Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Flat Silk and Twisted Silk from Flat Silk…


You know by now that I’ve got this problem I call Fiber Infatuation. I’m a thread-a-holic, and I love anything that has to do with embroidery threads. It’s rather a sickness, as I end up with a glut of threads that I rarely use. Sometimes, I just organize them and separate them for the fun of it. Weird, I know. I’m afraid I might be the Silas Marner of the Thread World…

You Can Twist Flat Silk and Embroider With It!

Yesterday, Carol-Anne of Threads Across the Web posted a magnificent article on using flat silk. She shows us what the Japanese flat silk looks like in its original state, and then doubled thicker. And then – oh, wonderful! – she shows us how the Japanese silk looks when you twist it with different numbers of strands.

She’s got the silk all lined up there, so we can enlarge the photo and look at the different threads created from the original flat silk.

Then, she takes the whole post further, by showing us what the twisted threads look like when stitched.

As I commented on her post, I’m going to suffer from Thread Distraction until I can play with some Japanese silk and make up some of that glorious twisted thread to stitch with. I’m just twitterpated with the whole idea!

Types of Flat Silk and Where to Find It

I buy my Japanese flat silk from the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta, Georgia. They have a nice website and online shop that you should visit if you’re interested in these threads. You can also find handmade needles there, and different types of Japanese golds.

Besides Japanese flat silk, I’ve worked with Eterna, which is a Chinese flat silk with a little (barely noticeable) twist to it. I don’t know if you could twist it like you do with the Japanese flat silk, but I’m keen to try. I’ve also worked with Helen Stevens’s silk – which is the same as Piper’s silk – and with Soie Ovale by Au Ver a Soie (the flat silk that I used on the wool on the Agnus Dei project). Additionally, I’ve used Kreinik’s soie platte, which is very similar to the Au Ver a Soie flat silk. Overall, so far, I like the Soie Ovale best, because it seems to have more body.

But… with this new information from Carol-Anne, you can bet your little boots I’m going to play with the Japanese silk and try to come up with a nice twist to stitch with.

Strangely enough, when looking up close at some old ecclesiastical pieces, I’ve noticed that sometimes, there are threads that look just like a softly twisted flat silk. I can’t help wondering if perhaps the same technique was used. I can’t wait to play and find out!

I’ll be sure to let you know how my efforts pan out.

Progress on Silk and Goldwork Christmas Ornament

Other news: I did, in fact, get the green shading done on my Christmas ornament. For those of you who expressed an opinion on the direction of the ornament, thank you! I’m taking it all into consideration!

But – WOE IS ME – you know what I did? I started couching on some pearl purl, and in snipping a piece of it, I cut straight into one of the satin stitched red diamonds. I just grazed about three threads with the very tippiest tip of my goldwork scissors. How forlorn was I, I cannot begin to say!! Tomorrow, I’ll give you a few photos of the green shading with the beginning of the goldwork, along with a view of the snipping tragedy, and I’ll tell you what the remedy is in a situation like that!

Enjoy your weekend!


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(2) Comments

  1. Hey, Mary, I love the ornament. On my icon with the sheep, I used Eterna twisted in several places because I liked the colors better. It works well, but, first you have to completely separate the strands, then separate each strand into 2 twisted strands, then, stroke each strand with your tekobari, then you can twist. By the way, Kay Stanis on her The Gilded Edge website also has some very good tutorials on flat silk. One thing I would really recommend is using an exfolliant on your hands the night before and using hand cream in the morning, but, be sure to wash off any creams or lotions before handling the silk. Congrats, Anneg in NC

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