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Topic: Four Elements Hoop 1/4 - Fire  (Read 823 times)
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vincentvanbuck
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« on: January 12, 2014 12:42:59 PM »

I am basically brand-new to embroidery (outside of cross-stitch).  For my research project in the Harry Potter Craftalong, I am crafting four hooplas to represent the traditional Western four elements (earth, air, fire, water). My goal is to research and implement some of the most basic stitches and techniques, and I specifically want to try out some different techniques on each hoop.  There is so much talent on this board, and so I am posting this piece specifically in the hopes that I can get feedback and advice on how to improve my work.

Originally, I fretted a little over what to do for the composition of each hoop.  I knew I wanted to have a pattern of some kind to follow, but did not want to pay for professional ones, nor did I feel up to the challenge of designing my own for my first work.  The idea of using the Chinese/Japanese character for each element seemed like a good choice, since it would hold significance for me but be very straightforward as a compositional element.  In order to get a pattern, I typed up the character in my word processor, and found a font that had a little more shape to it.  After printing each one out in the size that best fit my hoop, I used my window as a light box to trace the pattern using a white transfer pencil.  I outlined the pattern of this "fire" character with a split stitch using 3 strands of embroidery floss (which meant I always had to divide it 2-and-1 -- I'm thinking that 4 would've been better), and then filled in the whole thing with two strands of satin stitch.  All of these techniques were brand new to me.

Project Picture:



I would love your feedback on the following questions:



1) I'm using a set of variegated threads for all four hoops.  On this one, I started out the satin stitch from the middle of the top, and then you'll see the "split" where I went down the left "leg" of the character.  After working on this for a while, I became concerned that the variegation wasn't showing up enough in the thread (when I cut out a length of thread from the skein, split it up into 3 sets of 2 stands and used them one right after the other, the same color pattern repeated 3 times in a row).  So, for the right leg, instead of keeping the 2 strands of floss running the same direction, when I separated them, I would put the opposite ends together, making the variegation a lot more random instead of gradual.  I used that same technique on the two triangles at the sides as well.  Which style of variegation do you think ends up looking better, gradual or random?



2) Doing the satin stitch, there are several spots where I came up through (or even outside) my split stitch outline, which looked quite sloppy.  Do you think I should use something other than split stitch to outline my pattern if I'm filling in with satin, or do I just need to be more fastidious about coming up inside the outline?

3) Also, as I was reading online about satin stitch, some websites said that you need to carry the thread all the way around on the back side, and others advised to just come up right next to the hole where you exited.  I ended up using the first technique, even though I felt like I was wasting a ton of thread, since I was afraid of coming through my holes if I didn't.  Which technique do you recommend?



Thank you so much for taking the time to look and comment!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014 12:47:53 PM by vincentvanbuck » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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    « Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014 02:13:52 PM »

    I like the colour representation - nice choice.  Myself, I like gradual variegation, but I think it is personal choice, and based on the project.  Did you do the fill then the outline, or did you outline first, then try to fill with satin stitch?  I have done both ways of satin stitch and I found that, for myself, the first one gave a neater product, but if I used a good hoop and got my fabric drum tight, the second method worked well too.  The first used a lot of thread, but for smaller projects, that shouldn't matter, since you often don't even use the full skein, and ultimately, how often are you going to reuse that remaining skein, unless you purposefully look for something, like making tassels, or braids, or whatnot.  I am finding that for various projects, I have tonnes of leftover floss cluttering up my craft room.
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    « Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014 02:17:56 PM »

    Good job! Can't wait to see the rest of the collection! Are you going to make them all the same way, or will you use different techniques in each one?

    I, too, like the colour variation. The one time I did satin stitch, I outlined the area first with a chain stitch, then used the second method with the thread going outside the outline to make it really 3D.
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    vincentvanbuck
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    « Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014 04:41:12 PM »

    Did you do the fill then the outline, or did you outline first, then try to fill with satin stitch?

    I outlined first, and then filled with satin stitch... filling in first had not even occurred to me, but it sounds as if that might be a lot easier.

    Good job! Can't wait to see the rest of the collection! Are you going to make them all the same way, or will you use different techniques in each one?

    I plan to incorporate different techniques into each one.  I think I will tackle "Earth" next... tentatively, I'm going to use crayon tinting and French knots.  For "Water", I'd like to do a rice stitch for the fill.  I've got no ideas for "Air" at all yet.
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      « Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014 06:44:49 PM »

      Looks great!! I love it!
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      « Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014 09:23:34 PM »

      Just an FYI - I found this technique recently for fabric colouring/painting - use watercolour pastels or pencil crayons to colour, then spritz with a solution of 50% water and 50% fabric medium (Golden's GAC 900 I think it is) very lightly, blot with paper towels to prevent too much bleeding, then iron to set - it gives some nice colouration and you can get more bright/strong colour with the water colour pencils.
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      « Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014 01:31:10 PM »

      Great job and cool project!
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      « Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014 07:31:45 PM »

      I've got no ideas for "Air" at all yet.

      We spoke about this piece in the Hpc thread so you know i think it's great!  might it be interesting to do something with negative space for air? Leave the symbol empty and fill the outside? Or, instead of filling the outside, doing a series of radiating outlines, maybe using different stitches?
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