Thistle Bags


Gold finches and other clinging, seedeaters have been feasting on the nyjer thistle seeds I put out for them. I added two more thistle feeders this week because I was getting tired of constantly refilling the one I had. This will either spread the birds out over more feeders and make the seed last longer or they will alert their buddies that the diner is open for business!

Fiberglass window screening is a favorite craft material. It can be cut with regular scissors and stitched together on the sewing machine.  You’ll find rolls of it at hardware or home improvement stores. It comes in several widths and in dark or light grey. And the mesh is fine enough to trap thistle seeds inside for the birds to peck at.

My feeders are made from a 12 x 18” piece of screening and an 18” length of cord to hang the finished feeder. First, turn a 1 ½” hem on one of the 12” ends. Stitch close to the raw edge and again about ¼” away from the first row of stitching. This will form the casing to lace the hanging cord through.


There are no raw, raveling edges to worry about so you can just turn and stitch.

Fold the piece lengthwise with right sides together and stitch (twice for strength) along the long side edge and across the bottom. Do not stitch across the ends of the casing at the top. This needs to remain open to get the cord through.


My thistle bags are 16″ long, but you can make yours as large or as small as you want.


This trellis holds cucumber vines in the summer, but doubles as a winter bird feeder.

Turn right side out, pushing out the corners so they are square. Run the cord through the casing at the top. Fill with seeds and hang on a limb!

Fiberglass screening is fun to work with and, because it does not ravel when cut, you don’t have to turn under or otherwise finish raw edges. I have used it for beading projects and also for some simple vests with embroidered details. This is fun stuff to play with!

About Susan Guagliumi

I am an author, craftsperson and a gardener. My proposal for a book tentatively titled "The Artful Gardener" was just accepted by Stewart, Tibori and Chang Publishers. Although this will be my fifth book, it is the first outside the area of hand/machine knitting. The manuscript is due early in 2013 and the book is scheduled for Spring of 2014. A somewhat longer process than giving birth to a child, embarking on an author's journey can be just as daunting, exciting and almost as fulfilling.
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