Coursework Part 4: Project 2: Creating Linear Forms: Exercise 4.3 Re-interpret, Re-invent

The aim of this exercise to re-work my Old Master image using representative media, conveying the texture and colour palette of my yarn wraps.

I have made six initial explorations using a few of the actual yarns, and some other media (ribbon, twigs) that I may use in the later pieces.


Materials: chenille yarn

Construction: a looping, type of button hole stitch was worked in interconnecting rows over a form made from grain in a plastic bag, taped into shape with masking tape.

Handle and appearance: soft, lacy, insubstantial, floppy. A fragile appearance with matt finish thanks to the yarn type.

Possible variations: different thicknesses of yarns; different media (eg, wire, fishing line, thread). The structure could be sprayed with a stiffener to give it more body.

Thoughts and ideas: I had varied the size of the stitches when making this, and that could be an area for further exploration. It was a bit tedious to make as the yarn kept getting caught around the pins, but I think it created an interesting structure, that reminds me of coral structures, or veins in a petal. It could be made into a complete vessel form, like those of Jean Draper.


Materials: chenille yarn, rug yarn, embroidery thread.

Construction: another ‘made-up’ stitch here (I was trying to work out the one used by Jean Draper in one of her diagrams, without success!), worked across two warp threads, then moving one thread down and repeating the process.

Handle and appearance: as a 2-D sample, it has a knotty feel.

Possible variations: different thicknesses of yarns/threads; different media; other connecting stitches. I can imagine that it would work as a method for covering a 3-D form, with quite a lot of body if a thick yarn or cord was used.

Thoughts and ideas: I think that this method would form a fairly sturdy structure, but it was a bit ‘random’. Mastering some basketry techniques might work better. I will check out the library for a book on the subject, next time I’m there.


Materials: chenille yarn, rug yarn, embroidery thread.

Construction: based on a technique described in Draper, 2013: a random grid of rug yarn is bound in some areas with the other yarn and thread.

Handle and appearance: as a 2-D sample, it has a ridged, net-like feel. The yarn makes it quite chunky and three-dimensional in places. The little touch of contrasting red gives added interest.

Possible variations: different thicknesses of yarns/threads; different media. This would work well for covering a 3-D form. It could be manipulated further, depending on which structural threads you choose to bind together into the covering yarn.

Thoughts and ideas: this was one of my favourite of the six samples I made. I liked the random structures that formed where the structural threads crossed. The secondary pattern formed by the binding yarn/thread gives an interesting texture and seemingly suspended abstract shapes and lines.


Materials: chenille yarns, rug yarn, embroidery thread, dogwood twigs.

Construction: inspired by Lizzie Farey‘s willow sculptures, I took some dogwood twigs and twisted them into a circle (if I was making this as a 3-D object, I would work it as a ball shape). It was then bound or stitched with assorted yarns and embroidery thread.

Handle and appearance: this feels rigid and heavier than the other samples. The twigs contrast texturally with the yarns in an interesting way.

Possible variations: different thicknesses of yarns/threads; different media (other natural materials such as willow, bramble stems and other flexible plant material; or manmade materials such as plastic strapping, or paper rolls).

Thoughts and ideas: I think that this would work well as a 3-D form. If the twig structure had larger gaps between the twigs, then more irregular stitch could be added, as well as binding. The thick needle with the yarn would not penetrate the structure shown here. The less heavily bound area is more successful, as the beauty and texture of the twigs is more visible.


Materials: chenille yarns, rug yarn, embroidery thread, cotton calico fabric.

Construction: inspired by Margaret Raine‘s coiled vessels, as seen in my recent research, I tore the calico textile into a 3 cm wide strip, then coiled it up while stitching in place with first, embroidery thread, then chenille yarn, then rug yarn. The thicker yarns overlapped two rows of coiled textile each time, the first section in the centre had stitches penetrating the cloth.

Handle and appearance: this has quite a rigid structure, but there is some flexibility (the centre can be pushed upward or downwards forming a convex or concave form). The feel of the stitch dominates this sample.

Possible variations: different thicknesses of yarns/threads; different media (the stitch could be worked over any core, such as piping for a more regular appearance; or plastic or rubber tubing, for example). It will work as a 3-D structure. The stitch could be varied (eg, lengthened by passing over more rounds of base material); or could be more irregularly placed.

Thoughts and ideas: this sample does look a bit like a placemat or coaster, but I’m sure that using different base material and making a 3-D form will change the appearance. I liked making this and felt that it was a simple and flexible way of making a vessel.


Materials: chenille yarns, rug yarn, fine synthetic ribbon.

Construction: I made a warp thread over card and then wove the ribbon and blue yarn through in a simple, ‘over one, under one’ pattern. The red yarn was stitched over in a random pattern.

Handle and appearance: the red, erratic stitch contrasts well with the woven structure. In this sample there is a mixture of textures: rough/hairy, soft and smooth.

Possible variations: different thicknesses of yarns/threads for warp and weft; different colour palettes; different media (plastics, fabric strips, plant materials, etc.

Thoughts and ideas: I’m not sure how this will act as a 3-D object, but hope it will hold its shape. It may require more stitch or denser weaving to achieve this. I thought this was a bit dull until I added the red stitch, then it came alive for me, and, I felt, represented the source material well.


A5 size, POSCA pen drawing of sample #6

I will carry forward samples 3, 5 and 6 to the next stage and try them in a more 3-D format.


Materials: chenille yarns, rug yarn, braid, fancy yarn, embroidery threads, sheeps’ wool balls.

Construction: I made an apple-shaped mould from quinoa grain in a plastic bag, shaped with masking tape. A warp thread was wound around the apple shape, from top to bottom overlapping at each end, and then I wove the cream, green and gold threads, braid and ribbon in an ‘over one, under one’ pattern. The blue yarn and blue ribbon were stitched over the top in fairly horizontal stitches, and then the red yarn was stitched over in a random pattern. The warp threads were cut and tied to each other at the top and the mould was removed. The top of the ‘apple’ was gathered and the form was stuffed with wool balls. A ‘stalk’ was bound at the top.

Handle and appearance: the sample is somewhat apple-like and resembles the source material and yarn wrap, as many of the yarns/threads used were the same or similar. On half of the ‘apple’ red dominates, and on the other half, blue. There is quite a lot going on in terms of colour and texture.

Possible variations: the scale and colour palette could be varied. I feel that a more realistic green apple would have worked better. The method would also work on a 2-D wall hanging.

Thoughts and ideas: My idea for this was to make an Adam and Eve’s apple (seen in the Old Master image), (as a metaphor for the earth), on which the forces of good (blue) and evil (red) were fighting it out. I felt that this was not a successful sample, as, although the colour palette matched the source material, it was too busy for the small surface area of the ‘apple’. Another problem was that apples are usually red or green, so having red as the ‘bad’ part didn’t really work. If I was making it again, I would make the apple red or green (and that in itself would stand for the ‘good’), and the corruption or ‘evil’ would be brown.


Materials: cotton shirt textile, crochet cotton, glass beads, eyelash yarn, polyester thread.

Construction: Inspired by Margaret Raine’s lovely ‘pods‘ seen in my research, I made a coiled pot ‘in the hand’, with twisted strips of shirt textile, sewn in place with crochet thread and topped with a circle of beads and a ring of eyelash yarn.

Handle and appearance: this small piece fits easily in your hand and is quite light in weight. There is some flexibility to the sides of the ‘pot’ and it has a delicate appearance.

Possible variations: the scale, media and colour palette could be varied. The form could be anything from two-dimensional, neatly circular, to a randomly formed, three-dimensional sculpture.

Thoughts and ideas: following on from the apple idea of the last sample, I decided to make a small, apple-ish vessel with a simple colour palette reflecting the background colours of my source image: greens, teals and beige/brown. The eyelash yarn reminded me of the texture of the yarn I had used in the original yarn wrap. There was no ‘message’ hidden in this piece: I simply was inspired by the colour palette in the source material. The red beads were added after exploring a number of other colour options, but I felt that they gave this piece the lift that it needed to enliven the otherwise analogous palette. I liked this sample and feel that this ancient technique has a great deal of potential for variation and I think I will return to in future.


Watercolour/POSCA pen drawing of coiled vessel.



Drawings of some ideas for making a coiled or bound structure from wooden articulating snakes.

Materials: 19 wooden toy snakes, plastic coated wire.

Construction: The snakes were held in place over a mould made from florists’ foam with elastic bands, then the wire was looped and knotted in three rows near the top of the structure. At a lower point, three rows of twining were put in place. The bottom of the structure was wired to a wooden ring and glued where the ‘tails’ met the wooden ring.

Handle and appearance: the loose part of the snakes can move about; the object can be stood the other way up, too. The colour on the back of the snakes appears when viewed from one direction: from the other, the plain undersides are visible.

Possible variations:  All sorts of long, thin, flexible objects and materials could be combined in this way. In fact, in a library book (mentioned below), I saw pencils used to make a pot and short sections of twigs, so, as long as they can be joined successfully, almost anything is fair game. Obvious alternatives are strips of plastic, such as parcel strapping or carrier bags, as well as the many natural vine-like sticks and plant materials, such as bramble stems, willow, clematis etc.

Thoughts and ideas: Following on from sample #8 and a thought I had in the middle of the night about coiling, led to thoughts of using snakes, (one of which was in the Old Master image of Eden), I came up with the idea of using toy snakes to make a coiled vessel structure, but when I was drawing ideas, I thought of joining them side by side. This was quite a challenge to make – much harder than I had anticipated. Getting the snakes into the correct position for joining was tricky. I had hoped to make an amphora shape with the tails joined at the base, but the wire would not stay in place, so I used a wooden ring instead. (I may alter it again if I can find tiny tacks to hold the wire in place). It is rather a wonky effort, but I was quite pleased with it. It was not until I had the snakes to study, that I realised that they articulated side to side rather than up and down, so I had to bind them sideways on to make them rear outwards (I left a lot more loose than in my drawing as I felt it added to the writhing snake effect). Each one varied from the next in flexibility and somewhat in size, which means that the base is rather uneven. The shape of the individual components dictates the shape of the ‘vessel’. It was only by trying out ideas on the actual materials that I was able to come up with a method that worked. I tried out a number of different materials for joining the snakes, but ended up with wire for its colour, strength and flexibility. The potential for this technique is large: the twining method worked well for binding the separate units into a fairly sturdy object, so would presumably work with other similar units. If it was carried out with more skill, I think it could make an interesting art object.


Drawn idea and trial layouts for snake structure.

Chosen structure.

Materials: toy rubber snakes, glue, thread.

Construction: after experimenting with different layouts the snakes were glued at the places where they cross. They will be mounted on card by sewing in place with black thread.

Handle and appearance: the toy snakes are very rubbery and jelly-like, so do not make the sort of structure you can hang from the wall. They have a random appearance, with repetitions of elements such as heads, tails and the general shape.

Possible variations:  I think that this might also work well with a coiled technique, similar to that used above. The scale could be larger, and the colour palette varied: black snakes with white binding, or spray painting the whole arrangement another colour, for example.

Thoughts and ideas: I found a book in the library about basketry techniques: (Harding and Waltener, 2012) and thought that the section on interlacing and random basketry held promise. Taking that on board along with sample #3 above, and the coathanger ‘DIY’ yarn concept from an earlier exercise, I came up with the idea of using a grid of snakes glued together in a random pattern. As with the last experiment, I used the found colour of the materials, so it varies from the source material. This idea could be used to create fashion items, such as a dress, or room dividers, wall art, lamp shades/light fittings, a textile design, etc.


Tiled version of the snakes with apples grid.

Summary: Reflective Commentary

The processes I adopted for this exercise, were weaving, coiling, twining and making a random structure, based on basketry techniques.

I discovered that these ancient techniques can be updated by using new materials and intentions (making artwork instead of functional objects).

I felt that the small coiled textile vessel, #8, worked well and stimulated further ideas for developing the theme of coiling, leading to the use of ‘snakes’.

The woven structure of #7 was tricky to finish, because I had not left spare warp: something which I will bear in mind for the future. The colour palette of that sample was too complex, and inappropriate for my chosen theme of good versus evil. I learnt that it was better to plan the colour palette in advance through drawing and trying materials together before making the finished sample.

Sample #7 was a 3-D re-interpretation of a woven structure, combined with hand stitch. Basketry and coiling were re-invented by using unusual materials (toy snakes).

I chose to re-interpret and re-invent the colour palettes from Exercise 3.2 by combining them in a 3-D form (#7), and then by simplifying them and being more selective for sample #8, then using ‘found colour’ for #9 and #10. The imagery, which depicted the departure of Adam and Eve from Eden, complete with snake, God and Devil, was re-interpreted as ‘good’ versus ‘evil’. Initially, as red and blue stitch on an apple (the world). In the later pieces, the snake alone dominates the imagery, which stands for temptation. The yarns were initially copied from the yarn wrap, then were developed to become a simple palette of green, golden-beige, and red. Finally, a snake structure, and a 2-D snake grid were made using wooden and rubber snakes in purely the found hues of those items.





Draper, J. (2013) Stitch and structure: Design and technique in two and three-dimensional textiles. London: Batsford.

Harding, S. and Waltener, S. (2012) Practical basketry techniques. London: Bloomsbury USA Academic.

Websites:- Accessed 08/02/17



Coursework Part 4: Project 2: Creating Linear Forms: Exercise 4.3 Re-interpret, Re-invent: Research

I tried out French knitting on two of my yarn concepts for Exercise 4.1, and plaiting on two others, so I decided to have a look at knotting/macramé, which I had touched on with my net yarn concept for Exercise 4.2.  I found a book on the subject at Carlisle Library, (Williams and Mann, 2011).

I tried some of the techniques in the book:-


Knotting Samples

Lark’s Head Knot / synthetic mix yarn (top left)
(uses: anchoring knot, net making)

Ring Hitching / vintage linen embroidery thread over washers & nut (bottom left)
(uses: (traditionally) covering metal rings bolted to ship’s deck; earrings, jewellery)

Half Knot (macramé knot) / dyed raffia cord (second from left)
(uses: necklace cord, bracelet, macramé projects)

Double Flat Button Knot / gardening string (second from right)
(uses: closure with a large loop, focal point for necklace)

Button Knot / synthetic cord (right)
(uses: buttons, cuff links, spacer knot in jewellery making)

I have to say that I was not ‘grabbed’ by any of these samples, although they all might have their place in different types of project (the Lark’s Head Knot had been used to anchor the threads when making my net yarn, for example). I enjoyed making the Half Knot macramé strand, although I think a more regular cord would lead to a better outcome (I had tried it with natural raffia cord). The sample was further distressed by our cat. However, it is quite a rhythmic and soothing activity to make and I’m sure it would become more regular with practise.

One idea that occurred to me was to make some sort of vessel. I had seen such forms in Jean Draper’s book, (Draper, 2013).

Jean Draper, and Margaret Raine, assorted vessels

Source:- Draper, 2013

Jean Draper works the vessels seen at left, above, over a rice bag mould using a knotted buttonhole stitch to make the sides; the vessels seen on the right hand side, above, are randomly hand stitched over a mould.

Margaret Raine’s vessels (centre, above) are coiled, using an ancient basketry technique, wherein a firm, but flexible core is spiralled around and held in place with a finer thread. The resulting form can be flat or three-dimensional. Margaret’s vessels are delicate, hand-sized pieces made from cotton embroidery thread over a silk core.

I found a tutorial on coiled rope vessels, decorated with embroidery thread by Lisa Tilse, which is similar to that used by Margaret Raine, mentioned above.

I made a Pinterest board which includes images from artists working with vessels and similar forms.

Shannon Weber is an artist living and working in the US. She makes three-dimensional woven objects and sculptures from unusual materials, such as found natural materials (seaweed, wood, etc), and manmade items likes pieces from table games.

Shannon Weber, Dizzie


Both the colour palette and materials used by the artist are noteworthy. The lines of the coated wires or cords appear like a spinning top in motion in this swirling mass of vibrant colour.

Lizzie Farey is an artist whose work I saw at last year’s Spring Fling event in Dumfries & Galloway. She uses willow and other natural materials to make organic forms such as bowls, balls or nests, wall-mounted art works and sculpture.

Back to previous page

Lizzie Farey, Pussy Willow Bowl, 2005


This bowl appears to be quite loosely coiled without the regularity of normal basketwork. The interwoven coils that weave in and out of the structure diagonally are, I think, what holds the piece together. As well as the slightly ‘random’ look to this piece, I like the imaginative use of the pussy willow as decoration.

There seem to be numerous tutorials about weaving or coiling bowls: some use paper; some use flat grasses or fibres; others use willow or more traditional materials; and some use textiles, including braided textiles. I will try a number of samples first before embarking on a completed piece.

What can I learn from these artists?

  • there are numerous ways of connecting linear media to form a 2-D or 3-D form (stitch, weaving, coiling)
  • the media and colour palette chosen can give a very different feel to a piece (compare Shannon Weber’s Dizzie with Lizzie Farey’s Pussy Willow Bowl, for example)



Draper, J. (2013) Stitch and structure: Design and technique in two and three-dimensional textiles. London: Batsford.

Williams, L. and Mann, E. (2011) 75 decorative knots: A directory of knots and knotting techniques plus exquisite jewellery projects to make and wear. United Kingdom: Search Press.

Websites:- Accessed 08/02/17 Accessed 07/02/17 Accessed 06/02/17

Coursework Part 4: Project 2: Review Point: Demonstration of Creativity

The coursework text requires me to pause and think about how I have shown creativity and creative thinking in my work so far on this section.

Imagination – Drawing to explore ideas and to develop yarn concepts (examples here and here). Playing with the media, using mind maps for inspiration, and taking inspiration from my environment have suggested new combinations and methods of construction (eg, coat hangers, felt ‘wave’ yarn concept).

Experimentation – Unusual materials (jelly beans, glass buttons, card, etc); different scales of work (eg, my French knitted linear concept on a large scale, or the gesso-dipped yarn on a more delicate scale); different techniques (net making, binding, machine sewn, knotting, hand sewn, etc) have all been explored.

Invention – Altering materials (eg, fraying textiles, cutting, painting twigs, dipping, etc); combining unusual materials (eg, washers/wood/yarn, slate/pebbles/threads, artificial grass/buttons/paper cord, etc) are methods that I have employed to come up with new approaches to the subject.

Development of a Personal Voice – The artist/designer recommendations made by my tutor, Cari, have led to some research on colour that has felt very exciting in suggesting ways of developing and presenting my work. I feel that my colour palette choices and combinations of media used are the beginnings of a unique form of self-expression.

Thinking about aspects of my learning approach that require more imagination and creative thought: keeping more of the samples that I try out and make would give me a record to refer back to for future projects. My photography skills are somewhat lacking: I have difficulty in getting the correct lighting levels, leading to grey or yellowish tinges to images, however, I have tried to introduce some variety with different coloured backgrounds, or photographing items outdoors, if appropriate. I have some ideas about presenting the work more imaginatively, perhaps creating a mood board for some of the yarns that I will highlight, although, I must balance this with Cari’s advice in my feedback for Assignment 2 to keep the presentation simple.

Coursework Part 4: Project 2: Creating Linear Forms: Review of Yarn Samples

This introduction to Project 2 asks me to review the yarn samples I have made so far in Part 4, and to see if any sort of theme has emerged.

Looking at them, all laid out, it seemed initially that there was very little similar about the yarn samples, as I had made an effort to try a variety of techniques and media in their creation. There seemed to be a mixture of both simple and complex forms and colour palettes.

The two techniques that I had used several times, however, were knotting and binding of some description (these were chosen as being representative of the source materials). Quite a number of the yarns were ‘robust’, or large in scale (although there were some more delicate ones as well).

To consider a different approach: I can try to make smaller scale, more delicate yarns with simpler construction techniques, avoiding knotting and binding. I’m not sure that I can avoid binding all together as there has to be some form of attachment between components. Perhaps plying might work in some cases, or using jump rings or other connectors?

Coursework Part 4: Project 1: Exploring Lines: Exercise 4.2 Experimental Yarns and Concepts: 3: Texture and Tonal Qualities

I chose to work from the painted extension of the neutral sample from Exercise 3.1 Part 3.


I made a mind map to stimulate some ideas about colour, tone and texture.



I made some drawings, which explored the diamond or squares pattern seen in the source textile, also the folded nature of the fabric.


Materials: white wool mix felt, grey linen thread, amber/gold glass beads, tea dye

Construction: squares of white felt were sewn diagonally onto grey linen thread, with interspersed glass beads held in place with a knot either side. The completed yarn was given a quick ‘tea bath’, rinsed in clean water, then dried.

Handle and appearance: lightweight, soft, slightly ‘furry’. It has an ‘antique’ appearance thanks to the tea dye, but the diamond shapes and glass beads make me think of Art Nouveau style.

Possible variations: this simple construction could be adapted with numerous shapes; different sizes of shapes; three-dimensional shapes (eg pom poms); overlapping shapes; etc.

Thoughts and ideas: I chose felt as being matt like the source material, and abstracted the square/diamond shape from the original. In my drawing I had imagined metal jump rings connecting the shapes, but opted for thread and beads as being more in keeping with the source textile. I quite liked this yarn but felt that the colour was a bit too pink-brown rather than cream coloured. For possible applications: hanging room dividers, jewellery, an over-skirt of vertical rows of this yarn.


Materials: cream curtain lining (re-purposed fabric), peach cotton cord, grey ?silk embroidery thread, lilac cotton embroidery thread.

Construction: the textile was torn into roughly 3 cm strips and then into squares. The edges were frayed (resulting in some squares being larger than others). The textile squares were placed in an overlapping pattern and the cotton cord was laid on top and couched to it with a single strand each of grey and lilac embroidery thread.

Handle and appearance: lightweight, soft, feathery texture and look.

Possible variations: other textiles or media (?leaves) could be used; different shapes and colours of textile, frayed or unfrayed fabric.

Thoughts and ideas: I was happier with the colour of this yarn: the creamy colour with touches of grey, lilac and peach that I had seen in the original textile. The fluffy, frayed edge came from thoughts of the original textile being a ‘worn out’ duvet cover. This yarn brought to mind ephemeral sea creatures, as well as feathers. It can be twisted into a spiral as well as being used flat. It made me think of millinery uses – decorating a hat for a wedding or a fascinator for a bride. It had a 1920s feel to it, so maybe decorating a flapper dress.

Visual evaluation drawing, in mixed media, of a close-up area of the ‘feather’ yarn.


Materials: cream curtain lining (re-purposed fabric), cream cotton crochet thread, Japanese matt glass beads.

Construction: the textile was torn into a 2 cm strip and was pleated and oversewn with two rows of straight stitches. A further row of straight stitch incorporating the glass beads was sewn along the centre.

Handle and appearance: lightweight, soft, slightly ribbed feel, with the rough, gritty feel of the beads. Appearance – well one word came to both my husband and I on seeing this: tapeworm – ugh!

Possible variations: other textiles could be used; wider or narrower strips of fabric, frayed or unfrayed fabric, different or no embellishments could be used (the reverse, without beads, is shown above, at bottom right).

Thoughts and ideas: In this yarn I was exploring an all-cream palette, concentrating on the pleated nature of the source textile. If I ever want to re-create the verisimilitude of a tapeworm, this will be my ‘go-to’ technique. In other colours and scales, I can imagine that this could be used in the fashion arena, or for embellishment of home furnishings.


Materials: cream cotton crochet thread.

Construction: I watched three You Tube videos about making nets and followed the advice in two of them, (links below). The third used a different technique involving a specialist tool. You basically knot alternate pairs of cord (or in my case, thread) as it hangs down from a horizontal thread. It is quite time-consuming to make, but a simple process.


Handle and appearance: lightweight, delicate, lacy, semi transparent, with a repeated pattern of knots and diamonds. Can be stretched flat or twisted, or coiled into a cord.

Possible variations: this technique can be scaled up or down; different cords, yarns or threads can be used singly or in combination. Embellishments such as beads could be added at each knot or on the sides of the ‘diamonds’. Irregularly sized holes could be formed by varying the knotting pattern.

I was generously given a beautiful handmade scarf constructed with a similar technique involving two delicately-coloured yarns: one with a bouclé finish and the other with a feathery effect. This shows the sort of texture combination that could be achieved.


Sarah Beattie, Scarf 4 (detail), 1999

Thoughts and ideas: I opted to simplify the colour palette and construction, being influenced by the words ‘grid’ and ‘net’ in my mind map. I was pleased with this miniature ‘net’ and could see that the technique had a lot of potential in a number of areas: fishing (nets for catching and holding fish); fashion (the scarf shown above is an example, I can also imagine a garment for layering over other textiles); survival (for making hammocks, or textiles for carrying loads, as a base layer for a brush-covered tent, for example). I like the appearance of my net yarn, whether stretched flat or as a cord, with the knots appearing in suspension along the length. It may be useful for artistic constructs where themes of capture, imprisonment or struggle are involved.

White gel pen drawing of a section of the net yarn.


Materials: card, gouache paint, Czechoslovakian matt glass beads in mauve.

Construction: the card was cut into diamond shapes. Some were painted in cream, and others in lilac with a grey stripe. The latter diamonds were cut in half and glued to the cream ones. Glass beads were knotted onto linen thread with two diamonds glued together around the thread in between the beads.

Handle and appearance: medium weight, stiff, spiky, semi-flexible, flat, but reversible.

Possible variations: the diamonds could be made from textiles using English paper piecing technique; different shapes, colours and scale could be used. Different media such as metals, plastics, air-drying clay could be used. The pieces could be joined by metal jump rings instead of thread.

Thoughts and ideas: I think Jane Bowler‘s influence was felt in this exaggeration of the yarn, as were memories of Mary Katrantzou‘s chain mail fashion, from earlier research on the course. Shapes that tessellate are ideal for joining into two-dimensional textiles, with joins at the points. I think that jump rings would have worked better, as the thread kept the two pieces of card from joining perfectly. I increased the proportion of grey and lilac in this piece, as seen in my paint extension of the textile source. I think the colour palette works well together and could be used in fashion (in knitwear, or on a silk blouse, for example); or for interior decor, such as wallpaper, or paint colours. It creates a soft, gentle, calm appearance.


Materials: wool (mix) and acrylic felts, linen thread.

Construction: three colours of felt were cut into wave-shaped sections (example shown at bottom right, above), which were concertinaed and sewn onto linen thread.

Handle and appearance: medium weight, springy, soft, rippled. The appearance is festive and fun and can be varied by twisting the shapes to give a more three-dimensional effect.

Possible variations: different shapes could be used, or strips of felt or other materials; larger or smaller folds could be made in the fabric; matching or contrasting thread could be used.

Thoughts and ideas: Ideas of ‘ridges’, ‘folds’ and ‘waves’ came up in my mind map and influenced this exaggerated yarn. The colour palette I chose, was a more saturated version of the cream, grey and lilac of the painted textile extension. I used three different weights of felt, which means that the purple dominates as it has the most ‘body’. I thought that this was quite a successful experiment and had potential for fashion (scarves, jewellery, accessories, etc); and in art (creating lots of texture and variation from a flat material, maybe suggesting the texture of bark or water).


What have I learnt?

  • a simple, neutral textile can generate numerous ideas for yarn concepts (colour palettes, textures and patterns)
  • a mind-map suggests associated ideas that can lead to new avenues to explore in yarn design
  • how to make a simple net structure



Websites:- Accessed 02/02/17 Accessed 02/02/17

Sketchbook: Colour Palettes

bI have been extracting colour palettes from different locations (landscapes, cafes, IKEA etc) and from a newspaper photo and from our cat! Here are the latest palettes.


I tried to compose one in felt pens, but the result was too jarring next to the pencil versions (all the above examples are in coloured pencils). Trying to think about how to present them now. The artist book by Margrethe Odgaard will be a big influence. She has three colours placed with one across the top and two below, so that all the colours can be seen side by side, so I will have to consider how I can do this with five colours. I may make interwoven strips (although, they would not lie flat, then). Another consideration is how to, or if to, categorise them (eg, all the landscape-derived ones together). I will aim for about 30 palettes that I want to include before making the book.

A final thought is what I want to do with the colour palettes when they are made. I have it in mind to make abstract paintings and textile wall hangings using these colours palettes, but I imagine that they will be useful to refer to for inspiration on any project.


Websites:- Accessed 01/02/17

Coursework Part 4: Project 1: Exploring Lines: Exercise 4.2 Experimental Yarns and Concepts: 2: Materials Exploration

I chose two textile and paint chip samples from Exercise 3.1 to inform this part of the Exercise. I made some exploratory drawings and tried to think of suitable materials that represented the look and feel of the textiles




Materials: jelly beans, invisible thread.

Construction: I purchased some bulk jelly beans in order to have enough to extract the colours I needed (although the colours were not an exact match, I felt that they linked with the bright, colourful nature of the source textile).  The sweets were laid out, exploring a possible pattern of an irregular vine-like structure (inspired by that seen in the textile) and rings of beans forming ‘flowers’. In my imagination it would be like stringing beads on a thread: the reality was horrendous! I had chosen to use invisible thread so that it would not detract from the colour of the sweets, but even this fine thread was extremely hard to pull through the sticky, dense centre of the jelly beans. Even a fine needle had to be forced through on a hard worktop and I am sorry to say that I gave up on this one, so it will remain an unfinished sample (in photographic form only, since I doubt it will keep fresh!). The needle, thread, my fingers and the outside of the jelly beans became a sticky mess. I tried heating the needle and ‘burning’ a hole through the sugary centre, but it was scarcely any better.

Handle and appearance: heavy, flexible, sticky; with a fun, lighthearted, edible appearance!

Possible variations: I have since seen plastic jelly bean beads available from the US, so they might be a possible, if more costly, alternative. I think there is further mileage in this idea, but maybe using an assortment of plastic sweets or food items.

Thoughts and ideas: I was most excited at the thought of making a jelly bean yarn concept, which I felt would represent the bright floral textile well. I made links to colour, and a joyful, playful mood that I thought the textile portrayed. I did consider gluing them together, but that seemed like cheating, as it would have been more of a jelly bean ‘sculpture’. The use of food for art reminded me of Lady Gaga’s vile meat dress, or the portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

And this is more how I imagined the linear concept to look. Drawn A5 size with POSCA pens.


Materials: plastic coat hangers.

Construction: It was only after I started to try and assemble them into a chain that I realised there were numerous ways of combining them: a simple chain; reversing the direction of every other hanger; altering the side of the hanger the hook caught onto; forming a regular pyramid-type shape by hooking an increasing cascade of hangers; or attaching them randomly. This seemed to offer a ‘DIY’ yarn concept that could be altered to suit the whim of the person assembling it.

Handle and appearance: quite heavy, ungainly, fragile construction that can be broken apart easily, playful, childlike, simple or complex.

Possible variations: anything with a hook on one end and a place to attach another unit’s hook could be used (there are toy monkeys that can be joined like this, for example). Units with numerous ‘hooks’ could be formed into 2-D and 3-D structures. Metal or other materials could be used.

Thoughts and ideas: I was walking around IKEA and saw packs of brightly coloured coat hangers. The idea of a chain of them came to me. Colours could also be played with to form another pattern within the structure. This felt like quite an important discovery: how a simple unit can be combined with other similar units in so many ways, somewhat like knitted or crocheted stitches; or molecular structures. I decided to try a blue background to mimic the textile source, but it was so windy that the photographs did not come out well. The ‘linear concept’ seemed quite at home hung from a tree in my garden, though. An idea for outdoor sculpture, perhaps?

A3 size gestural drawing, quickly made, with only a few glances at the paper, using POSCA pens.


A4 size on Japanese paper, mixed media (ink applied with a brush, Sakura pigma pen, carbon pencil and gel pen). Don’t look too closely at the skinny, wobbly washers! I chose the paper and media to match the Japanese feel of the colour palette.

Materials: metal washers, dogwood twigs, willow twigs, wool rug yarn.

Construction: five twigs were placed in a bundle with some facing one way, some the other, to form a roughly equal diameter along the length. Metal washers were spaced out at 1.5 – 2 cm intervals. Wool yarn was added in a sort of blanket stitch, threaded through the centre of the washers to hold the washers roughly in place.

Handle and appearance: stiff, cold washers, ribbed. The appearance is an interesting mixture of materials – shiny, hard metal; natural, smooth twigs; and hairy, woolly yarn.

Possible variations: the washer could be strung onto cord, rubber tubing, plastic-coated wire, or textile strips; combinations of different sizes of washers or washers and nuts (as in nuts and bolts!) could be used. Also, altering the placement of the washers to give an irregular pattern. Wrapping the washers with thread/yarn before threading them on.

Thoughts and ideas: this linear concept was inspired by the linear, bound nature of the source textile (the washers seen sideways on reminded me of the pale grey marks on the source textile) and the masculine feel of the colour palette led me to think of more traditionally ‘masculine’ materials (wood and metal). I really preferred it without the wool, but the washers would not stay in position without it. I tried a small sample using glue to hold them in place, but the glue was too visible for my liking. Adding more twigs to form a very tight fit meant that the bark was scraped off as the washers were fitted. This might suggest designs for interior furnishings (blinds, for example); jewellery (a choker necklace, earrings etc); or might be a useful technique for making sculpture. I liked this piece and it reminded me of the combination of materials found in work by artists such as Ella Robinson and Sophie Smallhorn, whose art I had studied in my recent research here and here.



For the next linear concept, I started by making some wrapped samples using slate, beach pebbles and various threads and yarns.

A5 watercolour and coloured pencil drawing (shown before the pencil was added on right hand side – a simpler grey and white colour palette option).

Materials: grey polyester ribbon, pieces of slate, beach pebbles, embroidery thread (linen and cotton), quilting thread, linen sewing thread.

Construction: after completing the trials shown in the first image, I decided that I preferred the finer threads to the thick yarn as the proportion of thread to stone/slate felt right, and allowed more of those materials to show through. I chose the fairly straight wrapping as opposed to the random wrap, as it again referred back to the straight lines of the source material. Slate chips were collected from the garden and pebbles from a beach. All were washed before being matched for colour to the source material (many of the pebbles showed the pinkish hue often found locally, so will be saved for another project). 10 each of the selected slate chips and stones were wrapped with five colours of thread (teals, burnt orange, mid orange, light grey and dark grey), and the knotted ends of the threads were used to anchor them to the fine ribbon with linen thread at 2 cm intervals.

Handle and appearance: heavy, makes a chinking sound as the stones and slate knock against each other, cold stones with the ribbed feel of the threads. Appearance has a connection to the Stone Age, natural materials, landscape inspired colours. Hard, rugged, masculine, randomness.

Possible variations: drill holes in the stones/slate chips; use sea glass for a translucent alternative, or broken china; wrap other objects; scale up or down; use wire for the wrapping.

Thoughts and ideas: This idea emerged from word associations with the source material, such as ‘landscape’, ‘earth’, and ‘strata’. The wrapping technique seemed to suit the linear quality of the source textile, and the materials and colour palette also fitted the landscape theme. I decided to use some colours that almost blended with the stones and some that were a bold contrast: this following my study of the designers (eg, Sophie Smallhorn) that Cari recommended to me for their interesting use of colour. It quickly became apparent that any stones with large slopes to the edges would quickly lose their wrapping, so I tried to select squarer profile, or longer pieces to wrap. I think that the random wrap pattern tried in the samples could work with other shapes better. None the less, I think this linear concept is only suitable for decorative purposes, as the wrapping could easily be dislodged. I did consider using glue or varnish, but preferred the matt, natural appearance of the stones and slate. I think that this technique would make interesting jewellery, or household decorations such as decorative trims. Thinking of an artistic narrative that might relate to the wrapping: bondage, enslavement, swaddling, imprisonment, war paint, keeping ‘it’ together, landscape. This was my favourite linear concept of those I created, for the simplicity of the materials used, the colour palette (mainly shades of grey with smaller proportions of oranges and teal), and the combination of materials. It could be used hanging down in a vertical display, in which case the stones and slate overlapped each other; or horizontally, in which case the stones and slate dangled beneath the ribbon.


Found linear concept. Not inspired by any of the samples, but spotted on a recent walk.

This beautiful larch tree, seen in winter, hanging with ‘Old Man’s Beard’ lichen and larch cones is a lovely yarn concept: long trailing strands with knots in them, pale grey-green fluffy texture, and embellishments like natural wood beads.


What have I learnt?

  • until you try a technique with the actual materials (ie sampling) you can never be certain how they will react!
  • word associations and drawing can suggest new ideas and directions for work
  • when selecting a palette, consider using some low contrast areas to balance out the high contrast highlights
  • textiles and yarns can work with a wide range of different materials including stone and metal, giving interesting new meanings and qualities to a piece of work




Websites:- Accessed 27/01/17 Accessed 28/01/17 Accessed 27/01/17 Accessed 28/01/17