Monday, November 12, 2012

New Skills Monday Lesson from The Mat

Each week, usually on Sunday evening I teach a lesson on The Mat. These are wide ranging and varied and well received by my subscribers.
It is such a gloomy day here I want to spread some sunshine.

Here is one from July where I explore what else we can do with our wool strips. This makes for a long blog post, but it seems new thinking like this is the key for further explorations to unknown territories with our tools.

New Skills Monday- Beyond The Strip - 10 Ways to Decorate - July 22/2012

Often when I think about new things to do with hooking there are many influences that come into play.
1. I've been looking at a machine that will make hand stitching on cloth (very indulgent as it only does one thing)
2. I like the tradition and look of Shashiko, my friend Deb gave me a bag with Shasiko she made a few years ago.
3 I've been reading the Alabama Chanin books ( many thanks to Jerry who taught me to say it properly)
4 I tried it out myself, just stitching on leaves. I'll add the picture of my T shirt when it emerges pristine from the laundry!
5. I got to thinking about the running stitch and our strips. In my embellishment days I have done many things to strips. 
On top of loops I have:
beaded, sequined, over layed, french knotted and dry felted
To the strips before hooking I have:
Tapered, cut indents on one side for a zipper teeth effect, carried yarn along and under,
unravelled threads on one side for eyelashy implications, I have done the "fancy stitches" 
What else I thought could be done, what else? I thought I did it all.
Then when we were at our Asheville retreat, I reckon you were there in spirit, we had a morning of thinking about and experimenting with innovation, one of the foundations of being an artist.
There are only certain fixed things we can do before we would deviate from hooking.
We have our tools, the way they work and the material we work with.
Strips are one of those.
I encouraged everyone to think about what else can be done with the strip.
We didn't have time to think more or act on it but I said: what if we made a running stitch down a strip of wool and hooked it?
The following might not be "for you". But I encourage you to read it as it just might get you thinking about doing something else that will be more comfortable for your explorations
There is more to this than the running stitch too because as I began to explore I thought of what else might be possible and tried it.
I've done these samples by hand.
Notes about making your running stitch by hand: 
I used a tapestry needle
Use a double thread
Make your stitches so they will show up , if you aren't sure where your stitch should be placed, hook a row and dot a sharpie on top of each loops, then  pull out, you'll see your stitch pattern emerge if you cover the dots.
See my samples named 1 to 5 going from left to right. If you click on this photo it will get bigger. It will also take you away from this page.
Number 1
In this sample I used silk in a running stitch that would show up with sheen in my loops.
 The colour changes make this an interesting addition, you can see the wool with stitching to the left.
Number 2
This sample is more subtle, I used embroidery floss with a colour already present in the plaid, making it blend in but adding for me some dark in the middle I might want.
Number 3
This is also a showy sample, I just imagined I needed a glimmer by the edge of a lake or a dust of snow on a branch, it helps us keep off the edge and onto the top of things. I used sockotta yarn.
Number 4
Wow, this has some stellar impact, I want to explore it more for doing outline of petals or flower centres, it has a happy jolt that among a bunch of plain stitches will make something interesting happen for the eye. It is a dyed silk noil thread
Number 5
I like the warm cool frisson here and can see it would add impact to a sparkle line. It is bamboo thread for weaving.
And now for my next samples, 6 through 10 
Number 6.
This sample involves hand stitch too, after I had hooked my loops I ran some hand spun yarn through the the loop and added some intermittent knots. I like the look of the irregularity and can see this a certain sized trunk or even for an small eye, maybe an ornate flower centre like a poppy.
I've used machines for the rest of the samples
Number 7
With this strip I used my felting machine to lay a number 3 strip on a number 12, I love this and will be using this in my work when called for. The layering and of course gradation appeal to me a great deal.
Number 8
Using the same sockotta yarn as I did in example 3, I did a narrow long zig zag stitch on my sewing machine over it in the middle of the strip. I like the way the red zig zag tempered and disguised it somewhat.
Number 9
As I was thinking I saw a piece of used washed lining from a recycled garment sitting near me. A few months ago as part of my delightful sewing fun I got this product suggested by Marcy and Katherine Tilton. LITE Steam a Seam 2.
 This helps you place funky pockets and such so you can "glue or fuse" down what you want to sew on something. It is very good and not too sticky, but once stuck together the "fuse" is very stable.
I used it to cover up craziness on my Marie Osmond bag. And after much abuse the fused parts are holding steady, you can get it at most every sewing store.
Following the manufacturer's suggestion I fused the lining to wool and suddenly I had some pretty great shiny fabric to hook, the wool backing worked a treat to let more shine show. Susan Schimdt used to make wool with a shiny/ sparkly side when I first started hooking but I haven't seen it lately. I thin it was called Fusion wool?
There are many fabrics that could be fused for hooking this way, think of using thinner ones.  It cut like a dream.
Who knows what else you might use with the fuse?
Here is a close up of the fabric each side:
Number 10
Here I'm showing the whole cloth for the number 10 example before cutting on the cutter
On the bottom I just used the same long narrow zig zag and stitched all over the wool.
On the top I used my felting machine to felt handspun and various yarns to the top of the wool.
When it was cut and hooked you can see in the middle where there is no decoration.
I like the surprise of the threads appearing and the fuzzy colour changes in the felting.
It makes it into new cloth with a a wider possible purpose.
I aso had fun with the felter by laying over a fine scrim of roving and felting it down, it changed the stauration and value as distance might, that will probably set me off on another tangent.
I think there is much to explore as we expand our thoughts and delve deeper into self expression through wool.
Let me know if you like this, need feedback to provide you with what you want.

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