I have been doing shi-sha (Indian mirror) work for many years, and have always done the regular shi-sha stitch which alternates between buttonhole stitches worked very close together, and chain stitches which run around parallel to the edge of the mirror. This is what I did in this example.
You can see the basic shi-sha stitch worked in turquoise in the above photo – I added another two rows of chain stitch around this in yellow afterwards.
After so many years of always doing it this way and never varying it, last night I discovered a variation! This is very exciting.
Instead of working the chain stitch parallel to the edge of the mirror, you work it at right angles, inserting the needle some distance away from the mirror and coming up next to it, and as you work around the mirror, you arrange these vertical stitches so that they radiate outwards. This gives a great effect like sunrays!
This is what I did last night, and I think so far, it’s one of my favourite pieces for the bed decorations I am making.
Here’s a detail of the shi-sha work, done in yellow.
I really like this effect! I am exploring shi-sha stitch further, and have found several other variations, which I shall be experimenting with in due course.
In this latest piece, the light-coloured thread which outlines the central motif, and creates the cross-shape, is actually gold lurex thread. I wish you could see how sparkly and bright it is. At least in this photo, you can see the little mirrors a bit better. As usual, I have added some French knots, and used chain stitch as a filler (I’ve never been able to do satin stitch – it always looks a total mess), and added four detached chain stitches in the very centre.
I am trying to source small glass shi-sha mirrors to buy in bulk. I’ve still got quite a lot (can’t remember where I bought them) but most suppliers only sell them in bags of 10 or so, working out at about 10p each, which is more than I want to spend. I’d like to buy bags of 100 or 500 but haven’t yet found any on the Internet, even from India. I would like to make a curtain to hang against the wall under the half-tester above the bed, and cover this with mirrors. Curtains covered with shi-sha work wink and sparkle with the movement of the curtain. It’s a fabulous rich effect.
Sometime I must dig out the bridesmaid’s cap I made, which is covered all over with shi-sha work, done in a variety of bright colours, and photograph it. These caps were quite heavy with all the glass mirrors.