I really love the pretty birds on this branch. There is some "free-form" embroidery on their breasts which is going to be much easier than you may think.
The above photo shows the leaves and small red flowers that extend from Block 1. Wait to add these applique motifs until Block 1 and 3 are sewn together and it will be easier to line everything up and stitch the stems.
Note: I recently started using a Chenille #22 needle
for the embroidery where the pattern calls for a size 24.
I find the #22 is easier to thread and there is less
wear on the embellishment threads.
Let's start with the bird on the left side of the branch.
Back stitch around the top and sides of the tail. Make 2 Fly Stitches at the top and then Back stitch a line down to the wing. Change to the contrasting colored thread and weave through the Back Stitch on the inside of the tail. Add a Lazy Daisy in the "V" of each Fly Stitch at the top of the tail.
That was easy and your confidence level is now high enough to tackle the flowers on the breast.
Breast - left bird:
1. Place the upper spider-web flower by making 5 Lazy Daisy stitches. These stitches will be the foundation to weave over and under to make the flower - the Lazy Daisy stitches should be large enough that the ends extend past the weaving to indicate leaves.
2. Use the same technique to add another flower below and a little to the left of the first flower.
3. Add the blue Lazy Daisy flower between the wing and the spider web flowers.
4. Add the curved line of Wheat Ear stitches, ending the line at the flowers. Add color to this line by adding Back Stitch and French Knots or Colonial Knots.
5. Now just fill in the spaces with French Knots or Colonial Knots in several colors.
I just like to eyeball where to place the flowers and vine but it's OK to mark lightly with a chalk pencil.
Breast - right bird:
1. Begin by stitching the Bullion Rose. I'm not embarrassed to say that I can never stitch 2 Bullion Roses the same - but I always love them. Start with 2 or 3 French Knots (2 wraps) or Colonial Knots for the center. Look closely at the above photo and you will see that there are 3 Bullion Knots that wrap around the center. Just keep adding Bullion Knots around the center until the "rose" is the size you want.
2. Add the woven Spider Web flower between the bullion rose and the wing.
3. Add "filler" stitches: short stems using stem stitch, fly stitch, Lazy Daisy, and French Knots.
Right Bird Tail:
Back Stitch around the outside of the tail and then add a row of Wheat Ear Stitch down the center of the tail. Change to a contrasting color and add a Bullion Knot in the center of each loop and a French Knot at the end of each straight stitch.
1. Begin by Back Stitching a line across the wing. Change to a contrasting colored thread and weave over and under the Back Stitches.
2. Using the same color thread as the Back Stitched line, add Fly Stitches above and below the line.
3. Add a Lazy Daisy inside the "v" of each Fly Stitch with the same color used to weave the Back Stitched Line.
4. Outline the wing with Bullion Knots, adding 3 long Drizzle Stitches at the wing point.
When you have finished embellishing the leaves on the branch and the birds, sew the TOP of Block 3 to the BOTTOM of Block 1 by machine with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seam open, being careful not to crush any embroidery stitches.
Note: I recommend using a Strip Stick when pressing the seams.
If your local quilt shop doesn't carry this handy tool
you can buy it by clicking here and there is even a video
on the Strip Stick website.
Leaves and red flowers:
Applique the leaves and red flowers than continue from Block 1 and stitch the stemswith Palestrina Stitch.
See that small green leaf pinned to the left side of Block 3? I will add that to the bottom of the branch when I sew Block 3 to Block 5.