The first of two workshops running in conjunction with my Field Module: Light. The session today gave me the opportunity to broaden my stitch design horizon; free reign to interpret elements form Mulholland Drive.

Having previously been given the Health & Safety induction within the first Stitch workshop in September, I was good to go.

The group, all 8 of us, was split into two smaller groups; Maggie went round us all and suggested specific techniques, fabrics and threads that would interpret the marks, strokes, colours, patterns, structures found within our designated paintings. I decided to utilise a technique that I had not used for a long while; utilising a thicker and more lush bobbin thread, I began to reverse free-machine a detail from Hockney’s painting.


Silk Organza used as a background, and placed within Embroidery Ring (to ensure taught fabric/avoid puckering).

Top thread was a red metallic polyester thread, and bobbin thread was a rich woollen terracotta, overstitched with  a deep teal Pearl Cotton thread. I purposely chose this combination for a few reasons:

  1. Orange & Blue are contrasting colours, and are found substantially throughout the painting.
  2. Cotton Perle is a fantastic thread to use for a bobbin thread, specifically used to embellish material/fabric. Not only that, the Perle thread contains it’s own fluid pattern, which in turn further creates new and exciting patterns.
  3. The play between the matte and silky textures of the threads create an added depth, suggesting the undulating hills of Mulholland Drive.

I love how the slightly loose tension creates this beautiful meshwork of threads; a lush and visual description of my love for my designated painting/artist.

I photographed these images against a black, and a white background; to determine which of the ‘colours’ accentuated the colour/textural qualities of the design. Strangely, the black background allowed the colours/textures to truly pop!!! As a next step I will need to find out if this would cause a potential problem with the amount of light that would pass through/permeate the fabric.


Silk Organza used as a background, and placed within Embroidery Ring (to ensure taught fabric/avoid puckering).

I wanted to create a more subtle interpretative detail from the Hockney painting this time. I tried not to concentre too much on the colour, but rather the linear qualities found within the blocks of colour. The Gold Perle Cotton demonstrates, again, a fluidity described within the brush strokes of Hockney. The idea of this sample comes from a deep desire to learn which surface decoration/patterns can be amalgamated with another; a perfect cohesion.

Again, using my camera I explored the correlation of intensity between using a dark and lighter background. Due to the intensity of colour within Hockney’s painting, I find it of paramount importance to discover which background colour/fabric will enhance and showcase the embellishments to their best ability.

I absolutely love this embellishment, and plan to utilise it in a more developed/advanced idea within my final piece.

Plating/Smocking Manual Machine. The needles can be removed/added to create any design you wish. The more needles used equates to a tightly packed and descriptive sample. Using a more sporadic approach to the needle set will allow for a more experimental pleated fabric.

I used a 2-tone synthetic organza to describe the linear qualities found within the top right section of Mulholland Drive, and the tightly packed pleating also denote the symmetrical lines found within this area too. My samples are not the best, but has ignited a passion to come into the stitch room far more often!!




Was introduced to the Janome FM725 Felting Embellisher machine…!! I instantly felt in love with how free and quick it was, and instantly set about creating a sample inspired from the beautiful untrue contrasting colours of primary blue and yellow. I even incorporated some accent/harmonising turquoise, sky blue and beige, which broke up the obvious block pattern of colour, something which is demonstrated by the dual colour areas (colour washes) within the painting. I have never actually worked with felt before, and to say that I enjoy the fabric is a slight understatement. Just touching this material was enough to make me want to explore this medium further. Watch this space.

FRINGE: A foot to create 3D stitches!! Was amazed at some of the results that my fellow group members were coming out with, but unfortunately my sample died a death. Upon inspection, Maggie informed me of two fundamental errors that I had made:

  1. The tension/tightness of the spool on top of the machine was slack, which will cause significant problems with the stitch on the fabric. The stopper needs to be pushed right up against the spool of thread.
  2. The thread had been fed through the machine with the foot down, which would create issues with tension in the bobbin.

So in theory, the next time I attempt this technique, I will endeavour to master it. This is another process of stitch embellishment I would love to investigate further.

Playing around with the juxtaposition of  various (15) yarns/fibres, captured between two sheets of silk organza. The yarns were manufactured and distributed by, and these yarns were part of a Variety (Goody) Bag:

‘A wide selection of mixed fibres & textures including glitter, ribbon, mohair, chenille, club, boucle & loops. Ideal for creative & freestyle embroidery. Perfect for textured braid and tassel making. Excellent for tapestry and card weaving. Brilliant for freeform knitting & crochet. Greta for creative card making & scrapbooking’.

As described by Textere. Genuinely did not have a clue what most of the fibre descriptions were, but will research to find out.

I was instantly drawn to the colour, pattern and texture of this variety bag and new that I could incorporate it creatively to describe the wondrous fluidity found within Hockney’s painting; now that I have sandwiched it between the silk, the next task will be to create a surface pattern worthy of these wondrous materials.


WING STITCH: Sewing with a Wing Needle will push the fibers of your material appart to create a hole where your stitches sew.  This can be combined with interesting decorative stitch styles to achieve beautiful results.

What I loved about this stitch:

The holes that occupy the space next to the stitch can be as, or even more beautiful than the stitch itself. There was something so simplistic and fundamentally relevant about this stitch. LIGHT, my Field project brief theme fits so perfectly within the creative parameters of this stitch!! As previously mentioned, the stitch holes could be more important than the stitch; light emitted through these holes could create the most amazing patterns over the room walls.

Wing Stitch

DIGITAL WING STITCH TESTS. Image/information taken from:

Some of these patterns would look fantastic over a base colour/printed pattern. Could I ask Maggie for a trial demo on the Digital machine? No harm in asking.

What went wrong?

After stitching each row, I pulled the fabric down to reduce the puckering. BIG MISTAKE!! It distorted the holes and hid most of the beautiful stitch holes produced by the Wing Needle.

Going Forward:

Maggie told me to iron the fabric after each row of stitches (with a little steam), before attempting the next stitch segment.

An incredible day!! Really looking forward to utilising the Stitch room more and more.

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