Stage 6 Combining textures and colour effects

Oops – I missed out this stage, intending to go back to it and then completely forgot.  I did have a go at the time at french knots and found it difficult and extremely time-consuming, got bored and wanted to move onto the next project.

I did, however, gain a renewed interest in french knots when I took part in a workshop at the Stitch and Knit Show with James Hunting.  It was great to meet him and we had a brief chat about the course.  He showed some of his work and then we got onto the practical, when he showed us some great ways of using couching and an easy way to tackle french knots.  I was pleased to practice couching as my tutor mentioned in my last report that this was a good stitch to create line with, providing opportunities to work with a greater range of threads.  As I love some of the thicker wools, linen yarns and hemp, this is a stitch I will definitely have a go with.  James showed us how we could divide up the threads and take the couching in different directions.

After the workshop, I returned to Stage 6 and had a go with the french knots!   It still took me ages and I felt frustrated that the time spent on the stage was not reflected in the work produced.

Stage 6 involved exploring the effect of colour mixing by building heavily textured surfaces with stitch.

I started off by looking at pointillism and how painters use dots of colour to achieve optical effects.  (I recently went to an exhibition in Tokyo and was interested to see some contemporary artists using pointillism to great effect.)

There were also some interesting woven pieces which I examined closely, interested to see how the colour mixing was achieved.

I tried my own piece to experiment with pointillism by sticking down lots of dots in the primary colours to see how they affected each other.


I found that the both the red and the allow dots looked much brighter when placed next to each other than when on their own against the black.

Exercise 1

I chose a background of white muslin and a range of yarns in red and blue for this exercise.I tried working them separately and then had a go with mixing the coloured threads on the needle. I think I probably mead a poor choice with the background as it was difficult to do french knots with the thinner yarns as the weave was too loose.  As the fabric was very fine, it didn’t seem to have much effect on the colours.

I found this exercise time-consuming and boring but did notice that the red looked much brighter against the blue when the threads were kept separate on the needle.  When the threads were combined, the effect was less noticeable.  I then added some fine black thread but this was hardly noticeable and merged in with the blue.  I should have continued exploring with other colours and threads but think I will come back to this exercise later on with a different background fabric.

Exercise 2

Moving on to exercise 2, I chose three pastel threads and decided to gradually change the colour across the sample by splitting the threads and gradually changing the proportion of strands of each colour on the needle.  I started with 6 strands of peach, then 4 strands peach + 2 mid-blue, then 2 strands peach and 4 strands mid-blue, then 6 strands mid-blue and then continued adding in light blue in the same way, ending up with 6 strands light blue.  I made the knots dense so that the background was not visible.  I stopped there, eager to move on but intend to continue with this exercise later on.

I then looked through my sketchbook and chose a small watercolour of a pink rose.  I made a simple sketch of it and then attempted to make a sample in stitch of the rose, using the technique above, varying the combination of colours on the needle.

I did have a go at a small piece of machine stitched embroidery using water-soluble fabric and this is something I would like to practice at it was quite fun and I can see how it would be possible to create some interesting pieces.  I worked with red and blue.  I had blue on the bobbin and red on the reel and then turned the piece over and continued on the other side.

Looking back at Stage 6, I do not think I adequately completed the exercises but look forward to further guidance and advice from my tutor.  My confidence in using stitch is very low as I have no past experience of embroidery.


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