Meet Your Suppliers: River Silks

Allison Aller 2010

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Like so many crazy quilters, I am a big fan of silk ribbon embroidery (SRE) and love to use it in my work. I've become a true fan of the ribbon sold by River Silks for its high quality and brilliant colors, and was pleased when I got to visit them in Kirkland, Washington to learn more about them.

It's a family business, founded by Paul and Jean Krynicki over six years ago. Paul passed away last September, but Jean and her three daughters are moving forward with the business, which continues to grow.

Paul and Jean shared a love for three things throughout their life together: textiles, travel, and along the way, needlepoint. These passions combined when they started River Silks, traveling all through Asia to source the very highest quality silk ribbon that will not run or fray and is colorfast.

Their search eventually led to a small mill in China. Jean told me that there are very, very few machines that can handle the high thread count of the ribbon River Silks sells, and just as few weavers who can adjust those machines to the Krynickis' specifications. They also found expert dyers whom they worked with to create an astounding palette of 270 colors (72 of which are over-dyed).

They have traveled to this factory and "broken bread" with the master weavers and dyers, who tell them that no one demands the high quality which River Silks requires!

Jean is in the middle of some major remodeling at her home where the business is based. This picture shows Jean and all the available colors of the ribbon taking over her dining room for the moment (remodeling will be finished by February).

The inventory is stored in Jean's garage. This is just some of it!

The ribbon comes in 4 mm, 7mm, and 13mm widths, and is organized as such.

River Silks' website is being reworked by Jean and Paul's talented daughter, Jill, but in the meantime you can go see the individual colors, color collections, and kits they have available here:

While you cannot order directly from their website, they have an extensive roster of retailers, both online and brick and mortar listed on their site and are adding more every week (not only in the USA, but also in Australia, Norway, Germany, and England.) Their innovative business practice requires no minimum order by any retailer. This means if you go to your local shop or online retailer and request 3 spools of 4mm ribbon in specific colors, the shop can order just those 3 spools. This is a customer-oriented approach that also benefits the shops. And we want to support those shops!

You can contact Jean directly to find out the nearest place to order your ribbon as well.

River Silks guarantees the quality of their ribbon and will gladly replace any that might be defective (though that is very rare).

I've used their ribbon for years and love it. My latest experiment is to use it in needlepunching. I'll be writing about that in our next issue.

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