Sunday, June 29, 2014

20% off Independence Day Sale now thru July 13th!

Enjoy our summer sale with 20% off every item in stock at ~
Great time to stock up on silk ribbons, our hand-dyed Rayon Tape ribbon, our rayon motifs ready-to-dye, our doupioni silk assortment pack and our popular vintage fusible images. The 20% discount is automatically taken on any order of $25 or more!
Visit our etsy stores, as we load more items onto both etsy sites at RibbonSmyth or Old Elements 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Crazy Quilt Labels for Rengin Yazitas

I made these labels for Rengin, using her artwork. They are on their way to Istanbul. I have a wonderful bright white fabric, with a fusible back, that I use for printing our vintage images. I've been making the images for years. Years ago, before I found the textile manufacturer that cuts the fabric for us, I made several images using the "dip method" with the bottled solution, and then printed onto  fabric. Sadly each one of those images have faded terribly and with the stitching around each image, there is no way to replace the image without damaging the embroidery. With our fusible images, the image can be ironed on to the fabric and then embellished. No puckering from stitching an image to the fabric. I made the labels in three sizes, so Rengin could use a small label to the inside of a purse lining or use the larger size for her crazy quilt blocks.

New Vintage-dyed Motifs on our RibbonSmyth Etsy Site

I've added a few hand-dyed rayon lace motifs to our etsy site at listed under RibbonSmyth. Beyond economical, a small lace motif, always adds to the design. Most of the motifs are approximately 4 inches. I like using the RibbonSmyth hand-dyed motifs in crazy quilting. No two pieces are alike. In designing, the goal is for the piece to "blend" in with the overall components in the block.  I dye the lace in "vintage" hues such as Antique Gold, Olivine, Lilac and Victorian Rose and sometimes then over-dye the entire piece in the shade "Branch Brown". The goal is for the eye to not be drawn to the starkness of the dyed lace, but instead to have the lace blend in with the fabrics and ribbons, and aid in moving the eye through the design.  I also like to cut the motifs into smaller pieces, as the ragged edges add to the design. Dyeing motifs is beyond relaxing. After each piece has dried, the piece is ironed on the back-side of the lace, to set the dye into the fiber. Undyed motifs and non-toxic dyes can be purchased at in the "Dyer's Supplies" section.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Silk Ribbon Bouquet with Bread Dough Vase

Using only two stitches, this little bouquet was stitched on a blue moire ground and completed with a bread dough vase. I dyed the ribbons for this piece, in shades of plum, lilacs and aubergine. I drew the outline of the urn, onto the moire, then stitched the bouquet, using the Loop Stitch and French Knots. Scattered among the base of the urn, are French knots and small seed beads. The piece was a project for my book "The Complete Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery". Before I began this piece, I was designing booklets for Plaid Enterprises. While taping a TV segment for Plaid in Queens, NY, I met another designer, who took my urn sketches and created several pieces from bread dough. Later, she wrote a book on her salt dough roses. The urn in this piece has two cherubs holding a swag. Her work is stunning. I glued the urn piece to the moire fabric, before I had the piece framed.

Crazy Quilt made with ball gown fabrics, close-up

A close-up of several of the blocks. The piece is made of 70 blocks and each block is approximately six inches square. There is no batting.  Aren't the fabrics lovely? There are pieces of brocades, taffetas, velvet, moires, patterned silks and solid silks. The only silk pieces, that are beginning to shatter, are small ivory pieces. I would think, with the shattering, the thin, ivory silk, that the fabric was probably weighted with salt. The simplicity of the stitches, showcase the fabrics.

Crazy Quilt made from ball gown fabrics

Many, many years ago, I met a lady, at an antique store, and we began a discussion about antiques. She was in the process of having to move from her home in Philadelphia to an assisted living facility. She was looking for a home for some of her possessions and wanted them to go to someone that would appreciate them.  When she showed me this crazy quilt, I had to have it. I purchased the piece based on wanting to "care" for a small piece of her history.  This was the first crazy quilt I had ever seen. She explained the history of crazy quilting. All the fabrics are scraps from her gowns. The piece is backed in a rust-brown polished cotton and edged with a 1/2" maroon velvet border. We were able to visit on several occasions and she shared where she had worn the ball gowns; to different events in Europe and Philadelphia. During her trips to Europe, she travelled by boat. I have two of her steamer trunks, and I use both of them.  I have the crazy quilt hanging in a hallway, that gets no direct light. I turn the quilt every few months. There are some silk patches, that are beginning to shatter, and I clip away the bits. The quilt is enjoyed every day.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blue Jean Wallhanging Block Three

Of the three blocks worked on, this one, I like the best.  I like the movement in the block, using the Feather Stitch. The purple Czech button is gorgeous. I added a gathered ruffle of rayon hand-dyed tape around the button to soften the starkness of the button. None of the blocks are completed. Beads will tip the Feather Stitches.

Blue Jean Wallhanging Block Two

I took the nine blocks to Florida last week, thinking I would be able to stitch each evening. Minimal lighting in the living room, slowed me down!  In haste, several plastic bags with trims, which included two colors of silk ribbons and one three-yard piece of my hand-dyed rayon ribbons and assorted beads and buttons. I did not want to add much silk ribbon work on the blocks.  The little piece of lace has ruby rose montees stitched down the seam. The lace piece seems "too bright" a trim. Even though the lace was tea-dyed, my plan is to take fabric markers, and deepen the color of the lace. Feather Stitching and Couching, with Scalamandre cord, was added to create movement. 

Blue Jean Wallhanging Block Three

I pieced nine blocks in January, thinking the wallhanging would be a great winter project. The center patch in each block, is denim appliqued with velvet pieces. I could never throw away an old pair of jeans, with embroidery, appliqued onto each leg. Finally the jeans were cut up and repurposed.  I pieced the blocks using doupioni from our doupioni silk pack.The wallhanging will hang in our utility room, so no intent to "go crazy" with embellishing. My thoughts were to do a Herringbone Stitch on each seam, but I'm not prone to "simplicity"! So far, a Feather Stitch to add movement to this block and a samll piece of lace.

Bronze Silk Etui with Jade Rabbit Tassel

This is an Etui made with silk and brocade fabrics. When I created the etui, I had just returned from Paris, studying at the House of Lesage, and was totally smitten with couching. The top of the lid was couched with metallic and metal threads and embellished with 1920's hand-cut "tri-cut" brown glass beads. I added a small jade rabbit tassel to the lid.  Inside the sewing case, I covered a tomato pincushion with Mokuba ribbon flowers and more beadwork. Each pocket holds sewing necessities, naturally! I have an old country store counter display case, in the studio, where I keep my favorite pieces. I saw this in the case the other day, and remembered the joy in creating the piece.

Pansies in an old Coal Scuttle

Love pansies. With winter being brutal, having buckets of pansies near the doorway, meant winter would eventually end. I have this "thing" about coal scuttles. When I see one, I think about the hands that carried that bucket loaded with coal. And I am grateful that we never had to burn coal to stay warm.