The Persian Fantasy – extending the idea

"Thou" completed around 2000, inspired by the Persian Fantasy

"Thou" completed around 2000, inspired by the Persian Fantasy

The Persian Fantasy Screen was such fun that I wanted to do some more embroidery in the same style. First of all, it was clear from the original colours that the Prince on Panel One was the same on Panel Four, so I had to create  a companion for him, the “Thou” of the text:

A loaf of bread, a flask of wine,

And thou beside me

Singing in the wilderness

And wilderness were paradise enow

I had some help from my mother on this one.. We used the illustrations in her  copy of the Rubaiyat to help us with the lady’s costume and to find a different sort of tree for her to sit under. The pictures were from ancient Persian silk paintings, so I hoped that our prince and his partner would recognise one another. I used the same technique for the tree – couched chenille, boucle and loop yarns, and simple shapes for the leaves, although in this case the leaves also used a variegated yarn. I also used a similar idea for the lady’s outfit as I had for the prince, choosing an openwork filling stitch (in this case, Cloud Filling Stitch) for the tunic, and something more solid for the headcovering.

Her Picnic

Her Picnic

Again, the dishes for the picnic included lustreware, this time a bowl full of bread. This time the lustreware was worked in overdyed stranded cotton. There was also a flask using similar colours to the prince’s lustreware, but worked this time in variegated cottons. The little table (or rug – I never quite decided what it was!) that the picnic is placed on was edged with a complicated couched braid, using an even more complicated textural thread. I can’t for the life of me recall where I bought it, but I do recall that the only possible way to use it was by couching it!

The Lady's Head

The Lady's Head

A loose rayon, worked in a sort of halfway stitch between Bokhara couching and Romanian couching, created the lady’s glowing veil, and her headband was worked in braid stitch to give a suitable ornate and luxurious appearance.

I’m not sure that I would use these stitches or threads now. I remember the untwisted rayon was difficult to stitch, very flyaway and prone to catching on my hoop, my fingers, my nails (even though I keep them short) and anything else within range. It looks lovely now it’s done, of course. . .


  1. Lady Fi says:

    I love the depiction of that verse.. one of my favourites too!

  2. Rachel says:

    Especially in that particular translation – it’s perfectly possible to become almost drunk on words…

  3. Hi Rachel! I’m glad you left a message on Carol-Anne’s latest posting, or else I may never have discovered your blog!=)

  4. karen says:

    at the risk of repeating myself!!! Your embroidery is always so beautiful, a joy to look at. I want to thank you too for your constant encouragement, it really means a lot! Karen

  5. Rachel says:

    Good to know you like it!

  6. Janice says:

    Rachel, before I even saw that this was inspired by the Rubaiyat I was thinking how much it reminded me of that – although I didn’t know that specific verse, I just meant in general. It’s perfectly interpreted!

  7. […] The picture also shows the centres of flowers, which were the same across the piece. The thread is a variegated, almost untwisted rayon thread, and it is used only in the centres of the flowers. It’s very like the thread I used for the headdress of the Prince’s Companion in the Persian Fantasy companion piece. […]