Head of Ankhsenpaaten – more progress

Starting Second Layer

Starting Second Layer

Once I had a single layer of stitches I removed the running stitch outline. Not as easy as you might hope, because my “real” stitching had caught some of them, but doesn’t it look better without!

The angle of the photo shows but doesn’t over-emphasize the slightly elongated skull the family had, and you can almost see this little girl as a daughter of Nefertiti – the same fine-drawn features, softened by youth and lack of care.

More Darks

More Darks

The next thing to do was to add in some of the mid tone darks. The photograph I’m working from does have some quite strong shading, and I felt that in spite of my early Dark darks, there wasn’t quite enough form.

However, this point I had a bit of a wobble, because I was wondering whether I’d done too much dark. Looking at the photo, I now think not, but I do need a mid-mid-tone to blend in the curves of the face a little bit more.

More Lights Too

More Lights Too

However, I put in more lights to help myself back on track.

You can see, if you click to enlarge the photo, very light cream stitches around the highlight on the temple, on the eyelid and around the curve of the nostril and the light areas around the lips.

I need to extend some of these, and add those pesky mid-mid-tones. But I do think it’s going to work.

And I’m completely astonished at myself. I’ve approached this almost as I approach a watercolour, and you wouldn’t have thought embroidery – certainly not my embroidery – would be amenable to such treatment.



  1. This is soooo pretty Rachel! It has a real ‘stony’ feel to it is well. Thank you for sharing the process in such detail.

  2. Dima says:

    Very cool!

  3. Catherine says:

    This is so fascinating! Your comments about watercolour paintings was interesting. I’m no painter, so this was an interesting comparison to read!

  4. Lin Tarrant says:

    Just amazing!

  5. Ann says:

    She is beautiful and your work is exquisite..

  6. Lady Fi says:

    Wow – awesome.

  7. How difficult to get the shading just right but it is looking great, wonderful stitching Rachel.

  8. Susan says:

    This is truly amazing. I can see how the mid tones added will blend it even more. She’s beautiful!

  9. Jen Mullen says:

    The stitches create such depth! Great job, Rachel!

  10. Sue Jones says:

    Gosh-wow! Isn’t she taking shape and character quickly? I am not surprised that treating these little seed stitches as painting works because they are tiny pixels of colour anyway. But you are obviously making a good choice of where to put the shades of ‘paint’, and where to play with the density of stitching, which is where the skill comes in.

  11. GREAT progress. The stitch is an easy one, but the placement and shade of tread is vital. You have managed very well.

  12. karen says:

    your comment about watercolour? I think it’s wonderful how our creativity in whatever medium can influence and inform other creative process. You are proving that here.