This is my sampler of insertion hand embroidered stitches. The stitches used, from top to bottom are:
-knotted buttonhole stitch in pearl cotton #8
-beaded insertion stitch in pearl cotton #8 and size 11 seed beads
-laced insertion stitching, in wool for base stitch and hand dyed rayon for lacing
-twisted insertion stitch using stranded cotton
-cretan stitch in pearl cotton #8,laced with feather stitch using a lovely glittery thread
-sorbello stitch in hand dyed rayon and toped with golden seed beads
-herringbone stitch using pearl cotton #8, with no gap between edges
The knotted buttonhole stitch was the biggest challenge as I attempted to figure out what exactly I was supposed to do! Beginning with Jacqueline Enthoven's wonderful book of embroidery stitches 'The Stitches of Creative Embroidery' I tried to adapt what she called Knotted Buttonhole Stitch on page 160 of her book, but failed to figure out how to work this into an edging stitch. My buttonhole sampler below shows some of my attempts, though most trials were ripped out in disgust! In the end I discovered that Jacqueline Enthoven calls this stitch by another name - Knotted Insertion Stitch, also called Knotted Cretan.
This was a fun chapter to work on, each sample offering many surprises. Beginning with the traditional method I used a very simple adaptation of a shape which has turned up in earlier samples. Hand stitching this sample took a lot longer than any of the other samples, due to the slowness of the hem stitching required to attach each layer. I matched the colour of the threads to the top fabric being sewn on.. Trying to keep the points of the star sharp was difficult!
Here's a link to an interesting site on the topic of molas:
Next I turned to the contemporary methods and these I enjoyed making a whole lot more, especially playing with the colours for each layer. Actually this part took a lot longer than I had initially expected, given that my fabrics have been previously organized into 2 main colour groups according to my chosen colour scheme. What colour is blue-violet? Take your pick!!! The same applies to yellow-orange. So many tints, tones and shades possible!
The first sample illustrating the contemporary method using free machine embroidery incorporated 5 layers of fabrics and 4 layers of free machine stitching. In this sample I began stitching on the outside of the shape (same shape used throughout chapter 8 and previously). I really like the effect of the deep rich hue of the orange against the blue-violet, and I think that the transparent upper layer ( a hnad dyed organza) looks good with the shot silk taffeta immediately beneath it.
The next sample uses the same shape as the one above, but is stitched from the inside out. Again, 5 layers of fabric were used, and once again I really like the strong contrats between the yellow and golds and the violet hue. The final sample looked a bit bare so I added a line of chain stitch stitched over the final free machine embroidered line.
The next sample experimented with faux chenille or slashed reverse applique. I love the feel of this sample. It is very tactile and reminds me of a thick hand made quilt. But it took forever to try and unravel the edges and I wonder if it mightn't have been easier if I had used a design with straight sides rather than curved. In the end it didn't matter - I worked away trying to fray the edges while watching a double episode of the new series of 'silent Witness'!! Oh yes along with a glass of red wine! :-)
The final sample for this chapter is the multi-coloured ripple effect. This is the sample of contemorary methods which I am least happy about as the cut away areas are too small to show the jewel like effects of the richly hued fabrics layered and partially layered. My favourite 'fabric' is the gold netting! Really adds to the impression of jewels!
Samples # 1 + 2:
The top sample, sample #1, consists of a single bonded layer, 2 free machines stitched layers, a hand embroidered shape, and a padded centre.
Sample #2 consists of 2 bonded layers, 2 machine stitched shapes off-set against each other, and a hand stitched shape.
N.B. I found it quite difficult to push the needle through the bonded layers. Note to self: buy a thimble! :-)
1 bonded layer, a free-machine stitched shape, a hand stitched shape, and centre padded.
3 bonded layers, 6 free-machined stitched layers; a partial hand stitched layer, completed by free machine stitching, plus another hand stitched layer.
4 bonded layers; 2 free machine stitched layers; hand stitched shape; centre padded.
Below are the 3 shapes used in various combinations in the samples throughout chapter 8.
With the first 2 samples I was just becoming acquainted with the process. Working on sample #3 I found myself loosening up a little. The real fun though began with sample # 4. At this point I began to think 'what if...'. I loved the layering of the stitches, and as I worked on it, I remembered the layered art cloth which Jane Dunnewold creates with textile paints and screen printing. My favourite innovation in this sample though was the partially hand stitched shape, the outline being completed in free machine embroidery. The 5th sample continued in this vein of layering free machined shapes, while the final sample returned to the simpler presentations of the initial samples, although the actual stitching shapes are more in line with the last 2 samples, eg. partial hand stitching completed with free machine stitching.
The really exciting thing about layering images is that it allows for the cohesiveness of repetition without the boredom of always working within the box, as it were. It also adds immeasurably to the perceived sense of visual depth.