Exercise 2.3: Drawing with stitch onto paper

The aim of this exercise is to build an exploratory approach to design development by using stitch as a means of ‘drawing’ onto prepared paper surfaces.

The first stage of this exercise was to cut some small squares from the prepared paper samples (10cm x 10cm minimum) to give a range of surface qualities on which to sample various stitches and approaches. Below shows a sample from each of the papers created in Exercise 2.2.


Stage two involved identifying small sections of the original drawings with interesting or exciting marks with the aim of redrawing or translating these into stitched marks. Below are a selection of sections highlighted with a viewfinder that I found inspiring:

From these I created the following stitch translations:


Stitch sample 1: The multidirectional lines of this paper sample reminded me of dense undergrowth. I used a backstitch in a variety of weights of thread (tacking cotton, nylon button thread & 4 strands of embroidery thread) and (my attempt at) a satin stitch for the denser sections.


Stitch sample 2: Black double knit wool couched with black cotton.


Stitch sample 3: Cream mercerised cotton French knots. This was good practice to get the hang of creating French knots but I did not enjoy making this as I found it awkward and tedious. I think in future I will only use occasional French knots as detail.fullsizeoutput_51d

Stitch sample 4: Tea stained selvedges woven to create intermittent broken lines.fullsizeoutput_51c

Stitch sample 5: Backstitch lines in nylon button thread based on the pyrography flower sample however this reminds me of electrical impulses in the brain which is why I stitched it over a sample that represents my jumbled thoughts.


Stitch sample 6: Using cotton to sew a running stitch. Tracing paper allows you to see the cotton behind which gives the intermittent line effect.

fullsizeoutput_525Stitch sample 7: Machine free motion embroidery with grey and black thread on scratched tracing paper. This has created a very soft, pliable fabric. The texture of the resultant stitching reminds me of tree bark and could well be a candidate for a technique to create a work based on the photographed of the stack of logs I included in my research on Inspired to Stitch.

Stitch sample 8: Machine free motion embroidery with black thread on the watercolour paper embossed with circular shapes. The bobbin had slipped slightly which meant that the tension was very low on the reverse. This has created a soft, dense texture on the back which reminds me of silhouetted trees.

fullsizeoutput_52aStitch sample 9: Free motion embroidery using a sewing machine on the layered paper. I really enjoy sketching using my sewing machine as I find it much more freeing. This is the first time that I have tried to sketch with my machine without having a drawn guide or a print that I am outlining. I was pleasantly surprised that once I started, it was much easier to sketch using the pyrography sketch beside me as a guide than I expected.

fullsizeoutput_52b.jpegStitch sample 10: Black cotton thread stitched onto twisted tracing paper.

I may well return to sampling in the next exercise however this has given me  lots of ideas so far.

2 thoughts on “Exercise 2.3: Drawing with stitch onto paper

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