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Seasonal Stitches

Increase your hand-embroidery know-how as you embellish holiday motifs on a set of stuffed wool ornaments. 

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Appliqué Bird Ornament

1. Referring to Bird Appliqué Placement Diagram, position red velvet A bird on a green wool oval. Pin in place in the seam allowances only. Using red thread, hand-appliqué bird in place, turning under 1⁄4" seam allowance with your needle as you stitch. (Designer Sue Spargo used 60-weight, 100% cotton Tre Stelle thread from Tristan and a No. 11 straw needle.)

2. Referring to Bird Appliqué Placement Diagram, position red wool B wing, yellow-green wool C beak, and 11 cream wool D circles on green wool oval. Pin or use a fabric glue-stick to baste pieces in place.

3. Using threads that match appliqués, whipstitch wool appliqué shapes in place. (Sue used 12-weight, 50% wool/50% acrylic Genziana thread from Tristan and a No. 24 chenille needle for the wool appliqué.) To whipstitch, bring needle up at A and down at B (Whipstitch Diagram). Continue in same manner around entire shape.

4. Backstitch around edges of bird with red/rust variegated perle cotton. To backstitch, pull needle up at A (Backstitch Diagram). Insert it back into fabric at B and bring it up at C. Push needle down at D and bring it up at E. Continue in the same manner around entire shape.

5. Backstitch around edges of beak with yellow-green perle cotton.

6. Referring to photo on page 1, and French Knot Diagram, use cream/gray variegated perle cotton to make six or seven straight stitches over each cream wool D circle. Then make a French knot at end of each straight stitch. To make a French knot, pull perle cotton through at point where knot is desired (A on French Knot Diagram). Wrap perle cotton around needle two or three times. Insert tip of needle into fabric at B, 1⁄16" away from A. Gently push wraps down needle to meet fabric. Pull needle and trailing floss through fabric slowly and smoothly.

7. Thread an 18" length of red/rust variegated perle cotton on a No. 1 milliner’s needle and make bullion knots around edge of wing. To make a bullion knot, bring needle up at A, next to edge of wing. Insert needle back into fabric at B and bring it up at C but do not pull needle out of fabric yet (Bullion Knot Diagram). Wrap perle cotton around needle nine times with end of thread nearest needle tip. Now pull needle out of fabric, holding wraps in place with your thumbnail, to make a backstitch. Bring wraps toward you so they lay neatly on backstitch. Insert needle back down at D (right by B) and bring it up at E, about 1⁄4" in front of far end of knot. Continue in same manner to make next bullion knot.

8. Position black heishi bead on bird for eye. Using black thread, bring needle up through center of bead and back into fabric at edge of bead. Continue in same manner, sewing over bead four to eight times (Heishi Bead Stitching Diagram) to make bird ornament top.

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