Saturday, 9 February 2019

Boro Beginnings - more serendipity

I have been wanting to try 'boro style' stitching - hoping to create textured backgrounds from fragments of cloth, on which to create stitched designs. I hoped to produce bags, notebook covers, needlebooks etc - all entirely hand-stitched. I have experienced a temporary change in stitching direction since my last post! I have fractured my right wrist - a slip in the snow whilst out for my daily walk and photo session. I think I have some lovely snowy images but an unwelcome legacy!

I am very grateful to the team on duty at my local A&E who managed a successful manipulation of the fracture and enabled me to avoid surgery. The fracture clinic staff have also been brilliant. A young nurse, who completed the 'half plaster' for me, earned a sideways 'pointed stare' from a senior colleague for commenting on how beautiful the colours and patterns of the bruising round my elbow are. I wasn't offended in the least - I would be very happy to create a paint effect or marbling pattern resembling the bit I can see of the 'natural art work'.

So single-handed, left-handed stitching for a right-handed sewer! I have at least 6 weeks to perfect the technique! I managed to secure a panel of fabric to the webbing on a tapestry frame - my tacking good enough to achieve a reasonable tension. I found I can iron fabric one handed, struggled to pin scraps in place - coaxing my injured hand to help me, and so began stitching. A needle held upright in a ball of thread - light from the window behind the eye of the needle, was threaded - after several attempts. I need to work from both sides of the frame. I can place the entry of the stitch (with increasing accuracy), I then need to draw the thread through and stab the return of the stitch back from the wrong side. A slow process but one in which I am increasingly able to achieve a pleasant and very triumphal rhythm. I am using fairly long lengths of thread in an attempt to reduce the very frustrating re-threading of the needle!

I tend to be very 'finnicky' with my normal right-handed work. I hoped for something a little more 'rustic' from this form of darning. It turns out that 'rustic' is an affect which my left hand manages brilliantly!! I am gradually becoming more precise in my stitching but hope not to become too accomplished! The background produced will then be embellished to form a bag for my own use. I have no intention of allowing the embellishment to hide much of the irregular stitching of which I am so ridiculously proud!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A New Year and a new beginning for some old textiles

I am increasingly drawn to re-purposing textiles. I am learning, adapting and, perhaps, improving, as I go along. I love to use changes in colour and texture. 

Some while ago, I had a wonderful session with some vintage laces and my silk paints. I was aiming for 'gentle' colours so I added quite a lot of water to my mixed paints. I was thrilled with the muted pastel colours that resulted. The lace became very wet whilst working and I deliberately encouraged the colours to blend one into the next. I also painted some tapes, bias binding, ribbon and coiled lengths of thread and yarn (cotton and wool).

A little serendipity always adds just a little magic. I hate wasting anything - dilute paints included, so I placed the lace on top of various fabric scraps - some damask, a cotton sheet, and a fragment of drawn-thread work. A second layer of sheeting was under everything. The paint flowed through the lace, tapes and thread and created wonderful patches of coordinating colour on the fabrics underneath. The top layers were quite well covered. I deliberately added 'splodges' of paint to spread across any blank areas. The bottom layer achieved an effect of 'splodges of colour' on the original vintage background. Some of the lace fragments were really very wet - so much so that I was able to use them to 'print' a shadow of the lace onto plain sheeting. 

I now have great riches - vintage lace, threads, tape, ribbon, binding and fabrics in gentle coordinating colours. The image shows the beginnings of two projects. I have added some lovely vintage cotton thread, in pale blue, which had been sun-bleached at one end of the skeins - more serendipity as the thread is now shaded beautifully.