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.

more pouches

I just remembered that I hadn’t posted about the second batch of zippered pouches I made and I imagine you’ve all been desperate to see them (as if). I haven’t boxed the corners this time apart from the one that has “top” on one side and “bottom” on the other.

 

home again

Home again yesterday after three weeks of voluntary maid service to Big Sis following her extremely successful hip replacement operation, and this morning it was strange not to have Jasper greet me with much tail wagging. This was him before he had his coat clipped a few days after I arrived and he seems to be saying “Haircut? What haircut? No-one mentioned a haircut. Is it open to negotiation?”. It wasn’t and he was duly coiffed into a slightly neater version of what he looks like here, but his coat seems to grow so quickly there’s already talk of another trim this weekend.

Sadly, my camera repair is going to cost half as much again as the repair shop assistant suggested it was worth spending on the repair and as I’ve had it six years and camera technology has advanced a little more, I’m looking for a replacement instead. I’ll have to make do with my phone camera for the time being. I just wish I could retain all the phone techy camera stuff I learn from time to time and not have to refer to the internet for refresher lessons each time!

Painting the Roses Red didn’t get stitched at all while I was away except on the journey north, and I haven’t taken any update photos yet. I had also taken some aida fabric and crochet cottons to try blackwork which was a new technique for me. I only had a few colour options but I quite enjoyed the process and found it easier than cross-stitch but doubt that I’ll do much more blackwork in the future. I can’t see myself ever needing a bell-pull or a tray cloth or yet another needle case which were the suggestions in one book.

rooster

The Chinese New Year brings in the year of the rooster on the 28th of January and I’ve made this one to sit in my son’s shop window. The rooster stands approximately 18 inches crest to claw and about 14 inches chest to tail tip. The body is papier maché formed over a balloon then cut and shaped when dry. The inner neck is a shaped cardboard tube. All the feathers are individually cut from a variety of cardboard, determined by the boxes I had waiting to be recycled. The claws are wire covered with floral tape. A hot glue gun was used to put it all together after which I painted it with gesso then acrylic paints. I saw something similar on the internet made from egg cartons but I didn’t have the time to save enough of those. If I ever made another bird this way I’d probably paint the cardboard first – it would make it much quicker to complete.

rooster

a little meadow and some legs

I’ve been working on this little 7″ x 5″ meadow for several weeks just doing a few stitches at a time as it’s impossible to do much more when you need to read sub-titles on the television but I think it’s done now. Calico for the ground fabric as usual. I mixed acrylic paints with medium to turn them into fabric paints but I’m not sure what benefit if any was gained by doing so. I think the calico would have taken the colour just as easily without the addition of the medium.

meadow

I used this excellent free pattern to make a couple of chicks as a start for lots more to use in a future window display and then had a session of just making legs using various wire gauges and construction methods as practice for a much larger bird I had in mind to make. The big bird is not made from fabric and there’s no stitching involved but it’s not quite finished so all you get today is chicks studying the results of the leg making practice.

legs

 

fabric bird 2

Another wren. The most difficult thing I’ve found with these birds is stitching the underbody gusset to the main body pieces without leaving a gap or creating a fold at the ends. I’m hoping that the more birds I made, the easier the process will be.

wren-2

fabric bird

I recently bought a secondhand copy of The Artful Bird by Abigail Patner Glassenberg who blogs at whileshenaps.com. The book has 20+ pages on techniques and several on materials and tools and I read through all those pages twice before starting on the wren, which according to the book is the one to master, after which the other birds will come “relatively easily”. I found some parts of the construction slightly challenging, particularly free-motion machine embroidering the wing parts once they’d been made up so I’d do that differently in future.

The book does not state if a particular level of expertise is necessary for making the birds but having made the wren I would say that it’s not a book for a complete novice. Abby recommends that even those with sewing experience read the instructions carefully and I concur! The wren was fun to make and I like the idea of a small flock of fabric fun birds perched around my work room so I’m looking forward to making some of the others.

wren