From scraps to sparkles.
At the recent New Year social meeting of my embroiderers guild, we stitched post card sized pieces for our travelling books.*
I only used fabric that was available at the meeting - and these were definitely not the colours or textures I would normally use! They were pink, stretchy and sparkly - no no no.
I decided to limit myself to these and stitched rows of the fabric down onto a white cotton base using a basic green running stitch.
That was all I had time to do - in between chatting, eating and drinking a delicious New Year Mocktail made by Karen and inspired by Aldi.
At home, I seriously thought about abandoning the entire venture as it was so uninspiring, but I needed something for February's traveling page so, I ploughed on. I decided to work intuitively without planning (incidentally that sounds like the way I always work!) and embrace the sparkle.
Firstly, I cut up what I had already stitched, reassembled the bits and ironed them down onto a backing fabric which had been covered in heat n bond. I then secured this down with free machine embroidery working in a random pattern. I decided to use up all my bobbin threads that were left over from previous projects so I didn't have to wind any new ones. This meant using a variety of colours in varying amounts - sometimes changing the bobbin mid stitch.
Next I used a gold thread I had in my stash from years ago and heavily embellished the piece using more free machine embroidery switching to a free zig zag for maximum effect.
It was at this stage that I decided it was beginning to look like some of the heavily embroidered fabrics used for a ceremonial Japanese Kimono. I cut out the shape of a kimono and finished the golden embellishment. Next I added an Obi in ribbon to finish it off. This will now find its way to someones travelling book in the next couple of weeks.
Being a bit of a butterfly brain who can never decide what to do, I found the whole process very liberating especially because of the limitations I placed on myself. They made deciding what to do next so much easier with less choice - I think I will try this technique again with my next project which I have been dithering about for weeks!
* A travelling book is a sketchbook that is filled with samples, ideas, sketches, stitches and textile pieces shared from others. It can have a theme or just be filled with random ideas and inspirations. The group involved can be any size from 2 to as many as you want! Books obviously get too big and fat to travel themselves, so postcard sized pages to stick in your book are shared as "travelling pages" instead. This way you have a little piece of art from many different people which you can keep and use for inspiration.
I might show you mine in another blog post!