Archives for January 2014

Corded quilting sample

Corded quilting is a traditional technique that involves stitching parallel lines through two layers of fabric, and then running a cord (usually a length of wool) through the channel. There are lots of illustrations showing the traditional Italian or French corded quilting available on the internet. This is one of those techniques that I didn’t think I’d like until I tried it, but once I had a go I became quite enthusiastic about its potential. With all the traditional stitching and construction techniques it’s interesting to push at their boundaries, varying materials, colours, textures and so on to produce something that’s a bit different. You’ll see from the photos below that this sample doesn’t bear much resemblance to the traditional images of corded quilting that you can find by scrolling through Google Images. However, it is fundamentally the same technique.

1-IMG_0242This sample uses two layers of fabric. The lower layer is green cotton (although it could be any colour as you don’t see it in the finished sample) and the top layer is black cotton netting. I stitched these together using parallel lines of back stitch in various colours – greens, pale pink and white – of stranded cotton (using 6 strands).  Then I took various shades of pink tapestry wool and pulled a double line of wool through each set of parallel lines. Normally, the wool used in corded quilting would be a neutral shade because it isn’t seen; its function is solely to provide texture. However, because the top layer of fabric in this sample is netting, the wool shows through.

The second photograph shows the end of the sample where the wool is left untrimmed; this shows the various pinks I’ve used ranging from pale sugary pink through to pale russet brown.

1-IMG_0244When I’m selecting colours for samples I quite often use complementary colours, either by design or accident. The red/green complementary pair is probably my favourite. When making this sample I didn’t definitely decide that I was going to use  red/green; its just an example of my subconscious preference, I suppose. One of the aspects of the Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern that I liked a lot (see earlier post) was spotting his use of complementaries. I’ll have the opportunity for another look this week as I’m going back to Tate Modern for a second look at the exhibition on Thursday.

New gallery – embroidered edges

I thought I’d start the new year with a new gallery of images of some embroidered edges  – look under the gallery tab on the menu and you should find it. I made several edges, some of which aren’t shown here, as part of my City & Guilds Diploma work. I collected them into a long thin book, and it’s one of the projects I’ve enjoyed most. Edge, lacy. moth's wingThe edge shown here was very easy and quick to make. When rooting about in the remnant box in John Lewis in Liverpool I found half a metre of this silver lacy material and as it was so cheap (about 50p) I bought it, hoping it would be useful for something or other, someday. I used a very small piece of it to make this lacy edge. I machine-stitched the fabric using a zig-zag, pretty much at random. Because the ground fabric is so insubstantial it rapidly became distressed and various holes emerged. The effect was serendipitous, and completely unplanned. Very pleasing. And I’ve still got most of the fabric left over just in case I ever feel compelled to make something else that’s silver and lacy.

I took the photos in this gallery with my new Canon 700D SLR camera. The camera comes with a manual which runs to several hundred pages, and it’s taking me a while to feel confident about using it. I took all of these photos using the close-up setting (the one with the little flowering plant). I rather like the effect.

In 2000 I took a City & Guilds Foundation photography course at the local college. This was just before digital photography really took off, so I learned how to produce photos the old-fashioned way, in the darkroom. I’m pleased I did it this way, but really, digital is so much easier. For the course I bought a Canon SLR which is now, of course, useless. But I was very pleased to discover that the lenses I bought back then function perfectly well on my new Canon DSLR so I won’t need to buy e.g. a new zoom lens as it turns out I already have one. Excellent.