Birds of a Feather

I get on kicks, and lately I’ve been seeing what I can make with discontinued wallpaper. Last week I made wallpaper rose bookmarks, and I noticed as I riffled through the book a pattern with some magnificent birds perched among bamboo leaves. I immediately envisioned them as bird bookmarks (hope you have a lot of books!) with tassels.

The easy part is to cut out the wallpaper birds, though in your pattern book you might find leaves, toile motifs, or even, as in one book I have, dogs. Then use a 1/16″ punch to punch a small hole for the string and tassel.

To make a tassel:

Use pearl cotton (sometimes spelled “perle coton”). I used DMC #5 in a gold color. Pearl cotton, which is made in France, is a 2-ply, high-sheen, twisted embroidery thread. Cut three lengths: 7″, 36″, and 8″.

Take the 7″ length and fold it in half. With a large needle, thread one end through the punched hole, pulling it through partially, and then rethread the needle with the other end and pull that through the hole, as well.

Then pull both ends through the loop, keeping the ends even. Tighten the loop. Then tie the ends together and trim close to the knot.

Take the 36″ length and wind it around your index and third fingers. Remove.

Cut the hank of cotton in half.

Drape the cut hank over the knot.

Bunch the threads smoothly together, and tie with the 8″ length. Turn over the tassel, bring the ends around, and tie again. Repeat, tying the ends twice.

 Tug on the tassel ends a bit to even out, and poke the knot into the tassel head. Trim tassel ends by about 1/4″. Iron tassel ends and cord.

I had read up on tassels in preparation for this, and found that tassels can be unbelievably complicated. Some are shaped over wooden forms, and the head of the tassel can be oversewn with elaborate embroidery. Some of these elaborate tassels even have little tassels of their own. I decided that this little tassel would be enough. You could make it with other fibers, but the pearl cotton drapes nicely.

Have a nice rest of the week!

2 thoughts on “Birds of a Feather

  1. The black bird is a very handsome book mark. Did you put anything on the back of the bird to give it extra sturdiness?

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