Saturday, July 23, 2011


Many of you wondered about raffia and using it in embroidery.  This is the first time I was introduced to its use at Lesage.  The purple and shiny pink are raffia.

Lesage Level l

Lesage Level l

This Lesage piece in progress also has raffia.  The shinny gold is raffia.
Lesage Level III

This is one of the flowers on my new quilt.  The pattern is from the Lesage book  Le Langage Des Fleurs.   The blue in the center is ribbon the outside is raffia.                                             
 Here are the flowers on the new piece I am working on also raffia.  I must add the effect is just dumb luck.  I had tried so many different ways to stitch the flowers.  If the raffia didn't work the piece was headed to the dead pile. 

 I also was asked how I did the leaves around the bud.   I outlined the shape of the leave with green sulky rayon thread using the tambour hook.  Then using green ribbon floss I ran enough strips (laying each flat) to conform to and cover the lenght of the leaf shape.  I then wove the ribbon floss across the width.
This is the raffia I bought on the internet.  The raffia at Lesage comes in about 1/2 widths.  I tried to dupliciate the materials provided for the student at Lesage ... raffia ... sequin ... beads ... chenille unsuccessfully.   One day I woke up and decided I would use what I can get!!   This raffia is about 1 1/2 inches wide so I spread it out, tape it to my cutting board in 18 inch lengths, and cut it in 1/2 inch widths with my rotary cutter. 


  1. Thankyou so much for posting this! I associate raffia with woven bag handles, not embroidery!

  2. Absolutely stunning and beautiful work!!
    I remember raffia from the 60's!! It looks sooo much better the way you have used it!
    I have never seen gold raffia before.
    Thank you for explaining how you created those intricate leaves.

  3. Shirlee,

    PaperMart has the size raffia you are using, and they also have a 5/8 size too. Search for Item #570743237 and it will put you on the right page at

  4. I've seen eighteenth century embroidery in straw as well - it's good to see someone playing with these techniques again.

  5. Just Beautiful.

    i love to embroder and am always lookinbg for new ways to ramp up my pieces.

  6. superbe j aime ce que tu fais bisessssssssss

  7. Hahaha, we must've had different instructors b/c when I was at Lesage, I was taught to spread the raffia apart and tear/cut it down the middle, because they were short on the light yellow raffia for the professional 150 hr piece at the time. I think it added some depth to the piece and made the flowers or feathers look more natural. I def wasn't exact about cutting it either, just eye-balled it like they demonstrated. Was wondering if you could share a post on how you finish your pieces. I've been using double-sided fusible interfacing to create appliques, but I feel like it's too bulky. Appreciate any suggestions you might have! Love your work! Absolutely breathtaking!

  8. Wow, I can't believe how beautiful the raffia looks in these delicate embroideries. I would never have thought of using it like that - raffia always reminds me of 1970s art lessons weaving place mats!

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