Woolly Bird Tutorial #10

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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.

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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!)

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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

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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!

Stitch Series #2: Tail Feathers

birdstitching3 What bird doesn’t need some flashy tail feathers? Our little bird’s body is neatly finished with the Blanket Stitch. Next a combination of the Blanket Stitch and the Outline Stitch are added around the tail. This time I’m using a Size 12 thread called Peas in a Pod with a Size 5 needle.

You’ll notice that the Outline Stitching is done on the pink background fabric. By snugging the stitches right next to the blue tail fabric, you get a neater look. Also, skim stitch just through the fabric layer. No need to go through the batting layer to the back. We’re adding embellishment, not quilting the piece. More tomorrow!