Q: I've inquired of many occupational therapists. I've talked to numerous needlework shops. I've researched our local library. All concerned have no idea what I'm talking about. Would you please advise me as to where I can get information on the subject of Bunka?
A: Bunka is an interesting kind of needlework which comes to us from China. As I've described before, it's a method of hooking silk threads through fabric, similar to the method used in Early American rug hooking. But unlike rug hooking, the loops in Bunka are made on the back, and not the right side, and the silk thread, which is rather boucle, lies in long lines on the front. When the background material is completely covered, the final result appears rather like watercolor, with subtle shading of color and outline.
It's quite attractive,and several companies are now importing kits, but since so few people seem to know about Bunka, these kits are not yet widely distributed.
Q: Do you have any information on punch loop, or Russian embriodery? I saw this done at a shopping center in Orlando, Fla., and the result was so pretty I thought I'd give it a try.
A: Russian looped embroidery is done in fine silk and is exactly like Bunka work, but in reverse. The loop is done on the front of your fabric, and the resulting stitch is similar to the American hook rug, only much finer, and not used of course, for rugs, but for small pictures.
Q: I've recently completed a piece of needlepoint (10-by-12-inches) of the Shaker" of Life." The background is off-white. I'm at a loss as to the most attractive way to frame it. Does one consider a mat or use of a non-glare glass? I had originally been thinking of clear plastic (Lucite) on both sides, but decided I couldn't cope with the edges of the needlepoint - finishing off neatly!
A: I like your idea of using Lucite, and this could be done easily by attaching four metal studs at the four corners. To finish the edges, you could turn back a hem of plain canvas and work the binding or joining stitch with fine thread (matching your background) all around the four edges.
If you're not fimiliar with the joining stitch,ich, look in any book that gives illustrated embroidery stitches.
Q: I have piece of needlework made by my mother over 60 years ago. It originally had been framed, but after many moves it was removed from the frame and folded in three folds from top to bottom. This caused the material to crack and separate vertically.
The design depicts a peacock on a wall, cross stiched in a very small silk stitches. The piece is 13 inches by 13 inches and the tear, which measures about seven inches, is approximately in the center, but does not touch any stitches.
It is really a beautiful piece of work and I'd like to know if there is any way for me to repair it without ruining it more.
A: Your peacock could best be saved by mounting another piece of similar material in an embroidery frame and laying your embroiderd piece on top of this. Sew down with invisible sewing thread (the transparent nylon kind is good) or fine matching sewing silk all around the edges, then cut away your old broken embroidery linen. Darning or patching where the crack in the fold has appeared would only be unattractive.
The only other solution would be to add some more design, such as a balustrade or a tree, and embroider this right through the old and new fabric.
You should re-embroider any fine details, such as the crest on top of the peacock's head, on the new piece of fabric rather than attempt to applique them.
This may seem like a great deal of work, but it's really the only way to fluff up those peacock plumes and save them for posterity.