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Silk Damask or Jaquard

JeanetteR | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Dear All,

Greetings from Sydney Australia!  It’s hot and humid, 32 degreesC, but the bushfires are all out.  I do some sewing, a little machine quilting, but in the last year have discovered the pleasures of Stumpwork a hand embroidery technique perfected in modern times by Jane Nicholas.

Does anyone know a mail order shop which has a good selection of silk damask or jaquard for an embroidery project from Inspirations?  It does not seem to be available in Australia, and searching Google has been fairly fruitless, with only one reply from email enquiries.  Obviously I am not after commercial quantities, which rules out a lot of suppliers too.

With thanks



  1. ElonaM | | #1

    Have you tried http://www.thaisilks.com?


    Many of us here use them, and have been quite satisfied with both the merchandise and the prices.

    1. JeanetteR | | #2


      Thank you for this reccommendation, I will check out the site thoroughly and also let you know if I have success!  Thanks again


    2. JeanetteR | | #3


      Thanks once again.  I've emailed Thai Silks with a scan of the actual fabric I'm trying to get...I sent for the kit, but it was v.expensive ($81.00 Aus) and there should be enough of the embroidery threads left for a second one for my friend's birthday, as she really admired the project in the magazine - but the fabric was elusive, and obviously the kit included only exactly the fabrics needed for one.  Any other toning dupion silk can be used for the lining for the second sweet-bag, which is widely available here.

      Being (mostly!) a frugal soul, if I can make two with the threads supplied, it'll sort of halve the outlay, or so I tell myself!


      1. JeanetteR | | #4

        Dear Elona

        Thanks for your messsage about Thai Silks, they wrote back saying it was a damask and that they didn't have these fabrics in stock.  At least they wrote back!

        Thanks again

        Jeanette - still on the hunt!

        1. ElonaM | | #5

          Jeanette, you’ve probably done the google search thing for silks, but here are a few I picked off. The first two have received good reviews from folks at Sewing World.












          (Just for curiosity, this last one has several views of a silk damask coronation dress of Elizabeth I of England. She wore good stuff, it seems.)

          Edited 2/20/2003 5:31:14 PM ET by Elona

          Edited 2/20/2003 6:05:22 PM ET by Elona

          1. JeanetteR | | #6

            Dear Elona,

            What a fantastic list to work through, this will take a little while to check out!  I'll do this when I have a block of time, and email to them about minimum yardages and postage costs.  (Some companies have steep charges!)  Airmail to Australia always costs a packet.

            Very kind of you to take the trouble to compile all these good references for me.  By the way how do you write and email with a link straigh to a website, I'm not terribly au fait with the technology!

            I'll write and let you know how I get on!!!!!   Are you an embroiderer or sewer to be so familiar with so many silk shops?

            Kind regards


          2. ElonaM | | #7

            I do sew, embroider, knit, and so forth. I've also surfed the web a bit, and know how to find things. Are you familiar with the search engine Google? It is quite powerful, and if you are interested in something--just about anything--you can type in a couple of relevant words and get a lot of information.

            As to the links, I work with a Mac, because I really am not a computer geek, but it appears that the system recognizes the characteristics of a website address and automatically highlights them when you type them into text.

          3. JeanetteR | | #8

            Well, I'll just try it on my PC and see what happens.  Mac users seem very loyal to the brand and swear they are easier to use.  Still no time to check out all the addresses, as I had our last stumpwork hummingbird class at 1pm, which was a beautiful project in Inspirations no 36, Nature's Jewel (scroll down to kit 36/2)and I will try to make a link to show you!!!  It is  http://www.countrybumpkin.com.au/cgi-bin/shop/bumpkin.cgi?page=frame_quicksearch.html&keywords=inskits         hey, let me know if this works    I just copied the address from the bar and pasted it.                                                           

            Off to pick up my twins (3yrs) from pre-school and then the chaos starts again for another week!!!  What a nice chat room, Threads is a great magazine.  Have a great weekend


          4. JeanetteR | | #9

            Me again, yes I am familiar with Google, but sometimes the answers are only as good as the question!

            That link seemed to work except that if you click preview it goes off somewhere else, but if you click the small image of the humming bird it then shows a bigger picture.  the real thing is about 10" across and stunning.  This is my love at the moment, stumpwork, and soaks up most of my time.  My original query was about the damask from the project on the cover of this same magazine and issue, but they've taken it off the list of kits, my guess is they were unable to source more of the silk damask!

            Must fly


          5. ElonaM | | #10

            The link worked like a charm, and that hummingbird project really is beautiful, Jeanette! Stumpwork is one thing I've never attempted, and this item is awe-inspiring. Very high-relief work, no?

          6. JeanetteR | | #11

            Yes stumpwork is the most challenging form of embroidery I've come across, and I couldn't go back to cross-stitch now!  It is mostly done with one strand of thread, and is very 3-dimensional.  The English style is mostly needlelace (boring) with each item say of clothing done separately and sewn onto a padded form like a person.  You might as well call it applique and be done with it. 

            The most beautiful modern proponent is Jane Nicholas of Bowral NSW - this is about 1h20m away SW on the motorway from here, she has a wonderful shop there with all the supplies and kits.  I've seen many copies of her books for sale on ebay when I search on stumpwork.  I have all 3 and there is oanother due out in October.  Here is a link to her 2nd book.  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/186351208X/ref=lib_dp_TFCV/104-1274745-4237519?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader#reader-linkI've done the project on the cover and quite a few more.  She also publishes projects in Inspirations form time to time.  The Hummingbird author, Wendy Innes,  is one of her pupils and was taught by her when she held classes in Calgary.  I had this on good authority from John Nicholas when I was last at their shop!

            Jane's work is exquisite, the insects look like real sample beasties, and her insructions are excellent.  She is a lovely lady, and used to teach high school science, I met her at the last Stitches & Craft show in Sydney . Mostly the 3-d effect is acheived by embroidering slips or shapes on extra fabric, with the shape partly outlined in wire (so you can shape it)  which is overcast or buttonholed, the middle bit 'filled in', then cut out and the retained wire ends then sunk through to the back of the main fabric which has surface embroidery also, for instance on that bird, the back tail feathers, front wing, and lots of the petals are all done separately then applied at the end.

              It is very time consuming and lovely http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1863511830/ref=lib_dp_TFCV/104-1274745-4237519?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader#reader-link  her is a link to her book 1.  I amalgamated the medieval mirror frames from teh front and the back covers of this one to make a clock.  Still not framed as I've not yet tied up some gorgeous hands and a quartz mechanism.

            I do hope I'm not boring you with this...it is a real passion.  I was asked to teach it this term but it didn't work out.


          7. ElonaM | | #12

            Far from boring--breathtaking is more like it!

          8. User avater
            ehBeth | | #13

            Thanks for this interesting discussion. I've really enjoyed it, and the links.


          9. JeanetteR | | #14

            Dear ehBeth,

            I am so glad that you found this of interest.  One is mindful of posting to a wider audience, but can really get caught up in 'your thing', especially after receiving helpful replies from individuals, and continuing these conversations.  The stumpwork embroidery is truly my thing now, but I also do Temari, and have recently finished (phew!) my second large quilt for my twin daughter- am only intending to ever make one more, for my twin son.  back to the stumpwork!

            It's so nice to be able to join in to a lovely wider group of sewers who share your interests, and people are very generous with their time when you find passions in common.


            Edited 2/25/2003 8:32:39 PM ET by Jeanette

          10. User avater
            ehBeth | | #15

            Jeanette, I'm more of a quilter and knitter these days when it comes to hand-crafting, but i've got to say one of the things i've really enjoyed about this site is the way people share their love of their craft / art.  I've been more focused on more stitchery-type crafts at other times (i loved to cross-stitch with my mother when i was about 6 or 7 years old, and MADE her bring out the tablecloth we were working on), and i can easily imagine getting 'caught' by stumpwork. I've seen some extraordinary examples of antique stumpwork at auctions here and would have loved one box i saw (that a canadian museum ended up winning).

            Thanks for sharing your passion!

          11. JeanetteR | | #16


            All your links you gave me for silk retailers have been checked out, and bookmarked.  Thank you for letting me know about these fab. stores, the eQuilter site esp looks fantastic.

            The easiest approach seems to have worked out well - it turns out the publishers of the original project and suppliers of the kit, Country Bumpkin, were after more of the same fabric which had origally been horrendously expensive. (about $200 per metre!!!)  They had not yet sourced more and required some for their kits, and even have the author, who is visiting the USA, searching for more.

            My best contact seemed to have been http://www.hansson-silks.co.uk in the style called Elizabeth, and after phoning Country Bumpkin this morning they are going to follow it up.  The only thing stopping me ordering was the minimum cut at that price plus the postage, it would have cost about $70 Aus, nearly as much as the original complete kit ($81 Aus to subscribers) with all the skeins of silk threads, silk backing and lining etc.  Turns out, that kit wasn't such bad value after all!!!

            Thank you again for your help, and all the helpful suggestions received through this forum.  It's just great to feel like a part of a world-wide community with the same passions and generosity of spirit.


          12. ElonaM | | #17

            Wow, what a saga! But thank goodness for the internet, huh? Imagine what it used to be like to make phone calls to every company you were interested in--and to be without the communication and feedback between us that is now routine.

            Hansson's is beautiful site, by the way.

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