I made some drawings to inspire my yarn-making. These drawings explored the textures and type of marks found in the paper and plastic manipulations, both with and without added stitch. Sadly, I won’t have time to make all of them, so I will pick out those that demonstrate a variety of texture and line.
Yarn Concept #1, inspired by Plastic Manipulation with Stitch #2
I was aiming for a springy look with loose texture, and used the French knitting technique. The first sample was made with a single strand of rayon embroidery thread. For the second sample, I decided to use a combination of the red, pink and burgundy found in my chosen colour palette. I added in a strand of invisible sewing thread with sparsely threaded white glass beads to represent the glints of reflected light seen in the plastic sample.
I think that the single thread was the most pleasing of the two samples – it has a simplicity of line and clarity of colour, lacking in the more complicated version. The springy loose threads and gleaming look of the thread were just what I was aiming for.
Thinking of how I can take this texture forward: rows of the French knitting could be joined, or I could experiment with knitting or crocheting with a very fine thread like this, on large tools, to obtain a similar effect. Alternatively, I could make small areas decorated with this texture on a background fabric, or printed or drawn lines imitating this ‘scribbled’ line.
Yarn Concept #2, inspired by Plastic Manipulation with Stitch #2
This yarn concept was formed by stitch on plastic with acrylic painted dots added to represent the texture of the source material. The ‘Bargello’ stitch of the original was simplified to become three staggered stitches.
I quite liked this idea, but felt that the plastic made it a little too inflexible, but it could be translated to a shiny red textile such as silk or synthetic organza. The white paint could become printed white dots or rows of beads. The scale could be exaggerated (larger stitches in a thicker thread or yarn, in which case the background fabric could be more substantial, such as a faux leather.)
Yarn Concept #3, inspired by Plastic Manipulation with Stitch #3
This yarn concept was made from fine strips of plastic bag (much like the source material), but rolled, then tied at 5 cm intervals with rayon embroidery thread. The strands were slightly stretched and separated to give areas of irregular lines and waves.
Although I was not particularly keen on this one, I think that it could inspire a textile made from areas of cut plastic, with some areas tied to give voids, or possibly a ‘woven’ cut texture with different directional cuts, or areas of irregular cuts interspersed with uncut areas.
Yarn Concept #4, inspired by Paper Manipulation with Stitch #4
A synthetic fabric was cut and ironed into shape, then couched with chenille yarn, and decorated with black crochet thread stitch, and white glass beads.
This has an autumnal feel because of the muted colour palette: the green was not as bright as the one in my palette. It makes me think of seaweed for some reason, but perhaps with a fluffier or more petal-like decoration instead of the beads, it might more successfully represent the source material. I did like the mixture of textures and ‘marks’, and can imagine branch-like areas of this set against a translucent fabric.
Yarn Concept #5, inspired by Paper Manipulation with Stitch #10
A simple yarn inspired by the catkin source material. This sample was made from white yarn with tied bunches of embroidery thread in the soft green from my selected colour palette.
I thought that it was delicate and quite attractive and did remind me of the tufty texture of the catkin-related drawing and paper manipulations. Thinking of how this might be developed: I can imagine this couched onto a light cotton fabric, perhaps combined with a muted, pale background pattern resembling leaves or branches.
Yarn Concept #6, inspired by Paper Manipulation with Stitch #10
This yarn showed a more literal translation of the catkin texture, made with a fine punch needle, worked in two heights of stitch, on a synthetic ribbon, with added stem stitch. The punch needle makes a good texture that is very like the catkin texture.
The time-consuming nature of this technique means that it would only be suitable for use in small areas of a larger project. I think that the varied textures work well together. This could be simplified to an all white palette. It has a delicate and organic feel to it, enhanced by the translucent ground that the stitch is worked on.
Yarn Concept #7, inspired by Paper Manipulation with Stitch #7
Six strands of black embroidery thread on paper cord. This was almost exactly like the drawing I had made (shown at the top of this article), and I felt that the separating black threads represented the fine black pen lines of the drawing well. It could be carried out in a very regular way (side to side, so that the yarn lies flat), or (as here) deliberately irregular. The paper cord can be twisted to make the black looping stitches spiral round the cord.
I think that the technique might suit textile jewellery, but the stiffness of the paper cord would be hard to translate to a textile, so I think that the best way of taking this forward would be to form a print for all of the lines and textures seen, or perhaps, just for the white lines, with the black carried out in stitch. It has a bold, graphic feel, that I thought was quite successful as a pattern.
Yarn Concept #8, inspired by Paper Manipulations #1 and #2
This ‘twiggy’ yarn concept is made from lengths of fine plastic tubes, sewn and tied together with white and black threads. I tried a few methods of joining these units together, until I realised that I could pierce them with a fine needle and tie them together, leaving the loose ends to enhance the twig-like effect.
I thought that this was probably the most successful of the yarns in translating the source material. I immediately thought of making a textile printed with these lines and then adding tied stitch over the printed area. Like the last yarn concept, it has a bold, graphical feel and reminds me somewhat of Chinese brush strokes.
I have some interesting textures, marks and lines to take forward to the textile design part of the coursework. The challenge will be to make them form part of a collection.
What have I learnt in this part of the course?
- once again, the value of trying different techniques with the materials in hand has been helpful in finding solutions (for example, ways of joining the plastic tubing in Yarn Concept #8)
- working from the drawings made initially, has given me something concrete to aim for, and has informed the sorts of materials that might work to produce the desired outcome
- some of the yarn concepts have suggested direct translations to textiles, whereas others have demonstrated possible patterns that may be suitable for printing onto fabric