Texture with Textiles

After getting lots of comments on a piece of work I posted on Instagram last week, I thought I would share some techniques for creating texture with fabric and thread. I used a variety of different threads and techniques in this miniature moss inspired embroidery so I thought I’d share a couple with you.

Simple Stitches

Lets start with the easiest way to create some texture, using tapestry wool and some simple stitches to create texture. If you don’t have any tapestry wool, you can use any type of wool like 4 ply or double knit.

I’ve used a size 22 chenille needle to do my stitching, you can find out more about needles in my latest Tools of the Trade post. I create the texture by doing lots of running stitches very close together, instead of pulling the stitches tightly, I leave a loop on the surface of my fabric. When I’ve filled the area with stitches, I use my embroidery scissors to cut the loops.

Gathered Ribbons

I enjoy working with really fine ribbons to create texture in my work, they are easy to stitch with and there are some fantastic ribbon embroidery books on the market too. If you don’t have any fine ribbon you can use strips of fabric instead.

I use a needle and matching sewing thread to do a line of running stitch down the centre of the ribbon, it doesn’t have to be very neat. I then gather the running stitch which draws the ribbon together to form a ruffle. Using the same thread, I stitch the ruffle to my background fabric.

Lots of my hand embroidery is experimental, I love to pick different threads and see what happens when I use them in different ways. I have a stitch journal that I stick different photos and samples in, it means I can make notes about what materials I’ve used to refer back to. Remember, embroidery can be anything you want it to be!