Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bluebird and sparrow embroidery projects

Some time ago I came across these pretty vintage bluebird patterns here. My mother, who passed away in January 2010,  loved bluebirds, and for my aunt (her sister) I thought a bluebird dish towel would be a nice reminder. So I stitched one of these designs on a flour sack towel.

(design on flour sack towel with crocheted pot holder)(design on flour sack towel with crocheted dish cloth)

I had also found one time in my mother's fabric stash a length of linen dish towel fabric. There was just enough fabric to make 3 dish towels. I thought it would be meaningful to stitch one each with a bluebird design for my two daughters and myself. Last spring I completed one of these:

And for Christmas I finished a second one:

I have the fabric all hemmed for mine but have yet to stitch the design.

There were a few people I wanted to make embroidered pillowcases for this year. I had noticed that in the bluebird pattern directions, they suggested the designs could be used without the day of the week for other things such as linens. So I decided to stitch a bluebird pillowcase (which I neglected to take a picture of) for my mother-in-law who enjoys birds. I used the bluebird and rose design.

While doing that, I got an idea. For our other friends I'd wanted to make a set of pillowcases for, I wondered if I could change the bluebird design to brown and tan to resemble a sparrow (we are not talking ornithologically correct here) and then add the words "His eye is on the sparrow". I thought our friends would really like that. So I tried it.

The design came out really well. To do the lettering, I printed out the words "His eye is on the sparrow" in the Papyrus font, point size 64, to get the size I wanted for the stitching, then transferred it to the pillowcase with dressmaker's tracing paper (which is also what I used to transfer the bird designs. This is the first time I had ever tried printing out a saying from the computer and using it for embroidery, but it wont be the last!). I was very pleased with the results -- so pleased that I went on to make another set of these for our daughter and son-in-law out West.

I had tried other methods of transferring the bird designs to the dish towels I made last spring, but I highly recommend using the dressmaker's tracing paper. One can just print out the design, trim if necessary and pin to the fabric, then slip the tracing paper (colored side down) between the design and fabric. Then, trace over every part of the printed design using a pen. When you remove the design and tracing paper, voila! There is the design on your fabric, ready to embroider. You do have to be careful while stitching that your hands or the hoop don't rub off the design, but it will be fine if you pay attention to that. I wouldn't try this with a really complicated or large design, but it worked beautifully for my purposes.

Now to get around to stitching my own dish towel one of these days!

What handmade items did you give for Christmas or other occasions this year? Please share -- I'm always looking for inspiration!


  1. Beautiful Mrs T!! I like your transfer method. I did a few counted cross stitch ornaments as gifts. I need to get started on a birth sampler for my new grandson, Baylor who will be here in March!

  2. Thanks, Arlene! And thanks for sharing what handmade items you gave as gifts. I would like to do some cross stitch ornaments for next year. I didn't do any this past Christmas; wish I had had time to do so.

    Do you have a birth sampler design in mind as yet?

  3. I need to go to the cross stitch store to see what is available. I try to do one for each grandchild so this will be my fourth! I have also been trying my hand at some painting(acrylic)....I think I still have a ways to go to perfect that craft!:)

  4. What beautiful stitching and how wonderful to honor your Mom with the bluebird design. For Christmas this year I knitted a scarf for my sister. It was sapphire blue in color, and a combination of merino wool, alpaca, and silk. I forgot to take a picture of it, (I'm disppointed in that!) but it came out really beautiful.

  5. Hi ladies!

    Arlene -- you are brave to do a cross stitch sampler for each grandchild. I'm quite certain that if I tried that, I would be finishing the samplers up about the time the kids leave for college! I love to cross stitch but I am not quick about it. Good for you, though!

    A couple of Christmases ago I asked for and received from my hubby Acrylic Painting for Dummies. I have yet to do anything with it (other that look at it and dream). I love beautiful artwork and admire people who can paint so much. It seems to me I must be able to paint, at least a little. Anyhow, I would like to try. Keep at it!

    Darlene -- Thanks for sharing about your handmade gift! I can't knit, but I have in the past made crocheted scarves as gifts. The one you made sounds simply beautiful. Maybe you could get your sister to take a picture of it for you!

  6. I always enjoy seeing the projects you make.

    This Christmas I was able to give crocheted dolls (each a little different) to my three nieces that were born this year. (I crocheted a fourth doll for Keira's birthday present since she kept trying to take her cousin's doll while I was crocheting the first doll :) ) I also crocheted slippers for four of my nephews. It was fun and rewarding and I'm hoping to do more handmade gifts for this Christmas.

    Now I need to start on a scarf for another niece's birthday gift. :)

  7. Elisha,

    Thanks for sharing about all of your handmade gifts. You are quite the talented crocheter! I enjoy crocheting too and am currently crocheting some chocolate donuts with sprinkles for play food for the grandkids. The donuts are supposed to be pincushions but they work just great for pretend food!

    Happy crocheting! Stop by anytime and visit.

    God bless,
    Mrs. T


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