Working with Ann Cox's book, A-Z of Silk Ribbon Flowers, has been a revelation.
Not that I have dived very deeply as yet, but there are some key concepts here that are going to change the way I do floral embellishments from here on out.
In the book, she divides her different floral renditions according to the degree of difficulty: easy, hard, and most complicated! (My words, not hers.)
I chose an easy one for my first attempt, the aster.
We have perennial asters growing all over the place and I have always loved that flower, too.
So I gathered my materials here....A small vase of some asters, the book and block, some ribbon, beeswax, needles, threads, Dye-Na-Flow, brush....and off I went.
I normally do not like to mark patterns on my embellishment surface, especially in non-removable gelpen ink! But I was trying to follow the directions for once, so I marked my pattern. (Any marks that would end up showing could be covered with black permanent marker, anyways. An old trick!)
The main stem had nine strands of floss. Ann suggests running them through beeswax to get them to form a cohesive line.
Great idea, I never thought of that! You can use dry soap for this too, evidently.
The stems are couched with a few stitches.
I did not have the 2mm silk ribbon called for to use as the petals. And it would have been more aster-like. But that's ok...this 4mm is from RiverSilks. It is already hand-dyed, but Ann's method--and the part that is SO great to me--is that you overdye the ribbon once it is in place. She gives lots of technical tips for how to do this, too.
Now I want to overdye every ribbon flower I ever make!
In the aster example, she just called for a slightly darker magenta painted from the center to about halfway out the petals' lengths.
It is subtle, but can you see the difference?
For the flowers' centers, she was very specific about starting with three strands of floss, two green one yellow, in a 3 wrap French knot, then graduate to two yellows and one green strand, in a smaller knot, to a single strand of yellow in a one wrap knot.
It makes for a more believable flower, doesn't it?
This was a great first exercise....
My husband loves Shirley poppies. Ann ranks her version at the medium level of difficulty, but I think I will be brave and try them next week...