this? Well...I'm still not happy. I have had it kicking about the dining room, right in front of the computer, just looking at it. I did some more thinking, and playing around, and finally took all those embellishments off the piece, and added one single thing. It is a suede flower, in beige and a very pale turquoise/green colour. Eau de nil, but a bit stronger. It was just the right size to put in the circle, there... and immediately, the piece changed. It took some of the detail out of the stitching, made a very clear focal point, and seemed to pull the whole piece together...or at least to begin to do that.
So, I decided to take a similar colour and stitch into the top. I did this to attempt to decrease the strength of the stitching, which gives the piece its structure. Putting the flower in there makes it look like a vaguely retro 60's motif...which I rather like. See what you think. In the end, I used a variegated beige /mushroom/brown thread which really shouldn't go well, but seems to.
No matter how badly you feel about a piece, you can normally retrieve it using layer. One way or another, by either adding colour and/or pattern, or reducing it by, say, burning away, you can change the focus and feel of a piece. Try it... you know you want to.