The pleated mesh was stitched to a hole in a fine firm cotton fabric and stretched in an embroidery hoop. The edges were covered with masking tape to prevent the silk thread from catching.
The shape of the cocoon was pricked through into the mesh using a paper template.
Silk thread was worked around the doubled wire to form the tail and then the wire was tacked down to the mesh using the pricks as a guide. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Miranda who signed up to do a short course to learn some Jacobean Stumpwork Embroidery techniques, decided that it was too fiddly and let me take her place…! These pieces were done using Coats Seta Reale (100) thread buttonhole stitched over 34 gauge beading wire. This gave me the ability to edge the stainless steel mesh and shape it around the knife.
When all the tiny buttonhole stitches over the wire were done around the edge, the ‘leaf’ could be cut free. Learning to use the stumpwork embroidery techniques to create discrete objects that could be safely cut out of the fabric was a eureka moment.
Holes were pricked in the front end of the cocoon to create a visually lighter effect.
The silk buttonhole stitches were continued around the loop in the knife, stitching the steel cocoon into place against the completed knife. I renewed the scales and replaced them with slimmer brass versions to create a warmer glow through the mesh.
The front part of the cocoon was folded back over the knife and the body of the cocoon was shaped in place.
The tendrils were then given their final shape and the knife was complete. This is the second time that I have done cocoons with my folding knives and I was asked the other day what the connection was. They have so many similarities to me. Both have a double state…closed, passive and protected…and then open, active and dynamic.