the learning goes on and on

the learning goes on and on

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This afternoon I have been practising some embroidery stitches. There are so many stitches in embroidery it is hardly ever possible to learn (and remember) them all. I find it very interesting to see how differently the basic stitches are used in different cultures. Especially India has such a rich tradition in embroidery and achieves amazing effects with simple stitches.


I wrote some of the names of the stitches on the sampler to remember myself how these are called. With so many embroidery stitches it’s sometimes hard to keep them all in your head.

The first thing I tried was the ribbon embroidery. I wanted to try this for very long now – I mean it’s the same stitches like “normal” embroidery only with ribbons. I shyed away from it mainly because I don’t own thin ribbons and did not intend to buy expensive silk ones, although they really look pretty. There are some handdyed ones, that are spectacular. When I first saw Nina’s threads I thought it must be haven to work with such materials.

Anyway, I did try it with an old ribbon I found in a box. The ribbon was not very sturdy and I could rip it quite easily, but you know, it’s just for practice. Then I learned why silk ribbons are the preferred kind of ribbon to use. My ribbon got more and more destroyed with every pull through the fabric. I will try it out with some polyester-ribbon I have laying around, but now I understand. Silk is one of the strongest fibers, it’s smooth, it’s shiny and it shows the most brilliant colors when dyed. I guess you should work with a quite short ribbon to avoid shredding it nevertheless, but it will not shred as easily as other ribbons.

My favorites are the textured stitches. Bullion stitch, the button hole bar and the double cast on. The bullion is not a first, but I tried it right at the beginning of my embroidery journey and didn’t like the outcome. Of course thats years ago and I finally got the hang of it and like it very much.

The double cast on and button hole bar are not the easiest, but a little bit of practice helps. I messed up some, but it’s fun to finally get the hang of it. The reason why I wanted to try these is Karen Barbé. Karen Barbé is an embroidery artist whom’s work I admire a lot. I think the samplers she makes with her students are unbelievably creative and show once more, that embroidery is much more than just back and running stitch. But look for yourself! I would love to attend a workshop with her, but she is in South America and I’m in Europe… Maybe some day.

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