Chapter 6: Needle weaving
A note or two before I start on needle weaving. Firstly about fabric. The work on Chapter 4 was done on even weave linen, a piece from stock as I commented at the time. It was lovely and crisp and dyed well, but pulling threads was not easy and when I couldn't source more I switched to scrim with it's looser weave. However the stuff I sourced was brown. On Sian's advice I bleached it and redyed it and it works so well: it's slubby and easy to pull.
Now for threads: all the blue threads and fabric strips I've dyed, usually in a batch when I dyed the fabric. It's interesting to see the subtle colour range and how beautifully they work with the fabric.
This sampler doesn't seem to have the same orderly beauty of the previous one. Instead it turned out to be a conversation with myself: what would that pattern look like in a larger scale? with a thicker thread? with a thread that varies in thickness along its length? with something that doesn't count as thread at all?
I wrote these few paragraphs before a pause of over a year. It's been a time of relinquishing stuff, moving house, having work done, visiting our daughter in America and very gradually restabilising. We now live in a second floor apartment looking out on beautiful trees and some distance beyond, the sea. As we say every morning, lucky ducks!
Back to needle weaving, to which I've added over the last few days and yes it is a jumble of experiments now added to with more careful attention paid to the chapter requirements. Below are a series of photographs giving close-ups of the stitches.
These samples were all done with the fabric stretched on a frame, and it seems to me that tension is the key to success when working on drawn threads -- tension and spacing and proportion.
As I read Moira McNeil's book on Drawn Thread Work the idea that fabric could be made fragile and lace-like was very appealing. She suggests that the thread used to make these designs is a little heavier than the background fabric. I found this unsuccessful, so below is a tentative experiment using the same thread and I wonder if this is worth exploring further?