The Lotus Flowers Finished

Silkwork Done

Silkwork Done

The laid silk satin stitches grew surprisingly quickly, in the end. I think of satin stitch as a very painstaking and tedious technique, but for some reason or other, I found the background of the Lotus Tile Fragment the reverse of tedious. I’m sure that the way flat silk spreads out helped with that, and likewise the increasing complication of working the satin stitches around the lotus flowers.

The horizontal stitches worked beautifully, creating the effect of a flowing stream behind the flowers. It can be hard to introduce enough movement into a design to prevent it seeming static, while at the same time avoiding any suggestion of hectic activity. In this case I think the balance between stillness and movement is reasonably well-achieved.

Outlining Done

Outlining Done

Once it was done to my satisfaction, I spent a bit of time searching online for images of other Egyptian representations of Lotus Flowers dating from the Amarna period. I was a little disturbed to find that many of the photos in the search results were from this blog, which made my search a little self-referential, but in the end I decided that I should put an outline in, since most of the Egyptian images were outlined.

I was influenced in this decision by the fact that I really enjoyed stitching this little piece, and I felt that re-stitching it if the outline did not please me would be no hardship at all!

Detail of a Lotus Flower

Detail of a Lotus Flower

I used a fine metallic thread, also purchased from Midori Matsushima, and couched it. For the stems I used three doubled threads and couched them – slightly twisting them – using a single doubled strand. For the flowers I used two doubled strands, couched with a single doubled strand. I’m not convinced that the different number of threads made a difference, but believe me, I won’t be unpicking it!

I’m pleased with it. The outlines do make it look a little more like some of the images I found in my search, and they will help the design to maintain its shape when it is overlaid with the gauze portrait.


  1. coral-seas says:

    This is a delightful design!

    I really like working satin stitch in flat silk, especially over larger areas. The flat silk is not the easiest thread to work and I am really impressed at how well you have done after only one lesson with Midori.

  2. Lovely! Can’t wait to see how this integrates into the larger design. Stitch faster!

  3. Janice says:

    I love this, Rachel. I really like the shape of the background. The sheen of the silk gives it the possibility of being a piece of broken tile as well as it just being a glimpse of lotus flowers growing in the landscape.
    I have had the experience of finding I am apparently the world expert on topics I’m searching for – when the truth is far from that! Hungarian folk embroidery and salt pans in Newtown Creek were two of my ‘specialities’ but I’ve now stopped search engines from picking up my images.

  4. Penny says:

    Oh Rachel this is just lovely and the fact that you enjoying creating it shines through. Your work is just so beautiful.

  5. Penny B says:

    Gorgeous, Rachael!

  6. Carolyn says:

    You have to be pleased with this result. You have achieved everything you set out to do. Congratulations.

  7. Lady Fi says:

    Wow – what a work of art. The lotus flowers are lovely.

  8. Oh – this is so lovely. Even on the laptop screen the background seems to shimmer!

  9. jackie says:

    This is so lovely Rachel. I am so honoured that you read about my imprecise efforts when you have such obvious ‘real ‘ embroidery skill.

  10. Alex says:

    The satin stitch gives a wonderful low relief edge to the piece as if it’s a real tile fragment and the colours are fantastic, really enhanced by that silk sheen. The whole thing works so well!

  11. Terrie says:

    Always love to read your blog of stitches. Though I don’t what names or styles of stitches you’re doing I find all inspiring. Becaue of you I also done a very small pieces of stitches on a jute which will be going to sew on a fabric bag but not yet have design in mind. You’re creative and brilliant.

  12. Megan Hodges/Elmsley Rose says:


  13. karen says:

    painstaking and very much worth the effort. Beautiful. beautiful piece.