Unknown silks and a Mexican bird

Recently we were staying with my in-laws where one of the challenges was finding a way for my mother-in-law, a keen needlewoman, to embroider with one hand as her left arm has been fitted with some impressive looking metal scaffolding following a fall. We took my Lowery stand to see whether that would work. Unfortunately it didn’t, or at least not with the embroidery she was working on before the fall. If anyone has any ideas, or experience with this sort of problem, I’d be grateful for your suggestions.

There were some more successful stitch-related moments during our stay, however (quite apart from a good bit of work on the Shisha Mini) – my MIL had been given a box of cones of silk which she said I could have if they were of any use to me. She hadn’t been told what brand the silks were, or what type, or what they had originally been used for. They certainly have a lovely sheen, and the blue-purple-green end of the box immediately made me think of peacocks. I haven’t had a close look at them yet so don’t know whether they are all the same weight/thickness, or even if they are all silk (I have my suspicions about the light blue, which looks like cotton), but aren’t they a pretty collection?

A box of unknown silks

Whether it was thinking of peacocks, or whether I was just looking at their kitchen in more detail now that I was doing the cooking, I suddenly noticed a print that has been there for as long as I’ve visited the house, but which so far had been no more than rather colourful background noise. MIL told me that it came from Mexico and had been a present to herself. With its bold lines and colours it struck me as particularly suitable for embroidery, so I asked if I could copy it. We couldn’t find any tracing paper, but some grease-proof baking parchment did the trick. It’s rather thicker than tracing paper so I couldn’t go for absolute accuracy, but then that didn’t matter particularly as I don’t intend to create an exact copy. When we got home I scanned the drawing and started cleaning it up; it’ll need quite a lot of work, so it won’t be stitched any time soon, but when it does perhaps the silk cones could be incorporated into it – that would be rather appropriate.

A Mexican bird print The Mexican bird tidied up

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