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.

09 November 2019

Bye Bye Blue Bird

I have the blues. I have to say goodbye to my lovely little bird because he's finished.

Embroidered blue bird nearly finished. The eye is next.

The top of his head was very straightforward and was stitched with only three shades of blue.

Thread painted blue bird: everything stitched except for the eye

Then, his beak and eye were stitched. (Animals look so weird before you put in the eye highlight.)

Thread painted blue bird:eye stitched but not highlighted

With the highlight added we can see who he is:

Thread painted blue bird with highlight added to eye

Finally, he found his feet, but is he really done?

Thread painted blue bird nearly complete


I put him away for several days and then came back with fresh eyes to see what needed tweaking. I adjusted the stitching on the head, but it's hard to tell from the photos. The shading is a bit smoother. I also added a few more light-coloured flecks along the top of the beak and eye.

I really like the shadow under the head (along the top of the breast). I wanted a little more shadow from the head on the wing, so I slipped in a few darker coloured threads 'under' the edge of the head where it meets the wing.

Close-up of thread painted blue bird showing added shadows and details

I made some minor adjustments on the branch mostly to smooth the transitions from the darkest colour to the surrounding colours.

Thread painted blue bird and branch close-up

Now, he's done.

Completed thread painted blue bird

As I mentioned in an earlier post, he looks very different depending upon the type of light (artificial, natural). The bright blues really pop in sunlight.

Thread painted blue bird showing how colours change in sunlight

Here's the original image from Inspirations with the glorious feathers surrounding the exquisite little bird.

I can't compete with the the feathers, but here's my version of the finished bird surrounded by all the threads used to stitch him. (Click for a much larger version.)

Thread painted blue bird surrounded by threads used to stitch the design

My favourite parts are the shadow under the head along the upper edge of the breast, the branch, the leaf veins (I like the lighter colour I added), and the tail.

On this project, I tried out a couple of new-to-me products: Graziano linen and Tulip embroidery needles. I wasn't thrilled with the linen. The weave is too open. It wasn't difficult to stitch on (i.e., I didn't find myself falling into the holes), but I don't care for the way the linen looks. The weave is very noticeable and it looks grey when there's no backing, especially when there's a dark colour behind the linen. It caused a lot of problems when it came to photographs. I found that I had to put something white behind the fabric in order to get decent photos. It could be that it's a bit too low of a thread count and that there are higher thread count Graziano linens available. Unfortunately, the source for my linen no longer carries it, so I don't know any of the linen's specifications.

As for the Tulip needle, it was very nice to work with, but I still prefer Bohins (or antiques!). The Tulip needle seemed a little bit flexible and Bohins are stiffer or just a tiny bit more stable. Both needles move effortlessly through the fabric, which is the most important thing to me. I would be happy to use a Tulip in the future, but I'm not going to go out of my way to acquire them.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this beautiful little critter. As I mentioned in a previous post, he's a fairly simple bird and didn't take very long to stitch. If you want to try a thread painted bird, Royal Blue is a good choice.


  1. Really beautiful! I hope you're keeping him. I tend to give everything away- but I'd want to keep this fellow!

    1. Thank you, and, yes, I'm keeping him. :-)

  2. It's lovely!I like him surrounded by the nest of threads. So many colours but perhaps that's what brings him to life. Your comments about the differences between needles makes me think it's time I tried something other than the John James I've been using.

    1. Thank you.

      Do try Bohin needles if you can. You might not like them better, but they are worth a try.