Owen Fox, the considerate guy that he is, noticed that his new friend Josie Chipmunk hadn't received many welcome gifts or trinkets. He thought he would make her a portrait of herself to spruce up her cottage, nestled among the sycamore trees in the High Meadow. And he thought he would say it with thread: He would make Josie an embroidered portrait! And it would also be a pillow!
Owen was very excited to get to work. He drew Josie's portrait on some fabric so he would have a guide for his stitches. He drew her head, her ears, the stripe on her forehead, her snout and nose, and a little bit of her pretty dress.
Then he got his embroidery hoop, so he could hold the fabric in place while he stitched.
He arranged the portrait in the middle of the hoop, like this.
Then it was time to stitch! First, he used brown thread to stitch the outlines of Josie's fur. Owen said this stitch was called "crazy ants" because you bring the needle two stitches forward, and then one stitch back. Just like confused ants. We thought it was called backstitch, which you can learn about here
Owen said, "Pshaw, call it what you like! You can make up any stitch you want! Just put thread that is the color you want, in the area you want!" Truer words were never spoken. Here is the portrait with all of Josie's fur outlines finished.
Next, Owen stitched Josie's forehead stripe with something he called "slug stitch" because it is very slow and very shiny. We have heard it called satin stitch
. Owen says it is the trickiest stitch he knows but a little bit of it makes a nice touch.
Owen used some dark brown thread and tiny slug stitches to sew Josie's eyes and nose.
He used white stitches to sew the outlines of her dress. And some beautiful blue thread to stitch little dots on her dress. The dots are french knots
, also known as "Foxy Knotsies."
Finally, he sewed a wreath around Josie's portrait using a chain stitch
. Owen says this one is called "chain stitch."
The embroidered portrait was looking great, and Owen was so proud. But just then, who should he glimpse out his window but Josie herself, traipsing down to the lake. He quickly hid his project. And he noticed something. "Silly me," he muttered, "I misremembered the color of Josie's stripe! It's actually brown, not white...." Owen decided that it would be good to fix his mistake, "Because Josie most certainly knows the color of her own fur!"
So he snipped out the white slug stitches on the portrait...
And replaced them with brown slug stitches. All better! Owen was glad he caught his mistake in time.
Now it was time to make the portrait into a tiny pillow. Owen took his work out of the hoop, and cut around the edges. He made sure to leave at least a half an inch of plain cloth outside the stitching. "It won't do to make it too cramped," he said.
He cut a piece of cloth the same shape and size to be the back of the pillow.
He put the portrait side and the back side together, with the "outside" parts facing each other - as if the pillow were inside out. And then he sewed the two pieces together, using a running stitch which goes like this
. While he worked, he sang a little song.
Here is what the pillow looked like when Owen was done with the running stitches. He left a little section open so he could turn the pillow right side out.
After the pillow was right side out, he used a little paper funnel to fill the pillow with lavender flowers. "A sweet present for a sweet friend," said Owen. Like we said, he's a nice guy.
Finally, remember the little opening that wasn't stitched closed yet? Well, Owen stitched it closed using "Slinky Stitch," also known as overcast stitch. Owen says it got that name because if you imagine the shape of the thread with no fabric touching it, it would be coiled like a slinky. We suppose that's true!
Now the pillow was all finished. Nice work, Owen!
Owen tied the gift up with a ribbon, and gave it to his chipmunk friend.
Josie loves her new portrait pillow! She says, "This will be great in case I forget what I look like. Also if I need a soft pillow, or I want to smell delicious lavender. So many reasons. Thank you, Owen!"