Once I organised my threads, yarns etc, I was raring to go. I knew that this Project would take me out of my comfort zone as I have had very little experience of sewing, apart from learning a number of embroidery stitches at Primary school and a few craft projects as a teenager. Recently I completed a beginners class in machine sewing, just to become acquainted with my sewing machine. It was very useful and took the fear away from me. In fact, I was annoyed with myself for avoiding the machine for so long, as a I really enjoyed the lessons. Amongst other things, I learnt how to do various kinds of seams, make collars, pockets, fit zips, make button holes, ruching, elastic etc. Best of all, I no longer fear the machine and am confident in changing the thread, needles and bobbin. Unfortunately, the machine I am using is a very basic one and does not have the facility to lower the feed, so I am not sure if I will be able to use it for free stitching.
For this Project, I decided to concentrate on hand-sewing and practice my (long-forgotten embroidery stitches. In preparation, I purchased, ‘The left-handed embroiderer’s companion’ by Yvette Stanton, as I suspected that part of the reason I always struggled with embroidery was due to me being left-handed and taught to sew by right-handed. (I had the same problem with knitting!)
To keep it simple, I kept to black, white and cream fabric and black, white or cream threads/yarns.
Stage 2 Exploring marks and lines through stitch techniques
For my first sample, I chose a piece of heavy black cotton and practiced running stitch, back stitch and stem stitch. I used a range of threads, of different thicknesses in neutral colours. For this sample, I chose to work in straight lines.
Next, I selected a piece of thin cream cotton and using different thicknesses of black thread, keeping to the same stitches, I practiced stitching in curved lines, spirals and started filling shapes. I enjoyed using the different thicknesses and found some of my stitching started to resemble flowers and grasses, though this was not the intention. I was just stitching freely.
I then started a new sample, using the same black threads and cream cotton but started experimenting with stem stitch and cretan stitch. I practiced stitching parallel lines, varying thread thickness and distance between lines to form texture. I added some geometric shapes and curves and could see how an image could easily form. I kept seeing Mt Fuji emerge from my stitching.
My final sample for this stage combined the stitches so far with chain stitch and I used a greater variety of threads, including some hemp and very knobbly wool. I practiced filling in shapes with thread and found chain stitch a great stitch to use for filling in space quickly.
I don’t seem to have a lot of work to show for this stage, but as a beginner I found it took me a long time to complete as I kept having to check my stitches. Using Yvette Stantons book really helped and I thoroughly recommend the book for any left-handed stitchers!