Thursday, April 28, 2011

Surface Stitchery/Embroidery #6

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Machine embroidery has an additional possibility. Stitching may be done on a water soluble stabilizer background. When the embroidery is finished, the stabilizer is dissolved away and only thread remains. The final piece can be entirely of thread or can be part thread areas and part fabric areas. In order to do this type of machine embroidery, the background stabilizer must be stiff enough to hold up to the stitching or be suspended taut in an embroidery hoop. The stabilizing fabric comes from different companies, in different thicknesses and with different dissolving directions. Some are adhesive, allowing the placement of fabric pieces and/or yarns. Lines of stitching must cross each other so that the threads make a web that will hold up when the stabilizer is removed. Single lines of stitching as well as stitches all in a single direction will fall apart when the background is dissolved.

Joanne Bast combines recycled sweater pieces with various novelty fabrics and areas of freeform machine stitching to create scarves. A layer of thick stabilizer is cut to scarf length and width and laid out flat. Cut pieces of recycled sweater and other fabrics are positioned on the stabilizer leaving gaps to be filled with stitching. Another piece of stabilizer is positioned on top and all layers are pinned together. The use of a double layer of the stiffer variety of stabilizer allows the scarf to be stitched without hooping.

Each bar of stitchery must be stitched both up and down as well as back and forth so that it will remain intact when the stabilizer is dissolved. In this case a square grid is created, but diagonals, circles or and allover pattern of stitches could be done as well.
When the fabric pieces are secured and all the open areas have thread grids, a silk yarn hand dyed by one of our other members is stitched on top using a regular patterned stitch first on one side and then on the other.The stitched scarf is submerged in water and soaked then rinsed.
Finished scarf:

Stretching thinner stabilizer in an embroidery hoop allows for creation of an entirely thread piece. This is an iris stitched by Joanne Bast. Stitching must be done in all directions, back and forth, up and down and diagonally. Only after this base ifs formed are the design lines added on top. Note that if the bobbin thread color is changed to match the top thread, the resultant piece is the same on both sides.
By not entirely removing the stabilizer, thread creations remain slightly stiff and can be shaped while wet. They will hold these shapes when dried. Eileen Doughty stitches and shapes thread leaves which can be used a shallow bowls to hold small items such as business cards.
Heasoon Rhee also stitches and shapes vessels of thread using a dissolvable stabilizer base. Novelty and metallic threads add sparkle.
Jewelry by Eileen Doughty is also machine stitched on stabilizer that is dissolved away. The resultant earrings are very light and wearable.
Embroidery in many ways can be used to embellish, enhance and entirely create works of art for the home and person. With Mother's Day fast approaching, perhaps one of these embroidered items of fiber art will be just the perfect gift. I will now pass the blogging hat on to Floris Flam who will enlighten, entertain and entice for the month of May. Joanne

Monday, April 25, 2011

Surface Stitchery/Embroidery #5

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Embroidery has been seen to embellish fiber/fabric works by adding line and/or pattern. An additional way that embroidery can enhance fiberart is by creating texture.

In hand embroidery, texture may result from directional stitching as well as lumpy stitches such as those that produce loops or knots. Couching can also be used to hold down textured threads like thick and thin yarns, bouchles, eyelash yarns. Couching may be done by hand or machine. A third possibility is to use stitches to attach three dimensional objects such as beads, buttons, wads of fabric or found objects.

In machine embroidery, the stitches are formed by two threads looping together within the fabric--one from the spool on the top and one from the bobbin below. In a normal sewing line, the tensions of the top and bottom threads are balanced such that only the top thread is visible on the surface of the fabric and only the bobbin thread is visible on the back side. If the tension is not balanced, loops and nubs of thread can be produced either on the top surface (tighten top and or loosen bobbin tension) or on the bottom (loosen top and/or tighten bobbin tension). Either top or bottom can become the "right" side of the finished piece. In addition, thicker threads may be wound on the bobbin so that sewing may be done with threads too heavy to pass through the eye of the needle. In this case, the bottom will become the "right" side and the design must be stitched from the "wrong" side.

Julie Booth uses directional hand stitching to add texture to the lips and eyes of her totem dolls.
Direction of stitching also figures in the machine embroidery "Three Apples" buy Joanne Bast to differentiate the texture of the painted windows from the cement sill and the apple skins.
When the background strata is thick, stitching lines compress areas and puff out others as in the wet felted wool wall hanging "scaling the Great Wall" by Joanne Bast or the needle felted bracelets by Paige Garber.
Hand stitched seed beads, sequins, buttons, wire curlicues, carved stone flowers and/or fresh water pearls embellish felted brooches by Zita Simutis, Anne Sanderoff-Walker, Paige Garber, and Joanne Bast.
Olena Lar, one of our newest members stitches beads and stones onto a leather slave bracelet ring combination.
A textured evening bag by Beverly Baker combines couching and beading.
Ann Liddle and Eileen Doughty leave thread ends to texture necklaces of felt and paper.
Machine couching of a thick and thin yarn embellishes a purse by Dorothy Miller.
All over couching of a textured thread in a wall hanging by Fran Spader.
Couching only a few of the painted squares on Janet Barnard's scarf emphasizes shapes.
Anna Ebersole stitches bits of fabric and threads to form a 3Dimensional wall piece "Dragonflies".
Joanne Bast stitches leaf veins on a barrette using perle cotton in the bobbin from the wrong side and then turns the piece over to add the freeform stitching from the right side.
Eileen Doughty contrasts the texturing of freeform machine stitching with the straight stitching of the tree trunks in a blue satin bag and a Washington city scene.
Joanne Bast uses loose bobbin tension to pull loops of thread up from the bobbin to texture barrettes and to add dimension to the flowers in the window boxes of the machine embroidery "Red Window".
Mother's Day is fast approaching. Come on in and see the variety of fiber work available in the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery for gift giving. Hand made items become heirlooms to be treasured by generations and not duplicated. April is coming to an end and I will soon be turning the blog posting over to Floris Flam. I hope to blog once more before the week is out. Until then, Joanne