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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Secret Garden Embroidery: Top of the Wing


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Happy Monday! And if you’re enjoying a three-day weekend today, double-happy Monday to you!

It’s Labor Day here in the US. To celebrate, I’m going to labor with some stitchy stuff – and a little cleaning and organizing.

But in the meantime, I want to show you the top of the wings, or the wing “caps” on the hummingbird.

Last week, we left off here:

Secret Garden Embroidery: Hummingbird

I was stem stitching the brighter dark blue on that wing cap.

This is how the filling finished up on that:

Secret Garden Hummingbird

I used 996 (one strand, in stem stitch) for the majority of the blue in the scalloped outer area, and then I used 3843 to fill in part of the scalloped area, towards the tip of the purple.

Using the 3843, I also worked some random small speckles over the curve on that filled area, just to break up the darker blue a bit.

Secret Garden Hummingbird

Then, I used the same blue to work in some lighter strokes on the scallops.

Secret Garden Hummingbird

Then I took out DMC 820, which is a very dark, but vivid blue.

Secret Garden Hummingbird

And using ones strand of the 820, I sketched in a few stitches, in stem stitch, on the underside of the scallops. Normally, I’d add those after finishing the feathers, just as the “finishing touch” – but I went ahead and put them in now, because I wanted to see how they’d look.

I’ve decided I like them!

The front part of the wing, from the last scallop into lower part of the curve, will benefit from a little touch of darker thread later on.

So that’s the top of the wing for now. Next up, feathers!

Questions, comments, suggestions? Feel free to have your say below!

If you’d like to follow along with the Secret Garden Hummingbirds project, you can find all the articles relating to this project arranged in chronological order in the Secret Garden Project Index.


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(27) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    A very happy Labour day. I really like the stitches and thread colour you have used for the wing it’s beautiful and blends in beautifully with the overall design. I really admire your needlework and the different approaches you use on your embroidery every part of this design is stitched differently and you certainly use an array of stitches which blend in together nicely. Thanks for sharing your progress with us and I can’t wait to see how you approach the wings.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. I think the hummingbird is coming along nicely,
    Mrs. Corbet. I really like the colours and stitches that you’ve chosen.

    Sarah 🙂

  3. I am always so amazed by your work. I just saw hummers in my yard and put out a couple of feeders. I live in South Texas along their migratory path. I am currently working on a small Brazilian embroidery sampler. I haven’t done much since school started though. I started it in the summer of 2005! I just got it out again this summer.

  4. Hello Mary,
    The depth and richness of this little hummer is amazing.
    Words just do not seem to be able to communicate the way color does. So I am a bit without them, but fascinated as I get to share this journey. This is my dream piece.

  5. Mary, thank you for sharing progression of your beautiful work; awesome! Can’t wait to see the end result. Happy stitching!

  6. Hi Mary,
    I enjoy your blog and the beautiful stitching you share with us. I really love that you share when you change your mind about color and what stitch to use. It’s nice to know that even an “expert” changes their mind.

  7. Absolutely the most beautiful embroidery work I have ever seen. I just wish that women in my local area wanted to be challenged by learning more difficult techniques in knitting, embroidery, and quilting. But forget that one – if it is not elementary level they are not interested

  8. Mary, I just love seeing the bird come together, I’m just learning @ 65 yrs of age so I have a long way to go. Thank you fo all those videos you have on each stitch

  9. Good Afternoon, Mrs. Corbet! I finally got back to my computer, and I hate trying to type on a Cellphone. As I said before, PERFECTION! The shading, the tiny specks and glints, the detail is just so outstanding! I love this little Hummer! But as excited and impatient I am for more plumage, (which will be glorious) I think this little guy has gone without his beak for too long. I feel like his head is a bit lost. Oh well, HE’S AWESOME! Please keep up the fantastic exquisite and inspiring work! I’ll NEVER get bored!

  10. This is glorious work!

    I’ve only recently started embroidery, so I’m quite a way off work that detailed & neat, but it’s lovely to see the different techniques possible and how colour and shades are used together.

    Thanks for your site Mary, it’s been really helpful so far, and is serving as inspiration 🙂

  11. I’m really glad you chose to go ahead and sketch in the darker blue now and to share it with us. It gives a crisp defining edge to the wing caps that I think was needed. I love how the wings are coming along. I also enjoy the “whole picture” shots to keep the issue in perspective. This is something I have to keep reminding my self to do woth my own stitching when I have doubts about where I am going – to look at it from the eyes of a viewer rather than a judge!

  12. Mary,
    I don’t mean to detract from your gorgeous stitchery but where do you obtain your floss cards? I love the size. Please let us know.
    Ann Greene

  13. Hi Mary,
    I’m watching the developement of this beautiful design with interest and awe. It’s fascinating seeing it come together and your choice of colours and stitches. How fabulous it’s looking. You provide a great learning experience for all your followers.
    Thank you,

  14. Mary, I was skeptical at first but now I love your choices. I am partial to fishbone stitch but it might be too much of a good thing. I can’t wait to see your final choices. Can you take a photo soon of the whole project as it now stands? I know it won’t show up well but I always like the three feet away look in the middle of a project. As always, thank you for this column and all the instruction videos. I am going through the archive and enjoying it very much. Blessings, Charlotte in AZ

  15. Hi Mary,
    Love the look of the wing, HOWEVER is it going to be a keeper, or will it be a pile of orts when next we see what you have done? 🙂

  16. I love the colors that you are using for the hummingbird, and the stitches themselves seem to fit well.
    At this point though, I’m having trouble seeing the bird as a whole, because of the blue outlining around the different areas. What my eye ends up seeing, unless I strain it to look otherwise, is a bunch of separate areas, that don’t seem to fit well together, and mainly it’s just the blue surrounding stitch that sticks out.
    I realize I’m probably in the minority in my view on this and everyone else will probably love it, it just isn’t working for me at all.

  17. I’d love to see the back of your work from time to time. The thread starts & stops, how far you carry a color, neatness, etc. Just a bit more “background” to keep me in my place.

  18. Mary, you nailed it with the colors!! Looking forward to see what you do with the wings.
    Me too, I can’t wait to see the whole piece ! I find it hard to walk away from a project when it is going so well, long time sitting on the butt though!

  19. I have the greatest admiration for your stitching expertise and your work is breathtaking but … I really don’t like the design of the hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are tiny delicate creatures but Johanna Basford’s drawing makes them look cumbersome – especially the beaks. I have trawled through the internet and found what I believe is a nicer drawing of a hummingbird’s head and I have swapped it for Johanna’s version. If anyone would like it I would be happy to email it.

  20. Dear Mary,
    The touch of dark blue does the trick. It gives the wing a lift, and accentuates the shading on the head and breast. Looking good. I’m waiting for the feathers ……… they looked excellent last time.

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