Assignment 4, Yarns: reworked and re-presented

I continued to work on the last 2 parts of the project. In particular sticking and attaching in multiple ways to construct the yarn. I sewed bits on and also experimented with sellotape to join.

I still feel that I could explore these ideas much further. I would have been interested to explore using plastics, and to refine ways to make slit film-esque yarns.

One thing I am still learning about with studying this course is how to discern when enough is enough. How to manage the time I have left. The more I reworked this part of the course; the less time I was giving myself for Part 5.

When I sent my work off originally, I chose to temporarily stick the yarns in a book as I hadn’t worked out the most effective way to show them. My tutor suggested card or sketchbook but finding more subtle ways to stick them in.

So I took them all apart and decided to present any initial small samples along with the inspiration piece as a ‘landscape’ board. End then selected yarns to show side by side, perhaps elevating one or two by showing them on an individual board.

I think this worked much better, I appreciated the importance of giving work S P A C E !


As I had reflected on in my earlier reflection post, I chose to present my yarns on A2 boards.


Assignment 4: Reflection and Review against Assessment Criteria

Written reflection

I found this assignment the hardest so far. The world of yarns was unknown to me in any depth, although I had spun a bit before. I found the research fascinating although have not written this up. I think one of the blocks I have on the research write ups is to do it with integrity rather than to ‘show’ an assessor that I have done the task. Some of the research I do is thorough, I read around and spent time on the internet clicking through websites and going off -piste. I don’t feel the need at that point to write things down or ‘discuss’ them. I do however need to consider hot to find a way to make this work for me. My instinct is to jot these notes down in a notebook rather than present them in a clear coherent manner on the blog.

I spent a lot of studio time at the start of the project trying to get my head around the making of yarns. I didn’t feel I was doing it right. It wasn’t until delving into knotting techniques in the Re-interpret exercise that I understood the potential more. However I was focussed more on learning the techniques and feel that I didn’t get to really explore the idea of ‘re-interpreting and re-inventing’ to its’ full potential.

I think my strengths here was that I persevered despite some real resistance at the beginning! This has been a huge learning curve, not necessarily in the techniques and creative outcomes but in terms of learning how I go about my own creative practice. The areas where I struggle, the ebbs and flows. Although I feel this assignment isn’t complete,  it has had a strong effect on how I approach my work.

What I feel is incomplete:

My research file – I have not written this up, although I did look into the research point at the start of this assignment, as well as investigate the techniques in Exercise 4.3 and research the yarn constructions in Exercise 4.5 Collage-inspired yarn

I have only just skimmed the surface in the tasks in Project 2:

I could investigate Exercise 4.3 further paying closer attention to the challenge to re-interpret the Rubens’ painting.

I would like to refine techniques that I have begun to explore further and to revisit Exercise 4.4 – Deconstructing colour as yarn. I thought there was more scope than I got to investigate. For instance I could have spent time not only manipulating and  deconstructing the linens but careful taking apart the threads and then plying them with others, or spinning them with wool to mix colours together in a subtle way.

I have not presented my thoughts and outcomes on Exercise 4.5 Collage-inspired yarn although I did work on this I have not written about in my blog as a post. I would like to spend more time research the yarn construction techniques and practice these more.

I have only temporarily presented my work so far in order to send to my tutor. I have done this in a simple A3 sketchbook loosely taping my yarns in the pages. I think my final presentation would look best on some bigger A2 boards so as to give the yarns full room to ‘drop’ down on the page.


Reflection on Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – I did refine my drop spinning technique and used you tube tutorials to learn macrame and braiding. Some of this criteria and it’s outcomes overlaps how I have responded to the demonstration of creativity.

Many of these skills shown are new to me and lack a refinement.

Quality of outcome – I attempted to ‘match’ yarn designs and concepts not only with colour/texture but also the overall ‘vibe’ of the source material.

I am aware that I didn’t use a sketchbook at all for this assignment! I didn’t visually ‘plan’ my yarn concepts which I have seen other people doing the course work through and show this in their blogs. Did this hinder my conceptualisation of ideas?

I observed myself working intuitively with the materials. A lot of the thinking was happening through my choice of which yarns and materials to select for each task.

Demonstration of creativity – I did get more inventive as I gained confidence in the tasks; for instance using plastics, netting, raffia.

Exercise 4.4 Deconstructing colour as yarn – I ripped organza, found a selection of materials that I felt leant themselves to the colours and lightness of the watercolour inspired palettes. I made decisions and experimented bearing this aesthetic in mind.

I began to experiment with the collage inspired exercise  ‘blindly’ working out how to create some of the effects similar to some of the yarn construction such as slit film yarns.

I could have pushed the boundaries further in Project 2 however I acknowledge that I was concentrating on gaining technical understanding of yarn concepts, of materials and of techniques. This took time and some ideas didn’t get to be investigated.

Having said this, I do feel that my work and making does carry a personal voice. I can see ‘my hand’ in how I approach the exercises. I can see similarities and threads, a sensibility and sense of aesthetic that is running through my assignments.

Context – Using the macrame and braiding I felt were the right selection from my research. I returned to the neutral palette investigations and build on my yarn designs with my newly learnt knotting techniques.

I re-visited my spinning technique (which I had forgotten) through research and practice.

I am learning the importance to see my art practice as cyclical rather than linear. I persisted with certain ideas (again another new lesson learnt) even though at the time I thought it wasn’t working. I have discovered from previous reflection how important it is to persist, especially in times of resistance to certain exercises.

There is still more to be done in finding ways to write up what I am researching and reflecting. I have found using a notebook the best however this is not ideal for assessment purposes.


Project 2 – Exercise 4.4 deconstructing colour as yarn

Manipulation of materials. I used discharge to strip away colour, mostly from several dyed linens, plus an African print. I was intrigued to find what colours lay behind the dye and felt this fabric manipulation technique would be appropriate to the source and concept of some how stripping away, laying bare – and lend itself to the colour palette.

I also punctured some tissue, not knowing how I might incorporate this into the yarn making.

I also considered my selection of material and yarn closely: unspun wool, linen, organza, tissue paper, and a light denim

I enjoyed working intricately (surprised myself), and recognised the need to do this, or how this related to the source inspiration.


I wondered as I did this how I would  ‘re-construct’. I found combining the yarns through a weaving in and out through one of them could work and create a delicate look.



Part 4: Project 2 – Exercise 4.3 Re-interpret, re-invent

I have used youtube videos to teach myself macrame. I enjoyed learning and sicovering the techniques – seemed to help ‘anchor’ the explorations and inspired me to revisit some of the earlier techniques (for instance working from the neutral fabric)

I briefly investigated knotting and braiding and plaiting. I made one braiding experiment which was very effective. I used very fine yarns, however because of this the knots/braid was very fine so it didn’t become a large (long) sample yarn design.

I didn’t want to purse French knitting or crochet as I liked the idea of not using another instrument or tools.

I was really resistant to the initial exercises in Project 1 of the assignment but things finally clicked in to place moving on to Project 2 when I started working on responses to the colour work from the Old Masters got me much more interested.

Rubens – The Annunciation


I realise I haven’t taken enough photos of my processes here, but will reflect on what I learnt with this exercise:

From the original braiding techniques, I found that different outcomes could be achieved by changing the texture and fineness of the yarn I chose. For instance in my macrame research, it is more common to use thick rope, jute etc. The technique and look took on a very different outcome when I applied using wool and a finer cotton.

I found that the knotting and braiding and macrame work suited the Rubens’ painting as it highlighted an intricate quality that resonated with the painting itself.

I aimed to accentuate the richness and warmth of the colours and the fluidity of the robes by using the strong colour combination of the wools.

The process was time consuming. There is a lot of room for further experimentation. For instance I began to ad-hoc one of the macrame knots by adding touches of finer yarns, knotting them into the braid.

I would like to have investigated further different possible combinations of colour and yarn with more knot techniques.

I would have liked to have used ribbons and cut up pieces of fabric and investigated the plastic bag further too.

Following my investigation into these techniques, particularly macrame, I returned to the earlier exercise in Project 1, using my neutral palette to inspire some macrame work.

I used my own spun wool again, plus some raffia I had picked up in a charity shop.

Assignment 4: Project 1 Exploring Lines

To begin with, I selected the two pieces below to inspire my initial yarn explorations.

They carried similar marks and I thought having both paper sample and textile one might make for interesting interpretations into yarn making.

The first three tasks I felt out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know how to push the boundaries. I kept things pretty simple with finding ways of creating lines and textures that reflected the ‘freedom’, ‘scratchiness’ and close marks the my two sources showed.

I used the fabric with hearts on that I had made a colour palette from in the previous assignment but hadn’t investigated in any depth:

As well as investigating the colour variations I aimed to convey some of the playfulness that the design itself has.

I was interested in getting more creative with my use of materials and found ways to use plastic, lace and little crochet hearts (store bought). I thought that knotting and tying ‘bows’ accentuated some of the playfulness of the pattern design.

When working on the neutral colour palette I used more of my own spin yarn. I manipulated

When working on Exercise 4.2 Experimental yarns and concepts – there was a section that asked to push the material and physical qualities of the yarns. I found bits of polyester curtain and nettings which I then dipped in wax. I thought this might be an interesting way to depict the soft, bumpy looped/boucle effect.

These experiments gave more form and structure swell as structure to the yarn designs.

Using finer and thinner yarns means that any techniques takes longer so I am considering using twine, string and then dye it to achieve colour variation?

I have particularly enjoyed using yarn that I have spun myself. I have found it lends itself to most investigations being of neutral colour. The variation in thickness of the spinning means that it can provide soft textures and more versatile linear marks.

I have learnt that texture and thickness is most important, as I can potentially alter colour.

I would like to investigate further with non traditional yarns such as plastics, cutting and knowing fabric instead,

I would like to combine yarns and spin/ply them to create new colours and textures.