Module 4 – Chapter 8

Stitching into paper

I used some of the paper covered grids from chapter 7 to stitch into.  In order to make them more robust I attached a lightweight iron on interfacing fabric to the back of the pieces before stitching.

I chose some of the media designs from earlier chapters as inspiration for the stitching.


Images 8.1


Image 8.2

Image 8.2 shows a sample inspired by the lettering patterns created in 8.1 which was the word ‘writing’ written in various directions on top of each other.  I wanted to represent the slightly spiky look of the lettering as well as some of the curves of the letters.  I decided to use Sorbello stitch randomly placed across the fabric.  I was pleased with this sample; I think the choice of stitch worked well to represent the lettering and it also added an interesting contrast the the very regular grid underneath.  Adding more stitching would further improve the sample i.e. more dense stitching.

image Image 8.3

image Image 8.4

In image 8.4 I tried to recreate various elements of image 8.3.  Firstly I machine stitched three rows of vertical lines to represent the rows of print on the telephone directory paper that the lettering was drawn on to.  I then stitched wavy horizontal lines in a narrow zigzag stitch to represent the curved shapes made using the comb and ink.  Finally, I used both machine and hand stitch to make letter-like shapes, or sections of letter shapes, onto the piece.  This produced a piece which, despite having a lot of different stitched elements, is quite delicate looking.

image Image 8.5


Image 8.6. 

In this sample I wanted to represent the circles which formed the letters shown  in image 8.5, giving the impression of lettering without actually using specific letters.  I started by using a pre-set machine circular embroidery stitch in a pale orange colour and created letter-like shapes as a background.  On top of this I hand stitched detached chain stitch loops in a stronger orange colour.  I think that this created a really attractive surface…the paper, grid and layers of both machine and hand stitching combined to produce some very interesting textures.

image Image 8.7


Image 8.8

The lettering in image 8.7 was created using the edge of a credit card which produced very angular shapes.  I decided to create an impression of this lettering using a combination of machine stitching and cording. To add more interest I loosened the tension on the top thread so that the bobbin thread pulled through.  There were four layers of stitching; a white zig zag in normal weight sewing machine thread; an orange zig zag in a heavier orange thread; a yellow thick perle thread corded into place; sections of cotton string corded in place.  I feel that the overall impression created is of graffiti style writing.

image Image 8.9 was created using bleach on blue ink .

image Image 8.10

In this sample I decided to try to create a background of blue stitches to represent the ink, and white to represent the bleached letters.  I created some letter shapes using French knots in three different weights of white thread; a perle thread, a wool yarn and  a thin ribbon.  This created quite a high pile on the surface of the fabric.  I then used various threads and wools to create dark blue spots around the white shapes using French knots and then filled in the background using free-style machine embroidery.  The machine embroidery had the effect of flattening the background so that the white sections stand proud of the fabric.

I have really enjoyed this chapter, and found it exciting to see what different effects and textures can be created using the different media designs as inspiration for stitching into the paper/fabric grids.

Module 4 – Chapter 7

Applying paper to a woven fabric grid

Using the techniques learnt in earlier chapters, I made a few different fabric grids and some paper pulp.  The images below show my various attempts at adding paper pulp to the grids.

image Image 7.1 – the grid was made from linen with groups of threads removed and stitched over with zigzag stitch.  The grid was immersed in the pulp and lifted out to dry.  I was pleased with the amount of pulp that covered the grid, creating a beautiful holey piece which reminded me of a wasps nest.

image Image 7.2 – the grid was made from linen with groups of threads removed and stitched over with zigzag stitch.  The pulp was scooped out of the water bath and placed on to the edges of the grid to make a frame.   As the paper pulp dried it became brittle and didn’t adhere to the grid in places.

image Image 7.3 – the grid was made from a piece of cotton muslin with holes cut in it.  As can be seen, this didn’t provide a very‘holey’ grid and the pulp covered it completely making a less interesting looking piece of paper.

image Image 7.4 – the grid was made from linen with groups of threads removed and stitched over with zigzag stitch.  It was dipped into the bath of water containing a smaller amount of pulp to make patches.

image Image 7.5 shows the same grid as 7.4 after a second immersion with some blue coloured pulp.

image image

Images 7.5 and 7.6 show grids made by wrapping threads around wire frames and then dipping in the pulp.  These created interesting shapes which could interestingly be layered and stitched into when removed from the frames.

image Image 7.7 shows a fruit net used as a grid.  The holes were quite small and the pulp was quite thick and so this created a sheet of paper with few holes in it. 

image Image 7.8 shows an attempt to use a grid made of strips of muslin.  The muslin disintegrated leaving a very irregular piece of paper.

image Image 7.9 shows a piece of silk netting used as a grid.  The paper pulp filled some of the holes to create an interestingly textured sample which reminded me of a map with grid-lines.


Image 7.10 shows a grid made from loosely woven fabric with drawn threads and some of the remaining threads overstitched with zigzag.

I particularly liked the samples which were only partially covered in pulp, revealing parts of the grid, as the combination of textures were more interesting than a solid sheet of paper.  I look forward to exploring the possibilities for some of these samples with stitch in the next chapter.

Module 4 – Chapter 6

Drawn thread work stitchery

For this chapter I dyed some linen with a looser weave than the linen scrim that I used in Chapter 5 to make it easier to remove threads.  I then tried various techniques to work into drawn thread fabric as shown below.

image Image 6.1

In image 6.1 I used a darning needle to weave different ribbons and threads through bands of withdrawn threads.  From the top:  parcel string; herringbone stitch using wool; satin ribbon; string; satin ribbon.

image Image 6.2

In this sample I used a variety of techniques to stitch into the drawn thread work.  From the top: tying the top of groups of thread; creating a basket weave effect with thick cotton thread; tying the middle of groups of thread; wrapping groups of thread with embroidery thread to create columns; tying the top and bottom of groups of thread; creating a tapered shape by stitching through the withdrawn threads gradually moving the stitches along; weaving  using double thread.

image Image 6.3

For this sample I withdrew threads in both directions from the centre to make a grid and folded back the withdrawn threads and stitched them back through the fabric to make a fringe.  I then hand-stitched over the bars i.e. the section between the junctions in diagonal lines.  I alternated using a dark blue and off-white thread which created an interesting stepped effect.

image Image 6.4

In image 6.4 I created a fringed grid in the same way as described above.  I then used a variety of threads and yarns to stitch around the bars and cross the ‘junctions’.  I also machined stitched over some of the bars. 

imageImage 6.5

Image 6.5 – in this sample I withdrew wide bands of threads in one direction.  This created a striped strip of fabric.  I then folded each of the bands and stitched along the edge to create lines of loops.  By leaving narrow bands in between the withdrawn thread bands I created this densely looped sample.  In sample 6.6 below, I left wider bands between the withdrawn thread bands resulting in a less densely looped piece.

image Image 6.6

In sample 6.6 above, I created the lines of loops and then stitched them down in different ways.  From left to right:  stitched through the bottom of the loops to make them stand up in different directions; stitched wide bands of threads to each side alternately; stitched narrow bands of threads to each side alternately.

image Image 6.7

In sample 6.7 I created a grid with a lot of  threads removed in both directions i.e like a net.  I then machine stitched over the bars using a zigzag stitch, changing direction at the junctions to create a stepped effect.  I added the withdrawn threads back in as tassels attached along the bottom and on some of the junctions.  I also stitched and tied cotton around some of the junctions and created some woven sections.  Image 6.8 below shows a close up.


Image 6.8

Image 6.9 shows a sample where I created a fringed grid and then machine stitched over the bars in various directions until almost all of the bars were covered.


I then used this as a base for hand stitching but found that this detracted from the delicate nature of the sample and so I unpicked the stitching and instead decorated it using seed beads on some of the junctions as shown in images 6.10 and 6.11


Image 6.10


Image 6.11

I really liked the net created in this way and decided to experiment to see if I could create different shapes in the centre as shown in image 6.12.


Image 6.12

In this sample I machine stitched around groups of threads to create larger, less regular shapes than those in 6.9.  Once I had outlined the shapes I cut away the threads inside the shapes.  This has created a net which would be strong enough to hold together if it was cut away from the linen ‘frame’.

This was another really enjoyable and interesting chapter.  I found that getting the right fabric was critical and that there needs to be a balance between using a robust enough fabric that it will hold together when threads are removed, but also being loose enough that withdrawing the threads is not too arduous. The linen that I used in this chapter was perfect for this purpose as it also has a really pleasing texture, takes the dye well and helps to produce a quite organic looking sample.

Module 4 – Chapter 5

Drawn thread work

I started exploring drawn thread work using some loose weave curtain fabric.  I tried a few ways of removing threads as shown below.


Image 5.1 – removing every fifth thread in both directions to create a regular grid

imageImage 5.2 – Removing threads in one direction only; leaving 2 threads, then three threads and increasing by one thread each time to create widening stripes. 

image Image 5.3 – Removing sets of two threads in both directions to form checked pattern

I then coloured some linen scrim fabric with Procion cold water dye in the colour scheme derived from the media items earlier in this Module i.e. quite muted shades of blue and brown like the linings of envelopes and buff envelopes.

image Image 5.4

Image 5.4 shows the effect of displacing the weave threads by pulling the horizontal threads in both directions.  This fabric started with regular vertical blue and brown stripes.  The displacement of the threads has created this zig-zag pattern similar to the effect created by IKAT weaving.


Image 5.5

Image 5.5 shows a different effect created by displacing, but not removing the threads.  In this sample I pulled threads through to create loops in a staggered line. 


Image 5.6

Image 5.6 shows a sample where I removed threads in both directions to create a grid and then used a darning needle to stitch the  removed threads back in using different techniques including weaving the threads back through the existing threads and creating loops by stitching through from behind.

I found this chapter very informative as I was surprised by the range of opportunities that this simple technique i.e. drawing threads offers in creating interesting variations to fabric.  The linen scrim worked well as the the weave was loose enough to remove the threads fairly easily and robust enough to keep its structure.

Module 4 – Chapter 4

Paper making

I made several sheets of paper by creating a pulp from small pieces of scrap paper which were soaked overnight in boiling water (or for one batch – soaked for several days as I got distracted by work).  The soaked paper was then put into the food processor and liquidised to create a pulp. 

To make the paper I used a sheet of plastic embroidery canvas (number 6 of the grids shown in Chapter 3) , a large roasting tin, an old bath mat and lots of ‘J-cloths’.  The technique used was to half fill the roasting dish with water, add some pulp and then slide the mesh under the pulp.  Once it was under I swilled it around to coat the mesh and lifted the pulp-covered mesh out of the water.  I then placed it onto the cloth covered mat and placed a cloth over the top to soak up the excess water.

Once the excess water had been removed I gently peeled the paper off the mesh and placed it on the top of the Rayburn stove to dry.  This was a perfect drying place as it was flat , hot and dried the sheets in about 10 minutes without them becoming bent or curling up as they dried.

I made two batches.  For the first batch I used old sewing pattern tissue paper which produced a light brown colour, like a Manila envelope.  For the second I used white writing paper and lining wallpaper which created a slightly off-white paper.  The paper made from the sewing pattern was stronger than the second batch i.e. it held together better whilst wet when removing it from the mesh.  It also had a pleasant, slightly fluffy feel like blotting paper whereas the second batch was quite crisp and stiff.


I added various objects to the wet sheets of paper

image image

Image 4.1 and 4.2

I pressed some Cyclamen petal into the wet paper.  I used fairly fresh petals as I wanted to see if they would transfer some colour to the paper as it dried.  Most of the petals dropped off but they did leave some slight imprints which are attractive.m


Image 4.3 – tissue paper crosses embedded. 


Image 4.4 – letters cut from Yellow Pages phone directory embedded and sprinkled with Brusho ink powder whilst wet.

imageImage 4.5 – strips of wrapping paper embedded.

image Image 4.6 – music paper embedded


Image 4.7 – Dennis the Menace paper – embedded bits of The Beano


Image 4.8 – fragments of stamps embedded

I found that, as long as the material being embedded was dry and quite thin, it bonded well.  The petals didn’t bond well, but I imagine dried petals would be more successful if they had a papery texture.

Positive shape letter

I cut out a ‘W’-shape from the mesh and followed the same procedure as previously to create the letter shape shown in image 4.9.

image Image 4.9

Negative shape letter

I used the ‘W’-shape mesh made previously, wrapped it in cling film and pinned it centrally on top of my rectangular mesh.  I then made a piece of paper in the usual way, but lifted the W’-shape mesh off which left a negative W-shape as shown in image 4.10 below.  Where the pulp fibres were shortest it created quite a sharp edge to the letter.  However, I preferred the parts where larger bits of paper in the pulp created more ‘frayed’ looking edges.

image Image 4.10


I tried laminating a few materials between two layers of wet paper.

image image

Images 4.11 and 4.12

Images 4.11 and 4.12 show Lichen being laminated. This created an interesting, lumpy paper revealing glimpses of the Lichen in places.

 image image

Images 4.13 and 4.14

Images 4.13 and 4.14 show a dried fern leaf that I tried to embed.  This didn’t work as there was insufficient surface area left for the two papers to bond together.  It did however create a quite a detailed imprint of the fern.

 image Image 4.15 – Angelica fibres embedded. 

This was not particularly effective on the front but the back (image 4.16) had interesting marks.

image Image 4.16 – back of the Angelica fibre paper

I tried a slightly different approach to laminating by stitching some loops of thread into a dried paper and then added a layer of pulp over the top as seen in image 4.17 below.  The dry paper was from my first batch and the wet pulp was from my paler second batch which created a really interesting effect.


Image 4.17



image Image 4.18 – loose silk threads added between two layers of wet paper and pulled through the top layer in places.

imageImage 4.19

In image 4.19 Lengths of knotted cotton thread added between two layers of wet paper.  This produced a very organic looking paper which I was pleased with.


It was not particularly easy to emboss the wet papers.  I tried several times before getting a few that worked in thicker pieces of paper as shown below.

image Image 4.20 – flower printing block of a flower


  Image 4.21 – garden twine


Image 4.22 – twigs 

Two different coloured pulps

I split part of my pulp into two pots and coloured it using Brusho inks

imageImage 4.23

In image 4.23 I placed a cookie cutter shape onto my mesh.  I then filled the cutter shape with blue pulp and levelled it out before filling the centre and surround with yellow pulp.  I drained it on my cloths, removed the cutter and dried it.  The blue pulp bled into the yellow creating a soft edge to the shape.

image Image 4.24

I made a sheet using blue pulp then used a pencil to create 12 holes which I filled with yellow pulp and dried the sheet.

Other experiments

image Image 4.25 – wet paper sprinkled with Brusho ink powder

 image image 

Images 4.26 and 4.27

Layer of wrapping paper and wet paper stuck together.  The colour from the wrapping paper bled through to the surface of the wet paper when dried.

image image

Images 4.27 – back                         4.28 –  front

Mesh made of woven strips of ‘Yellow Pages’ immersed in pulp and coated


I had never made paper before and found this chapter very gratifying; turning bits of scrap into unique sheets of paper with unpredictable results.  I imagine I will use these techniques a lot to create interesting surfaces on which to work.  I will try a different type of mesh which leaves less of an imprint on the paper.

Image 4.29 below shows how I used one of my samples which didn’t  work when I tried embossing.  Rather than throw it away I used it for a sketchbook project I am involved in and monoprinted onto it.


Image 4.29

Module 4 – Chapter 3


I collected a number of grids, meshes and nets which will be used for different purposes later on in the module, shown in image 3.1 below.

image Image 3.1

The materials are numbered and are:

1 – silk mesh

2 – tapestry canvas

3 – embroidery canvas

4 – loosely woven fabric used in millinery

5 – large-holed nylon net for veils etc

6 – plastic embroidery canvas

7 – fine nylon net

8 – fine net – softer texture than number 7

9 – cotton scrim

10 – threads stitched together on soluble fabric, then dissolved to leave a ‘net’

11 – fruit and vegetable packaging net

12 – metal mesh

Module 4 – Chapter 2

Lettering designs

The purpose of this chapter was to explore different styles of lettering, and the patterns that can be made with them.

I started by choosing a word, “writing”, and representing it with different drawing tools and different ‘styles’ of lettering.  These are shown below.

image Image 2.1:  ink on telephone directory applied with pipette and paint brush


Image 2.3:  ink on envelope packet applied with bamboo dip pen and twig


Image 2.3 – bamboo dip pen made fresh from the garden!


Image 2.4 – ink on envelope lining applied with various calligraphy nibs


Image 2.5 – ink applied with spatula, end of paint brush, edge of credit card and end of paper clip


Image 2.6 – ink applied with edge of card


Image 2.7 – ink applied with rubber


Image 2.8 – ink applied with end of coiled card


Image 2.9 – ink applied with edge of card


Image 2.10 – ink applied with toothed card and edge of card


Image 2.11 – ink applied with edge of credit card


Image 2.12 – telephone directory page covered in Quink.  Bleach applied with bamboo pen, end of paper clip, credit card edge


Image 2.13 – page covered in Quink.  Bleach applied with toothed card and edge of card


Image 2.14 – Quink applied with edge of card and bleach applied on top with bamboo pen


Image 2.15– page covered in Quink  and placed over metal mesh.  Oil pastel used to writ so that rubbing of the mesh showed through.


Image 2.16 – PVA glue squeezed from a snipped corner of a bag and allowed to dry.  When dry it was coated with walnut ink.


Image 2.17 – PVA glue squeezed from a snipped corner of a bag and whilst wet, ink was dragged through the lettering.  When dry the page was flooded with water and ink was dripped on to it.

 image Image 2.18 – various coloured felt tip pens, different sizes writing in horizontal and vertical lines.


Image 2.18 – blue felt tip pens, same size writing in horizontal, diagonal and vertical lines.


Image 2.19 – large writing in oil pastel, then painted over with Quink so that the pastel acted as a resist, then writing on top in oil pastel.


Image 2.20 – page covered in Quink, then writing in bleach, then writing in 8B pencil and ink with bamboo pen.


Image 2.21 – writing in blue and black ink using toothed card, then gold lettering on top

image Image 2.22 – page covered in Quink, then writing in bleach using an twig and oil pastel rubbed over the top

image image

Images 2.23 and 2.24 – felt tip with various sizes of lettering.  2.24 is the same image with doodling added.

image image

Image 2.25 and 2.26– writing applied with pipette then dragged with the edge of a card, then silver pen on top.  Image 2.26 is the same image with doodling added


Image 2.27 and 2.28 – writing applied with pipette then orange dye paint was added and allowed to bleed into the ink.  Image 2.28 is the same image with doodling added

image image

Image 2.29 and 2.30– writing applied with a hot glue gun and allowed to dry.  Quink applied on top and then oil pastel rubbed over it.  Image 2.30 is the same image with doodling in bleach added.


Image 2.31 – strips of envelope lining glued to the page and rows of lettering in various felt tip colours added to create bands.

Images 2.32 – 2.35 below were all created by rubbing oil pastels over the hot glue lettering (2.29) and then added diluted ink over the top.

image Image 2.32 – rubbed once in one direction and then at 90 degrees to the first rubbing

image Image 2.33 –rubbed in various directions overlapping

image Image 2.34 – three rows in different coloured pastels

image Image 2.35 – alternate rows – one row the right way up and the next upside down.

Creating patterns from lettering on a computer

I started by creating a block of text using the Paint function in Microsoft Office.  I wrote ‘writing’ once and then copied and pasted it several times to create the block shown in image 2.36

image Image 2.36 – starting text block

I then altered it by selecting sections to cut, copy and paste in different positions.  I also rotated, enlarged or reduced the copied sections.  The images below show the various stages of transforming the original block.

imageImage 2.37


Image 2.38


Image 2.39


Image 2.40

imageImage 2.41 – the final abstract pattern

I am very pleased with this final result.  Whilst it isn’t obvious that it has been created from lettering, it certainly suggests text in certain places.  The sections where the text has been reduced seem to give an impression of Islamic lettering.

Images 2.42 – below show another series using a similar process.  In this series I created an abstract block as shown in image and then wrote ‘writing’ on top of it and then manipulated it further.

image Image 2.42 – starting text block


Image 2.43


Image 2.44


Image 2.45 – abstract pattern with lettering added on top


Image 2.46


Image 2.47 – the final abstract pattern

I have really enjoyed this chapter and am pleased with the variety of lettering styles that I have produced.  Having enjoyed the messy part, using inks and different drawing implements I was not looking forward to the computer drawing.  However, I am now a convert…I am very impressed with the abstract patterns that I created in this section.