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* * * PUBLISHED * * * My work has been included in Pauline Brown's 'Encyclopedia of Embroidery Techniques' 2nd Edition, Search Press Classics UK
* * * PUBLISHED * * * Artist Review #3 of a 4 part series in the new issue of A Needle Pulling Thread magazine, Canada
* * * PUBLISHED * * * Stitch (UK) feature article, 'From Sketch to Stitch' Issue #105

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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

White Threads for the Birds

I'm not a cat person.  I like dogs.  Mostly, I am a bird person.  I love birds (and moose, and cows).  I put birds in my landscapes a lot.  They make me happy.  For a while now, I've had ideas to stitch birds.  That is as far as I have ever got with it though.  Yesterday I tried some free motion quilting / thread painting with the machine set on zigzag a la Alison Holt.  (By the way, I discovered Alison Holt's work AFTER I started my threadpaintings FYI.  Look her up, she's awesome!)  I was doing free motion with decorative stitches before, but the Horizon seems not to like it at all.  It likes the needle plate engaged, and then I'm stuck with a straight stitch only.  Plus, this technique is very difficult with a computerized machine.  You need the old-fashioned dial model.  Still, I gave it a try with Fiona.  I used white thread on top and white on bottom.  Generally, this old Kenmore has serious tension issues with free motion.  I quilt trying a long time ago, so I'm pretty happy with my results this time.

great for grasses!





I see evergreen boughs and/or bird feathers.

Cool!  I'm also loving the look of all white on royal blue.  It reminds me of my mother's blue & white dishes.  I thought I would jump right in and draw out one of my finches to stitch.  Meet Cocoa.  : )  He's like a little teddy bear.  I love him.

Cocoa (my bird) and Star (Arwen's bird)

I hooped up some blue fabric and traced using the screen as a light box.  I must say, I love love love my Bohin white chalk mechanical pencil leads!!


Tada!  Very easy to do...


Yes - I could have drawn it free hand, but since my focus was to practice and experiment with stitches, I decided to just trace him out.  I barely got the hoop under the low shank foot of my old machine!  I outlined with straight stitch free motion, and then tried to fill in with the feathers / zig zag.  It's not art... just an experimental sketch...  I have to get used to sketching with zigzag!  I like my samples much better than my bird here.  Still - it's a bird.  Birds make me happy. : )


I strongly dislike using hoops.  I find it very limiting.  I'll try some more experimenting my way - on buckrum, hoopless.  It seems to be easier on my hands too.  I could also come in and embellish things with white cotton thread.  Things just always sparkle with a bit of handstitching.  ; )

Speaking of handstitching, and white... we did get a teeny bit of snow, and so I'm feeling pretty inspired to get back to this arctic corset today!  ; )  Karen Ruane will be so proud of me.  I am her ultimate tardy student.



That's what I'm up to.  Playin' around.  I'll be starting two new commission soon, so keep posted!

Linking to The Needle & Thread Network.



8 comments:

HollyM said...

My machine is dial m,machine (a basic Pfaff) so I can do the zigzag no problem. I haven't experimented with it much other than fir or pine trees. I love the feathers though and especially on the blue.
i don't like using hoops either. I find I always hit the sides when I'm just getting going. I do most of my free motion too with a strong interfacing. (I haven't found the buckrum yet.)

Christie, Describe Happy said...

Your little birds are so adorable!! And it's fun to see you experiment. Look forward to seeing more of your artic piece too.. the colors are fantastic!

greelyrita said...

With those practice stitches, I wonder if it will be possible to recreate them when you want them just like that. That's a problem I have, but it certainly could be me rather than the machine. I love the soft focus look of the bird. This might be hard to recreate as you get better at this technique. Sort of like new spinners can so easily make attractively lumpy yarn but later, they can't do that any more. Fun to be there with you as you play!

Leanne said...

It is so interesting to see how you make these stitches. I am assuming that you have tried using the Horizon with a super slider type thing covering the feed dogs?

æble said...

The white on blue is a really nice contrast. Cool effect with the zig-zag. I'll have to try it. Thanks for sharing the idea.

elle said...

Great texture!

Ellen said...

I love birds too! You are very talented and the blue and white is quite striking together.

kathy said...

I've just spent a most enjoyable trip through your blog and picked up a couple of new stitches along the way! You've also fed my creative juices with new ideas for threadpainting more than I do....more birds,(trying this zig zag stitching), and very soon, FLOWERS! Your work is just lovely!Thank you.

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