box of birds part 5

I didn’t have a particular kind of bird in mind when I drew this one but now the slip is finished I think it’s a parrot wannabe.

box of birds part 4

It only took me an afternoon and evening to stitch the second bird. It’s based on a dipper (cinclus cinclus) but I changed the colours slightly. As per the nuthatch, beak and legs will be added once it’s appliquéd to the final background fabric.

box of birds part 3

The little nuthatch slip is now finished and I think I did right by leaving out the padding.

box of birds part 2

I’m calling this latest project ‘box of birds’ so that I can look back through my posts easily to remind myself how I solved any problems and to no-one’s surprise, there have been problems already! The bird on the left in the image below shows quite clearly the difference between having padding on the head, throat, and breast, and none on the wings, and when I’d finished them I thought the wings looked too flat. I had followed Lala’s instructions but her wings don’t look sunken so I’m not sure why mine do.

I’d already ripped out the throat and breast stitching once but only when I’d stitched them for a second time did I realise that the difficulty I’d been having with the roumanian couching was because I’d been attempting to stitch it with my left hand in the same way that a right-handed person would. (If you’re left-handed like me, you’ll appreciate the confusion between brain and hand that this causes!) Rather than rip them out again, it was quicker to just restart, stitch the couching correctly as a leftie, and omit the padding altogether to avoid the sunken wings look. The plan has always been to pad the birds when they’re being appliquéd to their eventual background as a slip, so the initial padding shouldn’t really be necessary.

If you’re interested in learning about the ‘slip’ technique, this video by Malina GM embroidery shows a slip being stitched and attached to a mitten, and The Floss Box also has a very good written tutorial.

box of birds part 1

My new project is a box with embroidered panels on the sides and top. Nothing like being ambitious – in three different ways no less! Raised embroidery slips will be appliqued to hand-painted and embroidered backgrounds, and last but not least, make the box itself. In my mind’s eye, it will all work out beautifully but the reality might fall a long way short.

I bought a sheet of greyboard from a local art shop to test my box-making skills and you can see the result below. I liked the construction method (a YouTube video) but my measuring was slightly off, even though I thought I was being extra careful – measure twice, cut once and all that, but for a first attempt it’s not all bad and I do have a usable container even if the lid is a bit wonky.

I like birds and I like stumpwork, so the box panels will each have a raised embroidered bird on them as well as some greenery. The first bird is a little nuthatch from Lala Ward’s Countryside Embroidery book again but I’m going to attempt to wing it (excuse the pun) and draw the rest myself.

bag request

An embroidered calico bag is not included in the Jenny Rolfe book mentioned in my previous post but it fits the bill for a small gift bag that a family member has requested. The celtic knot pattern is from Michaela Learner’s book, Borders & Motifs. The book includes reusable iron-on transfers but I thought I might smudge it when ironing it on so did my usual method of taping a tracing of the design to the back of the fabric and then drawing the pattern on the fabric front with a light source behind. I really ought to invest in a good lightbox but feel that the number of times I’d use it wouldn’t justify the expense.

Unusually for me, I used six strands of embroidery cotton for the green chain stitch as well as for the red french knots. The star is machine topstitch thread. An enjoyable few hours stitching and an excellent exercise in stitch length control while I continue to dither over my next major project.

new books

I bought the following with a recent birthday gift voucher and I think one will form the basis of my next project although I’m not sure which one. Any suggestions?

I haven’t been able to find the post/article where I saw this book mentioned recently but I was intrigued enough to buy a copy. It’s a 1985 edition, mainly printed in black and white but the diagrams and photographs are very clear and seem easy to follow.


A idea for a modern style of raised embroidery on a casket/box has been brewing in my mind for a while and the following two books might help me formulate a proper plan.


The last item is a gel printing plate. I’ve got lots of acrylic paint and medium to turn it into fabric paint, and I’ve begun collecting things with textured surfaces to use as stencils and mark makers. Any successful printed fabric will be used for future textile projects – perhaps even for the covering of a box or a bag! My brayer will be wiped of paint onto my sketchbook pages to help avoid the dreaded blank page syndrome.