Checking in – stitching with silk & wool

Well! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

Not that I wasn’t thinking of y’all. I’ve just been busy-busy-busy with not much to write about, for the time being.

I’m trying my hand at embroidering with silk on silk. Here’s a little peak:


It’s a Matyó motif, which was stitched in silk originally, in the 19th century, that is. I can’t claim that the silk fabric is traditional at all though, albeit quite lovely: a a soft, slubby, drapey but not-at-all thin raw silk noil. I’ve been using Trebizond thread, a very tightly twisted silk thread with the volume of perle cotton. I love the sheen of it, I love the feel of it, I don’t love the tightness of the twist of it. In fact, I really quite hate it, to be honest.

So, I’m going to try out a couple other silk threads to see if I find something I like better. I mean as soon as they arrive in the mail, because (you might not realize this) but New York City is terrible when it comes to procuring embroidery supplies. Upstate New York is a different story… but that’s not where I am, so internet-shopping it is! I hope to be able to report on some progress in a few weeks.

Then, there’s the smocked peasant blouse. I worked out how to do the smocking, and found exactly one place online where they (sort of) describe the technique. It’s a site about Romanian smocking, with the name of the technique in Romanian. This is not surprising – the region Transylvania it’s from is ethnically mixed and the similarities between Romanian, Saxon, Hungarian folkwear from there are often striking. Everyone borrowed from everyone else.

My plan is to make the blouse using a prettier linen, and possibly test out a few different threads. Currently, I’m using a worsted-weight alpaca, which is not exactly authentic, though it’s very pretty and produces an awesome effect against the hardness of the linen:


As first attempts go, I’m rather pleased with it. I’ve got the linen I’ll be using for the final version of the blouse, and I’m about to draft the pattern for it. The linen I found is the perfect consistency but was a very bright white  so – upon the suggestion of owner of at Truemart Fabrics (corner of Seventh Ave & W 25th St), which is where I bought it – I dipped it in tea for a bit. Just a little, just to soften the white to something more natural-looking. I think it worked – I’ll post more about it when the blouse is done.

Lastly, the next Stitching Social is in the works! Upon the request of a friend, we will be making a Transylvanian beaded bracelet this time. The stitch: a version of bead netting that, in Hungarian contexts, I’ve heard called bead braiding or beaded ribbon. The bracelet will close with a beaded ball and loop. Look:



Date: TBD.

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.