Adding details to the Amarna Family Group

Close up of a section of the embroidered piece, showing gold threads couched with silk, showing a had holding a bunch of grapes, and part of a pleated kilt.

It has been some time since I reported on the Amarna Family Group, and that is partly because, when I had finished the basic design, I was more than a litttle uncertain how much detail I wanted to add, and quite frankly, I was a little unnerved by the mere idea of adding any detail at all!

However, eventually, I gathered my courage in both hands, and started to make an attempt. First, a few lighter and darker purple stitches on the grapes – I may decide to add more, but I don’t want the details to overwhelm the design.

Another close up, showing gold couched with silk to represent a backless chair, and the kilt and legs of the figure. The colour of the chair isn't sufficiently distinct from the gold.

And this is the point at which I went astray. Whitening the kilt with dark lines for the creases and additional white stitches was rather difficult and stressful, so I moved on to tackle the seat. I tried to add enough details to bring the seat to life and pull it away from the background, but instead found it too detailed, too fussy, drawing the eye away from the warmth of the family group and emphasizing the furniture. Not at all what I wanted.

Close up of the back, with a patch bare of stitching where it has been painstakingly removed.

I left it alone overnight, hoping that it would settle together and I would see it with a clearer eye.

It didn’t settle together, and I did see it with a clearer eye. I was so frustrated and upset, I didn’t stop to take a picture, but sat down, picked up scissors, stitch ripper, tweezers, and a blunt tapestry needle, and unpicked it.

It took all day.

That was some time ago, so Episode 50 of SlowTV Stitchery is about Something Else Entirely. A fishy experiment is introduced and there are some musings on the blending of threads.


  1. Mam says:

    What happens to the gold cord when you unpick the stitches?

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Nothing to add about the unpicking of Armana, except that I m glad I already know that it worked and the replacement sections are much improved.
    I like the fishy pictures so far. Lots of options for changing colours and for changing the rate and range of change. Stitch length, tone, sequence jumps. Plus room for texture if you want more variety (machine threads, crewels, pearl or crystal beads for highlights).
    Congratulations on reaching your Golden Video!

  3. The grapes have just the right amount of sheen to make them look real and really delicious.
    Your stitches sit so flat with the help of the laying tool.

  4. Jen Mullen says:

    How frustrating to spend the day unpicking! Was there any cursing? By the end of the day, you must have been exhausted with spending so much time “undoing” what you’d spent so much time doing. 🙁

  5. Carolyn Foley says:

    Reverse stitching is always tedious but necessary. Congratulations on all those videos.

  6. Lady Fi says:

    Lovely work.

  7. Sheryl says:

    Better to unpick what doesn´t look right now and not have it annoying you in the future. Sometimes I pin my work to the wallpapered wall in front of my bed and study for a couple of days what I´m undecided about – usually mixing colours.