Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Red Birds

My design wall is crowded these days with projects in all stages. I've already shown you the Alaskan inspired wall hangings I have on the go. I've also been working on a Christmas gift that's turning out so cute I had to share.
Just look at how sweet this little red work bird is. Embroidering a semi-dense design with cotton thread on WHITE fabric has presented it's own set of challenges. My biggest concern was stabilizer show through but I think I've worked out a pretty good solution. I backed each piece of fabric with iron on, light weight fusible stabilizer before hooping. The kind of stabilizer I might use if I were sew a knit fabric. Then I used a light weight tear-away stabilizer under the hoop to further support the stitches. Once the stitching is done I can carefully tear the paper stabilizer away, the fusible stays but doesn't add significant weight and no show through.
This picture shows the other problem I had on the project - embroidering with 40 weight cotton thread created a crazy amount of fuzz! See all of that stuff around the needle and on the fabric? I used a 90/14 needle and cotton thread in the bobbin as well so I was constantly cleaning out everything. 
The stitch out itself came out great but you can see the fuzz left on the fabric. I blew it off with canned air. Four out of five birds stitched without a problem and then the last one gave me fits! Constant hang-ups in the bobbin no matter how many times I cleaned it out. It took me two hours to figure out the problem. I needed a NEW NEEDLE! Do yourself a favor and learn from my stubborn stupidity, when all else fails change the needle!
Stitch-out with dull needle. Note ragged edges, this is not crisp and pretty at all. Some skipped stitches as well.
Same stitch out with new needle. This is what I was going for!
The difference between these two is much more apparent in person. Trying to save money by using a dull needle is just not worth your time.
My five little birdies ready to go.
Which border fabric do you like. I'm going for a retro vibe here. The friend I'm gifting likes all things old fashioned and sweet.
The embroidery designs are from Embroidery Library, Toile Backyard Birds design pack.

Linking to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday. Go on over to Judy's and see what other quilters are doing this week.

Until next time,


  1. So cute! I prefer the white on red fabric (left) over the one that has some black in it (right)...there is no other black in the piece yet, unless you added a little flange of black!...

    1. I didn't think of adding a little flange of black but in the end I decided to keep with strictly red and white and chose the white on red fabric. It's simple and sweet. I hope she likes it.

  2. Yep, needles dull fast sometimes! Really cute red birds though! I like the border on the left.

    1. It's unanimous, I'm using the red and white border fabric and sticking with the retro look. I'm always shocked by how fast those needles get dull and by what a difference a new needle makes in the sew out of a project. Seriously my mom never changed her needle that I can recall. I'm pretty sure she used the same needle for 40 years!


Thanks for your comments. I love hearing what you have to say.