It’s time to start stitching, said the Little Voice in my head.
Stop hemming and hawing about colors and just Do Something, it insisted.
Fine, I replied. I’ll start with the hummingbird’s chest.
A Very Wise Choice, my Little Voice responded.
So I pulled out some black DMC, removed one strand from the bunch, and forthwith started with the eye.
What about that chest? nagged the Voice.
Later, later. At least I’ve started.
The Little Voice quietly acquiesced and retreated.
So, the first thing on the hummingbirds – both of them – that I stitched was the eyes. I used one strand of black DMC, and worked round dots following these directions for satin stitching a dot.
Why the eyes first? This is a legitimate question. Often, when you see embroidered birds, animals, and whatnot in progress, the eyes go in last. There’s usually a blank spot of fabric staring back at you (kind of creepy…) in the midst of the embroidery, where the eye will go.
But the eyes gave me a starting point. And in the order of work, it won’t make any difference to start with the eyes. Right now, they’re solid black. We’ll bring them to life a little later with a glint.
Once the eyes were in, I had to get over my color trepidation regarding the peacocky-blues and greens. Truly, I never intended to go in this direction with color at the beginning. But the more I looked at the blues and greens, the more I doodled with markers and pencils, the more I was attracted to them.
I still don’t know if they will work. Are they the best choice? Hard to say. But I do know this: deep down, I really like them. A lot.
So, in this small swash on the cheek of the hummingbirds I used four colors, working from the outside in stem stitch with a darker, bright blue and gradually filling the swash until I ended up with the lighter blueish green.
I began at the top of the eye, stitching the tail of the swash that wraps around the eye there and outlining the whole shape, and then filled it.
Remember, with stem stitch, as you take tight curves, it helps to shorten the length of the stitch to take the curve better.
The DMC colors I used: 995, 3844, 3845, 3851 – four colors in that tiny area. I suspect I’ll add a fifth color, stitching right over the stem stitch in the center of the swash.
And so, the birds begin!
And now that they have eyes (and a cheek), I can’t wait to get back to them!
…and enjoy your weekend!
If you’d like to follow along with the Secret Garden Hummingbirds project, which features a design from “Secret Garden: an Inky Treasure Hunt & Coloring Book” by Johanna Basford, you can find all the articles relating to this project arranged in chronological order in the Secret Garden Project Index. Among the articles, you’ll find plenty of tips and techniques that will help you with your own embroidery projects.