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.
In image 6.1 I used a darning needle to weave different ribbons and threads through bands of withdrawn threads.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.
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to create columns; tying the top and bottom of groups of thread; creating a tapered shape by stitching through the withdrawn threads gradually moving the stitches along; weaving using double thread.
For this sample I withdrew threads in both directions from the centre to make a grid and folded back the withdrawn threads and stitched them back through the fabric to make a fringe.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.
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.
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 By leaving narrow bands in between the withdrawn thread bands I created this densely looped sample. In sample 6.6 below, I left wider bands between the withdrawn thread bands resulting in a less densely looped piece.
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.
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 I added the withdrawn threads back in as tassels attached along the bottom and on some of the junctions.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 6.9 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
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.
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.