A while ago I did a needlework of a Blue Bird. It's a smallish piece (about 20cm by 30cm), on a darkish grey silk, and is my take on a bird looking after it's eggs.
At the time the image was really strong in my head, I had a source photo of a bird (I think it was some kind of wattle bird) which I drew, then drew again for memory, then again, until I was happy with the result. It doesn't look much like the source anymore!
I kept everything really simple, the tail was supposed to be the highlight, the rest was just lines and shapes.
The branches were lovely to do, and turned out so well. I just started with one line of stem stitch, then added various lines of stem, back stitch, chain stitch etc. until I was happy with the finished product.
The concept of doing a little bit of the whole thing at a time was really important with this piece as I didn't know what I was aiming for 100% when I started. It was important to fill in one line or colour, then move to another section. I did the first set on the tail, then finished the bird and went back again, then added even more stitches to the tail as the last thing I did.
The nest is a tangle of appliqued 'novelty' threads and yarns. Some were dense, some feathery, some black, white or inbetween, and the overall effect looks great, considering how simple it was. I have recreated this kind of nest on other pieces and love it every time - so simple (if time consuming) to do, as long as you keep checking the overall impression and get the balance right.
It's one of my favourite pieces, it hangs in my kitchen and I love looking at it. There is something so loving and protective about the little bird looking after her nest.