Half an Owl

My project on an owl is progressing, but rather slowly. I have completed the outline, talons and the back and wing feathers. This leaves the breast and the face. Here is what it looks like just now.
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Stitching the feathers has proved hard and slow. For the top part of the back, Jane, our tutor, suggested using a woven picot stitch to give a layered, hanging effect. I had never heard of this stitch before so it was quite a challenge. Most of the feathers were stitched with Appleton wool and the rest in DMC cotton. Each individual feather was not particularly difficult, but getting them to fit one row below the one above was very hard. Still it does give a nice fluffy look to that part of the owl. The remaining feathers for the back and tail we decided to stitch in satin stitch. First I had to outline each long feather, which was relatively simple. Then came the difficult part. As the feathers were so narrow I had to place the satin stitches inside the outline stitches. A real hassle getting the needle to come up at just the right place each and every time. I have varied the colours a little with different shades of brown in each section to go with the cream or the pale golden brown. The talons are also stitched in satin stitch, though in this case I went over the outline. Appleton wool was used for this and for the branch, which is stitched in long and short stitches. I have still to complete this, as I want to extend the branch and make it less straight. So far so good, but only halfway through the owl and then there are the surrounding flowers to add.

Alongside the owl I have been working on a couple of small projects to fill in the times when I am waiting for the next class and more advice on the owl. These two pieces are to fit loosely on the top of the plastic boxes I use to store my cotton threads. These are divided by colour, so I thought it would be a good filler to glue an embroidery piece on the lid in the same colour scheme as the threads in the box. I have now finished the blue and purple colours, which you can see below. Both are stitched in different Bargello patterns. Now back to that owl!
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