Nine variations on a shisha tile

The first shisha kit I produced used a floral design; after some deliberation, I decided that my second shisha kit was to be a square tile with scrolls. OK so far. Draw the design, choose a background fabric. The fabric in the first kit is blue, so let’s have something else for this one. A visit to the local fabric shop yielded a nice yellowy cream (or is it creamy yellow?) cotton. Well, that’s practically it, isn’t it? Now all I have to do is decide on the threads and stitches!

This turned out to take a while… There were the scrolls. Stem stitch, yes, but what thread? So I stitched up models using Tamar Embroideries Brodery Cotton, 1 strand of TE stranded cotton, and DMC coton à broder. Then the corner motif – either pistil stitches or French daisies in Brodery cotton, DMC coton à broder, or 1 or 2 strands of TE stranded cotton. And finally I tried different stitches for attaching the mirrors (or sequins or coins), varying the number of petals as well:

  • Plaited fly stitch with 12 petals (in perle #5), 16 petals (#5) and 24 petals (#8)
  • Cretan stitch with 16 petals (#5) and 24 petals (#8)
  • Herringbone stitch with 16 petals (#5) and 24 petals (#8)
  • Long-armed fly stitch with 24 petals (#5)
  • Crossed long-armed fly stitch with 32 petals (#8)

And so before you know it you’ve got nine variations on a shisha tile!

Nine shisha tiles

I think the final version will use one of the long-armed fly stitch variations, simply because it seems most different from the petals in the first kit. As for the scrolls, DMC coton à broder. TE’s Brodery cotton is lovely, but it’s simply too heavy for this purpose, and it’s also very, very twisty – this can make it rather awkward to work with, which you definitely don’t want in a kit aimed at relative beginners. But I love the TE threads so I will use the stranded cotton for the corner motifs; I just haven’t decided yet whether to use one or two strands, and which stitch. On the whole I think if pistil stitch, then two strands – if French daisy, then 1 strand. But I may change my mind smiley.

One nice thing in my search for materials for these tiles is that I found a source of “mirrors”. Well, they’re acrylic really, and very light; I’d had some before but couldn’t remember where I bought them. This shop has them in colours as well, so I got some yellow and green ones to try out. You can see them in the two long-armed fly variations.

On the website their size was given as 18mm (just what I wanted!), but when they arrived I measured some and they were 17mm. Not really a problem, but not accurate either. I was about to write to the shop to let them know so they could change their description when I decided to measure one by putting it on top of the ruler instead of the ruler on top of the mirror, and it was 18mm after all. Turns out the sides are slightly sloping, and the mirrors are 18mm at the bottom and 17mm at the top!

Acrylic shisha mirrors in various colours

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