Hello, stitching world ♥ I hope you are safe and well, and that it stays that way.
Today I have a free tutorial for you with some really good ideas. What with everything that is happening in the world and with social distancing and self-isolation, hopefully, this post will inspire you today. You may feel like stitching as it is soothing on the nerves and helps to while away the hours and if you would like us to pack a kit for you of the blue bench (we have a beautiful kit for the design that Rabia Motala made) you are welcome. Please contact us and ask for the Blue Bench kit.
This beautiful piece below was embroidered by the master-embroiderer, Marina Zherdeva.
Her winning piece is shown in part 1 of our e-book featuring all the winners of the silk ribbon embroidery competition and the artist’s guidelines about their entries. So much love and collaboration, it’s uplifting, it really is.
Blue Bench in a Rose Garden
By Marina Zherdeva
Click on the images to enlarge
Marina wrote in English, which is her second language.
Her first language is Russian.
“Ribbon embroidery has captured me with its magic to
transform a flat image into a three-dimensional work of
art. It brings the image to life at a glance – it’s a miracle! It’s the
only kind of embroidery where volume is created by different
materials such as silk ribbons. The best result is achieved with
silk ribbons and especially those hand-dyed by Di van Niekerk.
I just love them, they offer unlimited possibilities in colour
variations and are so natural, so rich in colour, so life-like!
I took up embroidery hobby in 2010 along with my other
hobbies – some painting, cross-stitching and thread painting
during my childhood; and sewing and design at school. My
most recent passion is photography. I’ve learnt about
composition of a design and colour schemes; which I consider
to be the most important factors when choosing a design to
embroider, but my interest in flowers determines my choice of
design in most cases.
What I love most in creative needlework is to combine different
techniques and materials, other than just ribbons and threads,
and achieve extraordinary visual effects. Every design I
choose challenges me to find new ideas and new approaches
to transform the picture into 3D bas-relief – that’s real fun!
Another admirable feature of silk ribbon embroidery is its
simplicity and easiness to get a lovely piece after just a few
Click on the images to enlarge
The charming scene, Blue Bench in a Rose Garden is a design with
great 3D potential, lots of opportunities to make volumetric
elements. I enjoyed each element of my embroidery!”
I worked the white Chamomiles in the middle, below the bench
and in the basket, with French Knots. The white Peonies in the
basket were done with loop stitches. I worked the basket with
twisted silk ribbon.
Wrap a small piece of bowl-shaped plastic or tiny plastic container with thin
plastic film. The film will help to detach the silk base from the plastic. Fix with
an elastic band. Wrap a piece of silk organza over the hat ball to form a silk
base and fix with an elastic band as well.
Apply glue stick on the top of the plastic, where the top of the crown is, and
start a thread spiral just from the centre of the top. Work carefully but quickly
as the glue dries fast. Make sure that every turn of the thread is firmly attached
to the silk and the previous turn. Apply glue around the circumference and
lay turns until the crown height reaches 15mm. The crown is ready. Let it dry
on the container. Do not cut the thread or remove the silk base and plastic
When the crown gets dry, take the container away and carefully stretch the
plastic film and silk base over the disk of cardboard, which works as our ‘pent’
and marks the edges.
As an option, you may insert the bottom of the container through the small round
cut-out on the cardboard (should go through with some effort) and stretch the
plastic film and silk base over the cardboard disk, whatever is easier for you
Apply glue around the circumference on silk and continue laying turns over this
horizontal surface. Make sure that every turn of the thread is firmly attached
to the silk and to the previous turn.
Make pent of the desired width and cut the thread. When the pent is done and dry,
remove the cardboard. Remove the film very carefully. Your thread should be
stuck to the silk base in every point. Apply glue where needed on the reverse
side of the hat. Fix the tail on the reverse. Carefully cut the excess of silk base.
Try to avoid glue spots on the face side of the hat. You may leave the hat white
or paint it with aquarelle pens according to the design. Please note that glue is
sensitive to water, and needs to be dried immediately if the thread gets wet.
Keep in mind the direction of sunlight on the design.
Start to embroider on the left bottom part of Agapanthus
and move towards the upper right part.
Start with ribbon of dark colours underneath; mix darker
colour with lighter colours and use mainly light colour
ribbon on the upper right part of the plant.
Embroider mainly with reverse straight ribbon stitch.
To add air to the Agapanthus leaves make some leaves
connected with the design just by one end.
To prevent fraying, use transparent glue at the cut
sharp leaves edges.
Use thin bead wire and green stranded cotton for each
stem. Make each stem with 10cm of wire and 20cm of
green stranded cotton.
Make a small loop on a piece of bead wire, and attach a
length of thread to it with a knot. Pass the full length of
the thread through a glue stick and wind around the wire,
moving the wire by fingers clockwise or anti-clockwise –
whatever is convenient for you. Make sure the turns of
the thread lay tight together, gently pushing the turns with
your finger. The wire should not be visible. Fix the end tail
of the thread with glue and allow to dry.
Make another small loop at the start end of the wire
again for better fixing in the ball and insert it into the
Agapanthus flower heads
These flower heads are made separately.
Stretch silk organza in the hoop and draw
a 32mm-circle with a sharpened, soft-leaded pencil
or fine fabric marker. This diameter equals to
2 diameters of the ball painted on the design
(d=16 mm). Cover 32 mm-circle fully with loop stitches.
Make French knots (each of 2 turns) with
a thread in the middle of each loop stitch.
Seam around the circle, leave thread tails. Cut out the
circle, leaving 3-4mm of organza. Add some synthetic fuzz,
pull off the thread tails and make a ball, hiding the organza
edges inside. Insert the stem into the ball. Tie the thread
in a knot, hide or cut the tails.
Buds are made the same way as the Agapanthus balls, but
their diameter equals to 20 mm, and the circle is filled with
loose French knots.
The petals of the White Peonies on the bench
are done with white silk ribbon and the
stamens with yellow thread.
The pot with pink geraniums is worked with
long and short stitches.
The grass below the bench and by the pot is
worked with stranded silk. The grass above
the walkway, around the Chamomiles
worked with stacked straight stitches with
stranded silk thread.
Dark colours are embroidered first, below the
lighter colours, with straight and
Stems and flowers
For the Hosta stems, use 0.3mm bead wire and light green wool
thread. The stems of the Hosta are made a bit differently than those
Pull only 5-6cm of a tail of the thread through a glue stick. Wind it
around the wire, covering 2.5-3cm of the wire length to fix this layer
on the wire.
Continue to spin the wire, but the thread should go over the first
layer towards the beginning and should be free of glue. This is
the second layer and forms the soft media to embroider the Hosta
When you reach the beginning, continue to spin and make
the third soft thread layer, go to the end of the wire, fix the tail with
glue. Now you have 2.5-3cm of thick soft thread layer and can easily
embroider Hosta flowers.
Work the two upper rows of smaller flowers with 2mm silk ribbon
and the bottom rows of larger flowers with 4mm silk ribbon.
Hosta leaves are made of 2 ribbons. The top layer is green, and the
bottom layer is white.
Apply glue (from a glue stick) on the white ribbon and let it dry.
Outline a leaf with a marker on the green ribbon and apply glue on
the reverse side. Quickly cut out the green leaf.
Put the green layer over the white ribbon and spread it. Cut a 2-3mm
edge around the white ribbon leaf background using the edges of
the green leaves as a guide. Shape the leaves and let it dry.
Make all the leaves and spread them in accordance with the design.
You may embroider the leaves if there is a tail, or just sew them
You could make the roses as you would in this tutorial.
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the beauty in this scene and that Marina’s notes helped you on the way to making your very own masterpiece. If you would like us to pack a kit for you of the blue bench (we have a beautiful kit for that Rabia Motala made) you are welcome. Please contact us and ask for the Blue Bench kit.
You are welcome to subscribe for free to receive news and updates.
Until then, look after yourself.