More details about the Piano Shawl

Since I had some requests for more details about the Piano Shawl, I rummaged around in my photographs to try to come up with pictures that might explain a little more of what I did and how I approached it.

I knew that I would be using some variegated threads and some plain ones, so the first decision I made was that I would use each in particular places. In that way there would be a scheme of sorts that would guide me.

Five Flats on the Piano Shawl

Five Flats on the Piano Shawl

First of all, the ribbon stave was definitely going to be variegated. It would help to create a ripple of life around the design, and incidentally, since it felt like miles of stitching, I would be able to feel the progress I had made in an afternoon in the colour changes. Then I felt that the colour alone did not provide sufficient structure, so I developed the scheme further – the chainette ribbon  was couched down as the middle line on the stave, and also used for bar lines and clefs. The next two lines of the stave (one on each side of the central one) were worked using pearl cotton, in Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch, which is a favourite of mine. I used it elsewhere for some of the stems, in a very fine silk thread which produced a very different effect. The two outer lines of the stave were stitched in ordinary chain stitch using a rayon bouclé which was serious trial to stitch with, but which looks really effective.

Melodic Corner on the Piano Shawl

Melodic Corner on the Piano Shawl

The flowers themselves I worked in ordinary stranded cotton, using about six different shades of browny-pink, and creating an entirely  un-naturalistic variety of light edges and dark edges, strong and weak colour variations. There was the risk of producing something too stately if I tried too hard, and since the Shawl was destined for a grand piano, the surroundings were going to be pretty stately already. A grand piano is a pretty dignified and imposing piece of furniture!


  1. karen says:

    this is such a stunning piece of work and will definitely become an heirloom..

  2. This is a lovely piece Rachel and especially like your inclusion of the booklet.

  3. Denise says:

    A fabulous piece Rachel, so elegant. The owners will be so proud to get it. My youngest son plays the piano and he is making a piano stool in Design Technology, he will need a nice top for it once finished, you have given me an idea. I love the rest of your work too.

  4. Janice says:

    Wow! There is even more work in this than I had imagined at first (fairly distant) sight. It’s the detail that counts – all that care with the staves, when you could have simply considered the stave as a background detail, backing up the notes and flowers.

  5. Action Ma'am says:

    I didn’t realise it was so complicated. Now I understand why it felt like a marathon.

  6. Lady Fi says:

    So gorgeous! Definitely one of my favourites.

  7. Elmsley Rose says:

    It’s *just* lovely!!! Thankyou for showing the details.

    I must admit browny-pink is one of my favourite colours……

    An heirloom for sure!

  8. Hannah says:

    The design is so graceful – I love it.

  9. Kathy says:

    Oh Rachel,
    You’ve made me wish I had a piano now! What a beautiful shawl! The design is so light and delicate – I love it!

  10. Anita says:

    Beautiful shawl! Simple but lovely flowers, interesting color variations .