Monday, July 12, 2010

Embellishing a Parrot Head

Embellishing the Parrot Head

Today's progress report shows the parrot head all decorated up!

This was really much easier than I expected.  I simply referred to my sketch plan to carefully continue the two stitches used on the body of the bird.  It is hard to do a straight line on top of a smooth fabric but I went slowly and carefully and did pull out lines that were too crooked.  Since I was using a small sharp beading needle and one ply of silk, I could remove stitches easily without leaving holes one could see in the Ultrasuede.

If you look carefully at the photo, you'll see that the embroidery on top of the parrot's head is done in two colors of silk--hot pink for the 3/4 wide diamond stitches and the diamond ray stitches inside the first stitch, then dark grape for the diamond ray stitches alone between motifs.

I discovered scattered hot pink stitches looked too busy but when I pulled them out, I felt something needed to be in the empty spaces.  So I used thread almost the same color as the Ultrasuede to stitch the single diamond rays.  This gave me texture where I wanted it but didn't make the stitching too busy.

You can also add texture by scattering tiny French knots or beads, but I wanted something even simpler and subtler.

For those who wondered, yes, I also did more tent stitching in the background last night.  I am trying to surround the wings at least as I am going to start on the feathery parts and I don't want to disturb the stitching along the wings with tent stitching.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at


Elmsley Rose asked in yesterday's comments what sort of magnets I used to hold the Ultrauede in position as I stitched it to my canvas.  She realized they would have to be small and powerful, and most of the pretty decorative magnets we can buy are neither small or really strong.  Fortunately, there are other types of magnets available.

My first strong set of magnets were rare earth magnets, recommended by folks on the ANG email list.  You can buy them from woodworking sites and science supply stores.  I have some donut shapes that are 10 mm (a bit less than half an inch) across.  DO NOT buy them any larger.  I think 3/8 inch diameter round magnets are a good size, better than my slightly larger ones, actually.  These are very strong magnets. They are hard to separate and will magnetize your needles and scissors without too much trouble.  Here's the first place I found them online.

These are not the ones I used, however.  I used a pair that were a gift from a friend but they are very much like the medium sized ones from this set.

I also have these from Romancing the Past which I like very much but they are not quite as strong.

Nordic Needle also had these similar strong, but small magnets.

I think any of these magnets will be strong enough to hold anything in place on top of your canvas while you stitch it into position.  Be careful, though.  3/8 inches in diameter is plenty big!  And keep these strong magnets away from your credit cards, your computer, or anything else that an electrical field could damage.

Great question, Megan!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at