Shibori Stitching Experiments

Yesterday was “Black Friday” when everyone is supposed to go shopping.  Since I’ve been one of those “buy nothing” people on that day for many years, for me it was a wonderful day off.  Instead of shopping, I decided to do some experimenting with Shibori stitched resist.  I keep a stash of white dish towels that are good for dyeing to use as last minute gifts and/or gift wrapping.  They aren’t of a super high quality, but since I’ve never really done much shibori stitched resist, I figured they would work as a beginning place and I wouldn’t ruin any “good” fabric if it didn’t work out.    


My husband told me I should have taken some pictures of the stitching before I dyed the dish towel, but I didn’t.  I think in my mind it wasn’t going to work out very well, so I figured it would just be more wasted pictures and I didn’t feel like the taking the time.  I just wanted to get on with the project.  Here are my results (and I do wish now I’d listened and taken a few pictures of the stitiching, but I’ll try to remember to do that next time :)) :


In the picture above, the color is a little washed out. I used Dharma trading’s blue-violet dye, as I like the way it often seperates into different colors and was happy that it worked out that way this time, too.  These detail pictures are a little closer to the actual color:



  I’m thinking more stitching is on the agenda for today.


Another Star Ornament

I love star shapes and recently was browsing the internet for instructions for making star books.  The last time I did that, it led to an ornament on my blog (found here:  This time, the results were the same, although the design is new.  I think these are actually easier than the the first star ornaments and also offer the potential for lots of embellishments.

I’m sure that this isn’t really something new- I’m sure I’ve seen this sort of ornament somewhere before.  However, I didn’t find any instructions for them during my internet search, so I’m offering my version (I did find some very similar ornaments that someone is offering for sale using the custom images of your choice, which reinforced my idea that the instructions must be out there somewhere).

For my version, I used a few different choices for paper:  some multi-use 24 lb copy paper, both plain and stamped with paint; a paper grocery bag stamped with paint; and magazine pages glued together with a glue stick (the bottom two ornaments are made with magazine/catalog pages glued together).

Now for the instructions:  Cut your chosen paper into strips.  I chose to make my strips 2-1/2 inches wide.

Then cut the strips into squares- you will need either 5 or 6 squares.  Most of the ornaments above were made with 5 segments, but the bottom ornament made with the Lee Valley catalog cover uses 6- it’s up to you.

Next, fold all squares in half:

Open it up and fold it in half the other way:

Next, open it up again, flip it over and fold it diagonally.  If you are using a paper with images on only one side, those images will be on the outside during the first folds and on the inside during this fold:

Now, open up the paper, and on the right side, fold the little triangles that have been made inside the squares.  This is hard to explain, but easy to do:

Repeat these steps until there are  5 (or 6) pieces folded:

Now, the pieces are glued or taped together.  For most of the ones I’ve made, I used glue stick, but I tried double sided tape and found out that it worked out, too- and it’s a bit less messy.  Either way, apply glue or tape to one section and then stack the next piece on top:

Continue until all pieces are stuck together:

Next, cut two pieces of ribbon, jute, string, etc.  I tend to cut ribbon a bit longer than I think will be needed and then trim it at the end if it turns out to be a bit long.  Fold ornament into a stack and glue or tape ribbon on to one side:

Next, cut two more pieces of paper to be the covers of the book.  You can make it exactly the same size as the folded star or make it a bit bigger.  I chose to make mine the same size, so cut out one piece from my original strip of paper that was 1-1/4 by 2-1/2 inches and then cut it in half one more time.

Use glue or double sided tape to attach  this paper, covering up the corner of the ribbon that has just been attached:

Repeat on second side:

The ornament will now look like this:

Now bring the two ribbons together so that the ornament forms a complete star.  Slip a bead onto the ribbons and tie a knot in the end of the ribbons:

The finished star is now ready to hang.  For storage or to display the ornament in book form, the bead can be pushed to the other end of the ribbon and the star can be folded to become a book.  Push the bead back down to the end to keep it in this position:

I think that these ornaments would be beautiful made with some of the art papers I’ve seen, using nicer beads.  All sorts of recycled papers could be used, too.  I’ve also been experimenting with using stiffened fabric instead of paper, but those results aren’t ready for the blog yet (and you don’t really want to know why, although I’ll tell you that it involved my cats…).