Soon I’ll be packing my bags to teach in Sisters, OR. Sisters is the home of the largest outdoor quilt festival in the nation called Quilter’s Affair. One of the many activities at the show is the opportunity to bid on art work by donors for the charity, Wish Upon a Card.
Songbird #2 by Laura Wasilowski
My donation this year, Songbird #2, measures about 4″ x 6″ and is free- form hand embroidered on wool. Loved making it, love that it’s helping out someone in need, and love that it will go to a good home.
Songbird #2 began its life as a step-out. It was made to show a certain stage in the making of the songbird project in my book, Joyful Stitching. He is a distant cousin of the original songbird found on the cover and evolved into a bird more interested in flowers than bugs. Hope to see you in Sisters!
The old “Put a Bird on It!” trick has worked for me again. Imagine this quilt without the bird. Without the bird, it’s just a lonely hill with some trees on top. Not all that interesting is it?
But add a curious bird checking out a bug and you have drama and action! It’s like a movie staring a restless bird startled by and innocent bug who has lost his way. What will happen next? Does the bug have a chance? Will the bird’s curiosity cause a major change in the way of the world? Stay tuned…..
Windy City #1 and Bird by Laura Wasilowski
Need a solution to that design problem that’s been nagging at you? Here’s what to do: Put a Bird on It! Yes, if a quilt just doesn’t sing to you, maybe it needs a bird. A charming bird always saves the day.
Windy City #1 sans bird
Compare this before picture of Windy City #1 to the one above. Note that it only has 2 elements of interest: the house and a tree. But, add a bird and the magic number of 3 is reached. Thus, the reason for putting a bird on it. Try this at home!
See that little blue spot on the right of this quilt? That little blue spot is a bird. Or at least it will be a bird after a few hand embroidery stitches make it so.
From head to tail the little bird measures about 1.5″. He’s just a piece of blue fabric cut in the shape of a bird. He needs stitchery to make up the details of his parts. Make yourself a little bird and follow these steps:
- Outline the shape with the Outline Stitch and a few Blanket Stitches for the belly of the bird. Stitches are place on the purple background fabric and snugged right up to the bird shape. Use a contrasting thread colorway like Sunflowers. (Size 12 pearl cotton thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Stitch the front curve of the wing shape with the Outline Stitch and then swing into a few elongated Blanket Stitches to indicate feathers. (Size 12 Evening Greens thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Use that same Evening Greens thread and add 2 long straight stitches down the center of his tail for tail feathers.
- Use a fine (50 weight) black sewing thread to make the pupil of his eye. Small straight stitches or a heavy duty French Knot will work. Surround the pupil with tiny Outline Stitches. (Size 12 Aquamarine thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Make the beak with a set of straight stitches that radiate in a triangle shape from the edge of the bird’s head to the tip of the beak. (Size 12 Oranges thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Use the same Oranges thread for accent marks and to repeat the color of the beak. Add straight stitches around the wing and 2 long stitches to the tail. Place 3 French Knots to the cap of the wing for decoration. He is a fancy bird.
- Make a jaunty crest for the bird’s head out of 3 Pistil Stitches. (Size 12 Sunflowers thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Breath a sigh of relief and move on to other areas of the quilt.
In celebration of having a new book almost published (Joyful Stitching comes out in February), I’d like to get you warmed up for embroidery with a free tutorial on making this Wooly Bird. Sadly, he didn’t make the cut for the book but you’ll find his free pattern and stitch directions on the Wooly Bird Stitch Along.
And in further celebration! (Cause I’m such a party gal.) I’ll be giving away a free swatch of wool along with a free pattern for the bird with every order placed on the Artfabrik Store. This offer is good now through the end of the year. It’s our choice of color but the wool is just the right size and weight for your Wooly Bird project.