Monday, November 23, 2020

Trapunto and the Stork

I've been working on a Christmas ornament called "The Stork and The Baby" by the late Boots Bailey this month.  This piece had a lot of similar colors which meant all the elements of the design melted together, so I used various techniques to separate the elements  Above is the original unstitched canvas.  

The first thing I did was to change the heart shape in the middle of the canvas.  As you can see, the heart originally had a blue top half and a brown bottom.  I made it all blue to help keep the background in the background.  

Then I did a ton of outline stitch on the blankets, around and on top of the stork's wings, etc. to delineate the various sections.   (I use one ply of cotton floss for this with a beading needle to make it easier to get through the areas which have already been stitched.)  The final touch was to use trapunto on the stork so that it would loom over Baby Jesus.  What is trapunto, you ask?  It's a very simple padding technique.  Let me explain.

First I cut a small piece of muslin a bit larger than the bird's head, neck and body and put it on the back side of my stitching, held in place behind the stork's head and neck with magnets.  Then I turned the canvas over to the front again and started outlining the bird's head and neck (still with one ply of cotton floss and a beading needle to get through the layers of tent stitch from the front).  

I went around the bird's head and neck twice, making sure that I had a dark line. In the photo above, all the top stitching is done. I added ray stitches on the wing to make feathers on the wing, too.

I trimmed the muslin on the back side before I did some of the wing outline and the feathers, though. That way I cut the bulk away some. In the photo above you can see the bird's head on the upper left and the neck on the lower right.

Then I stuffed the neck from the open bottom of the neck area with quilt batting using my big plastic needle. You wrap a bit of batting around the eye end of the needle and push it inside untll the area is puffy. I ended up using the point of my scissors occasionally to stuff but you don't want to do that much. It's too easy to rip through the canvas or the muslin if you push the batting into the muslin pocket with something sharp.

To stuff the head you cut a slit in the muslin which you can see in the photo above on the right side showing the puffy neck. Stuff as before, then sew the slit closed once you are happy with how it looks on the front.  

How do you know when it is done?  It will look good to you, smooth and raised on the front—and a mess on the back!

Here is the finished trapunto dimension.  See the shadow along the back of the stork's head, neck and body?  That's what we are aiming for.

Now to assemble the ornament.  I hate finishing, so wish me luck!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
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© Copyright November 18, 2020 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

An Interview with Patricia Sone

Fiber Talk interviews the designer Patrica Sone.

Fiber Talk also did a YouTube Stitch Hour with Patricia.  Join the fun and see Patricia's designs and how she developed and finished them.

By the way, here's Patricia's website for further browsing.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright November 16, 2020 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.