I'm still working on my crewel piece but in between, I've begun a couple of other projects. The mass of pink yarn above exactly matches my new winter coat. So, while it's not exactly ideal for the pattern, I'm using it. The pattern is a teaching pattern designed by my sister-in-law and I'm test driving the instructions. It's a really fun hat to knit. It goes all different directions, from a vertical cabled side panel to a side-to-side knit central portion for each half of the hat, finally ribbing. I've got one half done, to the right on a holding needle. The second half is on the circular needle.
This piece has an interesting history. The materials were collected by a woman I met last spring. Jane was the kind of person I wish I had been able to spend a lot more time with and get to know a lot better. Smart, witty, an artist and art lover, definitely someone to know. Sadly, she passed away shortly after we met. Generous friends sent me some of the gorgeous fabrics she'd collected.
Amongst them was this piece of broiderie persé--applique using existing printed or stitched fabrics, following the contours of the design. The original embroidery is on silk and the ground is quite fragile. She had basted this piece to the brown velvet ground--there are several other pieces of the embroidery I may use to add on or fill in.
A young woman who grew up with Jane as a neighbor is getting married this spring and I'm going to complete this applique and make it into a ring bearer's pillow for the wedding. Afterward, I'm going to disassemble the pillow, which will necessarily be fairly small, and remake it into a larger pillow for a sofa or a chair, as a wedding gift.
It's coming along nicely. I've found threads that match the embroidery pretty well for the applique. I plan to edge the outline in a metallic thread to finish it off. The silk ground is so fragile it turns under easily. It also sometimes frays and shatters a bit. Some of the embroidery threads are loose and I'm tacking them down as I go. I really like projects like this where I feel connected with past stitchers, in this case Jane and the unknown embroiderer who stitched the original silk flowers and leaves.
While they're silk and a bit more formalized, the floral motifs are very reminiscent of the crewel I've been so immersed in lately.