabric I noticed that the rusty screws from our garage had left not vertical lines like the nails but horizontal ones, my stitching changed direction.

As I looked at my piece I began to think that the fabric looked like an industrial landscape,one that had been abandoned, left to rust and decay.

Big Pit in Wales- now a museum, once a thriving pit. I thought of the lost lives, the unfinished working lives, the forgotten dreams and aspirations, the broken communities.

All in tatters. I added the off cuts from the rust dyed fabric, and some gathers.

If we forget the past , we will repeat the mistakes, remembering the past is the key to the future.

When to stop stitching , when is a piece finished?  I don’t know if more stitches would be good or bad , so I stopped, just as the miners did at Big Pit. Unfinished? Maybe.

I call it Tattered Lives.


Staining and Dyeing Fabric

So it is onto staining with rusty objects and dyeing with Procion MX dyes for the Stitchbook Collective. Just for the record I am now totally out of my comfort zone. The moment  instructions say measure and mix I have had it. Total panic for a few days, followed by hours of watching the amazing video which comes with the pack and reading the written instructions. Then copious notes and working out in what order to do everything, and where in our small kitchen. Eventually I bit the bullit and got on with it.

Pre soaking in vinegar followed by making a wonderful rusty parcel.

Pre soaking fabric while the dyeing of another piece happens in the old saucepan. I used an old tray covered in plastic and kitchen towel and managed to contain spills with no mishaps.

Drying the fabric by the kitchen door.

Before ironing it all.

Honestly I am so thrilled with myself.

But it wasn’t till I wound the dyed floss

That I was so overwhelmed by things that I cried at success.

Next stage is to start stitching. For once I have absolutely no ideas and so will be slow stitching mindfully as I let the fabric dictate what happens.

Stitchbook- edges

We were asked to create a frame from fabric, give it an edge and stitch anything of our own choice in the middle. I very much wanted to incorporate both pleats and gathers and techniques from the previous boxes.

I really enjoyed doing the gather in the first sample, they reminded me of the gills in fungi.

So I tried to make a mushroom- husband says it looks like a chef’s hat!

The Stitchbook project is begining to show me what inspires me- it’s the natural world- so far its been- the sea, heather moors, sunsets and woodlands. I am learning about myself as well as slow stitching.


Pleats, Pintucks and Gathers.

The new box from Untangled Threads arrived with instructions for making pleats, pintucks and gathers.

I had a lot of trouble with my first sample for pleats, it was a dog’s dinner, with apologies for all who make dinners for dogs. I chucked them in the bin.

So I found myself some stripped fabric and started again. After I got the hang of it all I found some spare calico and remade my sample. And to cheer myself up did the gather samples which were much easier.

I loved doing the ticking gathers, and as for the small piece of tape it just curled into a flower so I left it like that, because it looks so cute.

Next up were pin tucks and smocking, with an inclusion of a felt ball. I really stitched close to the felt ball, as I had visions of lots of them falling out and rolling around the exhibition centre in Harrogate.

Final challenge was to fit all samples onto the stitchbook page, but I have managed it, and am relatively pleased with my effort.

Next sample involves creating an edge/frame for a piece of stitching. I am having fun with this, and hope to finish it this weekend.

The link I gave at the start will take you to this project which is available as a stand alone kit.



To the final sample then. White threads

They have been treated with a water disolvable plastic and left to dry. They feel quite hard. I have the glimmer of an idea.

And then the piece ran away with me.

And the stitches appeared. Couching, bulllion knots, long stitch, french knots and loopy stitch.

Wouldn’t fancy seeing him coming over the moors towards me.

I adore him! I don’t know how or where to place him on my stitchbook as I have already used up the space on the page for this month’s work. I may order more, or just but him a picture frame.

I had a look at how the sea collage would look against the sampler page from this month and I am quite pleased with how it appears together.

And now I have to wait till October when the next part is delivered , feeling withdrawal symptoms already.