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Posts Tagged ‘ruching’

Finally I can show a project that has been ongoing since I was asked in February to create an unusual ribbon embroidery workshop for Lincolnshire Textiles (formerly Lincoln branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild). The remit was for something ‘richly textured’ but after some heavy googling and falling down Pinterest rabbit holes, I was fed up of looking at flowers, lovely though some of them were, and completely lacking in inspiration. It wasn’t until I was working on one of my sea themed upcycled pendants a few weeks later that a germ of an underwater idea took root.

I did some doodling with some oddments of silk ribbon just to see what was possible. French knots are definitely textured but quite greedy on ribbon. However, I liked the idea of ruching up ribbon on the surface using French knots – perhaps working them in thread rather than ribbon.

The loose twisted ribbon stitches for the tentacles of the anemone worked well from the start, although I was less pleased with the satin stitch body.

What I had taken away from this doodling was that an underwater themed piece would definitely work. The anemone was a definite, if I could create a smoother body and I wanted to use the ruched ribbon for brain coral. Doodling take two. On the right, a shorter satin stitch body. Still not right as the ribbon gathers as it goes through the fabric, leaving rough top and bottom edges. On the left, an idea for surface couching inspired by something I saw on someone’s Instagram of a section of a Jenny Adin-Christie kit. I’ve no idea how the effect was worked, but it was a wide flat thread of some type folded in a zig zag pattern and after a bit of trial and error, I managed to get the ribbon to behave and couched it down to produce the smooth edges I was looking for as well as giving an interesting textured effect.

Time to finally draw the design and use the anemone body I’d just trialled to make a prototype.

Some feather stitch and threaded chain stitch seaweed gave the design a bit of balance and added more textural interest. This was enough to give me a finalised design which I finished stitching this week.

That’s the easy bit – instructions complete with diagrams next! Good job the workshop isn’t until September…

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I’ve finished a couple of samples for my sketch book. First, the slightly sashiko inspired stitching on the screen printing I did here. It was a piece cut from my last print of the day and unwashed, like the other bits.

Slightly sashiko 1

Inspired by a ukiyo-e print of people with umbrellas scuttling through the rain, I stitched the dark areas with long running stitches in natural undyed silk and then following the waves imagery I added french knots to the edges of the curling shapes.

Slightly sashiko 2

Slightly sashiko 3

Then I had a page of notes about ruching fabric but no samples as I’d used the one I made as part of my rusting quilt, so a piece of hand dyed purple muslin and a square of gold silk dupion later…

Purple ruching 1

I do like this effect. Scrunching up a much bigger piece of fabric into gentle folds in a smaller space and then nestling french knots clusters into the valleys and crevices.

Purple ruching 2

The soft texture of the muslin works perfectly for this type of work.

Purple ruching 3

Just a sketchbook sample with scraps, but I had fun with it.

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The ruched rusted fabric block for my rusting art quilt is finished. It went from this, where I was trying to ruch as I went with french knots:

Ruched block 1

To this, where I used tiny stitches to catch the fabric down before I ruched it, making the job of setting french knots much easier:

Ruched block 2

Gradually the french knots crept across the fabric…

Ruched block 3

…nestling into corners and crevices…

Ruched block 4

…settling into clumps and clusters…

Ruched block 5

Another element of the art quilt completed.

I wasn’t sure whether to sprinkle it with some tiny turquoise coloured seed beads, but when I put it next to the turquoise rings block I’d already completed,

Ruched block with turquoise rings block

I felt that turquoise elements on every block could be too much, so the ruching will stay earthy and low key.

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Rusted ruching

For the next block in my rusting piece I’ve managed to turn this:

into this:

As I blogged previously, I was having problems ruching up the soft rusted cotton using french knots and so decided to use very small stab stitches instead, which would either be hidden by the clusters of french knots, or be so small as to not be noticeable.

I found an oddment of thin pale orange cotton and that proved to be perfect for ruching the cotton down into place. You can see some of the stitches in these close ups but the colour means they don’t look unsightly.

The rusting gives such an wonderfully intense colour to the fabric.

Now the task of nestling the french knots into the folds.

It’s a nice, quiet but probably going to be rather lengthy process, perfect for cold November evenings.

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