ATV 4 – Project 2 – creating linear forms 4.4 De-constructing colour as yarn

The aim of this exercise is to select and explore new and appropriate making and de-constructing techniques to translate lighter and more transparent qualities into my yarns.

The particular qualities I can observe in the watercolour stripe patterns are : translucence, blurring, tonal transitions, airiness.

Plastic bags stitched and snipped – don’t look very precious but the colours are good.


Organza is light and airy – I’m not sure that I like it at all. I like cutting with a soldering iron though as this gives a good fray proof edge that could be useful.

I have some amazing silk that deconstructs itself, fragile with washing and wear. The warp and weft pick up colours from my watercolour stripe patterns . Using my fingers and a needle I frayed and shaped the fabric. I like the way that once freed of the warp/weft grid the threads start to undulate, creating little windows. The frayed green edges visually bleed and blur like the watercolour paint.

I have a book called Contemporary Whitework by Tracy A Franklin & Nicola Jarvis, I can use it to explore other pulled thread techniques.

This thick yarn was bound with clear and green tape and then teased out to emulate the watercolour blur – it’s not very interesting so moving on swiftly…

Maybe this needs something added later??

This is a yarn I made at the beginning of the project by deconstructing a packaging binding tape, I really liked the airiness of the structure and want to develop it further.

I’ve made a tool to turn plastic bottles into string, I’m  gathering other people’s rubbish now to turn into something beautiful!

I experimented with knotting to make little string of sparkling diamonds, twisting the strand beyond the plastic limit, and using heat to help retain the twist. Finally for now I used  little bits from a fluorescent plastic straw that I found discarded in the park. I’m really pleased with this, it is translucent, has tonal transitions where the plastic is stretched and compressed, and an airiness from the structure.




I added the fluorescent straw to this yarn , replacing some of the tape and making a more interesting and physically stronger yarn

De-constructing and reconstructing nettles is my favourite  finding of this project. When fresh, the green is vivid but this dulls in a very short time so perhaps not the most successful for this exercise. I was proud of the way that I joined the shapes while constructing and there are many possibilities for taking this technique further. I have been looking at a book called ‘The Art Fabric:Mainstream’ by Constantine Larsen. A collection of structural textile arts from the 1970’s. I can see how  contemporary textiles has built on these early textile pioneers and I’m really excited about exploring 3D structural textiles soon.


This is a simple knotted plastic bottle strand, combined with knotted shredded parcel binding strip. The binding strip looks very organic and makes me wonder about combining natural and manufactured materials. Particularly plastics with nettle as both are considered fairly worthless. A used bottle is rubbish and nettle considered a weed, I would like to turn them into something profound.




ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration- creating linear forms – 4.3 Reinterpret, reinvent

Re-interpret, re-invent. Yarn designs and simple textile constructions based on the colour studies of the Old Masters painting. the post is here


Whilst completing the former exercises I had an over whelming urge to mix colours using a drop spindle. While researching I came across the idea of art yarns and felt that this colour exercise was an ideal palate to experiment with.




If you look at the painting you will hopefully see how I have tried to replicate the order and proportion of colours as they appear from top to bottom.img_4721.jpg img_4723.jpg img_4722.jpg

I laid out the fibres in a mirror image, spun them onto a drop spindle then found the midway point and plyed them together. I’m really intrigued by the result, It was a very pleasing process.
Likewise yarn wraps seemed an obvious technique to explore, as they are ideal to mix colours. I wanted to see if I could create the two identities. The elegant figure at the easel and the more rugged mentor.


I then started to think about macramé so created some sample knots,

This sample uses more strings so I could try to incorporate colours from the image.

The diagonal string is called the carrier, in the neutral version I knotted the other strings around it as per macramé instructions. I dyed some strings to match the painting that combine the design and colour charge tears. I wanted the yellow and white  to respond to the silken wrap so I devised a way to use the carrier string as the knots. I like this.



ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration – review point.

Demonstration of creativity – The criteria about Demonstration of creativity in the course notes  talk of  risk taking and developing a personal voice, creativity, invention  and experimentation.

I have no idea of my personal voice as yet, I am a small child overwhelmed in a pick and mix sweet shop, wanting to try everything and at risk of being overwhelmed in a huge sugar rush. I am however inquisitive and happy to experiment, not having any specialist skills I do not know what rules to break , so can happily furrow a path in any direction (I hope though, onwards and upwards!). For example – learning to spin, what a joy! I have no need at this point to create evenly spun, yarns and I am sure I would horrify some spinners with my results, however my gnarled, uneven results are perfect for the yarns I have developed.

I think that I am starting to show experimentation and creativity, I’m sure that I am covering some old ground, I would like to spend more time investigating artists work , although I am currently not finding time to do this, I know that an important part of the course and my creative develpoment , although I do regularly flick through books and websites I must find time to investigate the work of others properly, in more detail and more importantly record my findings and how they can inform my work.

This section of ATV excites me, I’m really enjoying working in a more 3D manner and I hope that my playfulness with fibres and structures is showing through. During project one I have worked in many ways some simple ,some refined. In part two I will continue to be fed by a natural progression. I think that although I have not found my voice ,I am developing the confidence to stray from the course-note path now and then, to investigate responses to the brief that feel relevant and appropriate to me at this time. I certainly don’t feel that I’ve exhausted any possibilities with my approach so far, I have deliberately not started to present my work until the yarn investigations are complete – though some ideas are brewing…


From the woods…


I have just spent the most amazing day on a natural cordage course, beautifully delivered by the very talented Ruby Taylor . Ruby makes vessels amongst other things and the baskets and pots that she displayed for us to have a look at were so inspiring in the way that they had such a powerful presence. I wrote a word steam to try to express the emotive quality of her work. Seeing them in nature, surrounded by their ingredients was an important part of their aura, I wrote ; integrity, alive, connection, delicate, powerful honest.

My interest in natural cordage stems from a need to tread lightly, my magpie eyes are constantly alert for materials with a small footptint, I definetly came to the right place in this magical forest clearing.

Ruby has created an incredible space in the woodland of Sussex and respectfully requested keeping phone turned off and photos to a minimum.

After a beautiful welcoming meditation I was more than happy to immerse myself in nature and leave technology behind. So not many photos, this is what I wrote when I floated back and gives quite a good snapshot of the day…


By the end of the day I felt so strongly connected to our ancestors, the first cord discovered by archaeologists is 90000 years old and we have being using it varying ways ever since. It felt so natural to be working in nature,  I couldn’t help but reflect that our 21st century discoveries in technology – polluting and political aren’t perhaps advances at all.
During the workshop I focused on preparing materials so that I can make more, low impact natural cordage at a later date and perhaps experiment with it in different ways.

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Thank you Ruby for such an inspiring day.


ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration 4.2- part 3 Texture and tonal qualities

I found this task really difficult as my neutral textile is knitted wool and translating yarn as yarns is difficult to get my head around..

I tried finger knitting with  knitted scrim – a sort of macro/micro idea, I was amused by using  a knitted fabric to represent a strand of wool, the idea has something interesting about it. It didn’t excite me massively though. img_4737.jpg

Knotting sisal and jute was about looking at a fibre under a microscope… hmmm

Placed next to my original study I’m very unsure about hitting consideration of colour or proportion of colour without a bit of extra explanation about where this madness came from.

img_4736-1.jpg The unravelled sock kept its kinked structure and was fun to work with, this exercise is feeling very forced though.

Thinking of words used to describe wool; wiry, steely, copper tones etc made me think about including some metal into my yarns. I came across some metal swarf so I dipped a string in PVA glue and coated it in the swarf – this made a brilliantly dangerous yarn – like an angry sheep! it is surprisingly sharp to touch and sticks to everything like cleevers, I thought that it would have a steely glint but the glue made it look quite dull. To make it safer i dragged across merino tops of colours i observed in the original study, they have attached like snags of wool on brambles and I was pleased. img_4739.jpg

I really wanted a steely glint so I spun some yarn and during the plying stage introduced some spirals of swarf.img_4741.jpg img_4742.jpg

These final two sample yarns a much more successful than the earlier ones, exaggerating what I could see in my colour study , using creative words and thinking about how to stretch myself  gave me  more to engage my creative mind with. It really does feel time to move on though.



ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration 4.1 developments

I have had one of those moments when I realise why recording processes in detail is important! One of my 30cm yarns is perfect for development into a meter length and it just took ages to realise how made it in the first place!

The materials I used were an unravelled piece of machine constructed metallic fabric. The thread is incredibly fluffy when unravelled and I had stitched it on the machine to make an interesting repeat of tight and then fluffy areas along the length – totally forgot about the machine stitching part and wondered why it was not unravelling in the same way!!


I was interested in the shadows on the sleeve seam of my Akha jacket , where the fabric pulled against the stitches. Represented here on the right hand side of the drawing.


My first attempt was to stitch and stretch a strip of jersey to give an even repeat (slightly bigger than 1cm but hey, who’s measuring?) this gave a good shape but was too solid. The fluffy unravelled thread is better but it was when I realised that I could stitch onto the thread that it really worked as a yarn that really hits the brief.









From my drawings of the heavily embroidered back panel of the Akha jacket  and investigations into spinning newspaper ( I had used some as a drawing ground) I have developed this yarn. I used some PVA coloured with translucent Seta colour to create the coloured windows that represent the tiny applique shapes in the original embroidered panel.


Akah - Ink - mixed tools


This was from the drawing using a wing feather brush, It captures the marks really well. Simple but effective. I need to remember not to overcomplicate all the time, sometimes outcomes are better kept simple .