Assignment 5 – Stage 6: Part 2

Adding Components

Having practiced extensively on different thicknesses of fabric and adjusting the tension, circle size, density and threads accordingly, I started with the flower foot attachment on the sewing machine.

P5-S6-2aDelighted by the results but devastated that the foot spring broke after these few shown in the picture.  There’s a definite design flaw with this mechanism as it’s the second one that has broken after about 25-30 circles being stitched.  A new one is in the post as I type.

Unfortunately this caused a significant delay while I attempted to stitch accurate zig-zag circles on trial felt pieces without the attachment before moving on the larger felt piece.

P5-S6-2aaIt took around 3 hours trying numerous machine foot attachments, different tensions, stitches and threads to fully understand how to get something I could be reasonably content with.

P5-S6-2bcOnce the circles were stitched and trimmed I inserted my felt balls in some.  These were needlefelted to another very lightweight felt base before being stitched in place.  I intended making wire mesh domes to put in most of the other holes (see above left) but didn’t like the effect at all once they were done.  So using the same lightweight felt I had made for the felt balls base I cut discs and placed them underneath the remaining holes.

I also made another set of cords, this time a variety of greens and browns.


The initial drawing from my storyboard shows the fishing net caught up within the algae.

I chose a variegated gimp to make this.  Whilst gimp is difficult to work with and the netting knots may loosen, it has the shiny synthetic look I’m after without the weight and rigidity of plastic twine.  I bought a couple of twines but neither can be manipulated into a netting scale that fits with the work.

I also used a couple of drink-can ring-pulls threaded on to the gimp showing other man-made items trapped within the ecosystem and becoming part of the encroaching algae.

P5-S6-2eI tied off the net and brought in new lengths several times as I want a few ends to work with.  These will be either stitched in or left trailing.  As the net was couched on to the main piece more areas were either undone or twisted together to maximise an organic shape rather than the regularity of the original knotted grid.

The work so far:



About Claire B

I am a passionate printmaker, paper maker and book artist. I'm a 'forever' student and frequently attend courses and workshops to extend and improve my creative skills.
This entry was posted in Textiles 1: Exploring Ideas and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Assignment 5 – Stage 6: Part 2

  1. Gail Sadleir says:

    Well done Claire. I am really enjoying the journey and the variety of techniques.

  2. Liz Sargent says:

    This looks so interesting Claire. It is fascinating to see the creative processes in detail and in progress. It is disappointing about the flower foot – are there different versions of it so you can get a more robust one? I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished piece in all its glory. Have you seen Kate Wakley’s work?

    • Claire B says:

      Hi Liz, The flower foot I have been using is a generic one which fits most low shank machines. There is a spring that tensions the metal arm on to the circular plastic disc, which turns. The metal arm clicks over the grooves and makes the wheel turn, so giving these amazing circles. The wire of the spring just isn’t robust enough to last any length of time especially as the machine presser foot has to be at maximum pressure. It’s a fantastic concept but the spring needs working on.
      Bernina make a similar thing which makes bigger circles but it can’t handle these smaller ones and I’m not sure if it is usable on other machine makes. Anyway, it forced me to try free form ones!! I’m hoping the new foot arrives in time for me to use it on this piece before it needs to go to the course assessors, otherwise I’ll just have to send them a note saying what I intend to do.
      Kate Wakley looks very interesting. I had a quick look through the photos but obviously want to look at her blogs as well. Thanks for the link.

  3. Nola says:

    Really enjoying watching this work unfold!

    • Claire B says:

      I’m working my socks off to get it finished as my tutor has resigned so I’m on a very tight deadline.
      Thoroughly enjoying the process and watching it evolve before my eyes.

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