Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Week 9 Machine Couching Oh no !!!!!!!

  Week 9 City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Textiles 7161

Machine Couching oh no !!!!

Last week's session was fairly calm and relaxing! hardly a sound or swear word to be heard, completely and utterly in stitching heaven, needle, thread and fabric working in unison ahh Bliss!

This week there were mutterings, outbursts of "why is it doing that", "what's it doing now"
aaargghhhhh!!!!!!! bleep bleep
for some the sewing machine seems to have a personality all it's own and it ain't friendly.
I do hope as the weeks go by the girls will learn to love their machines and think upon it
as a good friend rather than a irritant.
I am sure as they use them more and become more familiar with their ways they will see what wonderful pieces of machinery they are.
Watch this space "as they say" I will keep you updated on the newly found friendships or not as the case may be:)

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This weeks class was all about machine couching. A very useful and versatile technique for many applications in textile decoration. It can be formal and structured or loose and textural to depict a wide range of subjects. In the picture above Claire used narrow ribbons recycled from those pesky loops found on new garments that constantly annoy you, until you chop them off, only to realise you have cut a hole in the garment too! So it was nice to see them put good use.
We discussed different types of feet for the sewing machine that can be used and how to adjust the built in decorative stitches to suit the yarn or thread being couched.

More to come next week, as long as the sewing machines stay in one piece.

I promised you a treat last week of the ladies embroidered colour wheels, how each of them have interpreted the subject is absolutely Fab!!!
I apologise for the photography I really will have to be more thoughtful when snapping away, but usually I am trying to take as much as I can before I forget completely and everyone's gone home. 

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A few of the finished colour wheels and I think they speak for themselves!
Well done !!!

Coming up in next weeks class we will be wielding our brushes and paints to make gorgeous painted papers to use in sketchbooks and the like. We will be making textures with cling film, salt and sponges and seeing if we can apply the same techniques to fabric.
Sploshing, spattering and generally having fun with colour, paint and paper.
Can't wait!!!!
See you next week then, don't forget to leave us a comment and if your inspired don't put if off till you have the time, Make time to stitch, make a start and see what you can do when you put your mind to it.
Take care and Best stitches
Beccy xxx

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Week 8 City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Textiles 7161

  Week 8 City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Textiles 7161

We've all had a little break and returned fresh as daisies to week 8 of City and Guilds.
Well that's not absolutely true...... I have caught a rotten cold and the girls have been working
very hard on their hand embroidered colour wheels. Unfortunately we had such a busy session
today I forgot to take photo's, very remiss of me I know but all the more for next week and 
believe you me you have a treat in store.

Our session together today included hand stitched couching, an extremely useful filling stitch
for large and small areas depending the type of thread you are couching. There are a great deal
of scrumptious yarns out there that are really meant for knitting or crochet but seeing as I am 
not good at either of those it doesn't stop me from seeing the potential of them in my work.

I am a sucker for texture and yarns it never ceases to amaze me how they are made from the 
finest gold thread to the chunky woolly bobble yarns. A real favourite is sari waste yarn made
from recycled sari's it's so unruly with no uniformity in it at all, just superb for lots of mixed media

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Oooh it makes me go weak at the knees!

There are many types of couching Roumanian, Bokhara, Bayeux stitch and combinations there of. The real difference being whether there is a seperate thread to couch or where the working thread is couched by the same as the laid thread. It is my intention over the next couple of weeks to make some samples of my own to perfect the different types.
Here I have been playing with some very chunky wool couched down with another pure wool I purchased at the wonderful Wonder Wool show at Builth Wells earlier this year.

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 The background is very open weave wool fabric, I haven't used a backing and kept the stitches very loose so not to distort the material.

Another piece of couching I did some years back now, on an embroidered panel of a woodland scene not too far from where I live. I took the photograph in the early spring when it was not too overgrown and the little stream wove its way between the trees, I have a passion for streams which inspired this panel.
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The trees in the foreground were couched with lots of different types of threads and yarns, some had a natural kink in them which added to the texture of the bark.

The piece below was a much more refined piece of couching using a lovely rayon corded thread. It is meant to represent water around the golden fish and the centre panel that holds a pair of small gold scissors is called laid work or lattice work. Still couching but in a more formal setting.

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The little panel is part of a project that I made for my final year of City and Guilds. It was made to represent the shell of St James and Pilgrimage. I thought if I were to go on a pilgrimage, I would need to take my sewing kit and in this I could carry my most essential tools and thread.

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I hope you have enjoyed this weeks blog. Next week I will take some photos of the work the girls have done, they are so diverse and I am amazed at the different approaches to the subject.

Best stitches
Beccy xxx

Don't forget to comment below and if you are interested in taking up City and Guilds you can always get in touch with me at

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Week 7 City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Textiles 7161

Week 7 Studying the Colour Wheel.

This mornings class was to help the students understand the colour wheel, an easy task you might think! after all we've all seen the colour wheel, we see colour in our every day lives. Our eyes, as soon as we wake are bombarded by hues of every description and sometimes unknowingly they have a very deep profound effect on the way we feel and think.
Image result for colourful veg

This picture of gorgeous brightly coloured fresh
vegetables, to me, gives a sense of energy, of wholesomeness,
health and naturalness.
The fact that the picture is mostly made up of red and green
opposites on the colour wheel does not even enter your
thoughts but opposite colours generally give liveliness to
a picture. The fact that there are different hues of red and 
green make it more appealing to look at and give a vibrant
happy feeling. Opposite colours on the colour wheel are
called complimentary colours.

Image result for pictures with opposites on the color wheel

A picture I found on the internet of how 
complimentary colours can sometimes be very
irritating to look at after a short time. Your eyes
are fighting to view one or the other colour.
But in advertising complimentary colours are
used to grab our attention and make us remember
their brand by using strong bright colours. Such as
the green and red cockeral on the cornflakes packet or
yellow and blue on WD40 oil.

Manufacturers, designers and artist realise how powerful colour can be in making us see things in a different way. They are extremely clever at using colour to make us view their product or painting in such a way that we don't actually realise we are even being taken on a journey by the colours they have cleverly chosen to use.

Image result for paintings with one color

Van Gough's painting The Starry Night is basically one
colour, blue and a splash of it's complimentary yellow,
and yet it is still vibrant and evokes a sense of coolness
of the night, a wintry night and yet it still has depth, 
perspective and movement from the brush strokes
and the use of shades and tints of the blue paint.
A very clever painting indeed.

We also discussed the addition of black and white to a colour the result being a colour with added 
white is a tint and a colour with black added is called a shade.

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This is an image from I often research
the internet for all sorts of information and this
clearly shows the transition of colours by adding white
or black to alter the colour to a different hue.

The pure colour on the left feels quite warm but as more
black or white are added the colours seem cooler. Reds,
yellows, oranges have the effect of warmth, where as
greens, blues and purples have the effect of feeling cooler.
Again these effects can make the viewer believe that
a painting or piece of textile art depicting a certain
time of day, location or time of year can be made more effective by clever use of colour.

In short that was the lesson for this week, there will not be a blog next week because we are taking a break for half term. I leave you then with some pictures of the work that the students have done so far in their books on line study and mark making. I couldn't be more proud of them they have produced some glorious work so far even though I restricted them to black and white.
After half term I will be posting hopefully some of their work on their next hand embroidered piece which will be based on the colour of primary, and secondary colours. Homework for the next couple of weeks.
Don't forget to leave us a comment below!
Take some time out to stitch and take care!
Best stitches
Beccy xxx