Surface Design and Texture with Machine Lace

I took a small break from the differential shrinkage pod pursuits as I wanted to add some surface design and texture. I needed to see what type of free motion machine stitched lace would look the best.

My first attempt looked like this after stitching. I used a variegated brown thread on the top and a black thread in the bobbin.

I then laid it out on a thick layer of the same green wool I have been using for the pods. The photo on the right shows it wet down and already starting to felt.

Here it is after felting. I do like the texture on the surface of the felt but the “pattern” looks too much like a brain and isn’t random enough for me. So another attempt.

This one I tried to be less perfect and had some single lines of stitching running through other lines that were 2-4 stitched lines on top of each other.

Here’s the sample after the machine lace is felted in. I like the randomness of this sample better but I think it needs a little more empty spaces perhaps? Again, I like how the machine lace sits on the surface and gives a rough texture. Then I started thinking about adding some nepps into the mix. What would it look like if I added nepps underneath the machine lace and then felted? Or perhaps some lines of wool yarn to give ridges?

Making samples seems to lead me to making more samples. Perhaps eventually, I will come up with a plan for the final project. Or maybe I’ll just keep enjoying the journey of experimentation and sampling.

How about you? What have you been trying new lately?

About ruthlane

When I discovered felting in 2007, I finally found the creative outlet for which I had been searching. I love that the versatility of fiber allows me to “play” with a wide variety of materials including wool, silk, fabrics, yarns and threads. Creating one of a kind fiber art pieces to share with the world fulfills my creative passion.
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14 Responses to Surface Design and Texture with Machine Lace

  1. I think I am too goal orientated to make samples and should probably make some. I like your tenacity Ruth. I recently made a scarf that should have been a sample first, but I managed to save it another way. In any event, it is all a learning experience. 🙂

    • ruthlane says:

      I didn’t used to do samples either but I have found that it really improves my skills as well as the final piece. Plus the sample usually doesn’t take long when I am short on time.

  2. Frances says:

    What are the steps taken to prepare the roving before you complete the stitching? Very interesting technique.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Frances, I used batting that I spread over water soluble fabric. Then I stitch and then felt. The fabric dissolves away. I teach how to do this in my machine stitch online class.

  3. annielynrosie says:

    Sampling is such fun – why stop if you’re enjoying it? And you never know when the new knowledge will come in handy.
    The final result gives a lovely texture!

  4. tesivaara says:

    I love how curious you are Ruth! The first one had a Celtic feel to it I thought. I also was fascinated by the texture created in the second one.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Tesi, some say curiosity kills the cat but I think curiosity increases creativity. I’m happy with the texture but I will try a few more now that I have other ideas.

  5. Antje says:

    Interesting textures. What is the process – dissolvable film underneath batting then machine stitched on top of the batting?
    ‘What if’ never stops with one idea leading on to another. Enjoy.

  6. I like your brain the best I think because of the open spaces. It also has the look of a speech bubble. What would happen if you just stitched on the water-soluble without any batting?

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Ann, if you don’t have the batting it makes it much harder to felt in. You would need to have wool fibers over the top.

  7. Great textures. Thanks for sharing your process.

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