Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Moving towards the finished project

After a great deal of difficulty I finally managed to remove the stabiliser from the lace panel. As there were so many layers involved there were places on the design that took a great deal of persuasion to dissolve. 

There were several areas, as seen in the image above, that had been stitched over 3 or 4 times and each one had to have the registration threads tied so they didn't fall out, which resulted in a very tangled mess.
As I have mentioned several times during this project, it has been a very steep learning curve and there are many things I would change about the process in the future.

The above images are a small preview of the design where the stabiliser has been removed.

Having soaked the lace in tepid water in the bath I then used various methods for removing the reaming glue like substance. There is still some work to be done before the panel is as clean as possible, so I decided to move on to the portraits for a diversion.

From the beginning of this project I decided I wanted to partly cover the faces, as I felt that although the women who launched the life boats were a vital part of the process, there had been very little documentation about the role they played. It took a while to discover how to achieve this until I remembered how many women wore head scarves. After a great deal of experimentation I designed a facsimile of the scarves flying in the wind, which is almost a continuous feature on the Dungeness peninsular.

The image above shows a possible placement of the three portraits I decided to use, 2 of which have been stitched and the final one on the right hand corner is a printout of the third. 

In the above image you can see that the portrait arrangement has been changed as I felt it was more comfortable reading from left to right diagonally.

In order to place each image in the correct place a copy of the portrait was printed showing the centre point and 6 other reference points.

The paper guide is placed under the embroidered portrait (on top of the calico) and lined up. There is a very slight discrepancy as the silk organza and thread shrink by a small amount when the stabiliser is washed off.

The embroidered portrait can now be removed and the reference points are stitched onto the calico.

In order to make placing the hoop easier I decided to tack the stabiliser to the calico first.

The grid was then placed in the hoop and the reference marks were lined up.

The process was repeated on all three portraits. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Eyelets and presentation

Having arrived at a point where I needed to make a decision on how I would hang the 3 sails of the completed project, I started to explore some ideas.

I had always had in mind to hang the sails from pieces of driftwood, but I discovered that although the idea worked with the velum sketches, it proved very difficult to achieve a suitable amount of tension on the organza.

I tried using a flat piece of wood (my wooden meter rule) to see if that was more stable and easier to use, but this wasn’t giving me the tension I wanted.

I was also concerned that this arrangement where each hanging cord would need to be attached to a ceiling when I am in a position to exhibit the piece, could prove problematic.

Another idea that I had been thinking about at the beginning of the project was to make a window frame for each sail, which would connect to the sheds and some of the historic dwellings found on the Dungeness peninsular.

                                                     Early inspiration for the window frame idea

I decided to make a trial window frame using mount board and masking tape, rather than starting with wood, as I thought it would be easier than going straight into lengths of timber. I started by cutting eight pieces of mount board, 2” wide by 32” long as they would be the shortest lengths.

Then I tackled the longest side which measures 43” and required a joining piece to make them long enough as the mount board was only 32” in length. All these pieces were stuck together with masking tape to create the equivalent of 4 lengths of 2”x 2” timber. 

I am delighted with the finished mount board frame and have definitely decided that this will be the final form that the presentation will take.

The frames will stand on a plinth that will have holes drilled into the top allowing a light source, placed inside, to illuminate the sails.

The embroidered eyelets for hanging the sails have now been completed and I will be able to wash off the stabiliser on the completed lace sail.

I have begun to experiment with forms of rope knotting which will be used to attach the sails to the frame.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Decorative hand stiches and a border

Decorative hand stitches and a border 

I’ve spent an enjoyable few weeks adding hand stitch to this piece in limited colours that reflect the environment of the Dungeness  peninsular…

It’s quite difficult to know when to stop embellishing the work as it would be very easy to overpower the digital embroidery.

The next step was to decide on a border stitch for the piece, which proved to be quite difficult.

I tried various different patterns on my embroidery machine, using the stitch size facility to make variations in length while  stitching.

I also tried hand stitching, which you can see in the image below (on the upper RHS), after the stabiliser has been washed away and each design has been cut ready for auditioning.

Having found a couple of very good trims in my local fabric /haberdashery shop I decided to see if they would work free standing on the stabiliser and stay complete when it was washed away, and they did, much to my surprise.

But after offering them up I decided that the two I liked were too heavy.

I finally settled on the design below.

I am now in the process of working out how close I can put the border to the design and how to make a neat turn at the corners.

Monday, 5 June 2017

All 33 hoopings have been completed at last

The lace panel now has all the digitised embroidery completed. It’s taken a very long time but now I  can enjoy the addition of some hand embroidery, which will give the piece texture and accents of colour.

The stabiliser is still in place as it will support the hand stitching and I also need to work a boundary stitch for the whole piece.

Some of the registration marks are still in place as they have been stitched through several layers of stabiliser which will need to be washed off to access the threads.

Once I get towards the end of a project I start to look for inspiration for the next one. I usually examine at least 2 subjects and at the moment I’m considering the famous Ferguson Gang who were a group of forward thinking women in the late1920’s and 30’s. They made it their ambition to raise money in order to help the fledgling National Trust  purchase properties  and land that would otherwise have been lost to the nation.

Part of the National Trust display

Part of the National Trust display

The first property that they helped the National Trust acquire and renovate was Shalford Mill, near Guildford in Surrey.

Part of the National Trust display

The gang had a room in the mill where they hatched their plans, had sleepovers and entertained friends on occasions. It has been faithfully furnished in-keeping with the original style and gives a very nostalgic feeling of the ladies having just left after one of their visits.

Unfortunately no photographs of the room are allowed as it is part of the current resident’s accommodation.

The mill entrance

A very imposing building

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Digitally embroidered lace

I’m finally reaching the the end of the mammoth task of 33 hoopings for this piece of the Dungeness project. Once that is completed I will add hand stitching with silk thread to give a surface texture using subtle colours that reflect the story of this project, which you can see here

I started the final piece using silk organza as I wanted all three pieces to be seen one behind the other, and it has proved to be a delightful medium for making lace patterns.

The design has been drawn onto sheets of velum so you cannot see through them, but it gives an idea of how the piece  will look.

I checked the fabric was on the straight of the grain to ensure that the design would hang true when suspended on a
support, which has yet to be determined.

I then checked the position of the first hooping by placing the hoop grid over first hooping on the calico mock and marking the position top and bottom (the top is seen seen in the red circle in the image above). It was crucial that the design would be stitched in the same position as the mock, so that there would be enough room to accommodate the hoop on the outer edges of the design. 

I transferred the marking to the organza and stitched out the first hooping in exactly the right place, as you can see where it lays over the mock.

I was now ready to stitch the remaining 32 hoopings, at the time of writing this post I'm on number 26.

I made a lot of use of the light box when matching registration marks before stitching each part of the design.

I've learnt a great deal during the process of constructing this piece, and realised how important it is to have a solid logical progression when digitising the design in the first place. I will definitely be revisiting the Digital embroidery course that I have been taking, offered by Carol Undy, I highly recommend it to anyone starting out on this style of embroidery or someone who wants to enhance their knowledge.