Module 3 Chapter 6

Simple Tassels

Well, this chapter was an indulgence!  I love making tassels, and hadn’t done any for a while.  There are only two images for this chapter, showing six tassels each.


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From left to right: tassel made of strips of paper raffia, bound at the neck with silver lurex thread; a more modest sample made from variegated pearl cotton bound with lurex pearl cotton at the neck; tassel made from strips of dyed cotton fabric bound with pearl cotton; tassel with a plaited head – made by plaiting the centre section of a bundle of stranded cottons, then bending the bundle in half and making the neck with pearl cotton; a double-decker rosette tassels made by wrapping variegated cotton around a rectangular frame and stitching along the centre, then folding the strip and rolling it around a twisted cord; (this one’s hard to see) a more traditional tassel made from lurex knitting yarn with a pearl cotton neck and the head decorated with a mesh hood in buttonhole stitch using the same pearl cotton.


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Some more baroque examples.  From left: a machine-made tassel using lurex knitting yarn for the skirt, with the head machine-stitched in shiny rayon machine thread to match the neck, suspended from a twisted cord; another machine-made tassel using silk string and silk ribbon for the skirt and lurex machine thread for the head; strips of dyed silk and shorter strips of crystal organza for the skirt with a beaded crystal necklace – for this one, I layered two strips of fabric, machined down the centre, then folded the piece of fabric in half lengthways, cut the ‘fringe’, and gathered the machine stitching then rolled it up.  The next one is made from purple stranded cotton with contrasting gimp wound over it, then having bound the neck, I tied knots in the gimp.  This one looks like neon tubing.  The next one is more simple, made from assorted lurex threads with a twisted cord as the head.  The last one is made from rat-tail braid and lurex knitting yarn with a contrasting neck, then a beaded overskirt added for fun.

Module 3 Chapter 5

Cord making

A. Machine Stitched Cords

I did acquire a cord making foot for my newish Bernina machine (the Husqvarna is now my Sydney machine), and it works well.  The samples in images 1 and 2 were made using various thread combinations top and bottom, with a variety of cores.


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From left to right: (first two) black double knitting as core with two variegated machine threads top and bobbin; yellow silk roving and black lurex knitting yarn as core, with machine thread (on top) and purl cotton (on bobbin); pink chenille and pearl cotton with metallic machine threads; gold lurex tubular ribbon stuffed with knitting yarn with magenta pearl cotton; strips of navy tights with variegated pearl cotton; enamelled copper wire with pearl cotton and machine thread.


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From right to left (first row): Strips of dark blue plastic shopping bag with variegated machine threads (very springy); black paper raffia with lurex machine threads (very stiff); strips of purple felt with variegated and lurex machine threads; lurex knitting yarn with metallic machine threads; (second row) torn fabric strips with variegated machine threads; yellow silk roving with metallic purpose machine thread; random-dyed silk string with variegated machine thread; mixed thread core (pearl cotton, gimp, metallic thread) with variegated machine thread.

Image 2 isn’t a very good photograph – image 3 gives a better impression of the variety of machine stitched cords, all coiled together.


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B. Twisted Cords

It was easier to introduce variety into the twisted cords, given the possibilities of making them in different weights.  Images 4 and 5 show a selection.


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From left to right: pearl cotton and metallic rayon in a lime green monochrome; a thicker cord with gimp and tubular ribbon twisted together; silk string, silk roving and silk bouclé; random dyed silk ribbon and gimp; all the stranded cottons in my colour scheme; textured yarns from a random pack from The Thread Studio; stranded cotton, lurex knitting yarn and silver thread.


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From left to right: torn dyed cotton fabric strips with machine cord; paper raffia, pearl cotton and silver thread; a continuous strip of felt (complete with corners) with metallic rayon thread.

C. Knotted, Plaited and Wrapped Methods

The first set of samples in this section, shown in image 6, are my attempts at the various knotted cord methods shown on page 22 of the learning materials.


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From left to right: simple knotted cord; two examples of looped braid edge or Pawnee braid; three examples of a continuous twist chain (the black sample is repeated half-knots, the lime and purple samples are square knots with different cores); double ridge hitching or alternate chaining using two contrasting cords.  Images 7 and 8 show some close-up detail.


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The Turk’s Head Knot was a challenge but eventually I got the hang of it.  Image 9 shows a handful of samples.


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From left to right: random-dyed silk string; rat-tail braid; a tiny one from cotton cooking twine; a large, flat one in rat-tail braid; another tiny one in gimp; and a rather odd one made from a twisted cord itself made from silk string.  It’s a skill I’m very glad to have acquired.

A selection of plaited cords appears in image 10.


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Left to right: simple three-cord plaits made from some of my machine cords; one machine cord with two lengths of rat-tail, three different dyed silk strings; rat-tail with two much finer threads; a three-cord plait in gimp with one of the cords pulled up tightly; two gimp cords with one of threaded seed-beads (my favourite),a six-cord plait of rat-tail braids in different colours; and paper raffia with two thin lurex threads.  Image 11 shows details of some of the more interesting samples..


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My wrapped cords are in image 12.  These were fun to do – it’s amazing the variety of effects available.


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Here we have: furry cord with a felt core with thin lurex thread tightly twisted through it; a twisted cord made of fabric strips with contrasting silk thread unevenly wrapped around it; machine-made cord with a tights core wrapped in both directions in gimp; a twisted cord in lurex knitting yarn wrapped unevenly with shiny rayon thread; and a wrapped cord using a method Effie Mitrofanis taught me – threads emerge from the core in turn, wrap the core tightly for a short distance, then return to a core when a different thread is removed to do the wrapping.  The threads used in this sample were gimp, stranded cotton, variegated pearl cotton, and Nymo with seed beads threaded on it.  Image 13 shows further detail of the ‘Effie’ cord, which I think is rather fun.


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Module 3 Chapter 4

Decorate with stitchery

Hand stitchery

I enjoyed having the opportunity to try a variety of different hand and machine stitchery techniques in this chapter, and to indulge some of my stitchy inclinations with regard to methods and materials.

The sample in image 1 was stitched with a variety of threads in analogous colours on hand-dyed cotton shirting.  The running stitch spirals produce an effect somewhat like Kantha embroidery.  I like the textured surface which results.



The image 2 sample was inspired by one of my architectural photographs.  It consists of three parallel lines of chain stitch in tints and shades of one hue, with seeding.  I was trying to make it look sculptural.



The sample in image 3 was an absolute pain to stitch.  It’s shadow embroidery in silk and rayon threads on random-dyed chiffon.  The thing which made it problematic was the chiffon is so fine that I couldn’t see the threads.  Once I hooped it, put it in a floor frame and began stitching two-handed under a maggy lamp, though, it all came together.  I think it looks like invertebrate fossils.



I really had to make a spiral galaxy sample.  I began the image 4 sample by Vliesofixing chopped chiffon to a dyed cotton shirting background.  The stitching is random cross-stitch in strongly contrasting threads.



The image 5 sample really was an indulgence.  The background was made by weaving strips of dyed and monoprinted silks together.  I fixed the strips in place to a cotton background by tacking around the edges and also tacking the intersection points.  It’s really a sampler rather than an integrated design, and I wanted to make it quite sparkly.  The top left-hand spirals are damascene circles with some or nué couching for colour.  The top right is an attempt at a stylised acanthus spiral, with couched gimp, detached chain and fly stitches.  At the lower left is a spiral with seeding stitches in lime green silk and another with couched purls (silver and violet) and in the lower right corner is one of the wrought iron images in couched pink twist.



I think the image 6 sample is probably the most successful.  It’s an attempt at representing a spiral staircase with the step treads suggested with bullion stitch in violet, the edges of the stair treads in lime stem stitch, and some lime running stitch in a matching but heavier silk thread for elements of the balustrades.  The aspects of this that I like are the sense of movement (I think this comes from the eccentric composition and the choice of limited stitch and colour palettes) and the sense of being drawn into a vortex.



Machine stitching in spirals

I’m not new to free motion machine embroidery but have a new machine, so did need to get used to the settings, and particularly needed to work out how (and how much) to alter the bobbin case tension for cable stitch.  I backed each of these samples with a tear-away stabiliser.

The sample in image 7 is a large and continuous spiral in cable stitch, beginning at the centre each time with a different colour and a different weight of thread.  Most of the heavier threads are pearl cotton.



The image 8 sample consists of a lot of overlapping lines of spirals like the telephone curly cord, stitched on a monoprinted fabric with a similarly curly design.  The lines of spirals are in cable stitch, worked in analogous colours, including some variegated threads, at varying angles to each other.



The next sample, image 9, consists of a variety of small overlapping spirals in a variety of threads, including a thick fluffy single-ply thread, a boucle and various variegated threads, in cable stitch and whip stitch.  I particularly like the effect of the whip stitch in variegated pearl cotton.



Image 10 shows a technique I haven’t tried before.  The inner part of the design is made of three spiralling shapes (out of the six which would have formed a circle) worked in thread painting using tints and shades of violet (the threads are a redder hue of violet in reality).  The surrounding circle is in granite stitch, emphasising the tiny circles created by the stitch.  The lightest tint of violet in the middle of the spiralling shapes is a metallic machine thread but the glitter doesn’t really show on the photograph.



Module 3 Chapter 3

Fabrics and threads

Colour scheme

For the fabrics and threads in this chapter, I used Procion MX dyes in colours which I mixed to suit my colour scheme.  The colours used were: lemon yellow 8MXG and turquoise MXG (to make various hues of lime green) and magenta red MXB and ultramarine (to make various hues of violet).


I used a mixture of cotton and silk ready-to-dye fabrics which I obtained from Kraftkolour.  The fabrics were: cotton shirting, habutai 10 momme, tissue silk (chiffon) 3.5 momme, and I also bought some mulberry silk tops, some habutai ribbon and pongee silk string.


I had various threads in my collection which were potentially useful in terms of my colour scheme, but also bought some machine threads (silk, cotton, rayon and polyester).  Because I wanted to dye some threads, I also bought a couple of skeins of Oliver Twists Silk One-Offs in a natural (off-white) colour, and used some white pearl cotton in the dye bath.

Other items

There were various things in my collection – herringbone tape (which went into the dye bath), enamelled copper wire, purls, metallic twists, beads, and I bought some undyed wooden beads as well, to paint.  Image 1 (dyed one colour and then overdyed) show how the beads turned out.  Because they were varnished (it’s impossible to buy raw timber beads) I figured it might make sense to use glass paint, and this worked, although the beads tend to stick together.



Colouring fabrics

I used the method in Dyeing in Plastic Bags by Helen Deighan to dye my fabrics and threads.  This made it much easier than the dye pot method I used for Module 2, and produced much more saturated colours in my dyed fabrics.  Image 2 shows a bird’s eye view of some of my fabrics and threads drying on the airer, and image 3 shows the finished, washed and ironed fabrics in batches of analogous hues of both my colours.  Interestingly, the cotton fabrics tended to take up the blue elements of the mixed dyes more than the silk fabrics.





I tried both the dip dyeing and random dyeing techniques.  Image 4 shows work in progress.



The lower left photograph shows the silk tops brewing.  I’m planning to make some silk paper from these later on.

Image 5 shows dip-dyed and random dyed fabrics and threads drying on the airer, and image 6, some of these pieces after washing (with Synthrapol) and ironing.





The dyed threads and silk tops are shown in Image 7, and Image 8 shows them sorted out and wound on dolly pegs (to keep them out of trouble), together with some hanks of dyed silk string.  The violet silk tops look like boysenberry ripple ice cream.






Image 9 shows other threads withdrawn from stock, or purchased.



Monoprinting onto fabrics

To make monoprints on fabric, I used acrylic paints mixed with Liquitex fabric medium.  The method I used was as for Chapter 2, and the prints very obviously belong to the same family as the prints on paper.  It is, though, quite challenging to lower the fabric onto the gelli plate without smudging the print or ending up with the fabric hanging halfway off the plate.  As with the paper prints, I cut stencils from paper – the process is shown in image 10.



Images 11 to 17 show the other monoprinted fabrics.















Module 3 Chapter 2

design work: spiral ‘warm-up’ exercises


I decided to go with a lime green-red violet colour scheme because I really like the Romanesco broccoli (image 2 in Chapter 1) and some of the more reddish-violets in the basket and in one of the Andromeda photographs.


Image 1 shows a variety of papers (cartridge and tissue papers) coloured in the range of my lime and violet colour scheme.  I used Art Spectrum acrylic ink to colour the paper – it gives good, dense colour, is relatively affordable and I can buy it locally.



I tried to make these as interesting as possible by:

  • mixing colours on the sheet using a sponge;
  • saturating the sponge to leave areas with bubbles of excess ink which dried very dark;
  • painting slightly darker spirals onto sheets I had already coloured using a foam brush;
  • creating a resist using an oil pastel in either the self-colour or the complementary colour before painting the sheet with ink.

Since making the coloured papers for this chapter I have discovered Tissuetex (abaca tissue) which had high wet strength relative to ordinary tissue so I’ll use some next time.  I did find, however, that if I plastered the tissue paper to a plastic freezer bag with the ink, then left it to dry before removing it, that I could avoid making coloured pulp instead of coloured tissue.

Simple two dimensional shapes

For this section, I began by interpreting the observed spirals in my research images, then found that the paper designs which emerged were creating their own inspiration, so some of these shapes are a generation or two removed from the observed images.  I’ve photographed these in twos and threes, so will write about them a page at a time.

Image 2 – the left-hand spiral represents a bird’s eye view of Queen Victoria’s dog’s spiral.  The bottom spiral is similar but the violet pieces are based on a smaller circle, exploded and cut into to imitate the acanthus leaves.  In the right hand example, I have displaced the spiral off-centre and have rotated the spiralling shapes relative to each other.



Image 3 – the left-hand sample has spiralling arms made of squares of crimped lime-green paper arranged by size.  The right hand sample is based on the first sample in image 2 but with a greater degree of ‘swirl’ and with some sections of the spiral removed so that the violet background appears to swirl too.




Image 4 – the left hand spiral is a further development of the acanthus idea, with a balance between the violet and lime colours.  The lower spiral is based on the lower spiral in image 2 (without the teeth) but I have reversed the orientation of the violet spiral elements so the centre is now at the edge of the circle.  The right hand spiral was inspired by the Romanesco broccoli – I wanted to see what would happen if I cut spiralling lines in each direction with the number of lines as consecutive numbers in the Fibonacci series.  It doesn’t look much like broccoli but it does have a bit of movement.



Image 5 – in the left hand sample, I have cut out right-handed (lime) and left-handed (violet) spiralling shapes and interwoven them before sticking them down, then have outlined the violet shapes with gold ‘stitches’ to make them stand out.  This is my favourite – the interweaving and the asymmetry lend it a bit more movement, I think.  The other one is based on a simplified spiral staircase.



Image 6 – these are two quite similar samples, each with a single spiral made from small pieces of contrasting paper.  I like the spikiness of the one on the left.



Having made a few circular samples with flat, cut paper, I was ready to try some rolling, folding and pleating.  Some of the elements in image 7 relate to my research images; others don’t, but it was interesting to get a bit more dimensionality into the shapes, and I like the tissue paper ‘string’ – it’s very versatile for making shapes.




Simple three-dimensional shapes

For reasons I cannot fathom, ordinary grey-brown corrugated card is not so easy to obtain here, unless one wants a sheet 2 metres wide and 40 metres long.  Most of the cardboard used in packaging is double-faced.  I did manage to salvage a small amount from a parcel and have supplemented this with card with finer corrugations purchased from craft shops.  Some of this was a nice, natural brown; some was black or white, and some of the white I coloured with acrylic inks.  Consequently, the spiralled shapes in the images do not look particularly harmonious, but it was useful to be able to interleave some of the different colours to emphasise the form of some spirals.

Image 8 shows some rolled examples similar to those in the learning materials.  I like the looseness of the one on the right hand side.



The image 9 spiral I really like.  I cut a circle, then cut it into six spiralling arms.  These are glued to the paper at the centre, then each arm was curved to suit the direction of the corrugations.  I’m keeping this idea for my accessory.



Images 10 and 11 show a collection of spiralling shapes in various colours and combinations of colour.





Designs using monoprinting method

For these monoprints, I used a gelli plate rather than glass, and have built up layers using the range of colours in my colour scheme.  For some of these prints, I made stencils from paper and placed them on the gelli plate before rolling out the paint, as well as drawing into the paint with foam brushes, Catalyst wedges, a paint shaper and my fingers, so there is a mixture of positive and negative shapes on some of these prints.  Images 12 to 23 show the results.

























A brief diversion (I)

Cutting stencils from paper for the monoprints gave me the idea to make a collagraph plate from spirals cut from various types of paper.  I have not tried this before so it seemed like a good opportunity.  Image 24 shows the collagraph plate.  I haven’t printed from it yet – it needs sealing first, so I’ll post images of the prints later.



Spiral drawing using a computer paint programme

I did have a go at making spiral drawings using both Corel Draw and Micrografx Picture Publisher.  This was fun– each of these two programmes works quite differently, and the spirals are made by using specific effects in the software.  Images 25 to 32 show the results.  I rather wish I’d made notes while I was playing with these – there’s no way I could ever produce them again.  Some of them, while they appear to be spiralling, are actually circular designs.  Interesting.


















When I was young I had a spirograph.  It was tremendous fun and produced some great designs which would have been adaptable to stitch.  There are a few spirograph websites but the results aren’t very interesting so I haven’t reproduced any here.

Module 3 Chapter 1

Research for spirals – man-made and natural

It’s been a while since I posted – I had every intention of having Chapters 1 to 6 finished by the end of January.  What was that about good intentions and the road to somewhere-or-other?  Anyway, I have been beavering away at my coursework; just hadn’t got to the stage of preparing the blog posts.  So now for some binge blogging.

Siân suggested that, as I had done some development work with spiral-shaped sea shells for Module 2, I could concentrate on manufactured spirals rather than natural ones.  I had arranged these as eight sheets of images in MS Word and that is the way they appear below.  There are a few natural spirals in the montages (images 1 and 2) – I couldn’t resist Andromeda, the plant images and the Romanesco broccoli, in particular – but it was the spiral forms in architecture that really appealed; especially the acanthus stone carvings, the pargetry, spiral staircases and the wrought iron.


















Several of these images are from the Queen Victoria Building in central Sydney.  I love the way the designers adapted that acanthus frieze to design the carpet for the interior.  The stone spiral hemisphere (last photo in image 7), strange to say, adorns a monument to Queen Victoria’s dog.  The spiral staircases, I feel, have a lot of potential for stitch and, particularly, for suggesting movement.

Images 9 and 10 show simple drawings of a selection of the spirals; all architectural examples.  The sheet in image 10 consists entirely of line drawings of wrought iron, including some quirky freeform examples from Hobart. 






Module 2 – Record logs

evaluation of a functional 3D embroidered item

The completed assessment piece for Module Two is a reliquary in the shape of a cone snail based on the design topic of a tonal study of animal markings.

How do you feel about the resulting conclusion?

I am very pleased with the resulting conclusion.  The item works as a reliquary – I envisaged it as a receptacle for my small seashell collection, and it functions very well for this purpose.  The reliquary resembles very closely the full-scale paper model I made in the first part of Chapter 12, which suggests that most aspects of the design were well-resolved before I started making.  One outcome of Module 1 for me was that I have recognised in myself a tendency to ‘jump to conclusions’ so am making a concerted effort to exhaust as many options for sampling as present themselves.  I feel the cone snail is vindication of my attempts to take a more rigorous approach.  There were still tell-tale signs in the first part of Chapter 12 that I have not been wholly successful in this but I’m OK with it being a work in progress if Siân is.  The things I particularly like about the shell are the way the outer surface works as a tonal column, the contrast between the outer surface and the lining, the way the lining works as a reference to the predatory nature of the cone snail, and the way the spire construction has worked out as a wrapped Vilene spiral.  I also like the effects of the trims, and the wave form of the stand.

Is it fit for its purpose? Give reasons.

I do believe it is fit for its purpose.  First, it complies with the design brief in that it is functional, is three-dimensional, and is embroidered.  It works well as a reliquary, and is a suitable size to contain the objects I intend to keep in it.  The fastening (laces and loops) are a functional means of closure as well as a decorative trim, but it does require a considered decision to open the container, which is appropriate, I feel, for a reliquary.  The stand keeps the long axis of the snail horizontal, which prevents objects contained in the reliquary from falling out.

If you were asked to make it again, what changes would you make to the way you designed it and the way you made it?

There are two things I would work through more thoroughly in making design decisions: the choice of fabrics for the trim along the long opening edges of the shell, and the choice of thread for the satin stitch used in assembling the object.  That is not to say I would have made different choices; however, after I constructed the shell, I realised that I probably should have trialled a fringed trim consisting of frayed black fabric enclosing the diagonal grey frayed squares, and sampled a dark grey thread for the satin stitch.  As it turns out, I think the choices I made instinctively worked well, but I should have sampled options before deciding.  The only other change I would have made would have been to use two layers of the S133 heavy pelmet Vilene in the stand rather than the S520 Vilene, as the stand would have been better had the construction been a bit more rigid.

references consulted for module 2

Geddes, E. & McNeill, M. 1976, Blackwork Embroidery, Dover Publications, New York

Hogg, B. 2010, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Blackwork, Search Press, Tunbridge Wells

Holmes, V. 2003, The Encyclopedia of Machine Embroidery, B.T. Batsford, London

Langford, P. 1999, Embroidery Ideas from Blackwork, Kangaroo Press, Sydney

Lucano, S. 2010, Made in France: Blackwork, Murdoch Books, Sydney

Möller, E. 1999, Shibori: The art of fabric tying, folding, pleating and dyeing, Search Press, Tunbridge Wells

Saunders, S. (ed.) 1998, Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques, B.T. Batsford, London

Thomas, M. 1983 (1936), Mary Thomas’s Embroidery Book, Dover Publications, New York

Watts, P. 2003, Beginner’s Guide to Machine Embroidery, Search Press, Tunbridge Wells

Time Log

Here is my time log for Module 2, based upon diary notes and timesheets:

Chapter Dates Time in hours
Intro + Chapter 1 21/5/14 – 28/5/14 16
Chapter 2 31/5/14 – 6/7/14 28
Chapter 3 9/6/14 – 26/7/14 15
Chapter 4 10/7/14 – 2/8/14 10
Chapter 5 6/8/14 – 21/9/14 9
Chapter 6 16/8/14 – 27/9/14 23
Chapter 7 2/11/14 – 26/12/14 30
Chapter 8 19/1/15 – 26/1/15 14
Chapter 9 26/1/15 – 8/2/15 14
Chapter 10 15/2/15 – 17/3/15 21
Chapter 11 18/3/15 – 13/5/15 30
Chapter 12 17/5/15 – 12/9/15 60
Chapter 13 13/9/15 – 20/9/15 8

Of the time recorded against Chapter 12, just under 30 hours (17/5/15 – 9/7/15) were spent on design, and just over 30 hours (24/7/15 – 12/9/15) on making.

Costing of materials

The costing of materials for Module 2 appears in the table below.


Date Item Supplier Cost of item
Amount used Cost estimate
A3 cartridge pad Stock (originally Gallery 126) 19.95 1.3 pads 26.35
A4 bond paper Stock 1.25c/ sheet 100 sheets 1.25
Watercolour paper Stock (originally Gallery 126) 13.95/ 12 sheets 4 sheets 4.65
Pastel paper Stock 11.95/ 25 sheets 2 sheets 0.95
Tissue paper Stock 0.50/ sheet 0.5 sheet 0.25
Tracing paper Stock 2.00/ sheet 1 sheet 2.00
Squared/ graph paper Stock 0.50/ sheet 2 sheets 1.00
Various dates Copying/ printing Burns Aldis 10c/ sheet 60 copies 6.00
Acrylic ink Stock 9.90 ea 0.5 4.95
Acrylic paint Stock 3.95 0.5 2.00
Marker pens Stock 3.95 0.5 2.00
9/7/14 Procion dye The Thread Studio 8.40 0.6 5.05
9/7/14 Sun dye The Thread Studio 7.00 1 7.00
9/7/14 Jacquard textile paint The Thread Studio 6.60 0.5 3.30
9/7/14 Synthrapol detergent The Thread Studio 13.60 0.1 1.35
9/7/14 Soda ash The Thread Studio 6.30 0.1 0.65
White King bleach Woolworths 0.30
Various dates Glue sticks Woolworths 2.10 each 4 8.40
Canvas Stock (originally Mosman Needlecraft) 73.15/ m2 0.03 m2 2.20
Belfast linen Stock (originally Mosman Needlecraft) $99/ m 0.1 m 10.00
31/5/14 Coton à Broder Mosman Needlecraft 2.10 ea 0.5 1.05
24/5/14 Tapestry wool Lincraft 0.79 ea 1 0.80
31/5/14 Appleton’s crewel wool Mosman Needlecraft 2.65 ea 1 2.65
24/5/14 Stranded cotton Lincraft 0.98 ea 0.3 0.30
Various Pearl cotton Lincraft, Spotlight 5.99 ea 3 18.00
Various Gutermann Machine thread Lincraft, Spotlight 6.99/ 250 m spool 4 28.00


Cotton homespun Lincraft 6.99/ m
5.5 m2 34.30
9/7/14 Fuse and tear The Thread Studio 7.70/m 0.2 m 1.55
24/8/14 Printed fabrics Lincraft 9.99/ m 0.3 m 3.00
3/7/14 Printed fabrics Kimono House 25.00/ m 0.3 m 7.50
Gauze Stock 4.40/ m 0.1 m 0.45
Chiffon Stock 10.00/ m 0.05 m 0.50
15/5/15 Felt Spotlight 0.99 ea 5 5.00
Polyester stuffing Stock 0.20
22/3/15 Vilene S133 Kraftkolour 21.35/ m 0.05 m 1.10
7/9/13 Vilene S520 Voodoo Rabbit 26.30/ m 0.25 m 6.60
Sea urchin spines Stock (The Thread Studio) 0.45 ea 2 0.90
Vliesofix Stock 19.99/ m 0.05 m 1.00
Total 202.55

The total cost of $202.55 equates to £93.79 at today’s exchange rate.

work health and safety

Work health and safety considerations which I have observed which are relevant to this module include:

Painting, dyeing and printing on paper and fabric:
  • If using solvent-based paints or inks, work in a well ventilated area and, if necessary, use a respirator;
  • Ensure that work surfaces and all other surfaces prone to splashes and spillages are covered with an impermeable protective material (I bought a piece of PVC sheet to cover my work surface);
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when making up dyes and other products;
  • Wear protective clothing, including to cover arms, and wear latex or vinyl gloves to protect hands from paints and inks;
  • Ensure that paints and inks are kept out of reach of vulnerable people such as children and use non-toxic products whenever possible;
  • Keep paints, inks and dyes (and other chemicals) in a cool, dark place;
  • Wear a mask when mixing dyes and ancillary ingredients such as soda ash to avoid breathing powder;
  • Keep a set of utensils specifically for dyeing – never use any utensil which has been used for painting or dyeing for food preparation;
  • If using bleach, ensure good ventilation (I worked outside on our outdoor table which I protected with layers of newspaper) and wear a PVC apron and latex or vinyl gloves.  Don’t use natural sponges or brushes to apply bleach as they will disintegrate.  Wash off any bleach splashes immediately – bleach dissolves protein, including one’s own skin.
  • Wash all equipment as soon as practicable after use, preferably not in a sink used for food preparation (I use the laundry tub, then clean it well afterwards);
Cutting paper and fabric
  • Cut paper and card on a proper cutting mat using a sharp knife or rotary cutter (because blunt knives are more likely to slip and cause injury), being conscious to keep fingers out of the way, and cut away from the body whenever possible;
  • Always retract the rotary cutter blade when not in use;
  • Cap and put sharp utensils away immediately after use.  I keep the point of my sharp embroidery scissors driven into a cork to avoid accidents;
  • Take care when holding the steel rule for cutting straight lines;
  • Cut only in good light and on a stable surface to avoid errors or injury.
Using any electrical equipment: irons, sewing machines
  • Ensure cords are tucked away to avoid entanglement or trip hazard;
  • Ensure cords are not frayed and that equipment, including cords and plugs, is not damaged in any way;
  • Only ever use electrical equipment on a circuit protected by a residual current device or safety switch;
  • Always switch equipment off at the power point and remove the cord using the plug.
Hand and machine sewing
  • Ensure the lighting is good, that there is adequate task lighting, and that the set-up of one’s chair and sewing table are ergonomically sound;
  • When embroidering, use a foot at all times (including use of a darning foot if free-motion embroidering) and be conscious of keeping fingers out of the way (and best not to stitch when very tired or in a rush);
  • Take regular rest breaks to re-focus eyes, stretch and walk around;
  • Keep track of pins and needles – if one is lost, look for it immediately;
  • Keep a lidded container to hand as a receptacle for broken pins, damaged needles, blunted stencil knife blades and other unwanted sharp objects;
  • Never go barefoot in the studio (not in mine, anyway, as it is carpeted, thus making it more difficult to see dropped pins and needles).
Using the iron
  • Ensure the temperature is set at the correct level for the fabric used;
  • Protect the iron and ironing board when using vliesofix or other fusibles with silicone-coated baking paper and/or a teflon ironing cloth;
  • Watch fingers, especially holding fiddly bits of fabric when using steam settings.  Better still, when ironing pieced fabrics with closely-spaced narrow seams, avoid the risk of scalding fingers by not using  the steam setting.

storage of completed work, materials and equipment

I have made some progress on this since Module 1, with labelled, stacking boxes for materials now residing in the  built-in wardrobe in my studio:


At the moment:

  • threads are stored in a drawer with colour families sorted into trays;
  • fabrics are stored loosely folded and hanging from skirt hangers or, where folding does not matter, folded in a labelled box in the wardrobe;
  • paints and inks are stored in labelled plastic boxes in the wardrobe, away from light and heat;
  • electrical equipment (except the iron, which is in use constantly and the sewing machine, which has its own cabinet) is stored in the original boxes with the flex carefully wrapped;
  • paper is stored flat on shelves in the wardrobe.

Work in progress is generally spread out on my work surface – I have the luxury of not having to clear it away, and anything likely to fade is covered.  Fabrics in use are kept in a basket on my work table, and threads in another basket, out of sunlight but readily to hand.  I have been placing completed samples in a sketchbook – multi-layered fabric samples are stuck in with removable mounting tape but I wouldn’t want to do this with a single fabric layer because of the risk of staining.  Three-dimensional samples and models are kept in a sturdy, lidded box.

My cone snail is living in the china cabinet in the dining room for now, away from dust, light and fiddling fingers – we need to find it a permanent home where it is a bit more visible.