This version of the wreath is a bit more unusual than the first two that appeared on the blog. It’s made with Amy Butler fabric so it is much more contemporary-looking. The substrate is a sample of furnishing fabric, which was great in one way: I didn’t need to put the piece in a hoop to do the chain stitch circle. This would normally cause the fabric to gather and distort, but because this is such thick fabric it was fine. The downside was that the fabric was like canvas and really quite difficult to get a thicker needle through which is a problem when using embroidery threads. I used the reverse of the fabric again.
Now, this brings me to the biggest problem with number three. And this is a real beginner’s error. In fact, a beginner would have the sense not to make this mistake. Samples almost always have a label on the reverse with the name of the print and the fibre composition and colourway and so on:
The usual procedure is to put a hottish iron on the label and it peels off quickly and cleanly. So I merrily assumed that would be the case here and went ahead and did the majority of the appliqué. Sadly the label utterly refused to shift:
I am not a perfectionist, but even I could see that this needed a fix. The only thing I could think of was to make an appliqué to fit over the whole thing with a bit of space to spare as it was going to be difficult to stitch through the sticky label and the thick cotton. In the end, I thought the only thing that would work would be a bird. Fortunately this piece is quite large so there was scope to make a bird which wouldn’t look like an albatross had landed.
At this point I was a bit fed up and wanting a quick fix. Fortunately, I found a print with a variety of splashy paisley shapes. One of them was pointing in the right direction to cover the label and had a suitably stylised bird shape and had a print which suggested a wing so I wouldn’t have to stitch through the paper.
I had to add another piece of fussy-cut fabric to make some sort of head, and then embroider a beak and eye in satin stitch:
I found an acrylic gem which was the perfect size to make an eye while I was looking for something else, so I stitched that on. Please don’t tell me that a bird this shape wouldn’t have this shaped beak. I did my best.
In the end, I quite like the bird and I think it adds to the overall piece. This wreath, I hope is going to be part of a larger piece of work. It’s all very well making wreaths, but I need to show people what you can do with them other than making cushions. I also like the problem-solving element of this. And I offer it as an example to people I meet who seem to think I am an expert in this field. My personal takeaway is: always test that the sticker comes off before you devote a fair bit of time to stitching on samples.