Do you see what I see? The little bird quilt is almost complete! Just a few more Fern Stitches on the tree line and the small quilt can be assembled to the backing and machine quilted.
Birdland #13 by Laura Wasilowski
My favorite part of Birdland #13 (aside from the swift little bird) is the water fabric. It is a piece of fabric I printed long ago and kept hidden in a back alley of my studio. Who knew it would finally have a purpose? That’s why we keep a fabric stash, you never know when you might need just that perfect fabric. Thanks for joining me for our little bird’s travels!
The focal point of my quilt (the bird) is completely stitched so its time to move on to the next most important element in the design, the birdhouses. And like any good stitcher, thread colors are chosen to outline shapes separating them from the background and to repeat fabric colors used in the design.
I’m not a bird but I can see living in one of these houses. (Must be the French Knots around the doorway.) How about you? Care to move in?
You have to admit it, the French Knot is one of the best embroidery stitches around.That hit of knotty thread sits on the surface of the fabric like a little bead. To complete the stitchery on the wings, I’ve added lots of French Knots plus some Straight Stitches to make fine lines. (That’s a Lime Frappe thread in Size 12.) Running Stitches in the Oranges colorway repeat the orange of the beak and outline stitches around the body. Moving on to other quilt parts tomorrow!
And so you ask yourself, what color for my little birdie’s wings? Color selection for thread is always a challenge. Do you go for an analogous color scheme or strong contrast? Here’s one solution: lay the thread next to the area you want to stitch.
Then choose a different color and use that. After fretting about the color to outline the bird’s wings, I picked a Size 12 thread in the Red Hots colorway. The Outline Stitch sits right next to the little bird’s wings and trims them up nicely. Now they really pop! More bird stitchery tomorrow!
I ask you, is your bird very decorative and fancy? Then you may want to add French Knots to his tail. You’ll also note a few Stem or Outline Stitches on the tail too. By using a contrasting color, you can draw lines on your designs with the Stem Stitch in thread, no fabric needed.
The little bird’s eye is a set of small fused circles stacked on his body. To secure them to your bird, stitch the center of the eye first with a few Straight Stitches in a dark Size 12 Thread like the Black Orchids colorway. (No birds were injured in the stitching of this eye.)
That same color of thread is used to outline the outer eye dot and the bill of the bird using an Outline Stitch. Note a little stitch on his bill too. I’m not sure if birds have nostrils but this one does. More tomorrow!
The start of a new embroidery stitch project is both exciting and daunting. You ask yourself what design element do I stitch first? What color and size of thread to use? What embroidery stitch will look best? The answer to many of these questions is found under my tutorial, Thread-u-cation. But it may be more entertaining to follow along with me while I work on this new little quilt. It’s a bird!
Here are the first steps:
- Make a fanciful bird quilt with fused fabrics.
- Steam set the fused quilt top to the batting (wool for this piece).
- Pick the focal point of the design (the bird) and begin the stitching there.
- Use a Size 12 pearl cotton Oranges thread and a Size 5 or 7 embroidery needle to stitch around the bird’s body with an Outline or Stem Stitch. (This stitch is laid just next to the bird shape so your are actually stitching the background fabric not the bird.)
More bird stitching tomorrow!