Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Counted Thread Bird Border


Amazon Books

Here’s a remake of a bird border from an old German needlework book, published in the late 1800’s. One of my students came across it in a stack of books I brought into class, and was interested in working it. Unfortunately, the diagram in the book is not really “readable” – it’s small, it’s hand-drawn and it doesn’t photocopy well. So I said I’d play with it to see if I could come up with a cleaner version.

When the pattern was finally finished, I thought the results were worth sharing with you, in case you can find a use for it, too!

Counted Cross Stitch Bird Border

The original pattern was actually made for filet crochet. But there’s no reason that it can’t be used for cross stitch or for any other counted technique – it could even be used for bead weaving, which is what another student suggested.

The design is repeatable. To begin and end, I’d suggest the points on the left and right of the main “star” around the larger birds.

So here it is, in PDF form:

Counted Thread Bird Border (PDF)

Hope you enjoy it!

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(11) Comments

  1. I don’t do much embroidery, but charted designs like this are perfect for double knitting. It’s good that the birds are tall and skinny, since they will spread horizontally when knitted. This pattern will actually work very well for a project I had planned, I think, so thanks!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I’ve been trying to find something like this. I plan on incorporating this into an Austrian-themed project to replace a (now broken) momento my husband had from Austria. Thanks!

  3. Dear Marymentor:

    Looking at this bird pattern reminds me that I’ve been meaning to ask you : What kind of camera do you use to show us all the step-by-step illustrations of your work that we can follow? I believe you did answer this question at some point but I don’t know how to “look back” to find things you’ve touched on in the past. So many many valuable lessons, hints, etc you’ve provided …..that the prospect seems daunting to try to look back to locate anything! I especially love the videos … Idiot’s Delight for the challenged like myself. 🙂 I’d sure appreciate a reminder of how to do this and there may be other faithful followers of yours too, who would appreciate this little memory jog ? Thanks so much … Judy in Pittsburgh

    1. Hi Judy – the Archives feature is a good way to look up each article on the website by date. I also like the search feature, if you can remember key words in the post or title. But if all else fails, just ask! I can usually point you to the right article! Are you specifically wanting to know what camera I use? This changes, with new equipment. Right now, though, I’m still using the Olympus stylus 800 for quick shots (it’s a point and shoot) and I also use an Olympus Pen e-pl1 – for both filming (up close, high res) and picture taking. I’m still learning how to use that last one for better photos, and when I have time and money, I plan to explore other cameras…. we shall see! ~MC

  4. Dear Marymentor:
    Boy do I feel dumb !! When all else fails, READ THE DIRECTIONS,and look it up in the Archives you provide at the right of the screen ! :-0
    (At any rate, I’d still like to know about the camera ! :-)….)

  5. Mary,

    Thank you so much for the Bird Border gift! What a nice way to brighten up a winter day. Not traditional, but I’m thinking of doing a section in a pretty, bright hand dyed cotton thread …

    Thanks again,


  6. Dear Mary

    I am new to embroidery and have been following your ‘How To’ instructions which are exellent for beginners. I’ve tried various stitches and I have decided to embroider a tablecloth not sure what design or stitches to use yet, but will let you know.
    Thank you so much for your great web site, so much information, how do you find the time? I loved your lamb symbol, thats something to aspire to, something for the future.



  7. I just came across this very beautiful bird pattern on Pinterest and found your site which I have signed up for. I was looking for a variety of motifs and borders to create a wedding sampler in counted cross stitch and I think I will definitely incorporate it into the design. I loved hearing about the history of the piece and I’m so impressed that you took the time to make the piece reproducible. Thank you!

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