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Archive for the ‘Distant Stitch Machine Embroidery’ Category


back to chapter 10

finally back to the sewing machine for some work on the last chapter of module one! For the first part of the chapter it was time to refer to free-motion doodles from my sketchbook, and play with equivalent free stitching on fabric samples. I love the naive look that can be achieved by drawing with the free motion needle on the machine, although it becomes a bit too naive -looking when Lily Husqvarna decides to do that dragging thing she does with certain backgrounds. I have found that quilters felt and good old Chux wipes work best for allowing the fabric to flow through in these samples. I like using the Ricky Timms backing when I want control for denser thread stitching, but it does hold the fabric a bit too rigidly when I want a more scribbled effect, and also it does tend to drag with that frustrating stop-start problem that leaves the stitches looking uneven in an undesirable way!

below some pages from doodling sketch books, and some doodle-stitching  samples:

this last page was a combination. just sketching freely on sunprinted background with various colours, thicknesses of thread and backing materials, deliberately choosing some finer ones..scrim…to see if puckering would occur..as indeed it did, down the bottom:

Dragged auto stitches

a return to the Distant Stitch module….I spent some time experimenting with dragged automatic stitches to extend the possibilities of chapter 9; I really like the irregular and textured effect that can result.

second Monet sample

I based this one   on Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise.I used my watercolour pencils again to try to capture the colours, then translated that into threads. I used a piece of transfer-painted satin with a “drizzle” print on it as a background.

I am happier with this sample because the background fabric allows a more luminous sense of light to show through the stitching.

chapter 9 Monet colours

Monet used a broken colour technique to achieve the sensation of light in his paintings. He built up texture through use of thick and thin brushstrokes, with tiny dabs of light . That technique lends itself well to stitching, where we can attempt to layer colours and also sit them side by side so that they have an optical effect on each other.

James Heard in Paint Like Monet isolated 9 colours used by the artist:

lead white [now equivalent to titanium white.much less dangerous!]

chrome yellow [cadmium yellow light]

cadmium yellow

viridian green

emerald green

french ultrmarine

cobalt blue

madder ed [alizarin crimson]


ivory black but he stopped using black after 1886

I selected the painting Houses of Parliament at Sunset…in the early 1900s he painted a series of these with many variations of colour depending on the time of day. There are also many variations in colour  in the reproductions of this one! so i chose a reproduction that suited my purpose ie good bold colour…

I jotted down colours I thought I could see in the water

I translated those colours into matching ones with my Inktense pencils to help me select threads for the sample, and  had a play with the pencils to try and capture the colours of the water:

this wasn’t entirely satisfying as the watercolour pencils blend and it  lost the broken line effect of Monet’s work, but it did help me match some colour to thread ,and i used the colour sketch and the photo of Monet’s work to work from for sample one, as instructed  on black felt [an interesting background as there was no black in the painting! but as  the sample is very much an “inspired by” rather than “copy of” it works OK and the  black  actually gives some depth to the stitching:

I used thick Wonderfil threads..12 wt….my favourites for bold stitching, and a zigzag stitch. I’m not sure if it has really achieved enough of the broken colour effect, and will try the second sample next on transfer painted background and maybe try some different stitches and finer threads, but i did like the effect of the colours overlaid and juxtaposed in the piece. I used 4 blues, 4 yellows and an orange in the stitching…..

chapter 9 colour grading







this exercise called for colour tone grading as we did earlier with paint. I used a combination of selecting different shades of thread, and also trying overlays of white or black. I quite like the textured effect of the overlays.



chapter 9 building layers of colour

using auto stitches and complementary colours.they highlight each other so make for a fairly bold layering. More stitching as in the red and green sample seems to “muddy” the colours, as you would expect with two complementary colours.

The blue and green, beside each other on the colour wheel, work much more harmoniously.

I prefer the sample stitched on a coloured background, the blue/green combination with just a touch of red, emphasises the texture rather than the colour being all-dominant, and I can see this piece as a background for further layering of hand stitch and/or beading.


The scribbled “anything goes” stitching piece is a bit of a hodge podge!  but might work ok with some sheers layered over it, so that the bold effect can show through and be toned down.

back to chapter 9

after  the backtracking and side – tracking it’s back to the chapter 9 exercises. Some of these already appeared on the photo of the sketchbook page previously, but shall show them in more details with notes:

playing with primaries: the lines of zigzag are fairly dull but interest can be added by playing with the proportions. The dominant colour can be manipulated by using it proprtionally more than the others. I like the effect of using 2 colours in similar proportions and the third as a highlight or contrast. The zigzag sample is too heavy for my taste and I think the use of open auto stitches adds a lightness and interest of line.

The secondary colours make a more interesting and subtle sample…the colours seem to attract the eye into the work instead of jumping out at the viewer.