How to Quickly Stitch a Bird

backyardbird1prestitchSee 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.

backyardbird1detailFrom 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.

A Favorite Combination

raresongbird6

Rare Songbird (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

And now for a final (and favorite) stitch combination. The Fern Stitch lends itself to many stitch combinations that you’ll find my new book, Joyful Stitching. It evokes the shape of leaves, climbing vines, or even a bird’s tail feathers.

In the Rare Songbird project, three vertical lines of Fern Stitches are outlined in Stem Stitches using the same orange thread. French Knots, in a light blue thread, fill in the spaces between to make a decorative tail for the bird.

I hope the examples of stitch combinations we’ve reviewed in the last few weeks will come in handy and add to your own free-form stitchery arsenal.

May your combinations always rock!

The Famous and Bold French Knot

sheepwithhorns

Dyed in the Wool #1 by Laura Wasilowski

You may have heard that a chapter in my new book, Joyful Stitching, went missing. For those of us who are fond of mystery novels, I’m pretty sure it was kidnapped. (Still awaiting ransom note.) The missing chapter called Combinations Rock! covered how combining two or more embroidery stitches added texture, pattern, and shapes to fabric. 

And talk about texture! The French Knot is famous for its bulky texture. But combine it with the Bullion Knot, and your thread leaps off the fabric. In Dyed in the Wool #1, the stitch combination of French and Bullion Knots give the sheep a curly fleece you just want to pet.

May Your Bumpy Combinations Rock

atastybiteofapple

Tasty Bite of Apple by Laura Wasilowski

It’s true what you’ve heard. A chapter in my new book, Joyful Stitching, was mysteriously removed before publication. Sure, I’m making this all up but the chapter called Combinations Rock! was a great idea! It was all about combining embroidery stitches and included the merging of stitches to create texture on fabric.

tastybiteofapple3A good example of this texture building is found in the Tasty Bite of Apple project. Adjacent rows of Blanket Stitches create small squares like the light green threads above. Each green square is filled in with a red French Knot. This is my favorite stitch combination. I love how the bumpy texture created with complementary thread colors really zings. Don’t you just love a bumpy combination?

 

A Mysterious Chapter

embroideredpeardetail5Did you know that there is a missing chapter from my new book, Joyful Stitching? Yes, it mysteriously disappeared one dark and stormy night.

embroideredpeardetailThis “tell all” chapter (with the cheerful title Combinations Rock!) was mysteriously dropped from the book. Some say it was due to lack of space. I say, that they were scandalized by my combinations rocking.

Combinations Rock! explored the combining of different embroidery stitches to create texture, pattern, and shape on fabric. Happily I have saved my notes and have examples of that missing chapter to show you over the next few days. Hope you’re not scandalized!

embroideredpear1

Embroidered Pear by Laura Wasilowski

It’s common practice in hand embroidery to combine stitches to create pattern. Repeated stitch motifs or patterns are useful for filling in large background areas like the table in Embroidered Pear. This pattern of embroidery begins with rows of linked Cross Stitches in blue thread on the wool background fabric. The blue threads make diamond shapes across the fabric. French Knots (in yellow thread) fill in the diamond shapes to complete the pattern.

This simple stitch combination builds a delightful pattern across the fabric and keeps that pear from falling over. Stay tuned for more combinations rocking in the near future!

Paint Brush Stitch Along

brush16Ready for another Stitch Along? Using techniques from my new book Joyful StitchingI’ll show you step-by-step how to make this lively paint brush. It only uses 7 hand embroidery stitches and there is a pattern ready for you to print and trace.

brush19 

There is also a Stitch Kit available for the Paint Brush Stitch Along. You can select one or all of the items to make the brush:  the wool background fabric, hand dyed threads, and embroidery needles.

 

Click here to begin your Paint Brush Stitch Along. If you can’t join the Stitch Along today, you can always find it and other Stitch Alongs here under Tutorials.