More people on the View Of the Excavation

Closer Group..

Closer Group..

Having decided I needed to Have Courage and Dive In, I realised that maybe sneaking up on this panel was the way to go. Unless I immediately hated an experiment, I didn’t take it out – and sometimes not even then. Sometimes you need to stare at the thing that is wrong to work out Why, before you can even think about What Else.

This group are in the middle distance, close enough that some details are beginning to be visible.  At the same time, I didn’t want to make the detail too detailed, if you follow me. Coral stitch, fairly closely spaced, forms the outline of the middle figure, and the tunic of the furthest is in reverse chain stitch.

I find that reverse chain is much easier than ordinary chain stitch to work when the fabric is in a frame, and this panel was in and out of the hoop, depending upon the stitch and the mood I was in. As I do more and more embroidery, I’m beginning to find it easier to keep a sensible tension without a frame, but then the baskets were easier in a frame!

On His Own

On His Own

Getting still closer, there was this fellow, all alone in his own little trench. I wonder what he’s found?

He’s worked in Pekinese Stitch, using one colour for the back stitch, and another for the interlacing. His hat is double interlaced back stitch  in the same threads – round silk threads from Mulberry Silks, like the central figure in the top group. The others are in a mixture of stranded cotton, stranded silk, and another of the Mulberry Silks yarns.

Clearing Spoil

Clearing Spoil

I’ve only just realised that the design involved remarkably few people taking spoil away from the trenches, but at least there are two. I put a border on the tunic of the middle person, using a rather interesting blanket stitch variation from one of my Edith John books. The most distant person was in Portuguese Knotted Stem stitch, which is one of my longest-standing favourite stitches, and the girl at the front is Hungarian Braided Chain stitch, which is one of my newest favourite stitches.


  1. Coming along beautifully. Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch is one of my long time favourites too – though I can’t think now where I first encountered it. I assumed it was in one of Mrs Christie’s books- but it’s not. Now I’ll have to go and find out!

  2. Well done on your brave dive! I love the variation of stitches you’re using – each one brings something a little different to the overall effect. I’m itching to see an overview now!

  3. elaine says:

    I love how this is coming along! I am a great one for just getting stuck in – what’s the worst that could happen?!

  4. Janet Brandt says:

    Your figures look so simple yet they are so animated! That is not easy to achieve. Well done.

  5. jenclair says:

    Amazing how a particular stitch can make all the difference!

  6. Dima says:

    After trying the reverse chain stitch I don’t think I’d ever go back to regular chain stitch. It’s so much easier and much more relaxing. Your piece is looking lovely. It’s so detailed despite the simple stitches.

  7. I’m constantly amazed at the diversity of stitches you use on this piece and how well they create outlines that are interesting. It’s great fun to watch!

  8. It’s amazing how the different stitches convey the details of the figures!

  9. Sue Jones says:

    Yes, you’re definitely on a roll here! I like the way it’s becoming something of a line-stitch sampler, too.

  10. Terrie says:

    Always find you works on figures are amazing.

  11. Penny says:

    Once again I’m in awe of your stitchery. The basket are marvelous but then I move to the next scene and its fabulous also. I love that you’re using a variety of stitches and as always your work is perfect.

  12. Janice says:

    Such a lot of thought – choosing particular stitches for their ability to appear detailed or not detailed. I’m looking forward to seeing the whole of this panel when it’s completed. It’s coming along very well.

  13. Carolyn says:

    Lots of progress. Using a variety of stitches does add depth and texture.

  14. Lady Fi says:

    It’s coming along really well.

  15. karen says:

    love your very detailed description of the process Rachel….

  16. Anita says:

    Your choice of stitches is wonderful as always ..and perfect execution too.. The variety of stitches adds interest to the whole piece…

  17. I love how you’ve used the different stitches to give just enough detail to each of the figures. The various combinations add a wonderfully rich texture as well.

    Thanks so much for linking up to last week’s Stitchery Link Party.