Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Katie's Noah Embroidery

Great-niece Katie's Bat Mitzvah was in October.  How impressed we all were with her command of Hebrew, her poise, and the maturity of this twelve year old!  It happened that Noah was the focus of that week's Torah passage.  Not only did Katie read this section of the Torah flawlessly in Hebrew, but then she presented her interpretation of this story of the flood, Noah, the Ark, the animals coming "two by two".

I had planned to make Katie a small quilted wall hanging as a Bat Mitzvah gift, but the one I planned and actually worked a bit on just wasn't special enough to my eyes. 

Then one day I happened to look into a wooden sewing box that sister-in-law Georgine had refinished and fitted out for me years and years ago--back in the 1970s.  I've used this pretty box as a decorative piece for years, but I had not looked inside it for ages, assuming it was empty.  In that box was a crewel embroidery of Noah, gathering the animals two by two.  I had begun this embroidery kit in the early 70s for my youngest daughter, Susan, who was born in 1971.  At some point, I stowed it and its wool away in that box and then it slipped my mind.

It seemed eerily meant to be--for me to have forgotten and then rediscovered something that would be so perfect for my beloved great niece, a wonderfully appropriate gift for a young girl who had studied the Noah story so thoroughly for her Bat Mitzvah.

I immediately began to work finishing the embroidery.  Years ago, I had embroidered Noah himself and one each of the larger animals.  None of the smaller ones, or the flowers, or the green serpentine line of grass that curves around the design, had been done.  I found that I loved doing this crewel work as much now as I did nearly 40 years ago, when crewel embroidery was all the rage. 

I finished the work well before Christmas, took it in to my favorite frame shop, and was told that they were so swamped, it would be well into January before they could get to it.  But now it is done, and I am delighted with how it looks in its simple frame.  Here is the picture framed and several close-ups.
This one is the best lighted one, but there's an odd
shadow on the brown sheep to the
left of Noah!

A close-up of Noah, and
the shadow on
the brown sheep seems to be gone!
Here are the rams with their curly horns,
snails, and the porcupines again.
The llamas, snakes, turtles, and
the rams again.
This one taken in different light--too
many reflections on the glass--but
at least the odd shadow on
the wooly sheep next to
Noah is gone!  Other
animals not having
close-ups taken of them
are giraffes in the upper left,
bulls in upper right,
and camels
in the middle, between
the sheep above
and the llamas below.
The giraffes that friend Nancy mentioned!


  1. Oh I LOVE this piece so much. I didn't realize how much fun embroidery could be and it was so serendipitous that you found the same on Ebay for me and I could get Bill to order the same project for myself. I only hope mine will be as presentable as yours. I do love working on it. The original designer deserves some praise. I loved reading about your grand niece's thorough preparation and presentation.

  2. Love the giraffes. They appear to be kissing.
    This is a great rememberance that Katie will always have of her Bat Mitzvah. What a great gift!

  3. Nancy is so right! I never noticed that. Now I need to put in a close-up of those "lovers"!

  4. Love and Serendipity -- two words that come to mind and appear often in others' comments. I ADORE this embroidery piece, wish I could do one for my little John, for whom I have made nothing. Your great-niece-Katie has a true treasure with which to remember both her Bat Mitzvah and her special Great Aunt Alice.