Visitors of my shop will know that I carry the full range of perle #8 and #12, as well as silk ribbon in 2mm, 4mm and 7mm by House of Embroidery. Apart from the fact that their yarns and ribbons are absolutely beautifully dyed and top quality, their business ethos is great too. "As a fair-trade company, House of Embroidery prides itself on the sustained empowerment of previously unskilled South Africans. The majority of the team comprises of women, many of whom were previously unemployed and who currently serve as the main breadwinners in their respective families." it reads on their website. Great to think that your next shopping spray helps to sustain their excellent work, isn't it?
So here follows a little inspirations on what you can stitch with these yummy threads. My simple wreath of Erica consists of two basic stitches: stem stitch and French knots. Using variegated perle #12 in green and three purple-pink tones, makes this simple design come to live.
I get often asked to give tips and workshops on working with silk ribbon; so here comes a bit of inspiration for that too. Wooden beads can be easily wrapped with silk ribbon provided the hole is smooth and large enough. You can help a bit here by inserting the blade of a pair of inexpensive scissors in the hole and give it a few turns. The hole widens and gets smoothed at the same time. Beads can represent a myriad of things, but are especially suitable for imitating all kinds of berries. Here is a willow wreath in perle #9 (stem stitch) scattered with blue berries, rose hips and clusters of yellow holly berries. The rose hips are made of wooden olive beads wrapped with 7mm silk ribbon, the other berries are small round wooden beads wrapped with 4mm silk ribbon. To dress the willow wreath further, leaves are clustered around the fruits using leaf stitch and 7mm silk ribbon.
And last but not least, present your work in your own hall of fame. I like to use the inexpensive Ribba frames made by IKEA. Their square 23x23cm frames in black and white are very deep and thus perfect for these little embroidery gems. For larger pieces, IKEA has a 50x50 cm version too.
On a different topic. My black work lion skull and a picture of me teaching at the Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco features in Lucy Barter's Forever Embroidery Studio newsletter! How cool is that? Lucy trained as an apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework and ran their San Francisco satellite for many years. Lucy now embarks on a new leg of her journey as an independent embroidery school. Apart from being a great teacher, Lucy is really nice too! If you are ever in de Bay Area, do check for embroidery classes. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter packed with inspiration and tips be sending an email.
Jessica M. Grimm
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