Showing posts with label Ribbon Embroidery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ribbon Embroidery. Show all posts

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Awl Saves the Day

So, as you can see, my embroidered wall quilt L'Herbier is back on track. In the last post I'd had a challenging day stitching the ribbon embroidery through the two tightly-woven layers of fabric in the circles.

In the introduction to one of my silk ribbon embroidery books, one of the recommended tools is an awl, so you can "pre-drill" the holes for the ribbon. After the first day, I remembered that I have one!

A year or two ago I bought this for $1.99 at a hole-in-the-wall fabric store that mainly sold lycra and sequins for costumes. I recall that I thought it would come in handy one day. It sure has! Today's stitching was a piece of cake.

I'm so relieved! The muslin lining was otherwise so nice and useful, with a great hand, that I really didn't want to give it up. So now it can be full steam ahead! Whew!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

First Embroidery for L'Herbier

I spent a challenging but rewarding day yesterday working the first embroidery for my new L'Herbier embroidered wall quilt. Yesterday I wrote at length about my process for preparing the applique circle prior to starting the embroidery. "The final test," I said, "will be the embroidery." I am so glad that I didn't go ahead with all the circles before starting the embroidery!

It was brutal. The muslin is far too tightly woven for ribbon embroidery. I dug out my grippy rubber thimbles, and you can see I managed, but I can't do all 16 embroideries that way. Live and learn! I will have to find something else with a looser weave for the backing.

But otherwise, everything else worked perfectly! With the two layers appliqued together, there was no problem at all with them shifting around. It was easy to hold, stable, and stayed flat. I did not use a hoop at all, as it turned out.

This was my very first time doing ribbon embroidery. Maybe it will be better with a different backing, but it is not as fast or fun to stitch as I expected. I do have to admit, though, that the ribbons are pretty. They pick up other colours from their surroundings, which gives them a lot of depth. The flowers are made with 7 mm ribbon and a single-wrap French knot. Then you go back and squish it down with a bead. Simple but effective!

The stems are worked with fine wool and embroidery floss held together. I was interested to learn that in French, all the small stems are called "ramifications." It's a good visual for the meaning of the English word too!

The main stem is 8 strands of thread held in a chenille needle. I thought that was hard to stitch, but the ribbons proved to be far, far worse. The last two stitches on the stem are done twice to give some extra thickness to the base. It is a nice effect that I will remember for other projects!

I am very pleased with how the leaves turned out. Aren't they elegant? They are just ribbon stitch with the 4 mm green ribbon, and angled blanket stitch for the burgundy veins. The designer, Nathalie Méance, has such creative ideas! Looking ahead, I can see many interesting combinations in the other embroideries too. Soon, I hope!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ribbon Embroidery by Di van Niekerk

Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork by Di van Niekerk (Search Press, 2005) is the latest book I've purchased.  I've had it a few weeks now, and the more I look at it, the more I like it!

When I bought it I didn't realize that it is basically a project book.  It has all the instructions for the sampler that is shown on the cover.  The project is beautiful, but I really have no intention of making it.

But even if I don't want to make the project, I've been thinking of lots of ways to use the individual components in other projects.  Right now I am mainly interested in the ribbon techniques, although some of the stumpwork ideas are appealing as well.  Look at these cute hydrangeas:

As I said in my review of Inspirations 73 last month, I have been seeing more and more of this kind of turned edge stumpwork, which I really like.

For the ribbon embroidery, van Niekerk provides excellent diagrams of all the stitches used in the book and advice on what needles to use, as well as all the information needed to transfer the design and prepare your fabric.  To my mind, what distinguishes van Niekirk's work, in this book and others, from other ribbon embroidery books is the naturalistic effect she achieves with the ribbons.  There is nothing stiff or formal about her flowers!  I am used to always thinking about keeping stitches even, with a consistent length and tension.  This style of embroidery requires you to break out of the box somewhat, which is a good exercise for me!

You can see how every stitch on these blue delphiniums is different:

The deep rose coloured hollyhocks are done in a combination of cast-on stitch and bullion knots in a gorgeous hand dyed raw silk thread.  I love the extra dimension that the variety of materials and stitches gives in the project.  I am sure I would learn a lot if I did the whole sampler!

You can buy all the materials for this project and others, including complete kits, at van Niekerk's website -  I admit that I used to be afraid of what the postage cost from South Africa would be!  But I recently bought some of her ribbons from the site, and the postage was quite reasonable.  I think the key is to keep the weight down, and fortunately, the ribbons are very light!

(Update May 2012:  Unfortunately it looks like my order got lost somewhere along the way.  After six weeks I received a full refund, but it was still disappointing.  If I try again I will look into using EMS rather than regular mail.)

Van Niekerk's new book, Roses, will be available soon.  It is definitely on my wish list!  I am even contemplating buying the whole kit, I think it is really something special.

So, although I was a little slow to warm to this book, it is now another one I definitely recommend.  If you have never bought a book on ribbon embroidery, this may not be for you, although it certainly has all the information you need to complete the project.  If you are looking to expand your ribbon embroidery horizons, however, this is a great way to go!

Related Posts:

Inspirations 73

Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting

Friday, February 24, 2012

Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting

It's Book Review Day once again!  Today I am sharing Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting (C&T Publishing, 2011).

I love this book!  Before I read it, I was always on the fence about crazy quilting.  My impression was that it was too dark, and too random for my taste.  But the work in this book changed my mind.  Aller (I gather that her friends call her Allison rather than Allie) is largely inspired by gardens and flowers, which is something that really resonates with me too.  The colours are vibrant and beautiful throughout the book, and there are many gorgeous photos:

Crazy quilting is definitely one of those "more is more" techniques.  This book gives you everything you need to finish a project.  Aller provides four different methods for constructing a block, dozens of ideas for embellishing it, and complete instructions for finishing the quilt.  I am about to embark on a Top Secret crazy quilt project, and I feel very comfortable with the instructions for getting started.

But even if you don't have a crazy quilt project in mind (yet), this book is great eye candy, and provides lots of good ideas for embellishment and silk ribbon embroidery that you could use on other projects:

She does amazing things with Angelina as well!  So, another book that I highly recommend.  It is certainly a nice book to have on the shelf, when you are missing your garden in the middle of winter!
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