Three Silk Ribbon Embroidery Designs

Lynne Redderson 2007

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A crazy quilt is the perfect vehicle for Silk Ribbon Embroidery. Floral ribbon motifs can embellish a patch and silk ribbon adds another dimension to decorative seam treatments. Because crazy quilts have a backing fabric, this is the perfect place to weave your ends of ribbon without the bulk of knots.

Hints for working with Silk Ribbon:
Always cut your ribbon ends at an angle to prevent fraying.
Use at most a 12-inch length of ribbon to avoid wear.
Anchor your ribbon to the needle after threading by piercing one end of the ribbon with the needle and pulling gently on the other end.
Secure the ribbon on the back of your CQ by taking a small stitch through the backing fabric, leaving a short tail, then stitching through this tail.

Redderson Ruffle

24 inches of 2mm ribbon
Chenille needle

I call this stitch the Redderson Ruffle; it makes a wonderful ruffled flower. It is stitched in a similar manner to a bullion, in that it is formed on the needle, then pulled back to its starting point. The Redderson Ruffles on the sample are done in turquoise.

Using the marker of your choice, draw a small triangle on your fabric. Each side of the triangle should measure slightly larger than inch. Thread a chenille needle with about 12 inches of 2mm silk ribbon. Secure the ribbon on the back of your CQ near A. Bring your needle up at A. Go down at B and bring your needle up as shown in the picture, piercing the ribbon just to the left of A. Don't pull your needle through. Push down on the eye end of the needle so the sharp end pokes up slightly. Push ribbon loops onto the needle as shown in the picture until there are six loops. These loops should be about inch high. (the loops in the picture are slightly enlarged for easier viewing) This may seem awkward at first; it takes some practice. If a loop is too small or too large, just remove it from the needle and push it back on correctly; any holes in the ribbon will disappear. When this stitch is completed, the large loops forming the ruffles on the needle will stand up and the small loops will be against the fabric. Holding the gathered ruffles intact near the fabric with your thumb, pull your needle through them, then pull your needle toward A so the ruffles are between A and B. Insert your needle at B as shown in the picture. The loops should stand up, not lay flat or sideways on the fabric. To form a ruffled flower, work one of these stitches on each side of the triangle. Twelve inches of ribbon is sufficient to make two of the three ruffle stitches needed for this flower, unless you make your loops very large. Use an 8-10 inch length of ribbon for the third and final ruffle stitch.

Couched Butterfly

12 inches 7mm silk ribbon
Chenille needle
Two strands floss to match ribbon
Embroidery needle for floss

Begin with 12 inches of 7mm silk ribbon. Thread each end of the ribbon with a chenille needle. Be sure to anchor each end of the ribbon to a needle.

Draw an X on your fabric to mark the wings; each leg of the X is slightly longer than one inch. Lay the ribbon down flat over one leg of the X. If you are using hand-dyed ribbon, position your ribbon to show its color variations to the greatest advantage. Holding the ribbon flat with one thumb, pierce the center of the ribbon at the top of the X with one needle to form the top of the wing. Pull the needle gently through to the underside of the fabric. This forms a Ribbon Stitch, making the edges of the ribbon curl in slightly.

Thread an embroidery needle with two strands of embroidery floss. I used red floss for greater visibility. Lay a diagonal couching stitch over the ribbon as shown in the picture. Be sure the couching stitch is long enough to allow the ribbon to remain flat. Fold the ribbon over the couching stitch and finger-press the fold. Hold your couching stitch taut with your non-stitching hand. Using the other chenille needle, pierce the ribbon at the bottom of the X as shown in the picture and pull gently through to the underside of the fabric.

One half of your butterfly is now done as shown in the picture. Repeat this same procedure with the other wing. Your second couching stitch should use the same holes as the first to ensure the two halves of the butterfly lie snug against each other. Use the embroidery floss to secure the ribbon ends on the back without pulling. Add beads for the body and antennae, if desired.

Smaller butterflies could be used to embellish a seam if desired. In this case, mark a smaller X on your fabric and use 4mm ribbon.

Bullion-Tipped Lazy Daisy

24 inches 4mm silk ribbon
Chenille needle

Although this is not a difficult stitch to master, it is not often seen on contemporary crazy quilts. That is puzzling, as it is very pretty and quick to stitch. This stitch can be seen in sets of three in fuchsia dyed ribbon. Use a chenille needle and 12 inches of 4mm ribbon. I have a small pattern that I've drawn on paper that I use to plan the placement of my flower. You can make your own pattern, or just mark the position of each of the three petals. Each finished petal is about 5/8 inch long.

Work the left-most petal first. Bring your needle up at A. Go down just to the right of A and bring the needle up halfway to B as shown in the picture. Don't pull the needle through.

Wrap the ribbon under the needle and around the needle two more times, keeping the ribbon flat. Pull down gently on the working ribbon so the wraps lay on top of each other. Place the thumb of your non-stitching hand over the wraps and pull the needle through with your stitching hand.

Insert the needle at B near the top of the wraps as shown. Your first petal is done. Repeat this for the other two petals to complete your flower.

Lynne Redderson: At the age of sixteen, Lynne would accompany her mother, an antique dealer, to antique shows to sell her hand-embroidered jeans patches. She's been stitching ever since. When her mother was laid up with heart problems, Lynne taught her to embroider, a switch from the traditional mother-daughter teaching. This started a mother/daughter crazy quilt journey. Lynne was a designer for Rainbow Gallery for several years. She has written a Group Correspondence Course on Silk Ribbon Embroidery for the Embroidery Guild of America. If she's not stitching, she's just not happy.

See more of Lynne's Stitching on her blog.

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