Thursday, April 28, 2011

Surface Stitchery/Embroidery #6

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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

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