Thursday, March 19, 2009

Birdy Stitchery

I was talking to my niece, Izabel, the other night at our pre-St. Patty's Day dinner (we celebrated early before Maureen, Fiona's Mum, went back to England). Since there is also a niece named Robin, though she's a Robyn, we were thinking up unique names for us robins. We were laughing at one of the iterations, which was Big Robin, which I felt needed work. Um, yeah. So, besides just being Aunt Robin, I said, "Maybe, Aunt Birdy?" Though I think it makes me sound more like a 60 y/o versus the soon-to-be 50-y/o (what? really?), it does kinda go with the name Robin, the Etsy shop, and my recent stitching theme. So, I'm down with it. :o) We'll see if it sticks.

But, about this stitching. The first one of the two birds is a piece I found at an estate sale. Some lady had started it with heavy yarn, but I pulled all of that out and reworked it using embroidery floss. Well, having not done any embroidery in many years, I was using all 6 strands at first on the top bird! Whoa! Too thick. The bottom bird is much more smooth and silky, since she is done with 3 or 2 strands. I felt like in this one piece my skill progressed from the top to the bottom. Yay! To me, the top birdy is a loud, Italian man, while the bottom birdy is the more refined, quiet type. Yes, they're a couple, but oh!, such opposites! It was so much fun, and I love the idea that I finished it, and maybe somewhere the lady who started it is looking down and smiling.

Then, there's the dresser scarf! I also found this one at an estate sale with just the blue template, no stitches. Brought it home, was able to get a rusty ring out of it, and stitched it up using all red, which you crafty gals probably know is called redwork. But there is a distinction from what I understand. "Redwork embroidery" is done with red embroidery floss and outline stitches. However, "Turkey Redwork Embroidery" used thread dyed Turkey Red, one of the first colorfast red dyes, previously called India Red. Redwork was popular during the Victorian Era 1890s to about 19-teens. So, to get technical, unless the thread was dyed with Turkey Red Dye, it's not Turkey Redwork, just Redwork. A lot more on redwork here for any insomniacs out there. Another tidbit, unless it is specifically performed in an outline stitch, it is not considered Redwork. Well! Picky, picky, picky!

HOWEVER, it is now on my dresser, after an ironing with lavender water. I swear, I'm going back in time. Soon I'll be sewing up folk dress patterns and wearing a hat that ties under my chin. Well, okay, probably not since here in So-Cal it's jeans and flip-flops most of the time.

Lastly, another find that was just a blank template and ready for me to stitch: a little tea towel with my favorite subject matter. Can you guess? I bet you can. I love the blue fish, and the bow tie is my favorite part. Orange, with pink french knots! Love it. For a fantabulous tutorial on making french knots, this site is the shiz - full of wonderfully straightforward videos on almost every stitch! Such a find.

More on stitching in my next post, complete with a story that is now about 40 years old - about my Mom.


  1. Kee-yute! Love them French knots, girlie! :)

  2. Beautiful work and colours Robin. I love how you gave some history on the embroidery and redwork, very interesting!! I've tried french knots without much luck, so I'm going to check out that tutorial.

  3. LOVE your redwork! So pretty!

    And the kitty is so you!


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