needlepoint birds

I found these two framed needlepoint birds this past weekend while I was looking for a piece of furniture. I didn't find that, of course, but you know me - it's the rare antique shop where I can't find something interesting.

petit point birds

These are actually not needlepoint but a technique called petit point. Worked in wool just like needlepoint but on a much smaller scale—these are 16 stitches to the inch. Working so small allows you to get lots of detail—nice for birds and also for people's faces.

I used to do a lot of needlepoint, as did my grandmother who made covers for all eight of her dining room chairs (that's an ambitious project). I'm starting to like it again and I've picked up a few unfinished ones here and there (they're often sold with the central motif already complete and you just have to fill in the background with the color of your choice). Working needlepoint may be even more relaxing than embroidery because it requires a minimum of attention. Each stitch is done exactly the same and once you get into the rhythm of it, you just go. I've heard that knitting is like that, too.

If you click through the next two photos to my Flickr page, then click on "all sizes", you can see the really large original scans. The better to see the detail up close.

petit point Baltimore Oriole
A Baltimore Oriole (we had lots of these in our yard this past spring)

I may need some help with this one. The closest thing I could find in my bird identification guide is a Western Tanager. The head and wings look right but their bodies are usually more yellow.

petit point unidentified bird

At some point I'll show you how to do needlepoint. It's not embroidery but I think the technique falls under the Stitch School umbrella.

I'm planning to hang these in the dining area off the kitchen—near the big window that looks out to the bird feeders. I think that's an appropriate place, don't you?


Unknown said...

Oh Janet, those are so pretty. I wonder how old they are? I remember seeing those at a friends house who's mother did needlepoint patterns like that, she said they were from the 20's. What a find!

janet said...

I really have no idea on dating these. They're very similar to pictures my grandmother had, which would likely be 30s-40s. Sometimes there's a clue inside behind the backing but I don't think I'll take these apart to find out. Who knows, maybe I'll come across the pattern somewhere - that's happened to me before.