Embellishing The Circles Skirt – Part Five

Blanket Stitch Wheel

Blanket Stitch Wheel

I’ve recently bought myself an embellisher, and this is one of the circles I’ve used it on. The stitching is a simple blanket stitch wheel, which some small straight stitches between the spokes and French knots on the skirt fabric. The thread is wool, so I thought this one might be a good candidate. It has had the effect of making the stitches seem much more part of the tweed circle – almost drawn or painted on. In turn, that helps the French knots to seem a little more textural.

Change In Texture

Change In Texture

Learning to use the embellisher – and in particular, how soon to stop! – is going to prove interesting. Here you can see that there is a less fuzzy texture at the centre of this tweed circle. That section has been more heavily treated with the embellisher. This was quite deliberate, because the very free ornamentation on this skirt allows me to experiment, and one thing I would like to know is – will this change in texture be permanent, or will this fabric become fuzzy again as the skirt is worn?

Couched Bouclé

Couched Bouclé

In this case, I’m not sure I can even distinguish the effects of the embellisher! I couched a bouclé thread over the top of the tweed in this case, then ran the embellisher over the tweed and bouclé at random. There is extensive scope for investigation and experimentation here..

Incidentally, for those who’ve not heard of one before – an embellisher is something like a sewing machine, but it replaces the needle and thread with an assembly of barbed needle-felting needles. The barbs entangle the fibres of the fabric, creating new textures and joining the fabrics without stitching. So far I’ve only had a chance to experiment a little, but I think it might be a very useful tool when I start work on the Vision of Placidus!


  1. Janice says:

    Very interesting, and I would love to know more about your embellisher experimentation as and when it happens. I’ve thought about getting one myself for several years now, but it has never happened. In my case I think I was interested in needle felting, and at present there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all my existing hobbies without adding in more, so perhaps it’s just as well not to get one!

    As for your circles, I have to admit to being a little confused, because I would have imagined the barbed needles would have made the fabric more fuzzy rather than less! The circles are looking good, regardless. I particularly like the first one.

  2. Penny says:

    Oh my, I didn’t know they made such a thing. I’m very familiar with needle felting (by hand). This sounds like it would have lots of possibilities and also help when working with larger pieces of wool. Wonderful addition to your skirt.

  3. Lady Fi says:

    I like that stitch wheel.

  4. Terrie says:

    I really love reading your blog of different style of stitches and embroidery. You know my works are sometimes with your inspiration.

  5. wendy says:

    I’ve heard of embellishers – I thought they were just for felting – but have never seen one or what it could produce. I’ll be interested to see more as you play around with it.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Some of my friends have these machines. They mostly work as a modern surface design . It will be interesting to see how you use this as an embroiderer. My local Bernina dealer uses their one in conjunction with machine embroidery. Are you planning to use yours with hand embroidery?

  7. lucy says:

    Be careful using the embellisher too much on your stitching. I went overboard once and destroyed some crewel thread embroidery. I love to use my embellisher to create richly textured felt using commercial felt as a base and various wool and other fibers to the top. It makes a beautiful foundation for embroidery.

  8. karen says:

    these pieces fit so well with your skirt Rachel. We had a lot of fun with the embellisher at Uni!! Quite a few of the group bought them too….

  9. Janine says:

    I hadn’t heard of an embellisher before! Sounds like a lot of fun to experiment with. I look forward to seeing what all you do with it. I sure am enjoying visiting your country! It’s beautiful.

  10. Megan Hodges says:

    Sounds like a major amount of fun!