The Finished Wren Embroidery Project

My beautiful embroidery piece sat as a UFO for several months! But I finally finished it. It all started with a pillow that I saw in an Annapolis shop. I loved the pillow. But I have this problem of looking at things and thinking, “I should just make something like that!” I captured a photo of the pillow and here it is.DSC_4418 2

After getting home, I decided to do a sketch from the pillow photo. I was pretty pleased with how I did.Bird pillow 2

But I really wanted to make this my design. I kept the main ideas in the piece but changed it a bit.Bird Pillow 3

Before this I had only done embroidery kits and hadn’t even done one of those in quite awhile. I found transferring the design to be quite challenging. First I tried a method that involved scanning the design, printing it on wax paper, dampening the fabric and then ironing the design onto the fabric. Well, that didn’t turn out too well. I tried transfer paper and pencils. Finally, I taped the paper and then the fabric onto a window and drew the design onto the fabric. Maybe my fabric wasn’t the right kind. It seemed difficult to see the design on the fabric when I used transfer paper and pencils. I was quite attached to the idea of using this fabric though. My family and I went to Gettysburg on the 4th of July during the 150th battle anniversary. I purchased the fabric from a vendor there that was selling fabric for reenactors to make their costumes. Isn’t that fun?! Well, the design was now on the fabric and then I attached it to stretcher bars. It took a bit for me to jump in and stitch. It was totally up to me to come up with the colors and what stitches to use. That was a little daunting. My neighbor, Kathy, came to the rescue. She loaned me a book about embroidery. It was a simple book that seemed to help me get over the hump of starting. I just jumped in.DSC_5046 4

It seemed to be going well. I was working with embroidery floss that I had purchased in a variety bag. I soon determined that I needed to get different floss. This did not have the nice sheen that I was used to and looked rather dull. It doesn’t pay to buy cheap supplies with art. Thankfully, DMC floss looked nice and was easy to get. I continued working on the flowers, trying to work myself up to stitching the wren. Did I want the wren to look as it did on the pillow? No, I had to make this mine. So, I dug through my photo files and found a photo I had taken of a wren back in 2009. It was perfect to use as a reference.DSC_9652 wren

Folks that knew I was working on this project kept asking, “Is the bird done yet? When are you going to do the wren?” So, again, I just had to jump in. It seemed like a good idea to start with his beak and then his “eyebrow.”DSC_5362 3

I loved working on the wren! I decided to make him look as lifelike as I could. I started noticing all the details on the bird in the photo. What a beautiful creature! I noticed that the tail that I drew just didn’t look right. I always call wrens “twang tails” because it looks like if you pushed their tails down and let go, it would go “twang” as it sprung back up. I stitched and tore out and stitched again, finally deciding that the tail was too long! I had to get creative to cover the ink of the drawing and yet make his tail look as I wanted. I was happy with my wren!

I tried new things as I worked on this project. I used different colored threads at the same time. Also, I tried out variegated threads. Here are some closeups of the details.DSC_9854 3 DSC_9886 3 DSC_9885 3 DSC_9881 3

The stitching was complete. Oh, I loved how it turned out! But now I had to decide, would I make it into a pillow as I first planned? After spending so much time and pouring love into the piece, I shuddered to think of it as a pillow, being drooled on, have dirty feet propped on it, threads being pulled. Nope…not a pillow. I determined to get it framed. It was an odd shape and would not be easy to frame. I feared that I would have to get it custom framed. The young man at ACMoore was very helpful in choosing matting and frames. But none of it looked right. Thankfully, I had to leave to meet a friend for lunch so I couldn’t place the order at that moment. He did give me a quote though. Framing was 65% off, but still it would cost $170. Wow. After lunch, I headed to the store again. I searched through the ready made matting and frames and found something that would work! It’s not as beautiful as if it had been custom framed, but I love the price: $14. And I think it looks pretty too!DSC_9889 4

I’m sure enjoying it in our living room.DSC_9878 2

So, what did I learn? It seems that when I want to try something new I go through a period of immobilization. That’s okay, but I need to recognize it and then, after preparing, just get going. I also relearned that trying new things may mean that you start over a couple times as I did when transferring the pattern. Again, I noticed all the incredible detail that God puts into everything that He creates and it made me want to do the same. And I have to remember that things don’t always turn out the way I imagine, but rather take on a life of their own…and that’s okay too.


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9 thoughts on “The Finished Wren Embroidery Project

  1. Pingback: Embroidery and Paint | Joyful Wonder

  2. I just love the finished product. I once did a forever calendar…it took for ever to make…so I know the work involved in bringing this all together. I have a Carolina Wren that visits my feeder and you truly did your wren justice.

  3. I just love this embroidery artwork that you’ve made!! It looks great in the frame, too; and you can’t beat the price. Custom frames are nice, but sometimes you can use the ready made frames and it looks just as good…or even better. Excellent work, Janine!! I love birds, and wrens have a special place in my heart. I watched a house wren [air raise their little family on my front porch this past summer. I really enjoyed hearing the babies peeping for food. It was funny when I went outside, and the parents would sit and scold me from a distance, until I left the front porch. This is the second year that they have used this particular nest box. In fact, the bottom of it was coming off, and I took it down and fixed it in the spring. I hope to see the little wren family in it this spring/summer. You should try drawing and embroidering other birds, you did a wonderful job on this one.

    • We’ve had wren families in our garage for years! So fun. One year they were right outside our door that has windows in it. I could stand there and peek through the windows to watch them feed the babies. I hope I can design another bird embroidery. I loved doing it and was sad when it was finished.

  4. It’s awesome!! You should be proud of it, it’s truly a work of art from your heart!
    I love the way you did the wren — they are in my top 5 list of favorite birds. I made a little wren out of local clay a few years ago — it’s not really all that great, but I like it sitting on my bookshelf. I’m glad you’ve put yours where you can enjoy it.
    Love your learned lessons, too.

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