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In image 6.1 I used a darning needle to weave different ribbons and threads through bands of withdrawn threads.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to create columns; tying the top and bottom of groups of thread; creating a tapered shape by stitching through the withdrawn threads gradually moving the stitches along; weaving  using double thread.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For this sample I withdrew threads in both directions from the centre to make a grid and folded back the withdrawn threads and stitched them back through the fabric to make a fringe.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  By leaving narrow bands in between the withdrawn thread bands I created this densely looped sample.  In sample 6.6 below, I left wider bands between the withdrawn thread bands resulting in a less densely looped piece.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.