The Crest For The Dig – Making a Start

Dig Crests

Dig Crests

Some time ago I started to work on a design for my version of the crest that John Pendlebury doodled for the dig on the first night after the expedition arrived. It was to be the corner design for one of the panel assemblies, matched by I’m-not-sure-what in the other corner.

In the process of my recent replanning, the corner design turned into twins – there will be one for each panel. The design has also become less spare. I am planning – as originally – to work all the lines in couched metal thread (one silver, one gold), but instead of leaving the background plain I am now intending to couch or stitch a background of spaced rows of wavy lines. Some of the small fragments of painted plaster from Amarna show such a pattern, and it will create some texture and density in the corners of the finished panels.



I am using the remains of the gold thread I used for Christus Natus Est, but I’m still not sure what thread to use for the background. By the time I took this photograph I had already decided that I was going to choose a matte thread for the couching. This will help to bring the gold forward.

I had also already decided to use a variegated thread. The wavy pattern usually alternates rows of dark and light, but in this case I hope that the fabric will provide the light and the variations of colour across the background will give a sense of movement and “flow”. The couched metal thread will be very static and stiff, and without some sense of flow somewhere, the whole thing will look a bit pedestrian.

I have yet to make a decision here. The choice, unless I find some other thread which appeals even more, is between a pearl cotton and a stranded cotton. They are both from Stef Francis, and both are in the same colour sequence.  I hope that when I have the gold done, the answer will come to me!


  1. Janice says:

    The variegated thread will look great, and I’m sure it will become clear which one to use when you get to that stage. Just thinking… to my knowledge you’ve been actively working on this for about three years! So good to see it starting to come together.

  2. karen says:

    it will definitely become clear once you begin to stitch….love your detailed drawing…

  3. Penny says:

    Whichever choice you make it will be wonderful. You are so good at design and you know your threads and their effects beautifully.

  4. Carolyn says:

    I look forward to seeing how this develops.

  5. wendy says:

    Looking forward to seeing which choices you make. I like your attitude of planning as you go

  6. Jules says:

    It’s so interesting to follow your design process, this one looks as intriguing as ever.

  7. I like working with variegated threads, both for quilting and embroidery – they add so much more interest to the stitching.
    As always I am looking forward to seeing how this piece develops.

  8. Lady Fi says:

    Good luck with the crest!