Texture was the name of the game this month. Origami came to mind and while going through all the books of folded fabric that our library had to offer, I came across this smocking pattern in Folded Fabric Elegance by Rami Kim. I love the suggestion of basketweave.
The green bordering it looks much darker in the photo than in real life. The other two colors in my package form a simple border.
The smocking in progress before trimming and pressing:
Below is the back view at the same point in the process. Here you can see the 1/2" grid of dots that guide all the hand stitching. Following a simple diagram in the book, dots are brought together to form the pleats with lots of knotting between stitches. It takes a few minutes to find your groove, but once I had it, I found the whole process meditative. I've got to find some other ways to use this technique and I may need to order that book. (There are 2 or 3 additional smocking patterns in it along with other fabric origami techniques. One is a VERY cool way to make continuous prairie point edging, with some interesting ways to press them into other shapes.)
Sarah, I thought I'd get this in the mail before I left on a short trip tomorrow, but I'm so enthralled with that center piece I need to bring it to my quilt group first. I promise to pop it in the mail right after the ladies get a look at it.