Sunday, 15 January 2017

Textured Clock Rocks

I've had good fun today starting off a new stitchscape. It is in part inspired by the Moorland CAL blanket I am making along with Attic24, and also partly inspired by an image I saw in a gardening magazine last week. The image in the magazine was actually of fields of Cherry Blossom trees in China, but they were so clustered together that it reminded me a lot of swathes of moorland heather coating the landscape.

I had a good rummage through my 'bits' bag which contains all of the little tiny scraps of fabric not really good for anything in particular, selecting the greens and purples to make my moorland. I wanted the background to be more broken up than my 'scapes have been recently, with lots more colour and smaller scraps of fabric. Hopefully the image still flows quite organically though.

I also had one of those flashes of very late night inspiration over the weekend. You know the ones where you are trying to get to sleep but you know you won't be able to until you've written down the thought that suddenly occurred in that half-wakefulness? The thought was to make the forefront of the stitchscapes even more textured with the addition of padded sections, using batting, felt or wadding to pad out a fabric shape and needle-turning the main fabric underneath, catching the very edges with near invisible stitches.

This idea was tried out with some rocks popped into the forefront of my Moorland Stitchscape. I found some scraps of a beautiful clock printed cotton which is just perfect. These were cut to a sort of rockish shape and size, and then a layer of batting cut to just smaller than the fabric.

As you work around the shape, the fabric is carefully turned underneath and the stitches placed so they just catch the edge of the turned fabric. You follow all the way around in that fashion, turning corners and adding extra stitches where needed. My first attempt on the taller rock didn't go that well at the bottom as the fabric shifted and I turned more at the top, leaving not quite enough at the bottom. (It's probably a handy tip to get one of those curved quilting pins to hold everything in place and avoid slippage. Normal pins don't work as they create more of a dip and pull the fabric into the centre.) It didn't really matter though as the rocks needed to be grounded with some stitches that I knew would hide the scrappy edge.

The best part is that any stitches placed through the layers give a quilted appearance which adds even more texture and definition. You could play on this and have some areas more padded than others, or stitch halfway round and top up the centre section with wadding stuffed in. I think this is a technique used in Stumpwork embroidery, but please don't quote me on that.
I've since added to the rocks with lots of intense, grouped french knots, using both tapestry wool and DMC embroidery thread, and am thrilled with how they are looking!

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