Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Stitch and Slash

I spent today at a workshop revisiting a technique I'd not used for some time - faux chenille or stitch and slash work. I'd forgotten what a pleasure it could be - though one basic thing about it hit me fair and square as I was working.

While colour choices are always central to the kind of textile work I do, in this case it seemed absolutely vital to work with a good colour palette since, in a way, that is what the whole thing is about - the juxtaposition of glimpses of colour against a textured top surface. Plenty of contrast was needed, both of colour hue and intensity.

The idea was to work some samples, playing with the process - placing layers one on the other, mixing colours, varying fabric texture and pattern, and top-stitching the surface.



I began dutifully, stitching a small cream on cream piece which had alternating layers of calico and cotton scrim using waving wandering lines (now there's a surprise). This was not exciting to do nor was the result worth a photo but I felt it was a warm up to the process. As I progressed, it proved useful to practice the technique again and later to experiment with top stitching.

The thing I found most fiddly (I remember this from before) was cutting through the layers accurately and without cutting right through the whole thing. Our tutor, Sue Fereday, came up with a  hint worth a million - a slim knitting needle to slide down the channels to separate them as I cut - what a great idea!

The sample I include here was my most successful. By this time, I'd stopped following the rules, varying the width of the channels stitched, putting on some top stitching which spread over from one row to another ... and deliberately cutting right through all the layers to make lozenge-shaped holes.

The detail left shows the stitching completed using some of the automatic patterns in my machine. It needs further work if it's to turn into anything but I was quite pleased with the colours and patterns I'd chosen to combine.

If nothing else, I will need to give the whole piece a 'haircut' to remove all the untidy, shaggy ends - not so that it's too neat but just so that the eye is not distracted.

Then of course, there is always the problem of what to do with the edge and how to mount it or use it ... or maybe it will just go into either my UFO or my sample box or into my current sketchbook. Time will tell.

12 comments:

  1. Interesting. This is a technique I've seen in quilts by Karina Thompson, but have never actually tried for myself. I like your idea of varying the widths and making holes.

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    1. Very many thanks for this link. Karina Thompson is new to me and I will be watching out for her in future. There seem to be great links to weaving in her work and in this technique in general. More surface effects to experiment with!

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  2. I haven't seen this technique before, itching to try it out for my self, you have managed to create such a fantastic textural surface. Wonderful.

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    1. Glad you found this interesting. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the resulting surface. Googling faux chenille gives almost overwhelming numbers of examples and some really helpful suggestions.

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  3. Oh, I love this piece. The colors are perfect and the technique is brilliant. I kind of like those errant threads all over. It gives the piece a real time-worn effect. Great job!

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    1. Thanks, Connie. Time-worn is right but judicious use of the scissors is needed, though I'll restrain myself. Though it doesn't perhaps show on screen, the current profusion of threads is tipping the sample over into just plain untidy!

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  4. Beautiful warm colours and I agree with Connie Rose, the errant threads (lovely way to describe them!) do help to add interest.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Wendy.
      I went into Brewery Arts today with a friend and we were both struck once again with your glorious charcoal drawing. The whole exhibition was much enjoyed and I may well blog about it at a later date, including a photo of your piece, if that's OK with you.

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  5. This is such an exciting technique and I love how you have made it your own by not following the rules. Tons of potential there, I'd say!! Do you know Fay Maxwell's work with slashing? ( I believe she has a dvd with Colouricious and there are some YouTube videos also.) Just more food for thought.....always hungry for ideas!!! Ain't it the best!!!

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    1. Thanks for reminding me, Marny. Yes I do know Fay Maxwell's lovely work though not her Colouricious dvd. I will check it out sometime soon ... as you say, all these ideas are just wonderful. Finding time to follow them all up is the problem. We are indeed lucky!

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  6. Love the results from this technique but it's not one I enjoy doing.

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    1. I sure have to be in the mood, both for all that machining and for the cutting afterwards but if I am, it's good.

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