Couching My Yarn, As Opposed to My Words

Haven’t been very inclined to write due to a plantar fasciitis flare-up; if you’ve never had to deal with this, count yourself lucky.

Have made headway on the the prickly pear piece, the one that started as a sample to try out school glue as a resist. Here are the 2 panels; the one on the bottom has been couched with silk yarn and silk cord, to outline the prickly pear pads. The one on top still shows the white resist lines:

Here you can see the couching better: it’s just a zig-zag stitch using polyester transparent thread (nylon thread is also transparent, but will yellow with age) over either hand-dyed thick silk cord or  silk/cotton yarn:

As explained in the previous post, the pink fruit-shapes are not couched with yarn, they were outlined with silk yarn using a bobbin-drawing. Here’s the back of the fabric, where I tied lots of knots–once zig-zagged down, the ends of the yarn or cord are brought to the back of the piece courtesy a nice big needle, the size of a darning needle, just sharper:

I sewed both panels together; once I’m done couching all the shapes, I’ll put some batting and backing underneath, quilt it, then trim so that there’s only prickly pear, no sky or anything. Then I’ll zig-zag around the edges, add silk cord where needed, and put on a sleeve. This will have a very non-traditional binding!

Here’s a better view of the overlap between the 2 panels, you can see where I top-stitched them together.

Hope to get more done soon! I’ll have one foot in a bucket of ice and the other on my sewing machine pedal. Of course, if I get things confused I’ll risk electrocution….for the sake of art I suppose I’d be willing to make that sacrifice. It would at least be a good story! Told posthumously, but still good.

Bobbin Drawing

I dyed some more yarn and organized it in an old condiment storage bin from my parent’s restaurant; here’s the yarn with the recent glue-resist project of prickly pear cactus:

Here, I put tearaway stabilizer on the back of the prickly pear, and outlined the pink fruit shapes so I could see them; then I simply sewed over the line I’d drawn around the fruit…..

…knowing that my bobbin thread underneath was actually yarn. It’s a silk/cotton yarn, so it’s fingerling weight, but I doubt I could get anything heavier in the bobbin case. I have an extra bobbin case; I’ve adjusted the tension on it (very simple turn of the tiny screw with a tiny screw driver) and I use it for this technique  called “bobbin drawing”.

So, while there’s just a simple thread outline of the fruit on the back of the piece, the bobbin thread–the yarn–is on the front.

I’ll bobbin-draw all the fruit, then couch yarn around the cactus shapes.