Furrowing? What on earth is that?

Well, I came across it in Colette Woolf’s excellent book: ‘The Art of Manipulating Fabric’. (Click on the image to get to the Amazon page for the book; there are lots of good reviews of it). The Art of Manipulating FabricThis book contains huge amounts of detail about folding, pleating, gathering, tucking etc; if it’s not the last word on the subject of manipulating fabric I can’t imagine what there could be left to say.

Furrowing is explained as part of her chapter on ‘Gathering’. She says: ‘With tiny tacking stitches, furrowing creates a controlled relief of meandering, swirling grooves and crests from the fabric that balloons between all-sides-gathered edges appliquéd to a foundation stay’. The ‘foundation stay’ is just any piece of fabric with the desired shape of the finished piece marked on it. You can see from the two samples I’ve photographed here that I’ve used a square and a circle. Could be any shape at all. The fabric that is going to be furrowed (the ‘top’ fabric)  is cut out at 2 x the size of the foundation stay. You gather the top fabric at the edges and then appliqué it to the shape of the foundation stay with small stitches.

Then you push a threaded needle up through the foundation stay and into the top fabric. Make a tiny stitch and then pull it back through to the underside of the foundation stay. Then move around the shape repeating this action, at wide spacings to start with and then gradually to narrower spacings.

And what you get will look something like the photographs of my samples here.Furrowing sample The first sample is a red square in a shiny Indian fabric. After I’d completed the furrowing I cut out round the foundation stay (which was lightweight muslin) and then turned it under and slip-stitched it in place.

The second sample is a round black piece. Furrowing sample with beadsThe variant here was adding some beads with each furrowing stitch. Rather a nice effect.

I realise the description above is probably rather difficult to understand and it would have helped to take photographs during the process. Better still would be video. I’m contemplating making some brief videos of a range of techniques, but haven’t got round to it yet. I think my camera is sophisticated enough to produce something of reasonable quality, and I have a tripod. I could do with some better lighting, and I also need to have enough spare time to have a good go at it. Maybe next month…..