Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

17 November 2017

Blue Burrd of Happiness

Trish Burr creates amazing thread painted birds and then shares them with us so we can stitch them. How lucky are we?

This is Trish's exquisite little bluebird. By the way, I think all of Trish's avians should be called 'Burrds'! I stitched this several years ago and it was a lot of fun.

Trish Burr design: Embroidered head of blue bird in needlepainting

The bluebird is an adaptation of a painting by Sherry C. Nelson whose books are well worth checking out if you want to try adapting images for your own thread painting projects. Her compositions are eminently thread paintable. The bluebird is on a Trish Burr DVD along with several other  projects.

I made my own pattern and printed it via inkjet onto a piece of Irish Copeland linen. (Copeland is no longer in business.) I found the linen a bit stretchy and the weave is a little more open than I prefer. You can see in some of the photos that I was able to overstretch the fabric causing distortion which I didn't realise until I was finished. I've been told by more than one embroiderer that you can't mount fabric tightly in a wooden hoop. Well, in this case, I was able to mount the fabric too tightly and I hadn't even bound the inner hoop!

The project began with the branch and the feet. I love it when I can achieve 'smudginess' in thread painting. I see a bit of smudging in the centre of the open flower. Yay!

Trish Burr Bluebird: Embroidered branch with flowers in needlepainting

Then it was on to the body. The blue back feathers were stitched first, then the belly. The belly is composed of five shades of colour in a very, very small area. One of the brilliant things about Trish's designs is that she packs a lot of colour into small areas which yields wonderful detail. Sometimes I wonder, though, how on earth I am going to get that many shades into that tiny area?

Speaking of lots of shades, this project has 39 different colours of floss and it's quite a small bird. However, as I said, Trish packs a lot of colours into small areas and I think the results speak for themselves. I've learned from working many Trish projects that less is not more. More is more!

The blue feathers on the back were stitched first because the belly and breast feathers overlap along the edges.

 Trish Burr Bluebird: Embroidered bluebird body in progress (in needlepainting)

Here the bird is nearly finished. (That needle looks painful!)

Trish Burr Bluebird: Embroidered bluebird nearly complete (in needlepainting)

All done. Oh, what glorious colours!

Trish Burr Bluebird: completed embroidered bluebird in needlepainting

It was a wonderfully satisfying project and not terribly difficult. I wouldn't make this my first-ever thread painting attempt, but it could be a good candidate as a first thread painted bird project.



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for the complement. I really enjoyed stitching this bird.

  2. Such a lovely and exquisite work!

    1. Thank you, that's very kind. It all starts with Trish. No Trish, no Burrd!

      Sorry, couldn't resist the pun, yet again. ;-)

  3. Beautiful work as always! Trish really is a great source of inspiration isn’t she.

    1. Thank you, Catherine. Trish is the best!

  4. Gorgeous! The detail you achieved on the tail feathers is marvelous. One of Trish's kingfishers is on my list of 'to do' projects. What tracing or transfer method did you use?

    1. Thanks, Erica. I think I have a few kingfishers in my stash as well!

      The transfer method I used on the bluebird was to create a vectorised pattern that was then printed via inkjet onto the fabric. That's a lot of effort for a small design and isn't really necessary, I just like printing on fabric. ;-)

      What I normally do is hand trace the pattern using a light box (ultra thin LED variety) and chalk pencil. As long as I have the pattern and fabric well-taped to the light box--so nothing moves--it's a very quick and easy tracing method. If you'd like more detail let me know.

  5. He's wonderful!