Patterns and Tutorials page so everyone can enoy it.
Work continues on my next engine piece - a companion to Engine 21 - but not much to see at the moment. Here are a couple of pictures showing progress on the background stitching.
Well, the exhibition at Bristol Guild is over and all packed away, but here is one last picture of Engine 21 on display, courtesy of my daughter. Have a look also at the Gordano Textile Artists blog for more images of everyone’s work. Seeing it on the wall, I realised I prefer the image on Engine 18 so the plan is to make that at the larger size as well and hang them as a pair. I will try and get some other projects on the go so that I don’t go totally doolally stitching the background – there is an awful lot of it and it does get a bit tedious after a few hours (am I allowed to say that? Just did).
If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I didn’t write in as much detail as usual about designing and making these pieces. Part of the reason is that I finally got organised and planned a series of articles for Design-IT, the magazine of the Computer Textile Design Group. Sadly, the first one was published in what turned out to be the last edition. I had written the second and roughed out the final two, and was going to cover splitting a large image up into bite sized pieces for the embroidery machine, playing with deleting sections and stopping the machine randomly. I’m not quite sure what to do with this now. It is a step by step “press this button next” tutorial using Paint Shop Pro and Embird, so probably a bit too specialised to offer to any other magazine that I know of (suggestions welcome). If I finish off the series, I am happy to put it online for free but then it would make more sense to use screen capture to show how it works. So, more thought needed.
Why engine 18? Simply because this is the 18th version of the design, modifying and tweaking the stitches in Embird (embroidery software) to get the result I am after. Some of the earlier versions have been partly stitched out, most have not but I like to keep all the stages as a record. Think of it as being the equivalent of a series of sketches before the final drawing is made into a screenprint. Actually, I am finding it increasingly useful to think of using the embroidery machine as a way of printmaking and using some of the same techniques of layering and deconstructing or masking off parts.
I found in my experiments with Embird that I can break down the design and leave the machine stitching only the underlay (which is intended to stabilise the fabric ready for the filling stitches). Randomly removing parts before transferring the design to the machine means I can make a series of similar but not identical pieces, or a limited edition of fragments. This still leaves the option of stopping the machine while it is stitching and skipping or repeating parts on the fly.
So – the fabric arrived from Spoonflower last week and I have cracked on with the first version. To give you an idea of the scales, here are the two pieces together, the smaller is a fat quarter and the larger is one yard with the same print but bigger (and so more pixellated/broken up). You can see them more clearly (and buy some if you like) on my page on the Spoonflower site.
And here is the work in progress on the fat quarter, with the background grid complete and about half of the engine stitched out.
As I work, I am thinking about the next version – in view of the size, I think I will have less empty space at the bottom but have not decided quite how.