Today’s post is to describe the last stage of the strip weaving experiment I began in my last post and share my results. It’s just a quick post this time. I am doing two online textile courses at the moment as well as my regular sewing for this blog, in addition to the stuff in the garden at this time of year, so my days are bit hectic right now.
Regarding the current situation with the pandemic, there has been some relaxing of the rules as to when we can go out, where and for how long but more so in England than here in Scotland where there is a much more caution. I don’t plan to be going anywhere just yet. It seems sensible to take it slowly. I am fortunate enough to be safe, happy and busy and to have a garden where the sun is shining right now, so I am not in a rush to be anywhere else. I must say I could do with a hair cut at some point though!
In my last post we had got to the point where some black and white fabric strips of random lengths were woven and stitched down to some background fabric with a rectangle of simple running stitches and a few cross stitches on the black and white striped strip. It looked like this:
Now we have a base as a starting point for further embellishment, embroidery and/or English paper piecing motifs. I decided to add some embroidery stitches going in different directions, layer them in places and add a few more cross stitches to echo the smaller ones I put in earlier. There are so many possibilities that I am sure you could come up with lots of other ideas.
After adding whatever decoration you have chosen to the strip woven surface, the next step is to deal with the edges:
Option One – You can turn your background fabric under at the edges, together with the strips, like a hem, and stitch it all down along the back using a thread that matches the fabric. You can then cut away the excess strips and background fabric sticking out beyond the hem, on the underside. This should a small edge of each strip showing on the front but you can cut these away completely to leave a raw edge if you prefer.
Option Two – Turn under the background fabric under and sew it down like a hem, as above, but leave some strips hanging for a different look. You can leave strips hanging on all four sides or just one or two of them. They can be all the same length or different lengths and you can cut into the strips to create slanting edges or V shapes.
Another option, which you would need to do ahead of time, would be to add paint to your strip weaving BEFORE you weave it and then pick up the same colours and patterns with your hand stitching and EPP piecing later. This should work well on a neutral or solid base of strips.
This is how my first piece looked when I had finished it:
I kept the strips at the sides, cutting into them to make interesting shapes, but removed the ones at the top and bottom, though I did add a strip of narrow white ribbon from top to bottom which suggested the strips that might have been there.
I decorated either side of the centre with turquoise and gold thread mixed in the needle, some diagonal stitches and others crossing in the opposite direction. Then I added three English Paper Pieced 1 1/2 inch squares, on point, down the centre and put a cross stitch in the middle of each. I think with such a busy background, it was important that my English paper pieced additions would be simple and few and that the colour would be deep enough to pop away from all those patterns behind.
l made a second sample, which looked like this when I had woven the strips together:
I chose one wide strip, some narrower and some very narrow this time, and repeated the prints on either side of the centre. I used some different embroidery stitches around the edges, running stitch, a wobbly stem stitch and an even more wobbly chain stitch!
I turned a hem under at the top and bottom, leaving some of the strips showing this time. You can still see the edges of the green strips I turned under on the completed item, because I am not a fan of raw edges.
If this experiment wasn’t about English Paper Piecing I probably would have hand stitched around those two green flowers in the centre, extending them out into neighbouring strips, maybe adding some leaves. But as it IS about EPP, I decided to add a ring of large flower petals and run a quilting stitch around the whole flower, with some cross hatching and French knots in the middle. This is how it looked when finished:
I don’t think this sample is as successful as the first one. What do you think? I think the flower is probably larger than it needs to be and the base fabrics may be too busy for a print flower. I only had tiny pieces of solid fabric in my stash and none of the colours worked with this design. I imagine that with a softer background and some solids you could go to town with EPP pieces, maybe add a small house among fields with a couple of trees, or a rash of small hexies.
If any of the process is not clear and you have questions, please ask. I will try and help. I’d love to hear from you if you have tried strip weaving and what your conclusions were, or even if you haven’t and you have some comments to make. I have concluded that it IS EPP friendly, definitely, but could do with a bit of thought beforehand and some clever fabric choices.
Until next time….