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Raffia Sprays of Flowers

Use a piece of ordinary material as a foundation, iron a transfer of flowers and leaves on to it, then embroider the design with glycerined raffia, and the artificial silk raffias which show up effectively against the wider strands.

The worker must use her own discretion in the matter of choosing stitches. For raised centres, introduce French knots, which are just as easily made with raffia as with silk. Flat stitch can be worked over a padding stitch, then other petals formed on top worked in the thicker raffia; one stitch will form a petal most effectively.

For the stalk use satin stitch, and for the leaves open stitches over foundation sticthes worked in the opposite direction. Liaised petals can be formed with buttonhole stitching. These can be worked wi th a needle or crochet hook.

When the embroidery is quite finished, paste at the back a piece of muslin, and press the work. When dry the material will feol stiff. The surrounding material and muslin can now be cut away with a pair of sharp-pointed scissors. The motif is ready to attach to any article as an ornamentation, or used as a hat trimming.

Basket-making – Very pretty baskets for holding needlework can be made with raffia and cane, or plaited and twisted raffia and seagrass. The work is by no means as difficult as might be imagined. 8 cane, which is about ½ inch thick, and glycerined raffia in three colours, will be necessarj. The amount required depends on the number of stitches used to cover the cane. Commence at the base

Do not make the cane very wet, but dip it into water, then roll it up in a wet cloth and use it as required. Dry cane will split when it is turned to make the close rings for the base of a basket.

Having moistened the cane to make it pliable, turn into a close ring, and secure the end with raffia. Bind the cane very thoroughly, using raffia double in the needle, and after the extreme centre is fixed wind the cane round. Do this first to get it to shape easily, but remember it must not be dripping wet while it is being worked.

Take the needle through from behind, bring it out under a row of cane, then put the needle under the cane – not yet secured – and let the raffia come over; insert the needle again from behind, and bring it out close to or on top of the last stitch.

It is always possible to make two or more stitches on top of each other without any trouble, as the needle passes always between the rows. The aim must always be to cover the cane.

When starting a now length of raffia, thread the needle either with two strands the same length, or use more strands to make them the same thickness as the strands first used, and to prevent the strands separating, or becoming rough, bind them with another piece of raffia of the same colour.

For this purpose take a very fine strand and slip the needle along as each overcasting stitch is made. A needle with a large eye will take several strands of raffia, and the binding stitches will easily work in with the strands. Continue working until the base measures about five or six inches across, then commence the side of the basket.

The advantage of this stitch is that both sides of the basket are neat, and the cane cannot slip out of position so easily as it might do if simple overcasting stitches were used.

Note how the basket gradually increases in circumference. When eight rows of cane have been attached, change the colour of the raffia for the next three rows, then commonce the pattern. The first row of this is the same size as the last one of the border, but the next four rows gradually decrease.

To make the points, make two stitches in dark coloured raffia, then fourteen in the light colour, or better still, work ½ inch dark, and 2 inches light, and continue all round. For the next row, work ½ inch in dark, bringing the point in the centre, and If inches in fight raffia.

The next row will have less light stitches and more dark stitches to bring the points a good shape until the top row is reached. Cover this with dark raffia and work a second row of stitches on top of the first row, to make a very firm edge. The reverse or inside should look as neat as the right side, but for a needlework basket a silk lining is always advisable. This can be made from half a yard of silk.

To make the lining

Fust cover a piece of cardboard the exact size of the base of the basket with the Bilk, hem the side piece after seaming the ends together, and run a thread in the hem to gather up to the basket. Sew the other edge of the base, then put the lining inside the basket and tack in position with stitches taken through the basket to the gathered edge.

A loose drop handle is always useful on a basket, and one can be made from two lengths of twisted cane, or plaited raffia bound with the same colours as used for the basket.

If a lid is required this can be made quite easily, starting from the centre in the samo manner as for the base of the basket. Work until the lid measures the exact sizo of the top edgo of the basket. The pattern can be repeated at the odgo of the lid, or a fancy centre made with raffia after the actual binding is done.

To make a hinge, use twisted raffia and bind over the edge of the lid and the last two rows of the basket. If a fastener is desired, take a large dome-shaped button and cover it with raffia worked with a needle in rows of buttonhole stitohes. Sew this button to the front of the basket and attach a plaited loop to the edge of the lid to fasten.

Should the worker prefer to make a carrying basket with a firm handle, this can be done. Cut 29 inches of No. S cane in one strip, pass one end through from the inside, then the other end through the opposite side of the basket, bring the ends up to the centre, and after binding the looped cane to the basket edge, secure the ends on top of the other piece of cane, binding tfiem firmly. Then the handle can be bound very tightly with glycerincd raffia, to match the colours in the design. Baskets made of cane and raffia are very strong, and suitable for almost every purpose.

Curtain nets look very attractive with a border worked with raffia. If the curtain is unmade, turn in the selvedge edges and work a double line of cross stitches the same on both sides.

At the end of the curtain a 3 inch hem should be turned up. Cut in line with a horizontal thread, and with cotton to match, oversew this thread to the other part of the net, to make the hem as invisible as possible.

If a deep border is desired, the design can start immediately on this line, and continue up the curtain for 12 or 14 inches. A design suitable for this depth would be large daisies or tulips, with their natural foliage.

On a smaller curtain a rose pattern always looks dainty. The leaves and stalks are in one shade of green, and the rose in pink, with red shading. This would be an easy design to copy.

Commence to work the flat stitches over the number of holes indicated in the Chart in a perpendicular direction for the rose in the pattern. Work the loaf on the left in the same direction but use horizontal stitches for the other leaves. This change of direction gives a slight difference to the tone of the raffia.

Use double raffia in the needle so that the canvas is well covered on the right and wrong side of the design. Fasten off the ends securely, and when starting a fresh length of raffia, carry the thread under the last few stitches; work over and secure-Almost any cross-stitch design can be followed in working raffia embroidery on canvas or net.

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