I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So you want to stitch a bird

Perhaps I can help....as it is easier than you think.  There are just a few things to keep in mind....

First the shape of the bird.  I always mark the contour lines and feather patterns.

They will be a guide for a successful bird even if you do it all in the same color with no regard for light or dark areas.

But if you opt for a bird of colors then
you must not only think of the colors but the values... See if you can define the lightest and darkest areas of this bird.

Sometimes it helps if you can copy your bird in black and white...  Then it is very easy to see.

Then you need to gather your threads..  First pick the lightest and darkest shades and then several in between.  These are the threads I pulled for the bluebirds.  Together like this is is easy to see the change in value.

First I put the lightest color stitches in all the areas of lightness I identified. They are irregular and you think they won't show through but they will. I always satin stitch with a single strand...

Then I add the darkest color where it belongs.

Then I just fill in between the light and dark with the between shades.... Usually with one and then working back over it with a couple more shades close in

So if you  put in your lights and darks and follow the contour lines with the between colors.. It works  like magic....

The bluebirds are done on a very lightweight cotton handkerchief backed with fusible tricot interfacing... I also do birds (animals) on a tight weave muslin or on felt...both would also backed with fusible tricot interfacing...  No matter what  material I'm working on the VERY FIRST STEP is to stitch a very tight chain stitch all the way around....always, always , always.

It really defines the edges as I stitch into it as I progress and it makes it very easy to cut out.

If  I have omitted something or am unclear,   I need you to ask questions so I can get it all right...


  1. such detail of how you have achieved these glorious blue birds

  2. Gerrie, I always love your birds. I've started painting them, that seems to be my medium to make them. but I will give your tutorial a try

  3. Great tutorial as usual. I think I have made use of all of them so far :)

  4. Thank you Gerry! Whenever I need a lift, I have only to bring out that glorious blue forget-me-not block where you stitched those wonderful white lovebirds! Hugs to you!

  5. Glad you are back at your block talk Gerry. I always enjoy reading them and some day I'll try them. (-; Connie

  6. What a wonderful tutorial. This blog is new to me, so I plan to read each & every article & save it to my computer. Thank you for taking time to help the rest of us.

  7. This method really works! I used it when I did my parrot embroidery and it worked so well. Thanks to our master creator Gerry!!!

    Hugs from Utah,