Thursday, June 25, 2020

Embroidering with plastic and Free Motion Mavericks

Hi. Welcome to week 286 of Free Motion Mavericks. Although I'm in the middle of setting up my new studio, I had planned on doing some free motion quilting (FMQ) today on the Pinwheels and Stars Baby Quilt - but I didn't find my supplies until it was too late - so you're going to see how last week, I embroidered using plastic bags 😊

Sampler embroidered with plastic


Susie Vickery hosted the third workshop of Stitch Club 2020 at textileartist.org. Susie showed us how to make an embroidery sampler incorporating plastics. It was really fun. Here is my finished piece.

Embroidered piece with plastic strips
Sampler stitched with plastic strips

For my background I used a piece of an old chenille throw. I love the colour and texture and the weave was loose enough to easily stitch through, even with plastic strips. 

I found different coloured plastic bags and mesh. Until recently many grocery stores wouldn't let us bring our own re-useable bags, so I'm sorry to say that I've accumulated lots of plastic bags. I cut a few of them into roughly one inch strips.

I started by couching the purple strips. It was slow going because the plastic was only purple on one side. I then used a piece of yellow mesh behind the flower and then couched each line. I really liked the effect of fanning the plastic at the top.

Making the flower with couched plastic
Using couched purple plastic

It took me a couple of tries to get the leaf stitched. I finally embroidered a feather stitch with perle cotton and then stitching over it with the yellow plastic strip. I then added some green to fill it in. The other feather was outlined in a back stitch in green and then filled in with a satin stitch.

Close-up of the stitched design
Playing with different stitches using plastic strips,
 mesh and perle cotton

I stitched the three leaves over mesh and then added seed stitches with embroidery thread. I also wanted to try to stitch with the purple plastic so I added those curly bits.


Finished sampler stitched using plastic
Finished stitched sampler

What I learned
  • Although I don't want to spend the rest of my artistic life cutting up plastic bags (they leave a gritty film on your hands!), I really do want to continue experimenting with these types of products. 
  • I never thought that plastic strips could be used as thread to embroider but it gave a really different look to the stitches. Most of the plastics had a bit of a shiny finish to them. 
  • Now, not only am I stashing bits of mesh, string and ribbon, I'm also keeping interesting coloured plastic bags!
Related links
  • Susie Vickery is a wonderful artist who works in many mediums. Check out her Citizen Botanist - a puppet with the most incredible costumes! I encourage you to check out the animations and collections tabs on her website. 
Linking parties


Flower sampler embroidered with plastic
6" x 6" with 6"fringe
Materials: chenille fabric, strips cut from plastic bags, mesh, perle cotton and embroidery floss.
Techniques: embroidery stitches: couching, feather, seed, satin and back 












Free Motion Mavericks


It was a quiet week last time. Thanks to Denise and Dione for taking the time to link up. Since both projects are very cool, I thought that I would feature them both!

Here is Denise of For the Love of Geese's Red and White quilt. She was able to salvage her previously cut blocks using her AccuQuilt machine. Check out her free motion quilting!

Denise's Red and White quilt


Dione of Clever Chameleon has been doing some free motion appliqué on her Lunarcy quilt. Check out her Rabbit block!

Dione's Rabbit block from her Lunarcy quilt
Now it's your turn!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

4 comments:

  1. I'm a little behind as well. In fact I didn't even get my linky party post up until right before you commented. I have hop blogs to visit today and a few of the link ups from last week. This is an interesting project, I wonder how people come up with some of these clever ideas. If I could do macrame I might try it with bags. Thank you for the linky party.

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    1. Hi Denise, thanks for linking up - I'm looking forward to checking out some of the blog hop participants. Since it's practically impossible to kill plastic, the strips will probably last long after the chenille has died. Take care.

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  2. That is so interested to use plastic - and what beautiful things you can make!!!

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    1. Thanks Alycia, imagine - a whole bunch of art supplies all free for the taking! I'm now collecting pretty coloured plastic bags as well as everything else... :-)

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