Regular readers will know that in 2015, I joined in the “Take a Stitch Tuesday” challenge run by the lovely Sharon Boggon. 100+ stitches, and 2 years later, I had finished every stitch and then some. In 2018, I followed up by joining in the first “Beyond TAST”, and this sampler is the very last of that challenge.
In my last blog post about this sampler, I talked about the often wibbly wobbly way my design process can take. Well. it wibbled and wobbled a bit more after that!
The last challenge for Beyond TAST 2018, was to use three of the techniques we had investigated in a single project. I decided to use woven stitches, pattern darning and couched laidwork.
Firstly, my idea of “a” flower under a glass cloche morphed into a whole lot of flowers after I discovered Victorian shellwork floral arrangements.
Then I drew a cloche pattern to trace around, drew it onto my fabric with a water erasable pen and immediately became stuck, which led to my learning some interesting ways to become unstuck when I can’t decide what to do next.
Sarah’s Guide to Unsticking Your Creative Brain (or my brain, anyway)
- Put the thing away for a bit. Unless you have a deadline. In which case, don’t put it away, pin it up somewhere.
- Have a good, long think about what your intentions for the piece are. For me, it was creating lots of little flowers that, with a bit of imagination, could conceivably have been made out of shells. Maybe.
- Stitch a bit. It doesn’t matter if it sucks, you can rip it out.
- What do you like/dislike about the bits you stitched? If you like them, leave them. If you hate them, don’t be afraid to rip them out and work it the way that you now know would look better.
- Still stuck? (I was). Find a technique that fills in space quickly. Do that. I made flowers with buttons, some of which I removed later.
- At this point I became unstuck and decided to fill in the entire cloche with closely packed flowers.
Things I learnt working this piece (or already knew and employed)
- Repeating things at least three times is a good way to achieve balance, if you want a balanced piece. You can see I only worked two large cream woven flowers, but I added a little star shaped button in the same colour to echo them as a tiny bud.
- It’s fine to change your mind. I had intended to work the whole piece in very shell-like colours. I obviously didn’t 🙂
- I’ll never be able to work couched laidwork perfectly, or even remotely, straight without ruling out every line.
- Couching thread over a mistake can save a lot of work, which is especially important when you’ve run out of the thread you used and really like the colours.
- I am capable of finishing a challenge that took over 4 years. Wow.
Now, I have a few more stitches I’d like to investigate while I sew them all into fabric books so stay tuned!