Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Limpets part 4: two dimensions

I’m looking at limpet shells as flat shapes now – from above or from the side, simple and stylised. NOT realistic portraits!

From the side, they’re rounded triangles. From above, you see round-ish shapes sometimes patterned with spokes that don’t quite go to the centre. Strongly ribbed shells appear to stick out beyond the “circle” and make it seem more polygonal.

So it’s circles, triangles and spokes/ribs as starting points– and no need to make anything resembling actual shells!

Straight stitch on Somerset paper – punched a few holes as centres, Oliver Twists space dyed fine cotton.

Buttonhole wheels – space dyed linen thread on a scrap of Harris tweed.

Ribbed spiders web – pearl cotton 8 on denim. Love the effect of gently shaded thread here; note to self – worth drawing a circle on the back to get spokes evenly sized, or else odd ones will be left sticking out of the weaving.  

Straight stitch on hand dyed muslin (backed with felt). Seemed to need French knot centres; never mind whether they look more like flowers than limpets, the shells are just a starting point. Space dyed machine embroidery cotton from Oliver Twists.

Machine embroidery with Flower Stitch attachment.

Using a built-in pattern like a blanket stitch effect (720 on my Artista), with width reduced to 1. Photo shows the stitch worked straight, and then one round with the Flower Stitcher. Then I did lots of rounds reducing the diameter slightly each time, ending up by moving the needle across 2 or 3 steps to get as closer to the centre as possible. The first sample used purple top and bottom. Then I went for a subtler effect using yellow bobbin thread to match fabric – the top tension is a little high so it gets pulled up and makes the purple stitching appear less solid.
That inspired me to try metallic thread on the bobbin… with turquoise thread on navy felt, I got just a hint of sparkle coming through. Sorry, these are only 2cm across and I haven't managed to photograph them very well.    

Free machine embroidery cone patterns.

This is me doodling freehand on hand dyed cotton backed with pelmet Vilene. I tried using ribbed cone shapes to make patterns, always aiming to cut the thread as little as possible - which with these shapes means stitching forward and back along the same lines, so it’s not as delicate as you could be with hand embroidery.

My favourites above were the open, base-less ones, so I did a few more with shaded blue thread on navy felt. OK, they look more like floating seeds than shells, but they’re stylised, right?!

The “plan view”, limpets seen from above, still has more potential for 2D patterns I think.  This next one’s machine stitched freehand (no guidelines, eek!) on hand dyed cotton. 

With no backing (I used a hoop), the bobbin thread comes through and shows as tiny dots. What makes it interesting is using a shaded thread on both spool and bobbin, so the colour comes and goes giving a less solid effect.

A bit of Embellisher play next. 

Not much resemblance to limpet shells perhaps, but they’re still the inspiration. I embellished rings of wool yarn onto the back of hand dyed linen, then free machined on top with light grey and a darker bobbin thread to break up the stitched lines a bit.

And at last, my real fave – soluble fabricOverlapping limpet circles in three colours to start with. A bit of zigzag round the edge, plus careful pinning out to dry, helps them stay vaguely circular.

And these just touch rather than overlapping. I worked the outlines and ribs in very pale gold coloured (not metallic) thread first, then filled in and edged with off-white. Might’ve been better left more open and lacy? 

And that’s where I’m going to leave the limpet theme for now. There’s a few things I haven’t tried, like burning synthetics, layering, scaling up… but I’ve got other things I want to do now.  


emma-alittlebitofeverything said...

What an amazing selection! You can always come back for more one day ;)

Gina said...

Lovely! I am rubbish at doing this sort of experimenting but this shows how it pays off to push a design to its limits.

Beverley said...

So late in posting, because been savouring. Such a brilliant range of experimentation and the thought processes to go with it. I don't have the drive to push myself like this. So many ideas to come bsck to.

Jackie said...

It’s so inspiring to see your experiments with the same theme. I keep saying I’ll do this but never get round to it.
I’ve enjoyed playing catch up on your blog.