Stitched and blocked needlepoint pieces
2 Copies of each stitched, blocked pieces
Backing fabric: I used two
Ultra-suede for the wings
Cotton for the rest: fat quarter would be ample
Batting: low loft for wings and body
Batting: craft weight for sides and body
Sewing thread to match fabric
Usual sewing supplies
Like I said last week, the body gave me some trouble. I spent at least three days trying different methods, losing my cool, and becoming more frustrated. I had thought I could finish these two pieces as I had finished the sides but trying to sew the lining to a hard piece of illustration board smoothly did not work. So since I had cut out a first lining and clipped curves I trashed that lining and cut a second. I also tried to stitch the needlework to illustration board and it proved to be not only not smooth but bulky too. Luckily I had left a lot of canvas and all I had to do was trim a bit more.
I used a lightweight piece of batting (cut two for each side…you will use the other for lining) to separate the needlepoint canvas from the illustration board and the since I had already somewhat clipped the curves I trimmed and clipped the canvas again and GLUED it to the illustration board. This was about a three day project since I first tried to lace the needlework to illustration board; then I had to undo, fume, fume some more, cut another piece of illustration board, still fume, and then give in to the little voice that kept saying “glue.” I figure if I keep saying “glue” it will get better.
Truthfully I am not a glue person, but I also know most of my needlework is not going to the Smithsonian; most of my needlepoint will be lucky to survive two to three generations. I have one piece that is registered with the Smithsonian and that is my White House needlepoint stocking but in all fairness all White House collections are registered with them; they are the storehouse and inventory control for all collections.
So when all else fails…glue. Yes, I said glue, but I had already used all the other four letter words I knew and to keep my sanity and finish this project, glue was the answer. I glued the needlework to the illustration board.
Then I assembled the front piece to the side pieces and pinned together. Here is why the lining pieces are a bit smaller than the needlepoint. If you’ll notice on my friend’s piece the inside looks like the lining fits snuggly together, but it didn’t look stitched, just snuggly fit. So I made my linings just a tad smaller so they would fit somewhat like these too. That was the easy part, next came stitching. I stitched the pieces together; sometimes I had to use my trusty third hand (needle-nosed pliers) to push or pull the needle between the threads of canvas. Stitching the angles and curves took some times and since I was going slowly this took another day.
Then I made a bottom for the stitching bird. Again I had a picture of my friend’s and I knew it needed to recede. I cut a bottom and trimmed until it fit, covered it with lining fabric and stitched in place leaving the four corners unstitched so I could hide the ends of the cording in the bottom.
Made cording for the sewing bird; two long ones to go around large bird pieces and two small pieces to cover the side ends. Pinned the side pieces on first and stitched into place; I hid the ends in the linings as best I could then sewed the large pieces around the bird hiding the ends in the bottom. Here is a blurred picture of the direction of the larger pieces of cording around the face of the birds. Again used my third hand a few times , but finally could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Almost finished ;-)!
Oh those #### wings. I thought I had a curved needle to sew these in place but my curved needle I think is an upholstery needle and will leave holes not only in the wing but the bird too. Need to see if what other curved needles are available. Thought about gluing them on but just could not bring myself to do this. So for now I have used silk pins and pinned them in place for now.
Finally a finished sewing bird! Many hours, many choice words, a bit of glue and I have a stitching bird to add to my sewing tools collection. I also will have a fond memory of a stitching friend who is no longer with us, she loved birds. And one more thing, this project took me less than a year to complete, I started August 5, 2015 and it is completely finished…trust me I have projects older than this still not yet stitched and more projects stitched but not finished.
Do you have unfinished stitching projects? Why? Did you lose interest in stitching? Or after you stitched it, were not satisfied enough to have it finished? This is probably another thought for a blog post. Send me your thoughts and I’ll mull this one around.
But the one thing I did learn from this project is that when that little voice in your head tells you you are in too deep…listen! I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head that said, “Send it to the finisher.” I would have saved myself a lot of anger and frustration. And yet now that the project is completed I do feel accomplished…even if I would not do it again!
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today!