For a very long time I’ve been wanting to design an Ave Maria pattern, but until now I could never find the right way to present it. The annunciation to the virgin Mary has always been one of my favourite stories as a child. It marks the beginning of the Christmas period of course, but for me, it was the angel Gabriel that visited the Virgin that always fascinated me. This heavenly creature always seemed so wonderful and mysterious – a divine being descending on earth to bring a message of joy.
The main design was inspired by a 16th century Italian print, in turn inspired by the works of Raphael. The border features a pattern of Madonna lilies – which repeats itself in the flower presented to the virgin by Gabriel.
Around the Virgin and the Angel is a version of the Ave Maria, used by Josquin des Prez. His version uses the first six words from the Latin prayer, followed by a larger rhyming poem. The lines I used run thus:
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum, Virgo serena.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee, Blessed Virgin.
This pattern measures 182 crosses in height and 218 crosses in width. Stitched over two threads on 32 count linen it would measure approximately 11 1/2” 13 3/4” (29 by 34.5cm). It would look beautiful stitched with light wool on a Slate linen background.