The best part about my job is that I get to play with fabric and thread every week, finding new ways to combine different colours and textures of thread and use vintage fabrics to tell stories. I also love just picking some threads, embellishments and fabrics from my stash and just seeing what I can create. I call this technique Stitchsperiments and I thought I’d share some ideas with you. I’m also running a class on 21 March in collaboration with Workshop, you can book your place here.
I love to work with different threads when I’m hand stitching, you can find out more about my favourite threads in Tools of the Trade. I’ve built a collection of different embroidery, vintage and hand quilting threads over the last few years. You can often find job lots of threads on eBay, local stuff for sale groups on Facebook or charity shops when they are allowed to reopen. I like to pop a scrap of fabric in a hoop and just start stitching with the different threads, looking at the lines it can make and how it reflects the light.
I chose a DMC Cotton Perle, a Gutermann Hand Quilting thread and a vintage silk thread to stitch a line of chain stitch and some overlaid straight stitches. Each thread gives a different effect to the same stitch, you can even add some writing to the fabric to say which threads you used or stick samples in a notebook to create a stitch journal with techniques and ideas.
To find out more about creating texture in your work you can read my post on Texture with Textiles where I use different threads to create a moss inspired piece of work.
Why not experiment with different fabrics too, you can cut, stitch and create texture with small scraps of fabrics from your stash. I’m lucky to have friends who make their own clothes and save me their offcuts. You can also pick up fabric remnant bags online from Etsy and your local fabric shop.
I’ve used a very thick felt offcut, some thin voile and a cotton quilting fabric, cutting different shapes in a very haphazard manner and stitching them to the surface with the same threads. For the felt circle I stitched from the centre out, going off the edges of the fabric.. For the voile, I gathered it with a simple running stitch and then onto the surface of the fabric and finally, I cut little scraps of the cotton fabric and layered them up.
These are just a few ways you can experiment with fabric and thread to create your own Stitchsperiments. Keep exploring new techniques and materials to see what you can create.