Funk & Weber Designs

Designing Feather and Fly Bracelet

As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on some zoo-themed needlework pieces. For the past few days, I’ve been playing with the feather and fly stitch idea, with a view to creating a bracelet with it. I thought I’d try to describe the process here. I wish I were at home so that I could scan the practice pieces, but I’m not. Even taking pictures would be difficult since I’m on the laptop which has Windows Vista, and Canon has decided not to update the driver for my digital camera so that I can download images to this computer.

croc.jpgThat bites.

So I’ll do my best with words.

First, I used some bright size 5 DMC pearl cotton on 20 count sunflower Ariosa from Zweigart, and practiced making lines of single, double, and triple feather stitches. I tried mixing up the number of feather stitches (3-3-2-3-3-1, etc.) to make an irregularly wavy line. I added isolated fly stitches in the curves. I kinda, sorta settled on just triple feather stitches, for a nice wave.

Next, I changed to size 8 DMC pearl cotton and 28 count Calypso Cashel linen from Picture This Plus (and Zweigart). I used 2 needles with 2 colors of pearl and alternated colors for the feather stitches. First, I used brown and pink, but I decided I want more contrast between the colors, so I tried purple and pink. I’m not crazy about this combo, either, so I’ll be trying something else before I’m through.

To figure out the spacing of the edge stitch, I had to do some math. Normally, I design bracelet patterns that work with multiples of 4 for easy figuring and altering. The feather stitches pattern is a multiple of 5. Now, I’m no math wimp. I like math. But adjusting the edge stitch to a multiple of 5 creates all kinds of problems: the finished size is unattractively wide if I add 5 bare threads around the whole pattern; it looks bad if the edge comes right up to the pattern; you can’t have 2.5 empty threads on each side. I have now stitched and ripped the edge around the purple and pink sample 4 times. You can see all the holes on the fabric, though they will disappear before I’m finished.

So I went back and reduced the feather stitch pattern so that it worked out as a multiple of 4. I don’t like it. The feather stitch is too small. It’s too similar to the size of the fly stitch. I made it twice as big, still a multiple of 4, and I don’t like that. It looks chunky, like something a child would make, and this is not a child’s project.

So I’m back to the pattern that will give me a multiple of 5. I can compensate on the edge stitch by making one 4-thread (as opposed to 5-thread) segment on each side, or 2 7-thread segments, etc. I can center the adjustment segments, making them part of the design, or I can hide them near the ends (but not on the ends).

And this is what I’m playing with now. Trying different alternatives to see what I like.

Looking at the samples, I would not call this a complex design, but things are not always what they seem, eh?