These little hand embroidered ducks were So Much Fun to stitch, and they took a total of about thirty whole minutes – which makes them highly delectable in just about every way!
Remember last week when I exposed my embroidery project to-do list to you? One of the pressing projects is a baby gift, which I’d like to have finished before the baby shower, which is in…oh, a week and a half.
(I’m amazingly ahead of the game, relatively speaking. Normally, I’d be saying, “…which is tomorrow…”)
I was thinking I could work up something quick, cute, and affordable, that would be personalized by a little touch of embroidery.
So, there I was the other day, with Baby-on-the-Brain, digging through a box of linens. You see, I had this vague notion that, once upon a time some six or so years ago, I had thought about embroidering a baby gift.
Deep down, I thought I had purchased some finished baby goods. But I couldn’t remember if I had actually done it, or just thought about doing it. (Do you ever have moments like that?!)
Foraging away, my hand came into contact with Yet Another tissue-wrapped package. But this one was somehow different. It was soft and cushy. I unwrapped it and within – aha! – was a set of good quality, matching interlock knit baby goods – blanket, hat, and bib – in white. They were still pristine and brand new, thanks (I swear by this!) to the habit of wrapping any stored fabrics in acid-free tissue paper.
Gazing upon the baby goods, I said to myself, My goodness, you have such incredible foresight!
And myself wholeheartedly agreed.
My plan is to pick up a pack of white Carter’s onesies (those are what we call baby body suits in America), and on the onesies, the blanket, the hat, and the bib, I’ll embroider a few little swimming ducks in yellow, to match the yellow baby afghan my mom is making for the same shower.
So, before setting off to stitch on the knit goods, I thought I’d better work up some practice ducks.
For ideas, I turned to this book – A-Z of Embroidered Motifs, reviewed here – and sure enough, right inside, I found the perfect little ducks!
Before stitching on any pre-finished item, I like to do a practice run. And in this case, I wanted to see exactly how long it would take me to stitch up a little motif or two.
Well, time was no problem! The little guy above, and his pond and cattails, took a total of about 18 minutes.
Ten minutes later, I had a diver.
So, the embroidery is quick. And that’s good!
But there are some things I definitely changed (and will change further) on my ducks, compared to the ducks in the A-Z book.
For one thing, I decided I don’t need to draw any kind of pattern on the fabric. Originally, I drew the doodle above, because I thought it would be nice to have a shape to go by.
In fact, one dash the length of the ducks body will do it, for the swimming duck. One dash for the vertical length of the diving duck will do it. And the dashes are only to assure a consistency in size and the right spacing and placement on the fabric.
If the bullions are placed correctly, the duck just takes shape by himself. And that’s jolly – no design transfer necessary!
In the instructions, the color for the eye and bill is a kind of greeny-goldish-brown. I opted for an orange bill, because it’s a ducky, and if you’re familiar with the iconic rubber ducky, you’ll understand.
The eye, though, which is just a little French knot placed between and on top of the two bullion knots, I worked in a regular brown. But I don’t like it. I’ll opt for a darker brown – probably a brownish-black.
The other thing I’ll attempt to do is to taper the tail end of the lower bullion knot that makes up the body of the duck. I think it would be really cute, if the right side of the long knot along the lower body pulls to a tip – like a duck tail.
Another thing I changed: in the book, the bill is made from a regular detached chain stitch or daisy stitch worked with one strand of thread at the front of the head. Instead, I worked a fly stitch with two strands of thread.
On the diver, I’ll do a couple things differently, too.
The bullion knots will all end at the water line at the same level, so that it looks like the duck is pretty much cut in half by the water, and I’ll try to make the knots a little shorter, so less of the body is above the water.
With the bullion knot on the right, I’ll bring the tail end to a taper, too, to better resemble a duck tail.
Now that I’ve worked through one set of the little guys on the practice fabric (it’s just a scrap of green linen), I’ll work the next set on a onesie, to work out how to space and place them.
I’ll share some tips with you on working on pre-finished knit goods in a few days. There are some tricks to working on knit, but all in all, it’s pretty easy.
And I think I’ll use these little practice guys on the baby card.
How Thoroughly Themey of me.
Hope your day’s just ducky!
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