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Silk ribbon in African Folklore Embroidery

Silk ribbon in African Folklore Embroidery

I recently began teaching a new class called: "The application and inclusion of silk ribbon in your African Folklore Embroidery design". The class focuses on using the silk ribbon as one would regular embroidery thread. Silk ribbon is wonderfully versatile and forgiving fiber. For those of you that have already experimented with an African Folklore Embroidery design, you will know that kits include African hand dyed threads (these threads made in South Africa) assist in creating employment and income for women in South Africa. What some of you may also know is that all the threads included in the kits are environmentally friendly and that every two inches you will see a color change. These threads are also referred to as either variegated or multi-colored threads. What you may not know is that all 200 colors in the pearl 8, cotton, stranded floss, pearl 5 and pearl 12 are also carried through into 2mm, 4mm and 7mm silk ribbon.

Silk ribbon can enhance any design and when used in combination with regular embroidery cotton threads it acts as an enhancement of the actual stitches and overall design. Further using the silk ribbon as an embellishment technique to complete the Mola Barbara Interweaving Technique, which is a diagonal wrapping technique over the traditional chain stitch, the effect is stunning, When silk ribbon is used for couching with cotton threads to securing the couching, the effect is spectacular. In these two examples below you will see the silk ribbon being intertwined between two rows of the running stitch. 


Using silk ribbon to wrap a chain stitch, really gives the outline extra dimension and depth, creating a three-dimensional surface effect. If you look at the middle of the sunflower you will see two rows of chain stitch wrapped by a silk ribbon using the Mola Barbara Interweaving technique.

My favorite silk ribbon colors to use include Freesia, 48, peacock, 38, Maple, 65 and Fern 4. These are magnificent colors and awesome variegation.  In my newest design below, you will see that small pieces of fabric have been applied to the design. I began this design on a recent flight into Chicago to give a lecture and teach a workshop to the Riverwalk Quilters Guild in Naperville. (I completed the design on the flight and yes, you can bring the kit and stitching needles on the plane)

In the class we learnt how to incorporate fabric into a design the African Folklore Embroidery way, where no formal appliqué is required, but rather through manipulation and securing of the fabric using the chain stitch and thereafter using the Mola Barbara technique to wrap any “stray” pieces of threads underneath. The fabric becomes secure and an intrinsic part of the design, adding to the overall effect.

You can read about these techniques as well as the "strings of beads" technique which is illustrated below in my book, SAFARI THROUGH AFRICAN FOLKLORE EMBROIDERY, which takes you the reader on a creative Safari though South Africa, using the African Folklore Embroidery designs as the means to educate and share. You can see all African Variegated silk ribbon and other threads on our website at www.aflembroidery.com.

If you would like to see more interesting creations and feel like you are with us in an African Folklore Embroidery class, you can also become a friend of African Folklore Embroidery at https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid

Remember there  are still three months to complete and enter your African Folklore Embroidery design and win $500. Details are online at www.aflembroidery.com

Wishing you boundless creativty, 

Leora Raikin

Author: Safari through African Folklore Embroidery

Comments (2) -

These are so beautiful!  I can see someone creating something this wonderful with just using the scraps we all have.

Your color choices are so dynamic.


kellitaylor 3/28/2010 1:12:19 PM

beautiful. thanks for sharing!!

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