I haven't been knitting much, I confess, but that is because I've been so charmed by this little beauty, from the wonderful Making Miniature Oriental Rugs & Carpets by Meik and Ian McNaughton. The style of carpet, which dates from the 15th century, is named after Holbein not because he had anything to do with them particularly, but apparently just because they feature quite a lot in his portraits, such as this one --
which is "Georg Giese" of 1532.
I decided not to fringe my own carpet once I'd seen this 15th-century original, at the MFA website --
which if it isn't the inspiration for the McNaughtons' version, then certainly must be a typical example of the small-patterned type.
I tried the edging stitch that the McNaughtons use, but wasn't very happy with the result, so I worked the long-legged cross-stitch I've used on previous miniature carpets -- but since I know already that in my room setting-to-be, the carpet will be laid over a table, which is how they were used in the Tudor and Elizabethan periods, it needed to be not only as flexible as possible, but to have no canvas showing at the back. The McNaughtons' plaited edging is worked on the cut edge of the canvas, thus has no extra layer of folded hem, so would have been ideal if I had managed to figure out how to work it, but alas, in lieu of that I had to deal with the hem left by the long-legged cross-stitch, which I did by whipping over and thus covering the narrow but turned-under hem. This was, I thought, only partly successful, but much of that I suspect is due to my having to fake it, instead of getting the original plaited edging to work perfectly the first time. Other than that, I'm actually quite pleased with the back, which for a first effort in wool looks nicely tidy to my eye!
(You can see that I was working the red background in the center any-old-way for a while -- on the right here -- then settled into a rhythm, and things got tidier!)
This carpet is worked in Appleton's crewel wool on 28-count Monaco canvas, which is a bit finer than the 26-count canvas in the original instructions. It is fairly flexible, as needlepoint on canvas goes, but it will need a bit of help to drape realistically over a table, I suspect.
I did not have enough blue wool by quite a ways, and barely enough red, so for future reference, two skeins would be safer of each color than one, especially if working it in the original scale; one skein was plenty of the other three colors. I used about half of a second blue skein, in fact. But I'm really pleased with the results -- it's a handsome, well-balanced design in soberly harmonious colors.
There is an interesting article here about the Giese portrait and Holbein and Oriental carpets, filled with interesting tidbits about their history, about which I knew next-to-nothing before this!