Friday, September 21, 2012

Silk Ribbon Doodling

Once I read a book that said that to be an artist you have to doodle.  Not just for practice but it can free your mind and spark creativity.  I'm not an artist so I don't know that doodling on paper works, but I do know that I enjoy doodling with silk ribbon.  One of the hardest hurdles of silk ribbon embroidery for me is I don't want to waste the silk ribbon.  Where I live it is hard to get the silk ribbon, at one point I was going 50 miles just to get a few yards.  Combine that with the fact that I think of silk as rare and precious and you get a ribbon horde.  Doodling gets me past this hurdle.  The project That I started yesterday was mostly made out of polyester ribbons.  The polyester ribbons are very different to work with then silk and in this case I liked how the hollyhocks came out in the poly.  I would have done them in silk if I could have found my stash.  Go figure the silk would be organised in it's own case inside my embroidery bag!  So today I can finish the project with silk if I want.

Water colored background with ribbon flowers.

Yesterday the last thing I did with the embroidery was to paint the background with watercolors.  In the past I have used screen printing ink, acrylics and t-shirt paint.  I chose watercolors because it was handy and this is for a card so it won't be washed.  The color came out great and stayed very dark in spots.  So now to decide what to embroider next.  Above the rose looks rather empty so I think two or three stems of lavender would look nice.  So far in the composition I only have large flowers.  The lavender will bring both a new color and size of flower.  For small flowers I prefer french knots.  French knots are a bit fussy but they give a lovely texture to the composition.  A lot of embroiders I know really dislike french knots.  In fact one friend hates them so much that she uses seed beads.  If you decide on beads try and get a couple of shades of purple.  Even better use both beads and thread.   If you have purple variegated Brazilian thread that works really well for lavender.  Writing this has helped me decide, I am going to use both thread and beads for two stems of lavender and if there is room I will put in a beaded baby's breath.

The green stems for the lavender were the next step.  They are long straight stitches which go behind the hollyhock and rose.  I used a rayon Brazilian thread in a deep green.  Then to make it more interesting I couched it down with a dark brown 1 ply cotton thread.  By couching the thread I could make it look like it bended a little.

Using variegated Brazilian rayon thread I started to make the french knots using two and three wraps.  I worked back and forth between the stems to make sure they both got all the color changes.
Finished lavender heads.
Trying the design in the card to see how balanced the design looks.
I put the yellow thread beside the flowers to see if a daisy would look nice.  I decided to put in baby's breath instead.
First I started a satin stitch stem for the baby's breath. The stitches were only 3 and 4 threads.  I kept making the stitch rough and curved to be more like a real stem.
Once the stem was finished I used the same thread to make the stems for the individual flowers of the baby's breath.
The baby's breath flowers were single wrap french knots using silk beading thread so I would be sure the seed beads would be secured and the thread looked great!  I was using both the green thread and the white at the same time.  It is a bit harder to embroider with more than one thread at a time.  You  just have to watch the back of the work more carefully.
After every few single loop french knots I would secure a random seed bead to the fabric.
This is as far as I got tonight.  The project has taken 5 hours not including breaks.  Tomorrow I will decide whether or not to add a bug on the left side of the composition.  Personally I think it is beautiful.


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