CQJP July Block

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chikan Embroidery

I signed up to join in the SAL with Anita, who is teaching us a different style of embroidery.  Chikan embroidery often decorates clothing, and the stitches used create a shadow effect on the fabric.
 The first stitch we learned appears like a straight stitch on the fabric surface, but creates a herringbone design on the reverse. If the fabric is translucent or transparent, the design shows through to add dimension and interest.

I began with a piece of muslin, and stitched a small practice bit.

As I held the embroidery up to the window, I could see the herringbone design from behind.
Hmmm, I wondered if another fabric might show it better?

I have this piece of almost burgundy fabric. It's light and almost sheer.
You can see it has a pattern of its own, but I thought I would try it anyway and see what happened. Experiment a little.

I tried two strands of white embroidery floss, but I felt the colour difference was too much, and it looked chunky on the sheer fabric. I was hoping for a more subtle effect.

So I tried 1 strand of floss. The shadow shows through nicely, but it was too white against the dark fabric, for me.
 Next, I tried pink tatting thread size 80. The shadow shows through nicely, but I wasn't fond of how the pink looked.

Hard to please, aren't I? lol
Then I tried red sewing thread, two strands.

This was too subtle!

It's a little difficult to see.

Not wishing to give up too easily, (what do you mean, stubborn? lol) I tried the pink thread a second time.

I still didn't like the colour, even though it shows up a lot better than the red.
 But the shadow work didn't quite show up as well as the two floss strands......

Back to square 1!

I'm using a light variegated, hand-dyed embroidery floss, called Pink Grapefruit. As you can see, the colour variations are subtle.

 Holding the fabric up to the window, I see my stitches look more even.

Maybe all that practicing really wasn't a waste of time!

And, for now, I've satisfied my curiosity.

You can see the colour variations more easily with the light shining through the muslin.

Now, I'm almost finished lesson 1.
Which is a good thing, because lesson 2 has been posted!

Thanks Anita.

I'm off to do some more stitching!

Hope you're having fun doing something you enjoy.

Thanks for visiting.

Hugs from Suz


  1. You did a lot of research!
    It looks an interesting style of embroidery.
    I noticed you placed your name on all pictures. Do you do that to "protect" your pictures. I read somewhere something about Pinterest, that was not right. I'll look for it.

  2. Thanks! Yes, I put a watermark on my photos for copywrite reasons.
    I'm interested in what you read on Pinterest. Thanks.

  3. I am stitching away on my piece too! I will try to post some photos later today. I like how you did a bit of experimentation with the threads and fabrics. I am using DMC 80 wieght thread 2 strands to stitch mine. There is a nice rythmn with this stitch, don't you think?

  4. You're right about the rhythm, Deb. I did most of the muslin stitching yesterday. Once I got going, I didn't want to put it down, but I have some difficulty keeping my stitches the same size. I usually stitch larger, so it's a learning process.

  5. Your experimenting is far more patience than I would have. I do like your stitching on the muslin as it shows so nicely. This is such an interesting type of embroidery. Thank you for sharing. Blissful stitching...

  6. wow super works...keep going..

  7. Suztats,
    That's wonderful! When in doubt, you find out what you want & how to get it that way. It will be wonderful to see it when it's all done. You will be very pleased & proud of it. Keep up the amazing job & thankyou for sharing with all of us.

  8. Thank you so much, Createology. I find there is a certain blissfulness about the rhythmic stitching in hand work, and the shadow design is quite pretty, I think.
    Hope you're having a creative day.

    Thank you Rajisaj!

    Thanks Bsotf! I took last night off, but I think I'm ready to do some more stitching. I like the shadow effect.
    Hugs from Suz

  9. i love ur patience to experiment all these.... and the final outcome is great....great work suz

  10. this looks like brilliant class....and I love the colour of the darker piece of cloth.

  11. Hi Nancie. Thank you.

    Hi Karen,
    I love that fabric, too. It shimmers, and sometimes glows orange. I think the pattern would have looked fabulous in gold thread, don't you?

  12. Oh boy Suz! you are doing such a lovely job with this stitching and you certainly have the patience for it - I can see that!
    It is beautiful!
    Thanks for visiting and leaving a lovely comment on my blog re my quilt.
    Have a great Sunday!

  13. Thank you Suzy. I'm almost finished lesson 2. It's fun learning new stitches.

  14. Thanks for posting your experiments. I'm wondering if Chikan is another form of shadow work which I learned to do many moons ago (and have forgotten all I learned).

  15. It could be, Magpie. Other stitchers have mentioned the similarity. There's a second class if you want a refresher course.

  16. You have done a great job on your paisley so far. All that practice did help perfect the final product, lol. This work is a form of shadow work but it will also include some pulled work and other techniques in the same process, as Anita explained to us early on. It is the shadow of the work, not the stitches that you are supposed to see so don't worry so much about holding it up to the light to try and see the stitches as herringbone, lol. You are a great stitcher and your practicing to find the proper number of threads to use and the color that would show up best show you take pride in what you do. I love the overdyed effect even though it isn't traditional. I might try that myself. Keep up the good work.

    Hugs, Shari

  17. Thank you Shari for your lovely comment! I'd forgotten about the pulled work and other techniques, so I'm glad you mentioned them. They should be a lot of fun to learn. I look forward to seeing your paisley.

  18. Thanks Ina. There's lots of time to catch up.

  19. I've never heard of this embroidery before and it's going to be gorgeous when you're finished!! Thanks for posting all the different experimenting you did :)

  20. Thanks JennyPennnyPoppy! It's fun to learn new stitches. Anita is having a second SAL, so you may be able to join in if you like. Happy Spring!


  21. Nice experimenting! I should do that. Your stitching looks perfect.


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