And now for something completely different…
I love to snuggle up on the couch in front of a film or box set, and it’s even more fun when I have some handicrafts on the go. I feel like it almost gives me an excuse to watch hours and hours of Mad Men or the like, as I have something to show at the end of it.
Most recently, I’ve been experimenting with embroidery. I’m not an expert and only know three stitches – satin stitch, cross stitch and running stitch – but it’s amazing what you can create with the most basic of skills.
As you can see, I chose birds as the subject of my embroideries. Mainly because I really like birds but also because of the beautiful colours and textures of their feathers. My aim was to produce little pieces of art, which I could hang in my home using the embroidery hoop itself as a frame.
I had bought a job lot of embroidery threads on eBay a few years ago so I already had a large selection of colours to work with. I also turned to eBay for the hoops, ordering three 8” frames and three 5” frames. Looking back, I was quite ambitious as so far I have only completed two 8” hoops! The same hoops are available to buy here. The cross stitch fabric I used, meanwhile, is available to buy here.
With my materials ordered, it was time to start working on my designs. I did not have to look far for inspiration as I had recently bought a book of British garden birds to help me identify visitors to my bird feeders. The book is packed full of colourful illustrations, which I thought would look lovely reproduced in thread.
The illustrations, although detailed, are quite small so I spent an evening copying and enlarging them by hand in my sketch pad. I used a compass to draw out 8” and 5” circles to make sure my drawings fitted in the hoop. It was quite tricky getting the scale right and none of my drawings are perfect but I enjoyed having a go. Those who do not like drawing could copy and enlarge the illustrations using a photocopier.
When I finished my drawings, I transferred the images onto the cross stitch fabric using carbon copy paper. This works really well and you can buy several sheets for a few pounds on eBay.
It was finally time to start stitching and I adopted a very free and flexible approach, working purely in satin and running stitch. I like to think of it as colouring in with thread! Click here to watch a YouTube video demonstrating how to do satin stitch.
I used the colours in the book as a guide but I also allowed myself a little artistic licence. Sometimes I simplified the colours and other times I added extra tones to create more interest. I much prefer this method to following a cross stitch pattern as I hate counting squares, especially when I am watching television at the same time. The pictures below demonstrate how I improvised with my stitching.
I have hung my first two bird hoops in my living room. I really like the way the colours pop against the blue wall. I hope to add to my little collection later in the year. I would also like to learn more embroidery stitches so I can introduce new textures to my designs.
Thank you so much for reading my blog 🙂