Dreams of Amarna – Progress on the Map

Progress On The Map of Amarna

Progress On The Map of Amarna

You may recall that having worked most of the Map of Amarna, I then ran into a brick wall, and could not decide which thread to use for the last, rather extensive element – the depiction of the cultivation.

I decided, in the end, that I would use the more golden of the plain silk threads, but rather than spacing the stitches widely I would stitch quite densely, creating a sort of background pattern of tête de boeuf stitches. Then I began to worry that this would be visually too weighty and might even create the impression of a sort unlikely to be accurate given that in Mary Chubb’s time the villages were probably groups of smallholdings..

So instead, although some of the cultivation (on the eastern side of the river, running in a narrow band the length of the site)  is worked in a single colour (or will be, when I finish it), the western side of the river will have some patches where the stitches are worked in one or other of the variegated silks.

Patches On The Map of Amarna

Patches On The Map of Amarna

The close up shot shows one of those patches already in place, with the single colour on the other side of the river and the modern village in a different variegated thread.

Or at least I think it will. It would not be the first time I’ve had a bright idea that really didn’t work when I tried it. I am prepared for the possibility that I will have to unpick all the variegated threads and restitch in a single colour!



  1. I like how this looks in the photos very much. Of course I’m seeing images translated by a camera and my computer monitor. Still, I like it.

  2. karen says:

    I know all about unpicking too….sadly it has to be done occasionally!! I love the lines on this, they are quite mesmerising.

  3. Penny says:

    Funny that…I hit brick walls frequently!
    I had a teacher once who said NEVER unpick anything, just cover it up! Obviously her work was not as precise as your gorgeous map. I love maps.

  4. Lady Fi says:

    The map is looking great… (Sorry you had to unpick though.)

  5. Your map is translating to needlework beautifully. I used to hate unpicking but now find that when reverse sewing is needed I feel happier because I know what I did was wrong and I can fix it.

  6. Elmsley Rose says:

    Glad you stuck with the tete de boeuf, and the idea of marking the modern villages in a subtle gold is great. It’ll blend it nicely.

    When was the last time you showed the Full Piece of ‘Amana on the blog? When I saw it at Christmas, I was very surprised to see how big it was. With all the tiny details. I’m sure people would love to see.

  7. Elmsley Rose says:

    Sorry – gotten some of the details (eg cultivation vs villages, gold thread vs variegeted thread) mixed up in my last comment. My head is kinda whizzy.

  8. I really like the unpredictability of variegated threads. The lines in this piece are really effective.

  9. Susan says:

    I too am liking the variegated threads…but it’s your opinion that counts. I must have missed the history of this piece. I’ll have to go off and have a look…

  10. Janice says:

    The muted colours are all so perfect for the recreation of an aged map, and in the close-up the linen also seems to echo papyrus. It will be such an echievement when it’s all done.

  11. Janice says:

    *achievement. 🙂

  12. Penny says:

    I love the use of the map — and then the stitching giving it dimension and feeling. Your stitches are capturing the age of the map perfectly.

  13. Jan says:

    I think the variegated threads are working well. But you’ll have the final say in the matter. This piece becomes more lovely each time we see it. Such a large project, and the details are superb!

  14. coral-seas says:

    I was watching a program on recent archaeology in Amarna. Your Map of Amarna, and what you have written made the program even more interesting to me.

    I’m like Carolyn, I used to dislike unpicking. I saw it as admitting failure and a waste of time. Now I see it as an opportunity to improve. I’ve learnt that if I leave something I am slightly unhappy with, it will become a bigger and bigger irritant.

    The map is looking great!

  15. […] a long time thinking about the stitch I intended to use for the cultivation, and not just that, but selecting the appropriate thread or threads to use for it. In the end I chose tête de boeuf stitch for the cultivation (upside down in […]