We’re just back from Festival of Quilts 2022 where we showed a display of our work for the launch of the new Madeira thread, Sensa Green, and also demonstrated how it can be used. For those who couldn’t attend the show here’s a look at the samples I made during the show…
I had the privilege of working on this beautiful Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby kindly loaned to us for the show by our friends at HV. It’s a machine with an embroidery unit meaning you can pop your work in the hoop and use digital stitch. I’d prepared some designs ahead of the show using MySewnet.com software.
As you can see in the photo, the machine takes large hoop with a stitching area of 36cm x 26cm so plenty of scope for demonstrating. I worked through some quilt sandwiches that I’d put together in the studio before the show. They included some digital print fabrics and some hand dyes, all layered with wadding and backing so my stitch is quilting, rather than embroidery.
This first sample is worked onto a piece of cotton fabric that I have indigo dyed. It had been folded in the vat quite tightly so came out a bit pale, but that leaves some nice space for a stitched design! Working onto an interesting background fabric adds depth to a design. This would have looked quite different worked onto a plain fabric.
This eye motif is one that I’ve drawn in my sketchbook and digitised into stitches using MySewnet. Now I have this design on file I can use it in different ways. Here I added a border of satin stitch lines and text.
Here’s a little close up of the stitching. The machine stitches it out so beautifully!
I had an interesting chat with someone who commented that she thought it was a shame the stitching was so perfect. I said I quite liked when it turned out perfectly! Maybe there’s a school of thought that digital stitch with its potential for crisp neatness might be a bit soul-less, but honestly, the machine only stitches out what you tell it. If you want the look of hand-drawn, wonky lines you can do those too!
I think, with the layered approach that I take, combining digital stitch with hand dyes, freehand quilting and hand stitch, that a bit of perfection in the digital work here and there is just fine.
Look at this bit of the design for instance. I love how the marks that I drew in my sketchbook have digitised. I think they still have a lovely quality to them, particularly the way the stitching changes direction. I’ll not trim those little jump stitches either, I really like them!
This next sample is also worked onto indigo dyed cotton fabric. I didn’t have pieces large enough to fill the hoop so you might be able to spot a seam down the centre. The stitching goes over the seams with no problems.
In this example you can see that I’ve used the same eye motif but I’ve combined with with text in a different way. First though I stitched down some background quilting which you might just be able to make out in the photo. this background design is drawn to look like it’s freehand stitched, but is worked in the hoop just like the rest of the stitching. I used a limey green colour thread which modifies the colour of the fabric really nicely.
For this example I used the text as a layer rather than as a border. I wanted the eye to look like it was worked over the top of the lettering with glimpses of it peeping through.
I am really enjoying the fragmented look of those little patches of stitch with the lettering beneath. I think that looks quite painterly. I’m using Madeira Sensa Green threads for all of this stitching. They are a 100% lyocell thread which have a soft sheen similar to cotton, but no where as shiny as viscose rayon for instance. I really like this gentle sheen which catches the light softly.
In this close up you can see the background stitching a bit easier. This is a linear fill pattern that I’ve often used freehand in my quilts. Working it in the hoop is obviously a great option as the machine stitches it out automatically. Doing this sort of stitching freehand can be a bit tedious!
The lettering is worked with a satin stitch finish which I love. That combination of straight stitch and satin stitch is a really nice mix.
Thanks for taking a look at these examples. I’ll post again soon with a look at the other ones I made.
Bye for now,