ATV Part 4, Project 2, Exercise 4.5

Collage-inspired yarn

I chose my blue collage from my studies in Exercise 3.4 to develop some refined yarn designs. In this exercise we are required to think about yarn constructions that are generally flat in profile.

Looking at the qualities of the paper within my collage there is not a great deal of variety. However there is a transparent tracing paper which I chose as a start for my first piece. I found this piece of loosely woven ribbon to use as a base and randomly stitched threads of varying thickness through it.

The second piece of work is a flat braid working with three tones of blue ribbon of equal width.

The third piece is also a flat braid but this time using thread and wool of different thicknesses and using the more variable fishtail technique. This has given a more random distribution of the colours with only an accent of the very dark colour. The texture is closer to the matte surface of the papers.

The fourth yarn was a loopy loose woven headband in stretchy fabric which I threaded a variegated fancy thread through. I decorated it with blue buttons whose surface made me think of the papers I had used. I used a very dark blue thread to stitch them on in a random manner to represent the random lines I used in the collage.

For my fifth yarn I used another transparent ribbon taking my inspiration from the tissue paper. I twisted two ribbons one light, one dark, wrapping the thinner one around the thicker one. Using two other pieces of ribbon I used the macramé switch knot to bind them together. I used metal fixing rings to hold this together and then stitched it to the base ribbon.

ATV Part 4, Project 2, Exercise 4.4

Deconstructing colour as yarn

Going back to the watercolour studies of the glass still lifes I started to think about transparent materials and how I could incorporate them into my yarn concepts.

For my first piece I’ve used semi- transparent rubber tubing. I coloured the tubing with felt pens I then wiped, removed and blended areas of the colour reminiscent of the flashes of colour seen in the original glass pieces.

For my second piece I took strips of plastic bags I sandwiched thin pieces of coloured thread in between two sections and then heated them with an iron. This bonded the plastic encapsulating the thread and produced a lacy effect in the plastic. I then cut the plastic into thin strips.

My third piece used plastic wrapping I used the same method and this time used iridescent fibres to trap between the plastic. This time I folded and set the folds with heat to produce a flattened spiral effect.

My fourth piece is formed from transparent gauzy craft fabric which I punched holes in and threaded some variegated fancy thread through. The frayed threads give glimpses of colour and light.

My fifth piece was produced using the clear plastic wrap that I used previously and small coloured threads which are trapped within the layers by heating the plastic. I cut these into small pieces and threaded them using clear nylon thread.

ATV Part 4 Project 2 Exercise 4.3

Re-interpret, re-invent

Looking back at the colour work from exercise 3.2 in which I chose the Old Master painting ‘Supper at Emmaus’ by Caravaggio the mood of the painting is quite dark. The painting portrays the moment when the resurrected but incognito Jesus reveals himself to Luke and Cleopas. The painting has a lot of dark colours with glimpses of light.

My first yarn wrap is made from a number of embroidery threads. I chose colours to closely resemble those in the image. I plaited these in a fishtail technique so I could bring the colours I wanted in each section into the foreground. I didn’t need to research this technique as it is one which I have used to plait hair. This is the first time I’ve tried it with thread.

My second piece is a piece of leather which I have wrapped and knotted embroidery threads to. I also used a piece of fancy thread to the design this adds some texture to the piece but I’m not that pleased with the result I feel it’s a bit dull.

The third piece is a thick variegated wool which has been french knitted. I then knotted the piece along its length. Inside these knots I have threaded a further piece of French knitting. This one in some of the other colours from the image in embroidery threads. I am happier with this piece I think the bolder shapes better represent the richness of the surface and shadow and the glimpses of the shinier embroidery threads are like the areas of light and colour.

My fourth piece was an exploration in the art of macramé. I taught myself some of the basics from YouTube.

These are square knots and spiral knots. I quite enjoyed using this technique, however using very fine threads makes short samples. In future if I use this technique I will try to source cord more suited to this process. In order to represent the paintings range of colours I made several cords and then tied them in a web.

ATV Part 4 Project 1 Exercise 4.2

Experimental yarns and concepts

1. Colour placement and composition

Looking back at Exercise 3.1 and the colour work I developed I chose this palette and fabric design as inspiration to produce this yarn. I plaited red, orange, pale blue and white embroidery threads. At intervals I split the threads and formed circle shapes and then stitched in layered pieces of fabric to produce a light lacy type effect following on from the pattern elements within the textile. I think I successfully interpreted the colour proportions.

The second colour work I chose to work from had a more varied colour palette. There is a lot of neutral colours with accents of bold blues and greens. This time I chose a heavy, thick wool which I plaited together with another finer neutral wool and a couple of strands of embroidery thread for the accent colours. I added pieces of green ribbon to represent the large green mountain in the centre of the textile. The colour placement within the original really draws the eye and I have tried to replicate that by adding the ribbon to only one section of the yarn.

My second piece was a woven piece with fine threads. I tried to incorporate shapes from the original textile. This time I focused on the very dark blue of the mountains and placed that at the centre of my yarn. I think the first yarn represents the colour proportions fairly well but the second piece was not as successful as I had hoped. Getting more pronounced pointed shapes would have perhaps required a thicker piece of weaving, more time and perhaps better weaving skills.

My final piece for the colour placement and composition lucet woven threads in greens to represent the delicate branches in the design. I painted craft paper leaves and stitched them to yarn placing them in a way that directly relates to the original fabric.

2. Materials exploration

The bright colours in this colour study put me in mind of the bright plastic straws that children use. I cut these up in a variety of lengths to represent the sections of colour in the original. I wanted to create a wavy yarn with very varied shapes so I thought more plastic would work and I cut a strip from a bottle. I split the strip in two and threaded the pieces of straw onto it then I twisted the two threads to produce a contorted and wavy yarn.

I used the straws a second time for this piece. I have laced thread through each straw and the straws are cut at different size to give a wavy outline. If the yarn is held at either end and twisted it looks like this, (photo below) making it visually more interesting. For inclusion in the yarn collection it is laid flat.

The next piece was based on one of the neutral samples. I twisted two pieces of white lacy fabric which was cut from non-slip mat together to create a curvy pattern taking inspiration from the paisley pattern shapes in the fabric. I used a silver thread and stitched it in a random loopy style to represent the shiny highlights of the design on the fabric.

I used the same material for my second piece and cut it into circles. I added this to some white packaging material and cut around it in a bubbly shape. I then sandwiched this in between a layer of clear wrapping material and ironed it to melt it together. I then added 3 strips of ribbon to the back so you get glimpses of it through the clear fabric.

The second piece in this photo was a strip of bubble wrap and I inserted little diamanté crystals into some of the bubbles.

I took cardboard packaging and wound pieces of leather around sections. Taking inspiration from the pattern and shapes within this piece of fabric.

My second piece is a section of plaited twine wrapped with bamboo leaves. I took my inspiration from the lines in the fabric which randomly goes narrow and then thick.

3. Textures and tonal qualities

I went back to the paisley patterned neutral for these three yarns. The first is a piece of machine embroidery. I created a shaped yarn with threads. The second is a shiny tasseled piece of decorative rope which I wrapped with a craft ribbon. I think it’s probably the most successful at interpreting the texture and tones of the original piece. My third yarn is a strip of anti slip matting which I’ve wrapped with a variegated fancy yarn.

This yarn was a piece of wool that was a really good match for the original fabric and tones. To create some texture I used a variety of tying, wrapping and pleating.

ATV Part 4 Assignment 4


A Yarn Collection.

I presented my work in a large A4 file. There was a lot of work to present and some of it was quite bulky. Before this work is sent away I will get another folder and make it into two books this way the work will be easier to look through. I have inserted a slide show of my yarn collection below.

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ATV Assignment 4 Written reflection

On starting this part of ATV I was slightly worried that I might find this section uninspiring. During my last video tutorial Pere and I had an interesting discussion and he suggested some artists work I might enjoy looking at. Having looked at their work I came away with lots of wild ideas as to what I might be able to achieve with yarn development. However following the brief to look back at previous work meant I had to rethink a little to fit with the pieces I had chosen to work from.

I feel I made a bit of a slow start with the first pieces, although I feel I did represent the texture and patterns of the initial pictures. I used a lucet to weave the random pattern which was a new skill to me and interwove it with wire. I used a flat weaving technique in Exercise 4.2 which was a slow process and I got a bit bored with it which I think is reflected in the work it produced.

Moving on through the exercises I used a variety of techniques to produce my pieces so by the time I reached Exercise 4.3 I had used a few of the techniques suggested. I opted to try macramé as it was something I didn’t know much about and associated it with planter holders from my childhood!

There are some beautiful pieces of jewellery made with macramé and it was very interesting to try out this new skill. It is something I hope to do more of.

Exercise 4.4 was where I feel I was at my most innovative. Using the watercolour palettes from the glass still life meant I looked at a number of translucent materials in an effort to find different processes to experiment with these ideas. Deconstructing methods consisted of cutting, punching, folding and melting. Some of these produced really nice effects and I was especially pleased with the embroidery threads that I encased in layered plastic sheet that was folded and melted several times, I then cut it into tiny pieces and joined it with translucent thread.

Assessment criteria

I think I have effectively shown a demonstration of technical and visual skills during this part of the course. I have learnt some new skills such as lucet weaving and some basic macramé techniques and I believe I have worked competently to show visual awareness, design and compositional skills. My yarn collection is presented in a coherent manner and I hope reflects and communicates my thoughts and ideas clearly. I feel I have demonstrated creativity in most aspects of this part of the course and I am aware of when an idea I have is working well and of where an idea is going to produce a piece which is not so inspiring or innovative. I am becoming more aware of my work and finding it easier to reflect on opinions, I enjoy researching ideas and it is something I do all the time, however it is something I will need to become better at recording in order to follow my idea processes. I am still keeping a lot of it in my head. I found some exciting information looking at how fibre optics and textiles are being produced and it is something I hope to go back to in the future.

ATV Part 4 Project 1 Exploring lines. Exercise 4.1

Exercise 4.1 Yarns inspired by stitch and marks

Looking back at the stitch work produced in Part 2 and the drawings from Part 1 that inspired them I chose this stitched piece.

Using a variety of yarns I plaited, wove, wrapped and intertwined to produce 30cm explorations with a 1cm and 5cm repeat and a random design.

I further developed my ideas to produce this as one of my 100cm designs. I used leather to represent the brown rough texture of the coat and black shiny cord with black and gold beads to represent the colours and lines in the original drawings and I decorated the large brown buttons and wove them into the design to represent the original drawings.

Using this rose inspired iPad produced drawing I made further examples.

And this drawing inspired this 30cm random design which I produced by cutting a thin strip of white non-slip mat which I stitched with black thread. I then wound it around some thick black cord.

This 100cm yarn was created by overstitching around the edge of white hexagons which I cut from felt and joined by bar tacking. This piece is joined to another section which is a piece of black binding tape that has been twisted and sewn and then I’ve cut leaves from black anti-slip mat and sewn them on. I’ve taken inspiration from the hexagonal and floral shapes in the drawing.

ATV Part 4 Research point 1

The Woolmark website is the leading authority on all things wool. It highlights the innovations happening within the wool industry and promotes the use of wool. It has been so successful at connecting the supply chain from farm to fashion, Australian Merino wool can now be seen in the collections of some of the world’s biggest and most innovative brands. From the haute couture houses of Europe to emerging streetwear designers in Asia.

The developments section 

The Cotton Incorporated website is a informative website on the newest innovations in cotton. I found the information really interesting and it is good to know that in this world of overused synthetics that natural cotton when it is enhanced by these technologies can be engineered to be as good as top-performance synthetics at wicking moisture or being water-repellent.

I particularly liked the wicking windows technology. On the skin side of the fabric it is printed with moisture repellent chemicals to achieve areas of dry fabric against the skin. Moisture is pulled away from the skin through absorbent windows that channel it to the outside of the fabric. This creates patterns on the fabric surface as it gets wet achieving interesting styling looks.

This website also lists manufacturers of cotton with these new technologies.

This website gives information on the yearly Heimtextil International Trade Fair for Home and Contract Textiles in Frankfurt. The website lists hundreds of exhibitors from ones who sell wool products for acoustic solutions, to weavers and dyers to companies who sell bath accessories and suppliers of contract fabrics to the Hospitality, Leisure, Healthcare and Education sectors. The website is wealth of information in finding suppliers of wholesale products but you have to follow the individual companies links to their website to find out more about the processes they use.

Ashley Martineau

Ashley is a spinner and dyer of art yarns and processed all her own fibres for several years. She also produced fashionwear and accessories as well as fibre art. When her first child was born she stopped selling retail products and focussed her time on graphic and web design. She teaches spinning techniques through her YouTube channel and has written articles and books.

Assignment 5 Written reflection

My journey through A Textile Vocabulary has taken longer than I hoped. A year and three months since I started and like everyone studying part-time and distance learning there has been occasions when life has taken over and the studies have had to take a back seat. However they are never far from my mind and I enjoy working on my ideas whether it is theoretically or practically. I started out as a total beginner not even having much practical skills as far as sewing or other hand crafts are concerned and as well as doing the coursework I am constantly studying and researching techniques.

During this final assignment I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to produce developmental work with a more open, less restrictive approach to the themes. I have also enjoyed researching designers work that I find interesting and I am starting to see work I find inspiring and engaging in haute couture when it was not something I had considered before.

One of the hardest things about this collection was not trying too many different techniques. My head was full of ideas I would have liked to create but I didn’t necessarily have the skills to produce them and if I had taken the time to teach myself all of them I would never have finished. I liked the idea of creating a Nuno felted piece and a freeform crocheted and knitted piece but I have neither of these skills.

For my collection I experimented with a few ideas using heat manipulation. I tried techniques using a heat gun and steam. Using different items and wrapping them or using them to sculpt the fabric. Some of these were more successful than others. The light chiffon fabrics respond very quickly to the heat and make some great shapes which also produce interesting shadows when light is reflected through them. I would like to spend more time on this and would love to try techniques like Iris van Herpen used creating her ‘Water Dress’ where she melted a clear plastic and sculpted it.


Finished sample

Now we are at the end of ATV I think my strengths lie in my enthusiasm to try new things and this has probably pushed me to experiment and research. I need to spend more time learning and practicing techniques including learning basic skills. As far as where I see myself heading in my own Textile practice, I’m not sure yet. If I was young and carefree I would apply to Iris van Herpen for an internship but I’m not… 😉

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Reflecting on the work I have completed for this assignment I am content I have improved since starting ATV. I am becoming more comfortable experimenting with materials and techniques and I feel my ability to design and use composition has developed significantly because of it. My observation skills and visual awareness has always been a strength but I feel this is developing with every exercise and the constant research.

Quality of outcome

I think I have effectively applied my skills and knowledge to present my work in a coherent manner. This collection was rather bulky and adding my other project work and sketch book resulted in me having to send two parcels to my tutor. I hope my sketchbook effectively communicates my ideas. I feel I am still guilty of making leaps in my imagination and not demonstrating these ideas on paper. However I hope it is still possible to see my thought process with the work I have submitted.

Demonstration of creativity

I feel this is probably one of my strengths. My imagination is always thinking up ideas and I enjoy experimenting. However my basic skill set can’t always keep up but I am continually looking to learn new techniques and I am interested in all the new technology and what that could possibly mean for Textiles in the future. My personal voice is probably not that well established yet. I think I joined the course thinking I would like to create art quilts but with the continuing research I have looked at so many exciting ways of working I feel a bit like the proverbial child in a sweetie shop wanting to try everything. However I need to remind myself of time constraints otherwise nothing would ever get handed in.


I feel through the development of my work I have continually reflected on it, following up with more research and reworking. I am always critical of my own work but I feel I am able to use this in a constructive way now. My confidence is improving and rather than being plagued by self doubt if something isn’t working I move on or make changes till I am more satisfied.

Assignment 5

The capsule collection

In this final assignment we are asked to reflect on the samples we have produced and consider the supporting work from the first two projects.

My capsule collection is based on the Nature’s Larder theme first explored in the Introductory project at the very start of ATV, however I have focussed on the marine environment this time. Looking at seaweeds and mussels.

During my research I was very drawn to textiles produced using unusual materials or those that were manipulated into unusual shapes. These fitted my initial ideas for producing a collection with texture and colour. I wanted the pieces that reflected seaweeds to also reflect movement as if you were viewing them underwater. During my sampling experiments I was excited by the shapes that could be produced by manipulating the fabrics with heat either through use of a heat gun or steam. I also wanted to see if I could produce a piece of seaweed inspired lace through free-embroidery which is another new skill I’m experimenting with.

The collection

‘Mussels’ fabric.

I wrapped mussel shells into the fabric and steamed it. I then hand painted to produce the detailing. I was quite pleased with this piece.

(Insert photo here)

Seaweed embroidered piece with scrap threads and free machine embroidery

Seaweed free embroidered piece.

I linoprinted a design and then drew it on soluble stabiliser which I then free embroidered. I didn’t dry this totally flat as I did with the test piece, this allowed it to dry in a curly and crinkly way.

Before the stabiliser was rinsed away.

And after

I was pleased with the way this turned out, but if I was doing this again I would maybe make the design larger as it shrinks when you wash out the stabiliser especially if you don’t dry it flat. I would also consider doing this again on chiffon or a similar fabric.


Heat manipulated fabrics with a heat gun and sewn together. I wanted to give the impression of seaweeds under the water. I’m not as happy with this piece. I was most excited with the grey chiffon as I loved the shapes and shadows created by the heat manipulation. I feel I may have tried to do too much by adding several types of fabric.

Seaweed – Sugar kelp

This was made by manipulating clear PVC with a heat gun. I folded and sculpted the fabric as I used the gun. I coloured it with spray PVC dye after a failed attempt at painting with acrylics. I sewed the strips together to create the impression of fronds hanging together.

Seaweeds – Bladderwrack

A mixture of fabric that was wrapped around beads and steamed and crocheted chains which were stitched to a stretchy mesh that made me think of fishing net. This worked well, I think the mixture of fabrics worked together. The interesting textures complemented one another.

ATV Part 5 Project 3 Experimenting and taking risks

In this project we are required to translate qualities from our drawings into material and stitch explorations and further develop the textile and yarn concepts produced in Project 2.

My drawing printed directly onto material

This worked fairly well, the printer skipped a little and the colours were slightly different from the original drawing.

Printed photo onto textile paper, fixed to jersey material and stitched.

A mixture of fabric layered and stitched to produce a 3D group of shells

Thread and material scraps that have been sandwiched between soluble stabiliser and over stitched.

Felt background, with strips of other fabrics, stitched and manipulated with heat gun

Heat manipulated fabric and then stitched.

Layered, stitched and cut fabric

Stitched spirals and then heat manipulated

Quilted shell shapes and then hand stitched detail.

Free embroidered shapes on fabric

Free embroidered lace

Wrapped and tied fabrics then steamed.

Various knotted and crocheted linear forms.

Tubular crochet forms, created with wire and stitching.