Grunge Heart

This time I wanted to return to a distressed look and make a heart with a grunge look. Made in tattered denim and repaired with metallic lurex fabric and machine-stitched darning.

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Padded Heart with Crochet

I worked some free form crochet while stitching it to the heart as decoration.  I think that the addition of beads and sequins could be nice too.

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Lace Heart

I am obsessed with hearts at the moment and experimenting with ways of using my explorations into free form crochet with pre-loved fabrics to discover ways to make and decorate them.

Freeform crocheted lace heart

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Added Stitching

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More stitches have been added to this pece of patchwork, however I haven’t worked on this for a while as I have been seduced away by other projects!

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A close-up of stitching worked on a piece of gossamer fabric (once part of a scarf) .  I like the combined effect of the print punctuated by the stitches.

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Another close-up of black stitches.

Lourdes x

Wilted Tulips

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Today I couldn’t stop myself from photographing the tulips which had began to fade in a vase I had in the house. It has been thoroughly enjoyable trying to capture the exquisite and delicate veining running through the petals and the forms of the flower heads as they soften and appear as if they are about to fly away. So entranced I have felt that I am tempted to dabble in some painting and drawing too.

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The colours are beautiful too and I may have mentioned before how much I love the way the colours in flowers intensify as they dry.

I haven’t really considered use of colour too seriously in my recent work yet, rather focussing on recreating textural qualities and experimenting with these, while pretty much just grabbing the first colour scheme that evolves as I rummage through my supplies. However I think that these tulips could be a fine place to start!

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The tactile quality of the petals is incredibly gorgeous, as it becomes silky soft before it starts to dry and with the richness of the colour scheme is very luxurious. It is like very fine paper, but also very obviously like pure silk.

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It is so exciting that inspiration is everywhere and that at anytime something else can provide new input for ongoing work!

Lourdes x

Openwork Crochet and Stitching

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These are my most recent experiments where I have been playing around with more ways of combining very loosely-worked crochet with fabrics and stitching.  The work above was also melted with a heat gun to add a distressed quality.

These are samples exploring ways of combining small scraps of fabric with crochet and stitching.  I think that the lines created by the crochet contrasted with the coloured fabric is similar to the pattern and veining found on the wings of insects.  I also think that the use of black thread gives the samples a gothic look.

Thanks so much for visiting! All the best

Lourdes x

Crochet, Tucks, Cords & Thoughts

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As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am at the point in my project where I am having to consider how to bring my visual research and development to some point of culmination.   I have been looking through all of my samples to see what jumps out for more in-depth exploration and potential for some kind of eventual conclusion.

I have also been thinking about concept and how my visual work could suggest ideas, as these I have found are always interwoven with my visual sources of inspiration and chosen route of investigation.  I don’t want to be too definite in describing the ideas I have, as I know how these grow and change, but I would say that I am interested in analysing the relationship we can cultivate with nature through acknowledgment of it’s cycles.

In addition I am also interested in the meaning of beauty and what happens to many of our ideas of what constitutes beauty as we get older.

I began this project with the idea of a secret garden where unexpected treasures can be found and would now extend that to include inner secrets and mysteries particularly as relates to femininity and how they can be revealed.  So, in summary I am curious about nature, cycles, beauty and feminine mysteries and possibly how our awareness of these things could be improved.

Healing is always of fascination to me and I am also curious about how healing can take place.  The challenge is how to incorporate these ideas and questions into the physical act of constructing textiles and clothing.

In terms of textile work I have decided to focus on freeform crochet which is very effective at describing an organic, but also pretty quality.

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When a really large crochet hook is used with a fine thread, a very loose and ‘irregular’ fabric is formed, which is great for distorting as well as creating a very open work material like a net.  It is even reminiscent of the veining on the wing of an insect.

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I love using tiny hand stitching and when combined with fabric scraps and patchwork suggest repair, patience and healing as well as also having an organic feel.  I will also continue to explore ways to create form and texture with bias-stitched tucks which are perfect for creating again very pretty flounces, ripples and ruffles.

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After looking through all my samples so far I have decided to look again at this idea of combining crochet with fabrics and stitching the crochet in places to create a corded lace effect.

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At this stage I am thinking that this could work well as a detail on a corset or bra top.  I have begun by looking at different threads and yarn and how they look when covered with machine zigzag stitch, I need to research ready-made cords too.

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Here, torn satin strips have been handspun and then covered in zigzag stitch and crocheted.  Although an ‘open’ material has been formed, it is rather bulky and stiff.

Crocheted Snippets

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I decided to organise my fabric box with the hope of making space for new fabrics, however when I discovered the tangled-up mess at the bottom of the tub, I found myself tempted into the challenge of doing something with it!  After all, ‘waste not, want not! ‘ So, in line with my current desire to upcycle and reuse old materials, I set myself the task of finding ways to use this heap of textile chaos!

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If I had a spinning wheel, I would have been very inclined to take handfuls of the knotted together mess to see what happened when it was spun.  Instead I cut up the material into smaller snippets and used hand carders to distribute them through some merino fibres.  I then used a hand spindle to spin quite a nice ‘raggedy’ yarn.

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The next step was to try crocheting this yarn.

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I also used the combined snippets and fibre to create some handmade felt which relied on a relatively small amount of bondable fibre in order to felt; the result was a very precariously held-together fabric.  Stitches could be used to add substance and to support the incorporated fabric pieces.

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Another way of combining the materials was to use a sewing machine to stitch through the various materials.  I quite liked the texture created by this method as different thicknesses are achieved, is’s also exciting to do as the colour and texture combinations are created before your eyes.

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Cut up fabrics have been freeform crocheted to form a thick and lumpy fabric and stitches have been added giving cohesion.

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Frayed muslin strips have been freeform crocheted with a large 15mm crochet hook and then hand stitched.  I find this crocheted fabric to be pleasingly soft, but bulky.  I think that the contrast of tiny stitches with large crochet stitches is interesting.

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 I feel that there is loads of  potential in combining fabric scraps with crochet or felting and stitching to create distressed looking fabrics, however I need to look at creating more delicate methods of using crochet to achieve a more compatible texture to use with the rippled bias- stitched fabrics I have been working on.

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Next week I will show my experiments to discover ways to make crochet and the bias-stitched fabric work well together.

Lourdes x

Stitching

I love stitching! There is something so satisfying about adding to the thickness of a material with stitching.  As with many textile crafts, stitching also is rhythmic and that is relaxing and centering.  As far as creative expression goes, stitches are like brush strokes or pencil lines and the personality of the embroiderer shapes the character of the work.  I particularly love hand stitching because it soothes me and makes me slow down and as I centre, I feel inwardly my energy begins to flow. So, for me, hand embroidery is healing and even spiritual.

Hand Stitches on Merino and Silk Fibre

Hand Stitches on Merino and Silk Fibre

I am drawn to hand stitching therapeutically as psychologically there is something stabilising about lots of stitches adding structure and substance to fabric.  In fact the above photo shows fibres entirely held together by stitches and the diaphanous and ethereal quality of the fibres is combined with strength and durability.  In relation to my current project I am finding that lots of small stitching speaks also of mending and darning, again emphasising repair and healing.

Hand Stitching on Felted Fibre, Velvet and Organza

Hand Stitching on Felted Fibre, Velvet and Organza

Here, stitches are added to materials of different thicknesses creating an organic texture reminiscent of tree bark.

Hand Stitching on Organza

Hand Stitching on Organza

Stitches on ‘barely there’ organza.

Sheer Fabrics and Hand Stitching

Sheer Fabrics and Hand Stitching

I continued exploring the combination of stitch and fabric by experimenting with machine stitching to hold scraps of fabric, yarn and thread together.  Again I think that it is interesting to create different thicknesses through layering and the use of different materials. In places the fabric is thick and unyielding, almost like cardboard and then the ‘fabric’ disintegrates to reveal shaky lines of stitching, floating between the edges of the material.

When the machine-stitched fabric is melted with a heat gun,  the look of deterioration is emphasised and also the impression of fragility.

For my next blog I intend to investigate other methods of utilising stitch with recycled fabric and other textile remains.  I may even try to incorporate some crochet as I think it would also be appropriate as a method to create organic and weathered textures.

Lourdes x

Distorted Patchwork

I decided that I would like to explore the possibilities of distorting fabric further, as it could be interesting to combine different fabrics and compare their reaction to the bias-stitching (for those who don’t know, ‘bias’ refers to the  diagonal direction of the fabric, as opposed to the straight grain which runs along the lengthwise weave of the fabric or the crosswise grain which runs horizontally)

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I was pleased with the results because they have a weathered appearance, which I was hoping to create.  I included some silk fabric which had been deliberately creased, to contribute to the distressed look.  It’s not that noticeable on the photo above,  so I have added the following photos to illustrate how distinctly textured, silk can become when purposefully creased.

These pieces of silk were washed and then twisted, tied and left to dry.

This crinkled effect is in keeping with some of the textures displayed on the plant matter I collected.

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More experiments of bias-stitched patchwork, including some hand stitching to suggest that the fabric has been repaired.  To salvage, to repair and to heal are qualities I am also looking for ways of expressing, particularly in relation to the meaning of beauty and femininity.

As well as developing ideas for fabrics suitable for clothing, I am also experimenting with ideas for accessories and also embellishments (I love the word embellishment!) to use as decorations for garments.  I added some gathers to this piece of patchwork, which helped to create a three-dimensional floral shape.

I am really excited by the potential of combining different fabrics and investigating their response to bias-stitching.  I feel that the ability to control the distortion  and therefore the form of the material, suggests many applications.  I am also happy that  this technique is suitable for suggesting the ravages of time.

I would like to explore other textile techniques, also in relation to this theme;  such as crochet and hand embroidery and perhaps some felt making too.  Therefore, I will need to consider how these other crafts can combine with the twisting and meandering of the bias-stitched fabric to create  materials and ultimately garments and accessories.

Lourdes x