i) Stitching – Paper

For this exercise I began with the scrapbook paper as used in the puncturing exercise. I made a series of lines and shapes using a fine knitting needle as this gave neat, tidy holes that I felt would produce good results. I chose a selection of threads to stitch with: Hand-dyed yarn, metallic sewing thread, anchor stranded cotton thread, wool yarn.

As the paper was quite fragile I used simple embroidery stitches – chain and long (satin) stitch to create stitched shapes on the paper. For one example (image ref 3) I over-wove the stitches to create a ‘darned fabric’, however, the paper was very soft for this technique so it proved quite challenging.

ii) Stitching – Other materials – Bubble wrap

I selected two very different materials, hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn and bubble wrap with large bubbles for this piece, rolling the wrap into a tube and stitching into the wrap with the yarn using satin stitches.

Thoughts and conclusions

Stitching into paper requires a delicate touch and for neat results that don’t tear the paper, either thick paper or fine to medium thread. Working slowly and pulling the thread directly through the holes as opposed to at an angle also helps.

Stitching into the bubble wrap was tricky. The plastic stuck around the needle (I tried both a blunt bodkin and a sharper tapestry needle) which then tended to tear the surface. It did, however, create an interestig surface and I like the juxtaposition of the synthetic, throwaway non-biodegradable plastic with the handspun, hand-dyed, natural yarn.

Future ideas

Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to explore this exercise fully but there are very many ways to take stitching into my work and this is something I’ll be working on – I’d particularly like to explore combining non-traditional materials (natural with synthetic, new with old etc.) in more depth.