ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration 4.2

4.2 Experimental yarns and concepts based on the colour chips from printed fabric exercise.


Such a surprise to find so many of my stashed yarns complement this fabric so well. Though to be surprised is surprising given that I am partial to a palette of greens and blue..


This yarn picks up the dark and bright greens , the addition of olive really mutes the joy of the palette, similar but on its best behaviour, the crinkled effect does remind me of the shapes of the flowers.
The Noro yarn incorporates the colours in chunks.


This recycled sari silk has colours that match almost perfectly , they are mixed more thoroughly than the Noro wool.

Using a strip of the sample fabric and plying it with a black thread seemed like a place to start. Exact colours, pleasingly spaced, even rhythm like the fabric pattern . Not particularly revolutionary though!  So not an exciting yarn but a possible useful solution for future applications, definitely usable.

Using the hemp strings, I used the stronger structure to emulate the petal shapes. The blue thread alternated with mauve, was used as a wrap to represent the dots in the flower centres, I pulled them tighter than the other strings to relieve the tension in the other colours , this allowed them to form wavy shapes that emulate the printed pattern quite successfully.

Taking this idea further I ripped the edge of a wired organza ribbon and combined it with telephone wire in green and blue.(this was rescued from the kerbside, some time ago from a BT engineer who was going to throw it away! Its moved house at least twice so I’m so glad to find a use for it!!)


The wire gives good form, softened by the frayed ripped edge of the ribbon, I like the different negative spaces, and the light and dark shadows that are cast.

I became very aware of the impact of shadows at the Traces of life exhibition in Dalarnas, Sweden. To me shadows allude to further layers of meaning, they invite further thought, elusive, ethereal, changing with time.

The coarseness or fineness of a surface are equally about a visual sense as a tactile one.

Deconstruction- Reconstruction –Checking through my handbook the concept of deconstruction -reconstruction leaped out at me. My desk is looking a bit messy now and I was wondering what to do with a frayed bit of the fabric. I had pulled off a few threads and admired how they held just a trace of printed colour. In terms of colour match they couldn’t be more perfect, but so fragile.


One of the yarns I found in my first investigation is very fluffy, with the fluff seemingly trapped in the ply of the yarn. I needed to try to reconstruct it using perfect colours.

It took some time to carefully  de-construct the fabric and separate the warp and weft. I liked the effect when there were only a few warp threads left holding the perfectly aligned weft.


By laying the warp threads, ensuring that they overlapped I used my spindle to make a single ply of printed strands. I added some more twist to some cotton pearle and then played them together adding a tiny bit of weft every couple of twists. I’m frankly delighted with the result!

Thinking back to the sari silk yarns I wanted to produce a more thorough mix of colours so I used a Japanese technique, using a selection of wool yarns.


I came across a Japanese technique called Kumihimo at school recently, and immediately saw the value for mixing colours together, rather like  a tweed fabric, but much more even than tweed yarn. A slow meditative process, I experimented a little along the length by playing with tension- trying to capture the rhythm  of the printed pattern . I’m really quite fascinated with this playing with form and structure and will revisit at some point.

The rhythm is like a story or piece of music, changing in tempo and  form , the green ripples a different emotion to the black. I’m really quite fascinated by this.


Thinking about the lines on the fabric that define the edges of the flowers I stitched a zig zag across a green ribbon and gathered it up. It really does emulate the idea of the flowers but I really do not like it, it is too frilly and i think that the ribbon edge is just too shiny.

In the course notes it mentions making links with materials used in children’s toys. My brain processed this firstly as cut out paper dolls – I had some paper in similar colours to my fabric. I had recently been looking at the work of Tord Boontje and decided to try a garland of paper flowers.

My first attempt was very solid, the second has a more pleasing drape and creates a lovely 3D shape.

I used a section as a pattern and recreated it in rip stop nylon, bright, bold and a lovely filter of light. If I was to pursue this at some point I could laser cut the fabric and make hundreds of them. They look lovely hanging in the window.






ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration – Research point 1 -Yarns

Yarns  –  Properties, aesthetics, handle and performance

I will produce a physical file of yarns as handling a physical yarn will tell different information than looking at images. Having said that , likewise, the internet is an excellent source of information, as long as you remember to edit carefully.  Is a website that promotes cotton. It has some excellent information about cotton, uses, properties , composition etc. The section on environment does not explain the darker side of the cotton industry,  Huge amounts of dangerous chemicals can be produced in the cotton manufacturing, There is plenty of information on the soil association website. The politics of fibre production must also be considered, for example the harrowing number of cotton farmers in India committing suicide due to huge debts related to being tied into contracts with GM seed companies. The Fairtrade association supports  the people producing the raw material.

The wool lab is a great resource about all things wool, from properties and raw material, to the wide range of products that be manufactured from it

Pitti Immagine Filati  Have a great website. There are some fabulous descriptions of yarns in the style section of this site. Check out Mister Joe

Mister Joe


A journey into nature that blooms in this magnificent season is the inspiration for the new SS 2017 collection. Six themes alternate yarns with various counts, each one representing a different aspect of nature: ESSENTIAL yarns, fine, barely there, slightly textured with micro structures; light patterns in melange colours enhanced by NATURAL fibres like cotton and linen brightened by the insertion of viscose or polyamide for glassy, crystalline looks; yarns with bigger counts for Fashion knits where creativity explodes in a bouquets of structures such as flat cotton ribbons wrapped in shiny viscose or spiralled with polyamide, super-matt to create fluid, iridescent effects; towelling, ribbons, interwoven knots and chains in melange linen create 3D aspects. The palette of lively colours, rich in plains and melanges, is enriched by shiny and matt effects and many different kinds of prints, all vying to pay homage to the nature that surrounds us.

Without looking at the yarns,the words alone have given me a plethora of ideas to explore and I’m pretty sure they won’t resemble the finely developed and completed products that have reached production.



ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration 4.1


I have done my customary analysis of this assignment and excitedly just wanted to make yarn. I looked through all my previous drawings to find suitable lines to refer to and really just drew a blank (no pun intended) It’s not that I don’t like my drawings but my intention when making them was not to interpret the lines as yarn, and my drawing observations, at first perusal seem to have more of a leaning to other types of texture and shade.

I appreciate that this is very much part of the learning process and as my artistic intentions are clearer to me , my observations will be more appropriate. Or my textile interpretations of my drawings will be more appropriate to the marks I make. Currently they don’t seem to match so I need to take a step back and try a different approach.

I decided to just make some yarns.

It seemed important to learn to spin so with the aid of youtube and a drop spindle I gave it a go. How exciting! I can see spinning becoming very moreish, I got a great sense of achievement from making little scraps of yarn, they are varying in thickness and this because I have no practice in pulling the fibres out evenly – but they are unarguably yarn and the process is going to be so useful


The grey yarn is two ply, creamy green is 3ply, green 2ply re-plyed??? perhaps this is 4 ply. Clearly I can be more professional about spinning and learn the spinning vocab -I am a massive fan of technical terms. For now though spinning is too exciting! I can clearly see the linear qualities, I like the fuzzy edges of the grey yarn and recalled some of the charcoal marks I made so changed to using black merino wool and silky stuff that I believe is alpaca (I have a small stash of fibres that I gathered over-excitedly at a wool show. They  didn’t all get used in my short foray into felting but somehow the labelling has become a bit mixed up)


My inexperience has paid real dividends! the irregularity of the spin is very like the changing textures in my drawing! The thicker piece is a more even spin that I replyed to make really interesting diagonal marks.
Squashing the yarn together accentuates the charcoal texture. Of the band on my hat


So accidently by experimenting with making I have recreated my mark making, hurrah, result!

In this spirit I decided to play some more. I spun some newspaper and some finely shreded paper. They cast great shadows


I explored my stuff stash and made some more random yarns – well not so random, I was considering mark making, refreshed by looking at all my drawings but not fixed on any one drawing for now. This was to enable me to be freer with experimentation.

img_4478.jpgI proved to myself that yarns can express drawn lines.I discovered techniques and materials to play with.

Stretchy jersey is fantastic in the way it rolls in on itself when cut and stretched.

Machine stitching is a super quick way of wrapping – I could experiment with different thickness’s of tread on the bobbin and rhythms of density of stitch.

Stitches show lots of potential, it’s interesting how  flat strips of fabric change shape when stitched.

I am particularly excited about the les flexible yarns and the shadows they cast.

There are many marks here but I realised that this approach is a little too random. I could happily invent and play for hours but need to stay aware of the task so a new approach is needed.


img_4577.jpgI gathered as many ‘yarns’ as I could find and looked at the structure. Many are spun but they are also wrapped, extruded, knitted, woven, twisted in different ways using different materials. I now have a pile of raw materials and a better awareness of some processes that I could use.



I also took some time to ascribe descriptive words to each yarn, maybe this will help me relate the type of yarn to qualities of particular lines within drawings.

I feel much more prepared and will now return to my drawings with fresh perspective.