For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .

''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

playing with pleats

Whilst my brain was in lockdown I played a little with my pleating machine, putting some silk through it with a plan to embellish it with hand stitch. This usually leads to an idea for a larger, more defined piece. Truth be told it is so long since I last used my pleater that the initial result was a little below par but I persevered because it was good enough to play ''embroidery'' on.

I am really pleased with the effect of the hand stitching but as you can see from the next picture the edges are in need of a little more thought and planning! This is something I think I can take forward though, if I have the time. I have so many ideas at the moment, so many things to try, so many things to finish, I only hope you can keep up with which piece is which! The swaddling band..... waiting for thread. The white piece.......waiting for me to decide on the edge but wonder of wonders I have had a revelation about my modern, multi coloured piece. Sampling and playing definitely kick started my brain and I am working on that one really hoping to show you in the next couple of days.

Thanks so much too for all the great comments, e-mails and questions about the damp stretching. I have answered some people individually and will definitely get round to all of you before the week is out but in the meantime I will explain a couple of things here too.
Damp stretching is an integral part of creating any piece of embroidery. I do it at every stage of working, it is never done purely for photographic reasons, it would be done if I never took photographs. It finishes the work professionaly. The only thing I spray with is water, plain old simple water from the tap, nothing added. If I had explained all this properly at the start there wouldn't have been any confusion, sorry about that, some teacher I am!!! Oh and I would rather stick pins in my eyes than go anywhere near my work with an iron! (apart from anything else I have a poor track record with an iron, I hate ironing of any kind and to me an iron is an instrument of torture)!! Anyway I digress, please, please, please don't iron your embroidery, you could reduce me to tears! Some time this week I will link to the damp stretching thingy in my sidebar before it disappears forever into the blogger black hole.
I think that's it for now, I am going to put my feet up, have a coffee, embroider and relax for a while. I suggest you do the same! Have a good ''rest of the week''.


Tiphaine said...

waou, I didn't know about the ironing thing. Will definitely think hard before doing anything like that...I was re-reading your previous post and was thinking when you spray your liquid on the boeard, doesn't it get dirty on your work ???

Miss 376 said...

What a difference the embroidery makes, I love it

Jacky said...

I love the pleating...sort of reminds me of snow drifts and when you add your embroidery it looks frothy and detailed.
Enjoying all your projects!

Jacky xox

vintagerockchick said...

Really interested to see the great effect of your handstitching on pleating. During my recent declutter I found some handdyed silk that I'd put through a pleater at college years ago, which caused me to started searching the net for pleating machines. Like I need more stuff! I laughed when I read about your damp stretching photos -from your work I imagined you to be calm and 'Zen-like'!

Joei Rhode Island said...

"Good enough" to play "embroidery" on *I am sure*.
Lovely work....and Now I know how to damp stretch embroidery. I think I will try a piece of damp stretch and iron work for felt and see what happens.

Victoria said...

I would love to feel this, run my hands across it, hold it to my heart... texture lust, I got it bad for your beautiful work.

And what about this pleating machine?? My brain isn't recollecting this from previous posts, but then again, I barely recollect yesterday... how does it work, what does it look like, did you post about this...?

Kayla coo said...

I try and iron as little as possible and never my textile pieces!
I have never seen a pleating machine, great results.

Marie said...

Call me slow...I have never seen a pleating machine...but, how cool is that? I have done pleating on the sewing machine... Your blog always brings me a smile and and a "wow!" and "amazing" every time I visit.
Thanks for the inspiration : )

Anonymous said...

I'm with Victoria and Marie - never heard of a pleating machine. I used to have a little ridged rubber mat thing for making doll's house dress pleats - is yours anything like that? I suspect not... It's a fabulous effect though, and the hand stitching really brings it to life. I like the simple edge. And never, never come to my house - I iron pretty much everything :-]

connie said...

Oh, my this is really lovely. I agree with Victoria, I want to touch and feel it. It is very lovely.

I wish I was being so productive!

Tammie Lee said...

ok, no ironing.
I love what you have done with the pleating and embroidery, wild and lovely!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Oh WOW, Karen! I have a quilting machine too, but it has seen very little use. I had a brief dalliance with smocking some years ago but without little girls to smock for there I found it to be of limited use to me. I did make some lovely Christmas tree decorations by wrapping the smocked fabric around a polystyrene ball. But as ever, your stitching takes it all to a whole new level. Have you thought about producing something for the Australian magazines Smocking and Creative Inspirations...?

MarieE said...

Ah1 It was a smocking pleater that lured me into textiles! my mother taught smocking and she had a lovely little pleater that I thought was the most amazing piece of machinery! She would thread her needles but have individual spools for each needle, so she only had to thread once in a very long time.

nath said...

love love the effects of the pleats, the white on white effect