Developments on the View of the Excavation

A line of raggedly Knotted Cross Stitches, not quite in the right colour.

I love my worklight. It gives a wonderfully crisp and bright light to work from, and it can even be useful in bright daylight because it washes out deep shadows that confuse the eye. By and large, it also gives a better idea of true colour than the earlier one I had, which didn’t have the “throw” to reach from my side table to my hands, and tended towards the blue.

However, just every now and again, it doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head, as it were, and this is a case in point. That row of Knotted Cross stitch is plainly in too cold a colour for the surrounding stitches, and yet when I was picking the colour, using my worklight, the thread looked good, a warm darkish olive-brown. When I looked at the stitches having completed them, it looked much colder, just plain Wrong. Out it comes!

Stitched text, in split stitch: "Down over the North Suburb I could see a yellow cloud of dust", and below that, in heavier stitching, "Excavations at Akhetaten"

I tend only to unpick first thing in the morning, so rather than continue with the seeding, I went back at that point to the title stitching. And it’s finished!

It’s not entirely even, but neither was the stitching on the Map, and I like the unevenness. It recalls the unevenness of the ground, particularly as the dig advances across the area, and it is just the right weight to anchor the picture.

Working on this section has reminded me of just how much I enjoy working on embroidery in the hand. As I work on William, or on goldwork pieces, or even canvaswork, all of them in a frame with fabric held taut, there is something that I miss about holding the fabric in my hand, taking my stitches and wrapping my threads. I think I need to make sure, for the future, that I have a suitable “in the hand” piece on hand, as it were, to keep me connected to my first love of stitching – the stitches themselves.


  1. Sue Jones says:

    The lettering looks good. Free without being untidy. Colours under artificial light are always slightly different to the same shade by good daylight, no matter whether you have “daylight” bulbs or not. Even the weather can change how colours look. Pick them all by bright morning daylight, if you can, without direct sun.
    The piece I am currently working on has a white border that I can work in the hand, in any sufficiently good light, while the stitching inside the border needs a small hoop. Some of that is the sort of colour work that demands daylight and some doesn’t, just brightness. So I have a good range of options in one small bookmark!

  2. Lin says:

    What a shame all that beautiful stitching had to come out – but I can quite see why. A reminder that choosing threads in daylight is the way to go although I am very guilty of not doing this. The lettering looks great. xx

  3. Karen says:

    Ah, shame to unpick… you can’t beat an embroidered cloth in the hand

  4. Stephen F says:

    Milady I have to agree with Sue on this: check it under daylight first.
    Even the best artificial light can affect colour.

  5. Oh, what bothers having to unpick stitches. It is so hard to judge shades and tones in artificial light. It can likewise be hard in natural daylight especially when the weather, the number of clouds or the strength of the sunlight differ a lot.

  6. Alex Hall says:

    Can’t beat daylight… I love the natural handwritten look of the title -and the warm dustiness of it feels very appropriate.