Friday, 15 April 2022

Chapter 5 : Wadded, Shaped and Padded : Corded Quilting

 Having spent very regular time in my field throughout the last year I've had ample time to look at branches, stems and stalks: the straight and stiff their surfaces reeded, like docks.

Other growth  may be curved or arcing studded with thorns or a covering of hairiness.  Then there are branches: thick, branching with the roughness of many year's pruning.

Softer is the long sinuous growth that wraps round everything it meets.  And later in the spring there are dandelion stems, soft tubular affairs.

I'm drawing these things to mind because any cords I use in the future may well need to have this range . . . Firstly, a sort through my Module 3 cords to see what might work..

I'd say I've really just played with the idea in this final section.  Sample 5:21 shows curved quite substantial cords stitched into cotton organdie using zigzag stitch.  Though I played with the stitch tension the results hardly show the cord, which is what I'd hoped to achieve, though it's interesting to see the tucks and slight pleats created by the curved cord.


In Sample 5:22 silk net is wrapped around a cord, herringbone stitch is used to secure it.  The stitch has become looped and the thread is rather too thick for my liking. It looks heavy handed.


Sample 5:23 is more successful.  It uses the same net and cord, but this time the net is loosely gathered around the cord and stitched in place with white.  I added zigzag stitching by hand with a toning space dyed thread; it seemed to need it.  I like this sample very much.  It has a quality of a leaf skeleton about it.  It's really interesting to see the way in which crumpled silk net can support the weight of the cords.


For Sample 5:24 I'm back on the sewing machine trying out a twin needle and playing with stitch length and tension.  The results are random and beautifully unexpected.  These are yet more old stock cords on smooth cotton organdie.

In Sample 5:25 a very different combination with a different effect: this time twisted space-dyed sari silk on toweling.  I'm working on the back of both samples, so each time the result is a surprise. I twist the sari silk as it goes through the machine. It's not as hard as cord and because the toweling has a pile the sari silk ceases to have a clear edge and becomes embedded. Some escapes the stitching entirely, which is pleasing too. On either side are twin stitching directly onto the toweling, another attractive effect.
I had hoped to use some of my lovely space-dyed silk threads but for the machine to accommodate these I need to tweak the tension further.



These two ideas in combination might create an interesting surface.


And here in 5:26 a little more experimenting.  The colours are a little bolder: I'm using what I have in stock and I've managed to solve the tension problem. I was also able to include other twin-stitched thread and try overlaying several rows of stitching.  My preference is the more subtle 5:25 which I think is less about pattern, more about mood.  If I use this technique in the future I need to buy some King Tut in neutral shades. Interestingly the density of stitching stiffens the piece and makes it almost free standing.

Then finally, a technique I found in "Machine Embroidery Stitch Techniques" by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Pamela Watts.  It just appealed, though again the threads might  benefit from being more subtle.  Rows of multi-thread linen are zigzagged down on very thick linen in short runs.  The gaps between are cut and the multi-threads partially separated creating splayed tufts.  5:28 is the reverse of this piece.



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