What Thread Colors to Use: Reimaging Art #5

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.”

Why Askew is Good: Reimagining Art #4

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!

Cringing at Your Little Chicken Ways? Reimagining Art #3

Some design moves are easy when making artwork. For instance, I’ve embroidered an apple on this swatch of wool. So without using a pattern or drawing, what do I improvise next to add interest to the design?

Simple answer- stitch a branch for the apple. With a branch, you can imagine that a tree supports the apple. By adding the bough, the background fabric now evokes the sky. And in my case, the apple looks ready for picking, and apple pie is in the future! The yellow branch is the next element that supports the story of this design.

Tip: Be Fearless!

And just like any good story, now comes the scary part! Suddenly you discover there are no easy design moves, and the word “improvisation” jumps out to grab you! You entertain self-doubts, indulge in second-guessing, and cringe at your little chicken ways. Improvisation stops a lot of us cold.

But I ask you to be fearless! Cut that fabric! Snip that thread! Bravely use a color with no name!

And that’s what I did. I bravely trimmed the square edges from the purple wool into a loopy border. It was scary! And now I need a really big piece of apple pie.