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Copy This  May 2013

EMK Color bird004

Some of my first lacemaking attempts were inspired by Kathe Kliot’s 1973 book, Bobbin Lace, which at the time outrageously suggested playing with color at a time when lace was supposed to be white or ecru.

This WhimseyBird is an easy project for a beginning bobbin lacemaker.

It is a good way to learn to play with bobbin lace.  

Adjust the size of the pattern depending on what thread you choose to use.  I like a rustic look, and a bird with a bit of attitude, so I used a  thick linen thread #20, which I dyed to give me a variety of colors to play with.  The original bird was about 7 inches tall.


Choose your favorite colors, or work in white or ecru.  I like a rustic effect, and so used just whole stitch with occasional random twists for texture, and half stitch.  

If you prefer something more refined, choose your thread and stitches to suit.

Order of work:

EMK Color coded start

Start at the top of the head, with three pairs (blue dots).  Follow around to the beak, sewing into the top of the beak after the turn to form the bottom of the beak (more blue dots), and work back to under the eye.

Hang on two more pairs at the bottom of the clothwork at the beginning (green dots). Work down and begin weaving together below the eye.

EMK Color add pairsgreendots

Continue down the neck.

Begin weaving part of the clothwork in half stitch or another more open weave -- perhaps simply adding extra twists between passive threads - to form the body.

Begin adding pairs to form the “wing” or feathers (green dots).

EMK Color bird004

Finishing off could not be any easier.  Just cut off the pairs, tie them, and trim to form little feathery tassels. Just for fun, maybe add a few embroidery stitches to the eye, or put in a beady eye.

Add another three pair for the “feet” and voila, a WhimseyBird.


May 2013

ADDED JULY 12, 2013

Kate Henry wrote in to point out a couple of mistakes in the instructions.  She was right -- it was a long time since I made the bird, and miscounted pairs.  These have been corrected above.  

Kates whimseybird

Dear E,

Here is a scan of my birdie made from your design on your website )). I made mine only 4 inches tall instead of 7 inches tall, and used 6-strand embroidery floss. Its been a while since you made your birdie. hahaha. 

Your instructions missed the number of pairs to start the head and feet. It says two pair for the start of the head and two pairs for the legs, but there are three pairs required. They need another pair of workers.  

Sewings with multi-threads means putting a lot of extra twist on the floss to get it to act like one thread through the pinholes without splitting the strands.  I would not have made it in color as my first choice, but the bird is small enough for experimentation.  

I am pleased with the way it turned out... a bit dull until the beaded eye brought a smile to its face.  The legs started out lumpy with twists on the workers at each side of only two pair. 

I used 10-stick technique to make the sharp turns without bulk for the feet, then continued with twisted turns of workers for the upstroke. It makes knobby knees which fit the personality of the bird.  Thanks for leaving the rest of the details up to the readers. The size can change. The scale of thread can change. Number of pairs can change. Color, of course, can change. I learned I still don't like flat pillows, even when the work is so cute, and that changing colors means lots of leftover bits of thread too small to use. It was fun to play. I might just have to make a tiny one with my favorite white 120/2 linen. Can't wait to try some of the other samples from "copy this". 


Kate Henry

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