The Elusive Kingfisher

My walking buddy and I have walked many miles along riverbanks, especially the Wharfe from Otley upstream to it’s source, but we have never seen even a flash of a kingfisher. It seems at times that the world and his wife have seen one, in places we have frequented too! We have even spent several pleasant afternoons in the bird hides at Adel Dam after I had read that kingfishers breed them…not a sausage!!

River Wharfe, home of the elusive kingfisher!!

She has a big birthday this month so I suddenly had an idea when we were on our way home last Monday after yet another unsuccessful trip to Adel Dam, that I would stitch a kingfisher, after all, it might be the closest we get to one!!

I looked at a few photos on line, trying to decide how to tackle this, particularly as I had less than a week to stitch it in. I then remembered that there is a kingfisher on one of the quilts by Raggedy Ruff Designs, there is actually a couple, but the one which was just what I was wanting was part of a quilt, so I bought the pdf pattern for that particular block.

Quilt block by Raggedy Ruff Designs

As it was just going to be a small piece I wanted to hand embroider it rather than machine embroider like in the design. I traced out the kingfisher on it’s log onto freezer paper then rummaged through my batik scrap box for kingfisher colours. I keep the smallest scrap of batik for these designs as often you do only need say an inch square of a certain colour. I found some gorgeous ones that were the perfect colour and even had dots on them like a kingfisher wing.

I played around with background fabrics and in the end chose two batiks which I stitched together for the water and the foliage.

Andrea’s designs on Raggedy Ruff are gorgeous, she layers up the fabrics and then machine embroiders them. When I’m machine stitching them I usually use a tiny dab of fabric glue to hold the different layers in place whilst I secure them with an outline. This time I decided to stitch them one layer at a time, I really didn’t fancy trying to hold three layers in place whilst I back-stitched round. I stitched the area that would be seen in neat back-stitch, and just tacked the rest of the piece in place, as you can see from this first piece…

Once all the layers for the wing, head and tail were in place I could start embroidering it.

Unfortunately from this point on I got carried away with stitching and didn’t take any progress photos! It took me a couple more evenings to embroidery the bird and then another to do the log and the background.

I had a rummage in my threads collection and found some beautiful thread in a sort of peacock blue that I think must be silk thread as it feels gorgeous and has an amazing shine to it, I used it for the lower wing beneath the sequins and also the seed stitches on his head. Even on the photo you can see the shine. the green variegated in his tail was similar thread, I think I must have got them in a mixed pack as I only had about a metre of each.

I hesitated over the sequins as to whether they would be too blingy, but with the beads in the middle and the stitching across I like the effect. I think I used three different shades of orange for the feather and fly stitch on his breast. They do have very bright red/orange feet, this one looked very bright on the spool but a little less so when stitched!

I used metallic threads for the fish, these are machine ones which were actually OK to stitch with – I’m not a lover of stitching with metallics!

The design had little pieces of green batik for the moss, I felt it would be much too fiddly to hand stitch so I used a variegated thread, a little thicker than DMC which gives a nice chunky effect.

I stitched a simple running stitch on the water and my kingfisher was complete.

I picked a simple frame from the stall on Otley market and completed my present.

Today it will be winging it’s way to it’s new home.

I loved stitching this, it was also a useful exercise in hand-embroidering these designs, so if you love Andrea’s designs but don’t fancy the machine embroidering…just hand embroider instead!

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!
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19 Responses to The Elusive Kingfisher

  1. Jane M says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, I’m sure your friend will be delighted.It may even change your luck with seeing one in the wild

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sharon says:

    I just love your work πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura says:

    Love your kingfisher…it is gorgeous! I have been blessed to spot kingfishers a couple of times, but they are quick! I would love to capture one in a photograph some day! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CurlsnSkirls says:

    What a lovely thought, and gift for your friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just beautiful. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. anne54 says:

    A lovely, thoughtful gift, Margaret. I am sure your friend will be delighted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen says:

    Beautifully done, and so much more satisfying by hand. Hope you see one for real too 🀞🏻 I think I’ve only ever seen one once.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amo says:

    That looks so lovely. Nice when a thought becomes something so personal to the two of you. They always describe the azure of the Kingfisher as a flash and your beads and sequins certainly add that flash. I’m lucky enough to have seen a few when fly fishing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Stephanie says:

    Very beautiful and thoughtful! Kingfishers make me think of two things: the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem and the only time I have seen one, in Thailand (magical).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Debbie says:

    Absolutely stunning 😍


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