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!