These are some tips I learned from my silk ribbon class:
1. Use needles with very large eyes so the ribbon does not fray as much - we used tapestry needles for the spiderweb roses (less catching of the tip as you are weaving since tapestry needles are pretty blunt) and chenille needles for the other stitches.
2. Use pretty short pieces of ribbon... we used about 12 -14 inches only.
3. Thread your needle and pull thru only a couple of inches...pierce the end of the ribbon about 1/2 inch from the top with the sharp end of the needle and pull down on the long end of the ribbon to lock it in place around the eye of the needle.
4. Knots in silk ribbon can work themselves out as you are stitching or otherwise moving the piece of embroidery...the best knot is to pierce the end of the ribbon three times and pull thru. The teacher advised using a regular overhand knot for larger ribbon sizes (7mm and up) to minimize stress on the edges of the ribbon. You should lock the ribbon by stitching thru it, and always lock it when you tie off. Leave a bit of a tail also - ribbon cut too close to the knot can fray out...
5. Most embroidery stitches translate well to silk ribbon. In addition, we learned three different stitches that don't translate back to regular embroidery at all!
Ribbon stitch - used to make leaves - stitch up from the back, lay your ribbon out to where want the leaf point, pierce the ribbon with the needle from the top and gently pull thru..if you pull too hard, its just a straight stitch! As the ribbon gets close to going thru to the backside, the top edges will curl. Depending on which side you put the needle, you can get curls to the right, curls to the left and curls on both sides...Thing to remember is not to tug too hard...
Spiderweb Roses - make a frame to weave your rose that has 5 spokes...we thought it looked a bit like the little man in Hangman. If you are using 4mm, you can use the same ribbon to make the frame. If you are using 7mm or larger, use 4mm in a similar color to make the frame. Weave around twice in the center then pull tight to make the center compact...then twist the ribbon a couple of times before you start weaving...leave the stitches loose...weave around until you are reaching under the prior rows stitches to find the frame stitches.
FrenchKnot Roses - start out about 3 or 4 inches up from the surface, make your two or three winds around the needle for the french knot, then do a running stitch from side to side down the rest of the tail of the ribbon, poke thru and pull gently to form the rose. These are quick to make and so cute!
6. Silk ribbon flowers that get a bit squished can be revived by misting with water to fluff them back up. (I haven't tried this, but this was what the teacher passed on to us...YMMV)