Carol Rand – English Robin Cushion
This cushion is approximately 16”x16” and is made from repurposed 100% pure wool items. The white background is a square cut from a once beautiful white wool double blanket. It was washed by machine with soap in hot water and placed in a dryer at maximum heat until it was felted as much as was needed. The small coloured pieces for the robin were cut from 5 different 100% wool sweaters and felted in the same manner as the blanket.
The first step in assembling the robin required a square of light weight cotton muslin on which the robin was drawn using a pencil. It was then placed inside a large embroidery hoop and the individual pieces of the robin were stitched in place using blanket stitch and 100% crewel wool. At this point, none of the outside edges of the bird were stitched. This allowed for the muslin to be cut away leaving just the completed robin. Now it was time to applique the bird to the white background continuing to use blanket stitch and crewel wool. Once the bird was in place, the wispy branches were stitched in outline stitch. The legs were chain stitched in one colour and wrapped with a second colour. The claws were made using bullion stitch. Lastly, the berries were cut and attached with a few Colonial knots.
The back of the cushion is fashioned in ‘envelope’ style which allows the cushion insert to be removed in the event that the cushion cover needs to be laundered. Therefore, the back is cut from two pieces of the white blanket which overlap. The raw edge of each of these pieces was blanket stitched by hand using crewel wool. The closure for the ‘envelope’ consists of 3 pairs of large buttons which are wrapped with a cord. Wooden beads are attached at the ends of the cords to keep them in place. The large buttons were repurposed from a ladies raincoat and the beads were part of a bracelet.
The front and back of the cushion were basted by hand and then machine stitched using long stiches. Next, the entire cushion was hand-stitched using blanket stitch guided by the length of the machine stitches