I usually take ribbon for granted. I think it's an integral part of life for most "girly-girls"--my old off-brand combat boots circa 2002 are still laced with pink bows, vintage slip dresses look prettier with a length of poly satin around the waist, and when my hair looks terrible, I tie it back with a piece of rayon petersham or bright fuchsia vintage velvet. It's always there and I don't really think twice about it. Silk ribbon, however, is another story entirely.
Holding a new spool of hand-dyed 4mm silk ribbon makes me feel shiny inside, like a great new hair color or perfect pair of shoes. I just love the potential in silk ribbon embroidery...
|Schiaparelli (who else?)|
& if you don't click-through to see the full-size of this one,
you're missing out something fierce.
Even though it's probably my favorite style of embroidery to look at (as you could probably tell, based on the post about Boué Soeurs), it's not my favorite to do because I'm not very good at it. For ribbonwork to have that soft, effortless look, it takes a loose hand, which I don't have. (Even for French knots!)
Shaping the ribbon into those sweet petals requires a certain type of patience that cotton embroidery floss doesn't and, despite having ridiculously small hands, it always feels like my fingers are in the way.
With the rebirth of embroidery as a very "hip" craft, it's often used in a subversive or silly way nowadays. I can definitely appreciate that--I love a surface designer with a sense of humor--but I do like that silk ribbon embroidery still has that old-fashioned, almost-too-much-like-your-grandmother feeling.
And I'm always a sucker for pink roses...
Sources: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.