Saturday, August 17, 2013

August Redwork Birdie Stitches

This block is part of the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month by Little Miss Shabby available free online: When I saw it, I knew it was the perfect project for me.  Instead of using several colors of embroidery thread, I chose to use just No. 8 perle cotton in red.  I have done redwork on a single layer of fabric, and the knots show through from the back. I've tried backing the fabric with very lightweight iron-on interfacing, but the interfacing wrinkled. This time I used a double layer of the Kona cotton. I ironed the layers together and used an embroidery hoop. I didn't baste the two layers together, but it has not been a problem. I've been very pleased with the results so far.

The month of August is named for Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor.  But it didn't always have this name.  Originally, it was named Sextilis because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar, which did not contain January or February.  It was renamed August in 8 B.C.  August is one of seven months with a length of 31 days.  The seasonal Southern hemisphere equivalent of August is February.

The full moon in August is known as the Green Corn Moon.  

Corn Silk   
My grandmother Cora picks firm pea pods
and dangling green beans that stretch
to the cool black earth.
She sails up and down the aisle of corn stalks
picking, husking, picking, husking.
Sunflowers hover to shade her bent
shoulders with their golden faces.
My sister and I sit on the white rail fence
with our sweaty brown pigtails wondering
if her hair was ever long,
ever blonde enough to be corn silk.
We wear faded dish towels tied around our necks,
threadbare drapes of checkered blue and white.
The dinner table bulges with mismatched Pyrex bowls
holding tomatoes, sweet corn and tender beans.
Glass pitchers of ice tea with floating lemon circles
glimmer in the marmalade-colored dusk.
Sweet cream butter melts into
crevices of sun-yellow kernels,
baking powder biscuits crumble
onto Cora's summer-stained tablecloth.
My grandfather nonchalantly whacks
a blood-swollen mosquito on his arm.
He does not miss.
Grandmother does not have many summers
left to eat tomatoes or butter her husband's biscuits.
She serves slices of rich pound cake smothered
in strawberries frosted with sugar.
My sister and I take one more swing
on this hazy night before the full moon comes.
We giggle until stars blink between oak branches
Crickets fiddle and fireflies dance among
the blueberry bushes and Queen Anne's lace.
Cora sighs, hating to see August leave.
My grandfather takes her hand, and brushes
a single tassel of corn silk off her shoulder.
This poem was written by my friend, Nancy Godbout Jurka, writing under the name Anna Blake Godbout.  You can find this and other poems in her book Journey On: Beauty and Grit Along the Way, found here.  
What is your favorite part about August?  Inquiring minds want to know! 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. Cute Birdy. My favorite part of August is that's it's closer to Fall.

    1. I'm never quite ready for summer to end, but I enjoy fall, too!

  2. The brats that taunt my dogs and chickens go back to school :)

    1. I hope your dogs and chickens aren't being teased anymore!

  3. As always, I really like your red work. Thank you for the tip about the double layer of Kona cotton. It sounds like a great solution and I may do it myself. I use Kona cotton with my quilting, so I've got some on hand. Thank you for your entertaining as well as helpful blog posts.

    1. I've had a lot of success with the double layer.

  4. I love your redwork version. I made 10 of the blocks in 2011, and have half of another one finished. What I use on the back so that knots and traveling doesn't show, is something I order from Jenny of Elefantz or Designs by Fee, both in Australia. It's called Weaveline, and I haven't found it here in the states, but it's a lightweight fabric that's fusible on one side. It makes the stitching so neat without making it heavy. My favorite part of August is usually the sunny days, but we haven't had many in E. TN this summer!

    1. I've never heard of Weaveline. Thank you for the tip!

  5. My favorite part of August is that the end brings us closer to the end of our oppressive summer heat. I have had the same experience as you with red work & found that a lightweight fabric behind my top piece did the trick. I didn't like the results of a fusible but might try the Weaveline suggested above.

    1. I agree that August is not a good time to be in Texas, but I think falls are beautiful there! Just hang on!

  6. August means that fall is just around the corner. Cooler temps, and lovely colors.


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