Curlews in the Red

At Skipton Stitchers we have a variation of travelling books going round at the moment, rather than each persons book going round the group we are given a theme each month, all based around our next exhibition which is in October. The title of our exhibition is There is no Planet B’, so we stitch a little piece on the theme, pop it in an envelope and then swop it for someone else’s embroidery which we can then stick in our book. Hope that makes sense!

Anyway, the theme for this month’s swop was species at risk. I decided rather than going for the obvious ones like tigers or elephants, I would look much closer to home. Many of our native birds are now on the ‘red list’, many are birds which when I was growing up were ten a penny, like the house sparrow, or the lapwing, I used to listen to skylarks as I walked home from school, trying to spot them high in the sky, now we rarely see them.

Another bird at risk is the curlew, it has a very distinctive shape and a long curved bill, so I decided it would be a good one to choose to embroider. I found a few images on the computer and sketched a basic shape. It’s only little as the final piece is only just over 4″. I traced it onto bondaweb, chose some brown batik and pressed the cutout shape onto the background fabric. I chose the same smudgy fabric for the background that I used for my magnolia – it’s a surprisingly useful fabric!

I back-stitched round, close to the raw edge, adding legs and the long beak with stem stitch. I started to embroider the wing area with button hole stitch, adding some fairly mat gold sequins and then herringbone above. I used one of the DMC variations which I find surprisingly useful,it’s 4522 which as well as brown, has violet and dark grey, it just seems to add a bit of colour without being too way out.

I then carried on stitching up the wing area with chain stitch, embellishing with a few beads, adding fly stitches and then seed stitches on the breast of the bird and a few pistil stitch on the tail. I was happy with my curlew but he needed something to ground him…

I rummaged in my textile box and found somesuitable organza, I tore a narrow strip off and laid it across so my curlew would be walking on it. I secured it with a couple of rows of running stitch and then used another variegated DMC thread to add fly stitch and straight stitch along the top edge. I think the torn edge works really well as grass. I added a few French knots and I was happy with it.

I trimmed it to size, bondawebbed it to some felt and blanket-stitched round the edge.

I was quite sad to see him go, I’m tempted to make another as I’m really pleased with how he came out. I enjoyed doing these mini challenges, it does push your creativity and encourages you to find your own style. As the piece has to fit in an A5 book it means it doesn’t have to take too long, I don’t like to spend much more than an evening on these.

Next month’s challenge is renewable energy or fossil fuels, so goodness know what I am going to do there!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
This entry was posted in embroidery, Skipton Stitchers, Stitch-a-long, Textile Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Curlews in the Red

  1. Your Curlew is wonderful. Our own wildlife is in so much danger and whilst there are lots of programs to save the tiger, elephant etc., there seems to be very little in out our own country where they seem to be more interested in reintroducing extinct species than saving the ones we have. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. anne54 says:

    Your little curlew is beautiful, and a timely reminder of what we are loosing. A printmaker friend of mine has been involved in a project to raise awareness of the migratory birds that overwinter in Australia. The group of artists has made wonderful prints of some species. Here’s the link if you want to have a look.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shandaken6 says:

    Love your curlew…the color and textures are wonderful together. Makes me wonder what specie is endangered here in North Carolina, USA…got to check it out. Oh boy, another squirrel for me to work on!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cheryl says:

    You are an incredible artist! This little guy could just walk off the page, he’s so alive!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It must have been hard to part with this dear little bird portrait.
    What a worthwhile and relevant project

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nanacathy2 says:

    I love your curfew and I agree about the challenges helping one find one’s own style. I am missing the 52 tags this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Steph says:

    Love this! Our local bush stone-curlew is one of my favourite birds, and also endangered in many areas. I’m always looking for a cross-stitch pattern or kit to embroider one, but no luck so far. Maybe I should try free-hand!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amanda says:

    Now he’s spot on! Love it. Curlew are my ❤️ bird. I grew up listening to them and it’s one of the biggest draws to our place on the estuary in Wales.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Annette Mandel says:

    Solar? Wind? Thermal (volcano or hot springs). Lots of ‘scope for the imagination’ next time

    Liked by 1 person

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