About 3 years ago, a friend sent me an email to tell me there was an embellisher machine on EBay at £68 with no bids. It was collect only, and only about 8 miles away from my office. So I put the one and only bid in and won the machine.
Since buying the machine I have dabbled several times, and have made some lovely scarfettes using silk rovings embellished onto chiffon scarves, as well as a few ATCs and postcards. But, I know I have never really explored the potential of the embellisher properly, so when I saw that Celyn Textiles was offering a reasonably priced day course near my new home, I signed up. We explored lots of techniques, and I came home with more than a dozen samples.
Here are some of the samples I made.
Fancy yarn embellished onto felt.
Moving away from just fibres and fabric, you can incorporate paper into embellished pieces. Sheila, our teacher, had a lovely piece where she had laid handmade mulberry paper onto felt, and then layered scrim, lace, fabrics and fibres on top before hand embroidering. It was lovely, and the paper showed through holes in the scrim.
The piece below is embellished brown paper and organza.
To finish this piece off, you could machine embroider over the top, and zig zag round the edges - it would make a lovely book cover.
The next sample is a base for hand embroidery. Embellish scrim and wool rovings onto a velvet base. One day, I will add more rovings to front and back, and add hand stitching. The colours of this piece are much nicer than my computer screen shows, and I think it will make a great wall hanging.
One simple technique is to just embellish organza onto fabric, then weave the fabric and embellish it together. I've used two colours so that you can see clearly how it works. You could get a lot more creative in the ways you combined the fabrics than plain weaving - you could explore 'log cabin' patchwork style assembly, or plaiting, twisting, slashing and threading through.
A really simple idea, which gives a really sophisticated finish, is to embellish denim. Velvet looks nice from the back, too - all the little bits poked through give a lovely texture.
If you get chance to take a class with Sheila, it's well worth it - and she provides endless tea, coffee and cake into the bargain. One of today's class had come all the way from Oxfordshire - her husband had driven and he went walking in the Black Mountains for the day whole she played with her Embellisher - which resulted in two happy tired people by the end of the day!