Saturday, April 27, 2013

Occupational hazards of the stitcher

I find that if I get engrossed in stitching, particularly the goldwork which is amazingly engrossing, more so than any other artform I've been involved in, I stitch on and on, and seem to freeze in one position while I think about stitches and threads and placement and needles and light, and when I realize I did that, it's too late.  

I have a stiff back, and a stiff left hand, oddly, the holding one not the stitching one, and a stiff neck, and I'm left wondering if the RSN has a special course in exercises to avert stitching injury!

Anyway, back at the frame, the current piece is moving on and I've learned umpteen things about gold thread and how to handle and choose it and what it looks like on the fabric, often not at all how I expected.  This is for me the best way of all to learn, the empirical method, says she grandly.  In other words, try this, if it doesn't work, try that...

And I thought you might like to see a bit of the design process I'm using for my next goldwork on linen piece, all lined up to get to after the current work is done.  

I had a drawing from a series I made years ago, freeform line and wash, which I traced with a heavy marker, so that the original drawing is unchanged, put the tracing on the back of the framed -up piece of green linen, and drew it on the front with a fine point Pilot pen. This worked very well on the white piece, so I think it will work on this, too.  the fine line means that it vanishes under the threads, and the pen means you don't get it migrating onto the thread as you pull it through.

Anyway, this is where I am with the next goldwork piece.  In the studio I have a piece of cheesecloth ready to stretch onto a much bigger frame for a piece further down the road, using pulled thread, and possibly another of these abstract drawings as the model for the design.

My stitching group has an exhibit coming up in the fall, and I'm hoping to have a couple of showable pieces to put into it.   I also think that the drawing from the green linen piece could be a companion to the stitched version, along the lines of the dual medium pieces I've been doing.

The green linen is from a thrift store skirt!  many sizes too large for me, there's a lot of good linen in it, in a nice soft color.  Same place I got the white linen blouse which is now the base of my current work.


  1. this gold work piece is coming along a treat and the green linen for the next project is a lovely shade, well green is my favourite colour.

  2. Wonderful progress the aches and pains kind of suck though.

  3. Maybe you could set a timer to remind you to stop working, take a break to stretch, move, get comfortable. There are some online timers you can set to ring. (mindful bells, timers, ?music?) Better to avoid repetetive stress injuries and surgery.

  4. Lovely! These pieces are inspiring as I enjoy stitching and zentangles. However, I have dealt with severe aches and pains and seriously recommend that you limit your time. Get up and move!

  5. On my Ipod, I have the timer set to go off like a barking dog, so maybe I'll set it at half hour intervals or something. It will wake the cats up, anyway.

  6. Looks fantastic, I love this sort of work.

  7. J'allais dire que tu as de la chance de savoir aussi bien dessiner pour créer tes modèles, mais en fait, ce n'est pas de la chance, mais beaucoup beaucoup de travail... et un bonne dose de talent aussi ;o)


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