Working on Nefertiti’s Cartouche – 2

Top Block

Top Block

After I’d finished the spiral trellis stitch circle, I had some doubts about it. Maybe it wasn’t strong enough, maybe the texture clouded the impression of the shape, maybe it even killed the colour. I’ve decided – with continuing reservations! – to keep it for now. I like the effect, and the knotted texture contrasts nicely with the long and short stitch beside it. If it can’t live with its companions when I’ve finished the piece, I will be in a better position to work out how to replace it.

The zigzag is about as simple as it could be – straight stitches, tightly whipped – and the half-circle, like the one in the lower section, is  detached buttonhole stitch.

Needs A Border

Needs A Border

So far, so good.

All the individual hieroglyphs have been worked, and I think the colour balance has turned out pretty well.

However, cartouches have borders, and the border is giving me a raging headache!

I had thought of working the border in Plaited Braid Stitch, in a copper or gold, or maybe couching down a knitted ribbon. Maybe a border in some other stitch, in blue-green?

So far, every thread I’ve tried has either disappeared into the background, or made itself altogether too obtrusive. I can see myself staring balefully at it for weeks, so in the meantime I am going to tack guidelines for the eventual border (in silk, what else?) and hope that inspiration dawns…


  1. Tanya says:

    What about a turquoise silk worked over a cord for the border, so it stands out like the zig zag?

  2. Dima says:

    I love the spiral trellis :O

  3. Penny Baugh says:

    Oh, this is really beautiful. The background is perfect and I LOVE these colors.

  4. jenclair says:

    Beautiful work, Rachel! I love the colors and the spiral trellis circle!

  5. Sue Jones says:

    Hooray for spiral trellis! I do like to see trellis being used as a Useful Stitch rather than just for historical purposes. Maybe a couple of rows of another Useful Stitch, Hungarian braided chain stitch, would solve your border problem? It’s got more body than the normal sort, two (or three) rows of it are nothing like as much of an effort as plaited braid but have something of the same well-defined-line effect. And it takes curves and corners in its stride.

  6. I would take the quilter’s way out and use a variegated thread! I always enlarge your photos, as I so enjoy seeing your beautiful stitching.

  7. Susan says:

    I think the spiral trellis fits perfectly, in shape and in color and texture. I hope you don’t decide it needs to go. It seems to balance the whole piece nicely. As for a border, I don’t have a lot of suggestion to make. I wonder if there are two thread colors you could combine that would make it dark enough to show, and not be overwhelming.

  8. Carolyn says:

    The spiral trellis is the right choice. It adds depth and texture to the piece.

  9. Terrie says:

    The spiral trellis typically pretty and makes 3D look.

  10. Lady Fi says:

    It’s looking great.

  11. Deborah says:

    Love the colors you are using and the block is coming along nicely.

  12. Jillayne says:

    Oh yes, I know that feeling – Mrs. Dithers herself never fretted more than me at times…
    I love this piece, how it’s coming together. The spiral trellis is lovely, as are all the others. I’ve never done the plaited braid stitch so can’t advise but I do like the idea of couching something and I also think turquoise should be present in the border in some fashion.
    I hope a happy solution comes to you soon – basting for now is a great idea as it’s simple and repetitive nature will allow your mind to rest!

  13. Sue Jones says:

    If anyone wants how-tos for spiral (and other varieties) of trellis stitch, I have some here

  14. I love the colours. they have a faded natural feel about them. Like the beach, or like old stone and copper that has gone turquoise rather than green. I really like this.