Project 2 Stage 2 – Exploring marks and lines through stitch techniques

This stage’s requirement was to use a line stitch and range of threads, exploring the textures and patterns and how surfaces can be developed and intensified. A neutral background and yarns of similar colour help focus.

Chain stitch

My first attempt used chain stitch. My camera had some difficulty with this (blaming the equipment!) – the base fabric is definitely black, not blue.
I was very excited to start, but was frustrated by my slow pace and fumble fingers. On the plus side, I definitely improved in the course of doing the sampler. I particularly like the little globules of the detached chain in fine silk towards the right. The graphic square scroll at the top looked great on the hoop, but shifted quite a bit when tension was released and as it relaxed. Left of middle was an attempt at contrast – the matt 2 ply wool with lovely plump shapes and the shiny 2 ply silk sitting very long and thin. This particular combination didn’t work – I think a greater difference in the grist of the yarns would help, plus perhaps variation in stitch length.
I like the thick wool boucle and was surprised by how easy it was to stitch – until the recent reading I hadn’t realised that the needle should be large enough to make the right size hole for the thread to go through. One of those things that are obvious once you know.

Straight stitch sample

Now this is more my thing. Straight stitch – simple to form, very direct, endlessly variable to use. I found I could relax and focus on the mark rather than on forming the stitch. After the blocky separation of the previous sample I tried to create a more flowing and unified piece.

The major thing that doesn’t work for me goes right through the middle – the rows of running stitch in fine silk. Wrong yarn/fabric combination and wrong place. There’s a part near the top left where the small stitches in perle cotton get close which I like. The pattern formed looks almost like a twill line and I think it could be interesting to stitch some more complex weave patterns. Maybe some of the overshot coverlet type patterns as a starting point – a kind of foundation – and then change it up. Hmm – it would need either to be on grid (not going to happen with me stitching!) or clearly not intended to be. The fat stitches around the bottom are in a strip of silk organza and have some knots too (just a simple overhand knot) and I like them in person, although in the photo it’s all very flat.

Back of straight stitch

There are some areas on the back I find interesting- for example where the fabric scraps have been sewn down.

Chain stitch ideas

I’ve got a lot of stitching books around my work area at the moment and was finding them helpful but somewhat overwhelming. I started using my sketchbook to help me to focus and to see what would be useful to me right now. A click on the thumbnail photo will take you to that section of the sketchbook – scroll down from there to see a few more tries.

Sketching in "straight stitch"

Having done this a couple of times encouraged me to try “sketching in straight stitch”.  I ventured into the (neglected) back yard today and am quite pleased with the result – some interesting shapes.

1 Response to “Project 2 Stage 2 – Exploring marks and lines through stitch techniques”


  1. 1 dieta October 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Learning the straight stitch and the whip stitch opens up so many possibilities for future projects and repairs. The modern sewing machine basically has mechanized the straight stitch but sometimes there is just no replacing a straight stitch that has been done by hand.


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