Module 4 – Storage of materials and sample

Storage of materials and samples


Storage place

Ideal conditions

Design work in progress

Flat pieces attached in sketchbook, 3D pieces kept in plastic containers

Away from sun, dust, children, pets, liquids

Completed embroidery

Attached in sketchbook

Wrap in acid free paper

Completed design work

Stored in plastic container with lid

Wrap in acid free paper

Papers for design work

In sketchbook


Inks and paints

Stored in plastic container with lid

Upright, lids secure, cool dark conditions

Glue, bleach, sprays

Stored in plastic container with lid

Upright, lids secure, cool dark conditions and away from children and pets

Embroidery work in progress

Stored in plastic container with lid next to my desk

Accessible to continuous work, away from usual hazards


Stored in plastic containers with lid. Sorted by colour and type of fabric.

Dry, away from sun. Flat or rolled in colour or fibre order. Acid free tissue paper


Frequently used threads are on a wall mounted bobbin holder, others are in plastic lidded containers by colour.

Dry, away from sun, untangled and in colour/type order

Beads, metal threads etc

Stored in plastic container with lid. Beads in small plastic pots.

In acid free tissue, not plastic bags.

Dyes, paints etc

Stored in plastic container with lid

Lids secure, cool temperature, lidded container.

Sewing machine

On desk in working position with cover over it when not in use. I have separate desks for sewing and messy work

Normal room temp and humidity. Kept upright. In working position ready for use.

Other electrical equipment

Stored in plastic container with lid

Dry place with flex tightly wound.


Module 4 – Costs and time

Module 4


Time (hours)







Ink and bleach – approx. £3 as already had it



Approx. £2 – for small pieces of grid materials that I already had



£0 – used scrap paper for pulp



Approx. £5 for linen and dye which I already had



Approx. £10 for linen, threads and beads that I already had






Approx. £5 for fabric and threads that I already had



Approx. £5 for



Approx £10 for fabric and Khadi paper that I already had

£8 for Procion dyes







Module 4 – Chapter 11

Book structure with embroidered panel – related to media

For my final piece for this module I decided to create a photograph album / sketchbook with an embroidered cover.  In June/July 2017 I am very fortunate to be taking part in a Tall Ships Race from Boston USA to Nova Scotia, on a ship called Jolie Brise.  My idea is that the decorative elements of the album will be inspired by my trip, and the pages inside will be used to house photos, sketches and mementos of the trip.

In chapter 10, I made various different book forms and particularly liked one which folded in three and decided to use a similar form for this piece.   The colour scheme for the piece was based on my ‘media’ page i.e. the base fabric is calico which is a similar colour to manila envelopes, with blue elements like the inside of envelopes, and some red like the stamps.

My starting point was to create a base fabric which would have several layers of decoration added on.  I chose a mid-weight Calico and cut a piece approximately 20in x 10in (slightly larger than the final piece will be ).  I made the lettering ‘Jolie Brise’ using a hot glue gun – see image 11.1 and used it to rub the lettering onto the calico with a blue oil pastel (image 11.2).  I chose a shade of blue which is similar to the ink in a biro pen to continue the media theme.

image image

Image 11.1                           Image 11.2

I did several layers of rubbing in different directions in order to create shapes and the suggestion of words rather than legible text (Image 11.3).

imageImage 11.3

Next I used free machine embroidery to trace over the lines of the rubbings with a dark blue thread (image 11.4)


Image 11.4

In one of the earlier chapters I had created different examples of text, and then doodled around them to create new designs.  I decided to use this technique with hand stitching.  I added hand stitch using a navy perle thread.  I ‘doodled’ around all of the dots on the ‘i’s in the words Jolie Brise with a running stitch (image 11.5)


Image 11.5

Once this was completed I added some pale gold stitched doodles around some of the loops in the writing (image 11.6)


Image 11.6

And then I added some lines of straight stitches to fill in some of the shapes inside the ‘B’s and ‘J’s (image 11.7).


Image 11.7

To finish this base layer I then added some monoprinting of the words Jolie Brise using white and blue fabric paints on a gelli plate (image 11.8). 


Image 11.8

Next I started working on some decorative elements.  I wanted to use the drawn thread technique learnt in this module and decided to use it in two ways.  Firstly, to create a net to represent the rigging on the ship (images 11.9 and 11.10 below)

image Image 11.9 (rigging with dolphins visible through it!)


Image 11.10 – net made from drawn thread-work,

with zig-zag stitching over the remaining threads to add strength.

From this net I cut sections to stitch on to the base layer; one to resemble the rope ladder up the mast (image 11.11) , and one to represent the rigging.

imageImage 11.11

I stitched these on to bse layer as shown ion image 11.12


Image 11.12

Next I created some sail shapes.  The Jolie Brise has five distinctive red sails (see image 11.13)


Image 11.13

My second use of drawn thread work was to create a base for some handmade paper sails.  Firstly I stitched the sail shapes on to a piece of course linen (image 11.14)

image Image 11.14

I then used a mix of Procion cold water dyes to create the red colour of the sails (image 11.15)


Image 11.15

I then withdrew some of the threads to create nets (image 11.16)

imageImage 11.16

I created some paper pulp which I dyed with the same Procion mix and added it to the nets (image 11.17)


Image 11.17

Finally I machine stitched lines into the sail shapes and hand stitched ‘DS2’ which is on the Jolie Brise main sail (images 11.18 and 11.19)

image image

Image 11.18                                                       Image 11.19

The final extra to be added to the base layer was some numbers representing the journey from the race starting point (42°N) to the end point (46°N).  I created these in Word and then printed them onto photocopy fabric (image 11.20)

imageImage 11.20

I tried a few different layouts as seen in the images below:


Image 11.21 – discarded as it reminded me of a fish skeleton!


Image 11.22  – random positioning of the sails – discarded as it didn’t really look like anything in particular


Image 11.23 – I chose this layout with the sails in the correct Jolie Brise position, and stitched the sails and numbers in place.

I then used a rotary cutter to trim the piece to 7in x14in (image 11.24).


Image 11.24

Next I started to create a second fabric for the reverse of the album cover.  I started with a lighter weight calico and wrote on it using a white oil pastel.  I intended this to act as a resist and painted over it with a blue Procion dye solution (image 11.25)

imageImage 11.25

imageImage 11.26

I then machine stitched all over the fabric with white thread, writing ‘Jolie Brise’ in different directions as shown above.  On top of this I added mono-printed lettering in blue and white fabric paint (image 11.27)

image Image 11.27

The final decoration on this fabric was hand stitched doodling in a cream perle thread (image 11.28)

imageImage 11.28

I then trimmed this piece to the same size as the front cover piece (image 11.29)

image Image 11.29

To create a fairly stiff cover, I used a piece of pelmet stiffener which had iron-on adhesive on both sides and sandwiched it between the two covers.  To hide the raw edges I made a long twisted cord using navy and cream perle threads and stitched this around the edge (image 11.30)

image Image 11.30

Next, I decided to add a boat themed fastener, like the rope and cleat used to moor a boat (image 11.31)

imageImage 11.31

I used an off-cut of embroidered fabric and created a tight roll which I then stitched in place to make a cleat (image 11.32)

imageImage 11.32

I used another length of twisted cord as the rope  attached to the edge of the front cover and twisted around the cleat to close the album  (image 11.33)

image Image 11.33

The images below show the finished cover.


Image 11.34


Image 11.35

My next task was to create the pages of the book.  I decided to have a concertina style book made from pieces of Khadi paper connected together by fabric hinges.  I chose Khadi paper as it is made from rag fibres and so would be less likely to tear when stitched.

Firstly, I made some fabric strips to connect the pages together.  I cut 1-inch strips of some Shibori fabric (ready made) and ironed them to make binding strips (image 11.36)

imageImage 11.36

I used some fabric stiffener to help the fabric hold its shape when ironed (image 11.37).


Image 11.37


Image 11.38 – verification photo of me making binding strips.

I then carefully tore the Khadi paper into the required size, and made 8 pages.  I decided to decorate the top page with a map showing the race route which I hand-stitched  (image 11.39).


Image 11.39

I used the binding and a large running stitch on the sewing machine to attach the pages together in one long strip as shown in image 11.40.


Image 11.40

I stitched two of the fabric hinges of the middle page to the cover.  This completed my album, as seen below.


Image 11.41


Image 11.42


Image 11.43


Image 11.44

I am really pleased with this piece.  I have used techniques from every chapter of this module, and cord and toggle making from a previous module.  When filled with mementos of my trip I think it will become a well-treasured keepsake.  I spent a long time thinking about how to make this piece.  Initially I had planned to make a rectangular cover for an album with a simple construction.  I’m glad that I changed the design to this folded version with the cord and cleat closure as it feels like one is unveiling something precious when undoing the fastener to reveal the pages within.

Module 4 – Chapters 9 and 10

Book-type structures and stitched edges

I decided to combine chapters 9 and 10 so that I could use the covers of my book structures to try out some stitched edges.

To start I created a batch of papers to use for covers.


Images 10.1 and 10.2

In a previous chapter I had used some old dressmaking patterns for papermaking and liked the texture and so decided to use some again for the inner pages of the books.  A single sheet was too thin and so I used some CMC paste to stick two sheets together to make stiffer sheets.  This produced a beautifully textured paper which is very strong and yet has a crisp, quite brittle appearance.


Image 10.3 – pasted sheets of dressmaking pattern paper drying

For my first book I created three pamphlets with covers made from cartridge paper and tissue paper for the inner pages.  I decided to hold the pamphlets together by making a cord and using it to hold the pages of each pamphlet in place first, and the knotting the three together as shown in image 10.5

image Image 10.4


Image 10.5

I then decided to decorate the cover by sticking on a piece of my decorated paper and machine stitching a double layer of frayed sari silk around the edge.  I then added buttonhole stitch using a linen thread, see images 10.6 and 10.7.  It was quite hard to hand stitch through the double layer of card and fabrics on the cover so I pierced the cover first using a thick needle and then stitched through the holes.


Image 10.6


Image 10.7

For my next book I decided to solely use the sewing pattern papers that I had prepared.  To make them stiff enough to use for the cover I pasted two sheets together (i.e. 4 layers of paper) making quite a stiff card.  I used the edge of a steel ruler to tear them into rectangles so that they had slightly rough edges as I thought this would be more attractive than cut edges (image 10.8)


Image 10.8

I thought it would be fun to continue the sewing theme in this book and so used buttons to hold the pages together.  I pierced three holes in the pages and stitched through, fastening the stitching through buttons on the front and back covers.

imageImage 10.9

I used a machine embroidery stitch to create a white border and then added sections of metal zip along the upper and lower edge to finish off the ‘sewing’ inspired edges of the book.

2017-04-06 19.24.44 Image 10.10

For my next book I decided to combine the dressmaking paper with some of my new decorated papers.  I used my ruler again to tear some rectangular pieces which I then folded in half to make squares.  I placed a piece of thread, yarn or ribbon into the fold of each page and then pasted them together, trapping the thread (image 10.11) and left them to dry.

 image Image 10.11

I then placed two pages together and knotted the threads at the top and bottom.  I repeated this to add all of the pages in.


Image 10.12


Image 10.13

I decorated the edge of the cover by stitching some threads in place in similar colours to the cover (image 10.14).


Image 10.14

For my next book I decided to try a structure that I had seen in a book (‘Making Handmade Books’ by Alisa Golden) called a Flag Book.  I wanted the book to have a theme and decided it would be a map book.  I have  a large collection of old maps and decided to use one for  which had a linen backing as it would give extra strength. As a starting point I created the basic cover shape from some card as shown in image 10.15.


Image 10.15

I then covered the whole structure with sections of map.  To create the flag section I photocopied a section and pasted it to the back of the original map i.e. creating a double sided map.  From this I cut the flag shapes.   I used a hot glue gun to stick these to the folds in the ‘book’ cover as shown in image 10.16. 


Image 10.16

This created a really interesting book which changes as the book is opened at different angles and stretched or compressed.


Image 10.17

2017-04-06 19.26.24

Image 10.18 – the cover

This sort of book would work beautifully as a way of displaying quotes, thoughts or even little sketches on the flags.

For my next book I decided to try a book made from one sheet of folded paper (image 10.19).  This was also from ‘Making Handmade Books’ by Alisa Golden.  I started by making five incisions in the sheet and then following a folding sequence

image Image 10.19


Image 10.20

image Image 10.21

Once the paper was folded into the book shape shown in 10.21 I used some PVA glue to stick the folds together so that it could not unfold.  I then decided to decorate the edges with some loops of linen thread as shown in image 10.22 which I felt contrasted well with the rigid edges of the book.


Image 10.22


Image 10.23

My next book was also folded, this time from a long strip of paper.

image Image 10.24

On the cover I used the sewing machine to stitch a zig-zag and then added some metal seed beads in places.

image Image 10.25

I decided to create a book with a wallet type cover next.  First I created a basic book, bound together with thread as shown in image 10.26.


Image 10.26

I then made a cover which wrapped around the book, and used PVA glue to stick it in place.  I stitched on a black hook and eye to act as a fastener.


Image 10.27


Image 10.28

I gave the book a very simple edge of white linen stitches.


Image 10.29

My final book was a combination of folding and pamphlets. I created a concertina and added pages into the folds as shown in image 10.30.  The pages were stitched in place through the spine of each fold.

image Image 10.30

I decorated the cover with a pre-set machine embroidery stitch and then added glass beads on top.


Image 10.31

image Image 10.32

I really enjoyed these chapters and could have continued making more and more books, but felt that I had got a taste of the different types of structures that I might want to use for my final assessed sample. 


Image 10.33 – my collection of book-like structures

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.