Beginning to stitch the Panel of the Excavation

Finding The Ground

Finding The Ground

When I first looked at the picture of the Excavation, I realised that when I had only a small section on view, I was finding it hard to work out what was ground and what was human, so my first action was to go over the ground lines again, using a pinkish quilter’s pencil. It helped a little…

I decided next that if I could get the lines for the ground stitched, it should make decisions about stitching the humans easier. And those decisions need to be made a great deal easier, because since I transferred the design onto the fabric, I’ve stared at it, on and off, for weeks, wondering frantically how I was even going to start on it. I don’t usually suffer from this sort of bewilderment, so I’m in a terra incognita, here.

Not At All Sure

Not At All Sure

And truthfully, this isn’t as much help as I hoped. I’m working in the hand, because I find a lot of the basic stitches easier that way, and I am expecting it to be worked largely in line stitches.

The lines that have been stitched are all the ones in the design that indicate the ground surface (or, in the front, trenches and spoil heaps). There’s not enough structure here to help hold the panel together as I’m working on it, so I am going to have to think a little harder, work out a system for the people, and possibly completely rework the ground when I’ve done the people.

I know I can’t expect all my projects to flow as easily as did  “Loading the Felucca”, but I really had hoped for a little less head-scratching and a little more stitching!


  1. I don’t know if this would help, but what about drawing the shaped ‘human’ areas onto high quality/computer tracing paper, (so it lies flat) colour with colour pencils and cut out; and then try out different placements/arrangements of the figures. This would give an overlay effect – but with a bit more substance with colours etc . It might help you get a feel for what you finally want to achieve? Just a thought.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I don’t think you can see the balance between people and ground unless you make them very visible – dark tacking outlines, or cutouts as Jules suggests. Or just go for it and start putting them in and see what happens. You know your original drawing was nicely balanced, so you won’t go too far wrong.

  3. Penny says:

    Jules has a great idea. I have been there – where I know what I want to do but then can’t figure out how or what technique, etc. I’ve been experimenting with birds lately and although these are simple designs its taking so much time to figure out the logistics of it, making prototype after prototype and even dispensing with a couple after they were completely finished. Guess its all part of the creative process – but it isn’t easy.

  4. Lady Fi says:

    Hope you get it sorted out…

  5. This is way beyond my capabilities, so I can’t offer any ideas, but Jules’ cutouts sound as if they would help.

  6. Carolyn says:

    I think you need to tack in those figures. They need not be perfect, just the space they will take up. It will help you with perspective and you will be able to see where your going.

  7. karen says:

    oh head scratching is common here, a daily occurrence. I have every faith in you, if anyone can figure this out it’s you and thank you for reminding me about world embroidery day!! A happy world embroidery day to you too.

  8. jenclair says:

    You will figure it out. 🙂 I can’t wait to see how you work through it.

  9. Janice says:

    I can’t see at this stage what you’re trying to do. But I have every faith that eventually you will do it!

  10. Karen says:

    This looks so complicated and way beyond my abilities. I think the idea of cut outs might help enormously. I look forward to seeing this as you progress.

  11. Jillayne says:

    This piece has been so intriguing for me, following your progress on it. I understand the hesitancy, and even angst, but it will sort itself out once you begin. You may have to backtrack a bit as you progress, but I think ideas and plans really gain steam when you’re moving ahead. Good luck!