I started this chapter by looking at some work I had completed at Summer School with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. I also had a look through their book Vanishing Act.
7.1 - Some samples using hand and machine stitch with heavy threads.
7.2 - Sample using trapped fabric scraps
7.3 - Close up of 7.2
I stitched without a hoop, 1 inch squares and used the same grid pattern for easier comparison. I used the same polycotton thread and I did not pin them to dry to see how the stitch distorted when drying.
Top to bottom, left to right:
a) Solufleece - Fairly easy to stitch, dissolved well and quickly and held its shape fairly well.
b) Heavy Aquafilm - Fairly easy to stitch, took longer to dissolve and was very sticky, and held its shape fairly well.
c) Light Aquafilm - Difficult to stitch without a hoop, dissolved well and was sticky, and did not hold its shape.
d) Dissolvable Paper - Easy to stitch, dissolved easily and quickly and held shape well.
e) Aquabond and Light Aquafilm - Easy to stitch, took longer to dissolve and was sticky but held its shape well.
7.5I did notice through these samples and previous samples I have completed that the choice of fabric does also depend on choice of thread, heavier threads work well on heavier fabric.
Sample of Soluble Lace Using Different Stitch Patterns
For these samples I used dissolvable paper, marking out a 3 inch square. I have used the other fabrics before on several occasions but have never used the paper so took this as a good opportunity to see how it would perform. I used advice from Jan Beaney and worked a grid base on the samples. This helps to hold the stitching in place and can be removed, although I did not do this for these samples.
7.6 - Simple circles using cotton machine thread, free machine straight stitch.
7.7 - Apart from one small area this held well and dried to 2.5 inches
7.8 - Simple overlapping using cotton machine thread, free machine straight stitch.
7.9 - This held well and dried to 2.5 inches.
7.10 - Simple overlapping loose pattern using cotton machine thread and metallic thread, free machine zig zag and cable stitch.
7.11 - The zig zag stitch around the border helped this to hold its shape. the metallic thread does not show as well in the photo. This dried to 2.5 inches.
7.12 - I tried a sample which is much more open using cotton machine thread and zig zag stitch.
7.13 - This did not hold its original square shape but became an interesting distortion. It dried to approximately 2.5 inches.
7.14 - I used cable stitch with cotton perle, zig zag stitch on a grid pattern.
7.15 - This worked well and held its shape well and would be good for a linear design. It has an interesting texture. It dried to 2.5 inches.
7.16 - For this sample I used cable stitch with yarns and cotton perle, stitched in a spiral pattern.
7.17 - The grid base helped this to hold its shape. Again this has an interesting texture. It dried to 2.5 inches.
7.18 - For this sample I 'trapped' some snippets of fabric on top of the paper using free straight stitch. This was less controlled than using two layers of fabric.
7.19 - This sample was softer when it dried as there was very little residue from the dissolvable paper. It dried to 2.5 inches.
7.20 - I trapped some fabric snippets between paper and heavy aquafilm, free machine stitched spirals using cotton machine thread and Mettler thread (sheen) I planned on trying a 3D sample.
7.21 - Top view
7.22 - Side view
7.23 - Underside view. I was pleased with this sample. The paper dissolved very quickly but the aquafilm took long and remained sticky. I could then use the residue to shape the sample into a 3D shape. It held well and dried into a solid object.
I pinned each sample before leaving to dry naturally. It was interesting to find all of the samples, with the exception of Sample 8, dried to approximately 1/2 inch smaller. Previously I have found the shrinkage to be larger and I think this is because the paper is quite stable and does not stretch and also because it dissolves very quickly leaving less residue.
Soluble Lace Sample based on Sea and Sky Drawings
I had used some of my drawings in the previous samples so for the next ones I decided to use a sketch I had previously done at Greenwich and to use the same coloured threads in each sample but different drawings to compare the results.
7.25 - I used free straight machine stitch in a cross hatch pattern. I used a grid as a base roughly following the 'cloud' lines.
7.26 - The dissolvable paper did tear in some places with heavy stitching. I solved this by just adding another layer on the bottom.
7.27 - I think this sample caught the feel of the clouds and it held together well.
7.28 - I followed the same 'cloud' lines for a grid and then used free straight stitch for circles,
7.29 - Although I used the same materials for the sample, it looked quite different to the first.
7.30 - Again using roughly the same design and threads but with zig zag cable and whip stitch.
7.31 - There is a marked contrast with the change of stitch. This sample feels much looser and more free in places.
7.32 - For this sample I used a Hunderwasser type style for the design and used strips of fabric trapped between paper and light aquafilm. I used free zig zag stitch and then some cable stitch using different threads and metallic threads.
7.33 - Again a different effect from the previous samples. Having a good pile of coloured fabrics helped to choose similar colours to the threads I had been using.
7.34 - I decided to use the same fabrics but snipped into small bits and trapped in a looser design between paper and light aquafilm. I used free straight stitch in a spiral pattern and added a simple edging.
7.35 - This is a much looser version and more lace like.
7.36 - For the fun factor I trapped some fabric between paper and heavy aquabond and used a thick machine thread to free straight stitch spirals.
7.37 - I dissolved the fabric allowing the sticky residue to remain so I could form a 3D shape. The 'fish' shape was purely incidental!
7.38 - Close up view of Sample 6.
I found this a really worthwhile exercise. I finished with 6 very different samples using the same design and materials, and this demonstrated the usefulness of taking time to work at the samples. Each sample could take me in a different direction for a finished piece. I very much enjoy working with dissolvable fabrics and look forward to using them further.