I’ve had a couple of really rough weeks, with having quite a serious wobble in my bipolar, then seeing my consultant who’s put me back on SSRI antidepressants in the hope that it will smooth things over. This is brilliant (and certainly kinder to me than upping one of my other drugs which would leave me in a zombie-like state) but I have been on these drugs before and the first two weeks is extremely rough. As well as the nausea that always accompanies introducing an SSRI, I’ve been having wild and sudden mood fluctuations, bouts of crippling paranoia and I have even less control over my hands than normal. I’m trying to keep a normal routine by going to work, etc, but it’s pretty hard to sit in a room full of people and pretend I’m fine when I am clearly anything but. The cruel irony of this type of drug is that it seems to make things worse whilst it’s tinkering with your brain chemistry and this can last for a couple of weeks, sometimes longer. But, with Father’s Day looming, I’ve been continuing to develop the embroidery design I mentioned briefly last week and it’s now ready to be stitched so I thought I’d share a few photos of how the design developed. Dad, if you’re reading this, LOOK AWAY NOW PLEASE!
I already had a design more or less worked out in my head before I sat down to hammer out the details. My Dad has an MA in Film Studies, with a focus on Horror so I wanted to start with that. He does a lot of reading, especially on the subject of film, so I wanted to work that in too and I thought a bookmark would be a nice gift. The final touch was the addition of a teddy bear because, as I mentioned here, he likes them a lot.
I created two drawings for the design, one to work out the colours and structure and another to be the master drawing that was transferred onto the fabric. All of the drawing work was done using a 0.7mm Pentel mechanical pencil with HB lead, a Faber-Castell dust free eraser and a steel ruler. I based the initial size of the bookmark on a letter I had on my desk that had been folded to fit in a normal envelope and I then added a 1/2″ seam allowance inside. The colours were added using Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolours using a 3 1/2mm angled brush and a number 0 round for the details. Using the watercolours took much longer than expected as the sketchbook drank the water and then wrinkled, making it difficult to work. Most of my other books have withstood this kind of abuse so I’ll just have to remember to either use another book or use coloured pencils next time! Once I was happy with the design, I inked the right hand version using a 0.5mm black liner to make it easier to see through fabric.
For the fabric I’m using some white polycotton that I had in stash and fortunately it’s just thin enough to see through! I’ve worked embroidery on this fabric before so I’m confident that it will be up to the task. I was initially going to transfer the design with an air soluble pen, but that won’t stick around for as long as I need it to. I didn’t have the time or the spoons to make a run to my (rather excellent) local haberdashers to get a water soluble pen, so I decided to transfer using an HB pencil. I’m hoping that this will stay on the fabric for as long as I need it to but not be too obvious if I don’t quite cover the lines.
It’s hard to photograph, but the design came out very well and is easy to see. I think that as long as I keep my hands dry and clean, I shouldn’t have a problem. I decided to use an embroidery hoop rather than my large stand for this project as it is portable so I can stitch in bed if need be! (Thanks Mum for lending me one of your hoops because I couldn’t find one!)
The final phase was to decide what to put on the spines of the books. My initial plan was to satin stitch the books, then add text over them, but in practise I don’t think that my skills are quite up to that. So, I changed my plan and the books will now have a coloured border and the text will be stitched straight onto the background. The text is based on horror films, including the names of several films, books and actors.
So that’s it! I’m now ready to start work on my most ambitious piece of embroidery yet! Once the embroidery has been done, I will be cutting the fabric to size and applying backing fabric and medium weight iron on interfacing to give the piece a bit of substance. Wish me luck and please join me next week for photo updates. 🙂