After I finished Worry, I had no idea what my next project would be. I get so involved in one project that I don’t tend to think ahead to the next — can’t really split my focus. I concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of other things.

But when I was done, I decided to make a small piece for the SouthEast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA) Square Foot Fiber Art Pin Up Show. No theme — the piece just has to be 12×12 or smaller. I don’t usually work in this small scale — but I needed a rest and working on a small piece seemed like a good way to do that.

I had seen many pictures of cardinals in the snow being posted on Facebook — and I think that this is what I had in my mind’s eye when I began — a piece of hope flying across the frozen tundra (a little melodramatic, but we’re currently iced in for the second time in a couple of weeks and this southern girl is more acclimated to sunshine than snow.)

So I searched through all my reds and picked out a decent range. I wasn’t really happy with my first value — but then, what could I do? The weather was too iffy for me to risk a trip over to Marietta to pick out fabric — so I was limited to what I had on hand.

Just as I was getting ready to iron my WonderUnder templates down, I had the funny realization that I had paid for both sides of my fabric (obvious, I know, but a fact often overlooked) — so I ironed the templates to the front — so the back would show — which was exactly the shade I needed for the first value.

cardinal value1

This is the second value — you can begin to see the outline of the cardinal.

cardinal value2

The third value gives you even more — although I should have added to the lighting in the room before I took my pics.

cardinal value3

The fourth value was all I got done before I heard that the news was telling me (I had the TV on while I was ironing) that I might lose power for several days — and I realized I needed to add a few things to my pantry. It was at this point that I ran out the door with fading daylight before the roads became truly impassable the next day (and they did).

cardinal value4

I returned to this yesterday and added values five and six — the sixth one being black. Not bad but I really miss the eye.

cardinal value 5&6

Again, other blurry shot. I think the ISO on the camera I was using was way down — but you can see how I built up the eye in a similar way to the eye on The White Raven. I did add a larger highlight than I usually do — this guy has a small eye and the light coming off it gave the impression of the dimension of the eyeball.

cardinal eye

Once he was done, I added the branches. I thought about adding a bunch of detail and then decided that it was so small, it made more sense to let the fabric do the work for me — so I found a brown wood batik and fussy cut it so I roughly had highlights and shadows where I wanted them.

cardinal with tree

And finally, I added his claws. They are really similar in tone to the branch — and I decided to stay with that. I used a purple with a lot of gray in it — but they are obviously the same value as the branch. I’ll define them more with texture in the quilting stage.

cardinal with claws

The last part is to add a background. This was my first pick. It’s a really bright acid green but it makes the cardinal pop. I tried other greens from my stash — but the greens with more gray in them make the cardinal more sedate — more like it’s a common wildlife scene.

And I could try something other than green — but the color wheel shows the green is the best choice — and holding up colors — it’s the one that makes the most sense visually — even if I did originally imagine more white and gray blues.

cardinal with potential background

I’m not sold on this yet. I would love it if I could go to store and see if I could find something better — or validate my choice here — but there is still too much ice on the roads. I may go ahead for something to do. Sewing is a good antidote for cabin fever.