Just Can’t Get Anything Done


It’s the dog days of summer and I just can’t get anything done. Maybe it’s the  heat or the humidity or …..here’s an idea….. babysitting two young rascals who are quite charming but need lots of attention.

My productivity level is at an all time low. About all I can get done is twisting and labeling thread. (Thread that was dyed well over a month ago.) Do you every find yourself with zero ambition? Is it a bad thing?

Woolly Bird Tutorial #10


The head of my bird stitched on wool needed a little more emphasis so I added another row of Outline Stitches around the edges with a light green thread. We’ll use that same stitch to make a triangle for the beak and fill it in with rows of the Outline Stitch. This is a fancy bird so you may want to add three Bullion Knots with French Knots at the tip to make the bird’s crest.


Fill in the wool background fabric with easy stitchery like swirls of the Running Stitch. This give it that Starry Night kind of look. (Thank you Vincent Van Gogh!)


To complete your woolly bird, finish the fabric edges with a Blanket Stitch. Thank you for joining me during this tutorial and please send me images of what you’ve made. (laura@artfabrik.com) Now sing a little birdsong of happiness!

A Guess on Thread Sizes


Size 8 Pearl Cotton Thread (left) with 6 Stranded Floss (right)

Here’s a question: how many strands of floss thread would equal a specific size of pearl cotton thread? Floss thread comes with 6 strands of threads bundled together. You can separate the bundle and stitch with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or all 6 threads together. Pearl cotton thread is not divisible. You use it as a “single”. 

I don’t dye floss anymore but I’ve tried to compare my hand-dyed pearl cotton thread sizes with strands of floss. Following is a chart to help you compare the two types of threads. (This is just a guess, I have no real way of measuring the diameters of the threads.)

Cactus Stitching #3

cactus7There are few ways to use a Size 3 pearl cotton thread, it being too bulky to draw through batting and fused fabrics. But Couch it down and distinct shapes like this spiraling sun appear in a desert scene.

cactus6A few last stitches complete my cactus landscape including this stretch of light purple desert land. The Lazy Daisy stitch topped with a French Knot allude to a scruffy plant holding out against that blasting sun. Hope to show you the final quilt soon.

Dyeing Buckets

dyeing9Ah, I live such a glamorous life! Here you see my buckets all lined up to catch the water exiting my washing machine. As I do the laundry, I collect the run-off water for rinsing my hand dyed threads.

threadwashoutThread rinsing must be done by hand. I know this because I once accidentally dropped a bundle of thread skeins into the washer and washed them. What a tangle mess that was! I’ll be lifting lots of heavy buckets to rinse the dyes from the threads in the next few days. But here’s the good news: it’s good exercise!

Stitch Series #3: Marking for Stitching

birdstitching5Here’s a little trick for marking your fabric for stitching. I’m about to add the cap to this bird’s wing and I need a line to follow. By scoring the fabric with your fingernail or tip of a needle, there is no need to draw on the fabric. Score marks also iron out if you change your mind.

birdstitching4The Blanket Stitch is a really versatile stitch. Here I’ve used it to create feather shapes to form the cap of the little bird’s wing. A combination of the Blanket Stitch and the Outline Stitch  added around the wing finish the edges and add even more feather shapes. (A Size 12 Peas in a Pod thread with a Size 5 needle are used.)

Already I’m thinking of other stitches to decorate to the tail and wing. Maybe in a clear orange or yellow colored thread? What do you think? More tomorrow!