Need to attach a fabric shape to another fabric? Try the blanket stitch. Here I’ve used a size 12 Aquamarine thread to attach the bird to the purple background fabric using the blanket stitch. I chose this thread color so it blends in with the bird fabric. It’s functional rather than decorative.
Tip: Thread Colors
Now comes the fun part- adding decorative stitches to the bird. Thread colors can blend into the fabric (like the blanket stitches around the bird) or contrast with the fabric. Thread colors that contrast create lines and help define shapes like the wing and tail of the bird.
One of those line-making stitches is the stem or outline stitch. I’ve used stem stitches to form the arc of the wing using a size 8 Sprouts thread, and that same thread outline his tail with blanket stitches. The channel of stem stitches on the edge of the wing is filled in with lazy daisy stitches using a Lime Frappe thread in size 8. Lime Frappe is very variegated so the colors change quickly.
You may ask, “Does that bird have any tail support?” Yes, I’m happy to say that a piece of blue felt is placed under his tail and stitched to the edge of the purple fabric. The blanket stitches holding the bird’s body in place continue around the tail and attach the tail support. That way, he doesn’t have a floppy tail. And as my aunt once said, “You can never have enough tail support.”
It’s Spring in Illinois, and the birds are living it up! As they hop from branch to branch and trill their arias, I listen to their birdsong so I can identify them. Of course, there is an app for that. The Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell Lab is a great way to identify the birds in your neighborhood. Try it!
So being in full bird-watching mode, I’ve decided to add a bird to the apple project. Without a pattern to follow, I’ve free-cut the bird from this gorgeous blue wool felt from Commonwealth Felt. We seldom see bluebirds in my backyard, but a girl can dream!
Tip: Place Elements at an Angle
The next step is to tack the bird onto the purple wool before stitching him into place. You’ll notice that he is tilted slightly down as he rests on the branch. One method of adding interest and movement to a design is to place elements at an angle. That slight tilt of the bird’s body lends action to the piece and brings the sweet bluebird to life.
I’ve also placed his tail off the edge of the design. His little tail acts as an arrow leading your eye toward the apple. It’s a way of showing the interaction between the two elements, the bird and apple. Will he peck the apple? Will he sing to the apple? I’m not sure. I’m just happy to have him in my neighborhood!
Beginning April 29, artwork donated by members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) goes up for auction. (See the 2022 Spotlight Auction.) These are small pieces measuring 8″ x 6″ in a variety of styles, colors, and techniques.
My piece, Flying Home #3, is among those available for bid. Hand embroidered and using wool, felt, and my hand dyed threads, Flying Home depicts the birds who live in my backyard and in my imagination. Birds are magnificent creatures. They are flying acrobats, daredevils that sing, and sprites that fill my garden and heart with activity and life.
There are several reasons to collect artwork. We collect art to support an organization like SAQA or to support the artist. Collecting art also gives you, the collector, the benefit of surrounding yourself with what you love. Art gives us a sense of beauty and what is good in the world. So check out the SAQA 2022 Spotlight Auction and treat yourself to something good.