Friday, February 26, 2010

Shanghai Circle - Karen

Shanghai Circle.
aprox. 8 inches square
cotton, satin, embroidered with DMC cotton floss
I finished this in the nick of time. The challenge photo of  Chinese food brought to my mind a world of textures. My first solid idea was to do a coiled fabric spiral and wrap it with embroidery floss. I was going to take strips of the gold satin and wrap it around a pipping cord. Thats when I scorched it! Now, it wasnt a total 'Ah-Ha!' moment but I did see the texture that formed from the steam iron holes. It dawned on me that here was something doing exactly  what I wanted to do!
Scrapping the cording idea I put together a circle of the scorched fabric to mirror the plate shape of the photo. This is the fabric as it was just beginning to get scorched to within an inch of its life!
The satin went from soft and supple to dense and stiff almost plastic feeling. My cut and pieced circle could fly like a frisbee!
Now, given that I was on a time frame that was getting shorter and shorter I decided to stick with an 8 inch square frame. I would have liked to do this one larger but with the amount of stitching I envisioned I knew that I had to scale back.
I did a feather and blanket stitch variation to anchor it to the background fabric. and went to work on the inner satin with french knots and feather stitches. I just loved how the steam hole circles looked like peas in a pod. Here in the low angle shot you can see some of its dimensions.
Rian said the photo was taken while she was in Shanghai China. I searched the web to find the Chinese characters for the city. I embroidered them with satin stitches.
To add interest and a bit of the straight line graphic the photo had I did some Kantha stitches in a striped pattern with floss. I did find that it is not squared up really well. That is something I will most likely fix now that the time crunch is done!!


  1. When I read about your satin "mistake" on your blog, I knew you were going to use it to its new best advantage. You certainly did! The texture of this photo could be the basis of yet another challenge and someone like you with such exquisite embroidery skills would naturally be drawn to all that possibility!

    I love the sleek and straightforward approach you took. I also applaud your restraint; I know that had to have been hard!

    Nice work, Karen!

  2. I love the scorched satin!!!! It's (satin) so much more texturally interesting this way!!!

    A lovely piece.

  3. This is delightful!

    The textures you've made with the melted/scorched fabric and stitches are "yummy". Talk about serendipity. And the Chinese characters for the city where the photo was taken is inspired.

  4. PS: Were you thinking in terms of all this being composed on the pink napkin that's in the photo?

  5. thank you all. Nellie, originally I was going to use the pink napkin at an angle under a much larger satin circle ( palate ) but I scaled it all back due to time. There are wonderfulgold swirlls in the background of the photo and I had wanted to use them as well.Another time.

  6. WOW!!! I love it when "mistakes" turn into successes! What an interesting way to manipulate the fabric, and the finished product is nothing short of seductively stunning. I think you're onto something here.

  7. The first thing I see in this is the beautiful, and totally unexpected, color scheme. Then the plate and its texture comes into focus. That's lovely too. I agree with Nellie about the characters and I also like the lines of kantha stitches. What a great story about how it all happened!

  8. You definitely are talented using the needle and thread to create glorious texture and depth. I was intrigued with seeing the scorched fabric on your blog and I am Wowed with how it turned out so perfectly. The chinese words complete the Interpretation!

  9. I love the satin texture! I have a piece at home just screaming for a similar treatment.

  10. The color scheme really is gorgeous-very elegant and sumptuous. I particularly like the dimensionality that you always seem to achieve with your stitching and especially this time with the satin treatment. It just looks like a nice balance between the right number of elements and the treatments that you gave each one.

  11. I liked the scorched satin before you embellished it and now, I'm in serious covet mode - absolutely scrumptious! I love the calming texture created by the kantha stitching.

  12. Wow, scorched fabric-genius. It looks very elegant and the embroidery is lovely. The Kantha stitching is so nicely done. Beautiful colors too.

  13. Wow- I love everything about this- the simplicity, the colors, and that scorched satin is over the top! Elegant and gorgeous!

    Just in case I ever want to scorch satin- just how hot was your iron?

  14. Beverly, My iron is ages old and it gets really hot if I am not careful to keep it around the low middle setting. For the scorching I had it all the way to high...The satin was instantly transformed!


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