After a wonderful (albeit long!) day for presents and travelling to be with family yesterday, I am back at work on Boxing Day to try to get the antependium finished up in time for Epiphany. As I stitch today I am listening to the music of Jack White, courtesy of youngest son who knows what I like. Epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation" and is linked with the visit of three wise men (Magi) or kings to the baby Jesus.
Traditionally, the Magi are portrayed as wearing very ornate and expensive clothing and bearing valuable gifts. One thing I've learned from years of stitching - both my own and in observation of the work of others - is that there is a fine line between "ornate" and "tacky". Therefore, I tend to err on the side of simplicity and understatement. I am using an assortment of silks - habatai and dupioni - and balancing the embellishment of the fabric in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. For the top of one king's crown, I used my pintuck foot and a twin needle to create texture in the gold. Tightening the top tension as high as it will go pulls the fabric up in ridges, eliminating the need to measure, mark and fold each tuck. It's a great way to create faux pintucks, and it worked beautifully in this Chinese silk. If you are a Bernina user, it's foot # 31 and a real gem. I've purchased a pintuck foot for every machine I've owned; I love pintucks. This is my first time doing them in silk, and it definitely will not be my last.
Jennifer's comment from the other day where she wrote: I often wondered how those blokes kept their rich robes looking so good in the sandy desert.....there must have been the odd Mrs Magi or two in the background, I think.