Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Four sparrows later ...

Sparrow number four completed
Over the last few months I have evolved the processes for building my tapestry birds. Now the eyes and beak are integral to the weaving form. Pockets for inserting the tail wire and the legs are included as the form is built. The shape of the bird is much closer to what I want and I have figured out how to do the final weaving with no seams at all.
The pieces of sparrow number five ready to assemble

I realized two basic principles for building the weaving form. One, put the seams in places away from the most detailed parts. Two, work on as much of the detail as possible while the pieces are still flat. The form is made of four pieces of heavy interfacing. Two of these form the head. Another folds around to form the back, tail and sides and the last is the under side of the bird. Once the pieces are all marked and cut out, I start by adding the details to the pieces: beak covering, eye stitches and beads, holding stitches for the warp, darts, and pockets for the legs and tail wires. 

Sparrow number five taking shape
A tiny square of fine dyed silk covers each beak section. I use a row of buttonhole stitches where the beak meets the head and fold the extra fabric to the inside of the beak. More buttonhole stitches applied using a shisha method (an embroidery method used for fastening little round mirrors onto the surface of cloth) fit snugly over the eye bead. Once the details are done, I begin to assemble and stuff the bird starting with the head. 

This is as far as I have got on sparrow number five. As soon as it is completely assembled, I can string the warp threads and then begin weaving.


  1. When you explain it like that, it seems obvious, Ruth! :) Your sparrows are beautiful and it has been fascinating watching the process develop.

  2. Wow ! Very nice,,,
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  3. I can only echo what others have said! These birds are wonderful, charming, and so skillfully created.

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