Thursday, June 22, 2017

Block 8 - Pollen Gathering



The instructions and tips for Solstice Dream blocks include the needles and types of threads used in this project.  Thread colors are included in the pattern.  Book pages refer to those in the Right (or Left) Handed Embroiderer's Companion available in my Etsy shop.
 
This block works up quickly with stitches we have used on previous blocks, so let's get started with a few ideas on the applique.  

Tips: 
  1. I use a hole punch to cut out the 1/4" circles for the buds.
  2. From the teal wool cut out the entire flower (including the red base portion) and then place the red wool flower base on top of the teal wool.  This method will give more texture to the flower and eliminate any variation in the thickness of the red base that can occur if you only slip a small portion of the teal wool underneath.  

Flower:
The red buds above the flower may be appliqued in place or simply attached with a French Knot (page 94) using a #24 Chenille needle and just 1 wrap with Silken Pearl #5.

Add a stem from the buds to the Teal colored flower using #5 Pearl Cotton and #24 Chenille needle with Back Stitch (page 10).

Thread a #1 Milliner with Sea Grass and Back Stitch 2 rows on Teal flower.  See tips for using Sea Grass on Block 7 - Woven Petals.

With Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle, add 5 rows of Chain Stitch to the red flower base (see above photo).


I began my chain stitching by placing a small pin in the top center of the red wool to guide me.  Next, I chain stitched along each edge of the red wool and then the row between the center and edges to get the proper spacing.

Leaves: 
The inner leaf is embellished with Fly Stitch (page 91) using Pearl Cotton #5 in a Chenille #24 needle from point to point.
Outline the outer green leaf with the same Pearl Cotton in a #1 Milliner needle stitching Bullion Knots with 8 wraps.


 The lower peach colored leaves are woven with Silken Pearl #5 in the #1 Milliner needle.  Begin by making 7 evenly spaced Straight Stitches  from the top to the bottom of the leaf.  Next, weave 3 lines side-to-side across these stitches.

To finish the lower leaves and secure the weaving, stitch a small X using Pearl Cotton #8 across each intersection (see top photo).
 
 Pollen gathering requires bees so follow the instructions in previous blocks to add 3 or more bees.

Block 7 - Woven Petals


Do you ever get going in so many directions that you forget what's next - or what you have done?  That's me!  I finished writing the tips and directions for Block 7 of Solstice Dream a few weeks ago and forgot to post it.  Only when I sat down at the computer to write Block 8 did I notice.  Well, here goes.....Block 7 quickly followed by Block 8 and then a new pattern and kit.

Let me start by reminding you that the page numbers listed for each stitch refer to the Right (or Left) Handed Embroiderer's Companion available for $29.00 in my Etsy shop Here.

Flower
Begin this block at the top with a #1 Milliners needle threaded with Sea Grass and Back Stitch (page 10) around the outside of the dark pink flower, close to the edge. 

Sea Grass Tips:
  1. Keep the Sea Grass flat by either ironing it or running it through Thread Heaven a few times. We want the fiber to lay flat.
  2. If necessary, use the needle to smooth out the thread by running it underneath the stitch. 
  3. Make the back stitches a bit longer than with other threads and don't pull too tight.   
Stitch 3 rows of back stitch on the dark pink flower beginning about 1/4 inch from the outside edge and spacing the rows about 1/4 inch.  No need to mark, just use the outside edge of the flower as your guide.

Outline the light pink flower center with individual Fly Stitch (page 91) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle.  With Pearl Cotton #8 and the Chenille needle, stitch a Detached Chain Stitch (page  46) inside each Fly.

Following the instructions in previous posts, stitch a bee on the light pink flower center.

Flower Base and Stem
Thread a Chenille #24 needle with Pearl Cotton 8 and Chain Stitch (page 43) along the outside edge of the flower base and 2 rows inside the stem.
Tip:  Don't make the stitches too large - see photo above.
 Leaves:
With a Chenille #24 needle and Pearl Cotton 8, begin at the outside tip of the leaf and Feathered Chain Stitch down to the stem-end of the leafThe instructions in the book for this stitch are for a perfectly straight line and proceed in a direction that makes it difficult for me to visualize.  Instead, I have created a short video that I think makes it easier - and we all love easy.  Just click here:  Video instructions.

Inside each Chain Stitch use Silken Pearl #5 and make a Straight Stitch.

Outline each leaf with Back Stitch (page 10) using a Chenille #24 and Pearl Cotton #8.

Woven Petals
Along the top of the flower base are 8 Woven Picot (page 158) petals using Silken Pearl #5.


Woven Picot Tips:
  1.  Using a #1 Milliners needle makes the weaving easier. 
  2. As you bring the center thread up to wrap around the pin before weaving, pull the thread as tight as you can around the pin so you don't end up with a loop at the pointed end of the picot.
  3. Weave with the "eye" end of the needle so you don't catch the fabric underneath.
  4. Don't hurry.  Pull each weaving thread "slowly".  It's important not to pull the weaving stitches too tight.  Keep the triangular shape - we don't want picots with waistlines.
  5. After each row of  weaving use the eye end of the needle to gently push the threads down tight against the previous row.  
  6. As the weaving gets close to the wide end of the picot it will be easier to weave if you remove the pin.
  7. When the picot is finished, give it a little curl around your finger to give it some dimension. 
Another beautiful block finished.  
 
Wondering how to keep all your Solstice Dream threads organized?
Here's a sneak peek of the Big Bloom Satchel, perfect for threads, needles, etc. and kits will be available in my Etsy shop soon.  Watch here and on our Facebook Stitch Along Group for the announcement. I'm just waiting to receive 1 more thread to complete the kits.
 

 

 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Solstice Dream - Block 5 "Marsh"


The dragonfly is one of my favorite elements on Solstice Dream and easy to create.  Several of my friends delayed making this block thinking it was going to be difficult and were pleasantly surprised once they got going. 

Layout:
Iron the freezer paper templates onto the green wool for the lily pad and the ribbon for the dragon fly wings.  I was very careful when ironing to the ribbon to avoid melting it.  My ribbon was a sheer organza type and there was no need to add fray check around the edge.  

The dragon fly body is not cut out of fabric.

Pin the lily pad and wings in place on the background and either pin or iron the body template in place, slightly overlapping the inside ends of the wings for correct placement.  Once you are comfortable with the placement, remove the freezer paper template.


Dragon fly:
Applique the wings in place using a #4 metallic braid and small Buttonhole Stitch (page 22).  With the same thread, begin at the outer end of each wing and Feather Stitch down the center as shown in this Mary Corbet video.  

For the next step it may be helpful to pin the body template in place over the wings and lightly mark around it.  Remove the template after marking and using Silken Pearl #5 stitch a row of French Knots (page 94) with 3 wraps on the marked line.   Fill the center with French Knots using Dazzle and 3 wraps.  


The dragon fly's tail is 6 sections of Bullion Knot (page 18) using Silken Pearl #5 separated by a Bullion Knot using Dazzle.  The first section has 4 bullion knots, followed by 5 sections of 3 bullion knots and then 1 section with 2 bullion knots.  All of the bullion knots have 10 wraps on a #1 Milliner needle.
The end of the tail is a Bullion Loop with 25 wraps that is secured with a couching stitch and the same thread.


I don't use a hoop when embroidering for fear of crushing the wool or previous stitches.  I also don't mark but "eyeball" my stitching as on the dragon fly legs and lily pad.  But, that's just me. Perhaps I'm too lazy to find a marking pencil.  If you feel better drawing a line to follow, go ahead.

I used Dazzle to Back Stitch (page 10) the legs on the dragon fly and add straight stitches for the antennae.

Lily Pad and Frog:
Using pearl cotton size 8, Back Stitch 6 lines on the Lily Pad.

The frog is a series of Bullion Knots with silken pearl #5 and I found it easiest to begin with the head.  I started the Bullion Knots at the edge of the lily pad and extended them out onto the background.  The outside stitches have 4 wraps and the center stitches have 6 wraps.  Add a French Knot for eyes with 2 wraps using Dazzle at the end of the short, outside knots.

The frog's body is another 4 Bullion Knots all with 8 wraps.  Each front leg is 2 Bullion Knots with 8 wraps and the rear legs are 2 Bullion Knots with 10 wraps.  Add 3 toes at the end of each leg with 3 small straight stitches. 

Cat Tails:
Stitch the tops first to get your placement right by stitching a Bullion Knot with 10 wraps using Silken Pearl #5.  Overstitch the Bullion with small straight stitches and add a vertical straight stitch at the top.

Making sure to leave room for your seam allowance at the bottom, Stem Stitch (page 146) the cat tail stems with #5 Pearl Cotton.  Add long leaves using the same thread and Lazy Daisy or Detached Chain (page 46) stitches secured in place with a couching stitch.

That was easier than you thought! 

The next Stitch Along will skip to Block 7.  Why?  If you are taking part in the Block of the Month from Midway Wool, 
you will receive Block 6 in August just in case..... wait for it.... you want to get the applique finished and join the class I will be teaching for My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe/Midway Wool on September 29th where the focus will be embellishment on Block 6.  If you are unable to attend the class I will have the Stitch Along for Block 6 here in October.

p.s.  I just noticed on Midway Wool's website that the BOM is sold out but Jennifer has told me they are starting a waiting list for another group if there is enough interest.

 


 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Solstice Dream Block 4 - Burst


For this block we get to try a new thread from Threadnuts and some fun stitches.

Flower Petals:
The top and side petals each contain another flower complete with bloom, stem and leaves.  Let's start with the circular bloom which is Spiral Trellis Stitch (page 154) using Silken Pearl #5.    
  • Begin by cutting a circle from freezer paper (1" for the top petal and 3/4" for the side petals) and fold it into quarters.  Unfold and press onto the petal.
  • Make small Chain Stitches (page 43) close to the outside edge of the paper circle, making certain you have the same number of stitches in each quarter.
  • Remove the freezer paper and follow the instructions for Spiral Trellis Stitch, catching only the inside edge of each chain stitch for the first row. 
  • When the Spiral Trellis is complete, whip the outside edge of the chain stitch with a contrasting color. 
  • Using Silken Pearl #5 make a long Bullion Stitch (page 18) from the round flower to the pointed bottom of the petal.  I used an Extra Long Darner needle and 50 wraps, then couched in place with the same thread.
  • Each leaf is a Double Cast-On Stitch (page 40) using Silken Pearl #5.
  • Outline these 3 petals with Bullion Stitch and Silken Pearl #5. 
Tip:  I like each bullion stitch to be distinct with a slight curve.  For this look each stitch is approximately 1/4" long with 8 wraps of Silken Pearl #5.

 Diagonal Flower Petals:
  •  The small circles inside the petals have 4 straight stitches from the center of the wool circle to the outside edge using Silken Pearl #5.
  • Outline the circles with Back Stitch (page 10) using the same thread.
  • To outline the Diagonal Flower Petals I used Silken Pearl and Back Stitch.
Flower Stem:
  • Now for a fun new thread - I used Painter's Shimmer Floss from Threadnuts in a Chenille #24 needle for Palestrina Stitch (page 117) down the length of the stem.
Tip:  After bringing the thread up from the back side of the block at the base of the flower petals, the first step is a small horizontal stitch.  Go down on one side of the stem and up on the opposite side.  This stitch takes a little practice as each stitch has 3 steps but it is a lovely knotted stitch.  As with all stitches, don't pull it too tight or you will lose the dimension of the knot.

Leaves:
  •  Beginning at the rounded end of the large top leaves, Fly Stitch (page 91) using the Shimmer Floss.
  • The smaller leaves are embellished with Fly Stitch using Pearl Cotton #8.

Several friends have been a bit intimidated about stitching our next block, Marsh.  No need for nervousness - both the dragonfly and frog are very easy.  

If you haven't purchased a kit you will need some shimmery rayon ribbon (I bought mine at Joann) and Painter's Metallic Braid #4 from Threadnuts.

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hedgehog Blossom - Block 3 Solstice Dream

I'm sorry for the delay getting this Block's Stitch Along to you.  Several weeks traveling and computer issues are my only excuse.

Although I've never met a real hedgehog, I just love this one and she is easy to stitch.  Sometimes I think this is my favorite block of Solstice Dream, that is until I look at the other blocks and once again love each block in turn.

Reminder: The Right-Handed (and left-handed) Embroiderer's Companion is my favorite embroidery stitch resource and is available in my Etsy Shop.  I will reference page numbers from this book as we Stitch Along. 

Let's go through stitching the block, beginning with the applique.  Pin all the applique pieces in place with small pins, remembering to leave space for a 1/4" seam allowance beneath the hedgehog's feet.
My favorite applique method for cotton fabrics is "needle turn", which involves ironing the freezer paper template to the right side of the fabric, drawing a line with a chalk pencil (my favorite) next to the freezer paper then cutting out about 1/4" away from the paper for a seam allowance.  Remove the template and then stitch just inside the line, turning under the seam allowance with the needle (or fingers) as you go.

The wool and cotton applique pieces are all stacked on top of each other, which gives the great dimension and texture, then whip-stitched into place.  For example, on the hedgehog cut the full body and head from the brown wool and once appliqued in place, stitch the lighter colored tan head on top of the brown wool.  No seam to line up this way and the head has a bit more dimension.

Embellishment: 

Hedgehog:
I used a variegated Silken Pearl #5 to make small Straight Stitches on the body, beginning at the bum and working towards the head.  Let some of the stitches extend over the edge of the body into the background and don't make rows of stitches - have them offset.  Add 1 Straight Stitch for the ear and 3 small ones for the nose.  Using a dark section of your thread, add a French Knot (page 94) or Colonial Knot (page 63) eye.

Pink Blossom
Outline the pink fabric with Fly Stitch (page 91 ) using Silken Pearl #5, and then add a small Bullion Stitch (page 18 ) inside the "V" of the Fly Stitch in a contrasting color.

Purple Flower Center
Outline the flower center with Pekinese Stitch (page 13) which is a 2-step stitch.  Begin with Silken Pearl #5 for the back stitch and weave with Dazzle in a contrasting color.  I like to use Dazzle as it gives just a "hint" of sparkle throughout the quilt.

Yellow Flower Petals:
 The petals are highlighted with Double Pekinese Stitch (page 14) which is also a 2-step stitch.  The same variegated color of Silken Pearl #5  is used for both steps.

Tip: It is necessary to have an equal number of the back stitches on each side of the petal for the lacing to work out.  I placed a small pin at the top-center of the petal and then began my back stitch at the bottom point.  When you reach the pin count the number of back stitches and make certain you stitch the same number as you continue from the top (where the pin is) to the bottom point.

Add 2 closed Fly Stitch (page 91) with long legs between the yellow petals using #5 Pearl Cotton and secure the "legs" with a few Couching Stitches (page 66).  "Closed" Fly Stitch begins with a Straight Stitch which will be in the center of the "V".   French Knots (page 94) or Colonial Knots (page 63) with Silken Pearl #5 are placed at the top.

Green Leaves:
Create a vein in the center of each leaf with Fly Stitch (page 91) using #5 Pearl Cotton, and with the same thread, outline each leaf with Back Stitch (page 10).

Tip:  I have found that Back Stitch looks better if you make the stitches a little larger and as with all the stitches, don't pull them too tight.  




  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Solstice Dream Stitch Along - Block 2

Petal Show - Block 2

I hope you are enjoying the Stitch Along so far and are excited about the Petal Show block.  Before we get started, I have some exciting news! My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe in Midway, Utah is busy dying wool and gathering threads to make kits for Solstice Dream. You will have the option to purchase an entire kit or begin a Block of the Month program.
Contact Jennifer or Teresa by phone at 435-654-2844 or email midway@mygirlfriendsquiltshoppe.com for details.

For this block I have included links for tutorial videos on the Cast-on Stitch and Feather Stitch done by Mary Corbet on her Needle n Thread website.  Mary provides excellent instruction and I encourage you to subscribe to her daily email newsletter on the left sidebar of her website.  My husband recorded a video of me stitching a bee which isn't near as good as Mary's but nevertheless, you will learn how to stitch all the bees on Solstice Dream.


Flower Center
Now that the applique is finished, use a size 8 pearl cotton in a #1 Milliner needle to make the Cast-On Stitches (pg. 39) in the flower center.  Begin the stitches about 1/4" from the outside of the circle to create the first ring.  For the next ring, move towards the center of the circle about 1/4" and continue until the center is filled. Click Here for video.

Thread the #1 Milliner needle with a contrasting color of size 8 pearl cotton to add Bullion Knots (pg. 18) to outline the flower center.

Tip: I like to leave a small space between each Bullion Knot.  This space allows each stitch to "show".  Otherwise the stitches blend together. 

Petals
Thread a #24 Chenille needle with size 8 Pearl Cotton and starting at the top of a petal stitch Feather Stitch towards the flower center.
I have trouble following the instructions in our embroidery book for this stitch and recommend that you follow Mary Corbet's video tutorial for Feather Stitch by clicking here.

When the Feather Stitch is complete add a Detached Chain Stitch (page 46), commonly called Lazy Daisy, at the end of each Feather Stitch.

Tip:   Practice the Feather Stitch on a scrap of wool to get the size just right for the petals.  Don't pull the Detached Chain too tight to keep the roundness of the stitch.

Thread the #24 Chenille needle with the same color pearl cotton used for the flower center and outline the inner petals with Basque Stitch (page 15).  This stitch is one of my favorites and just takes a little practice to gauge the size of the loop and the distance between stitches.  Again, don't pull the stitch too tight to keep the roundness of the loop.

Back Stitch (page 10) with Sea Grass to outline the outer petals.

Stem & Leaves
Pearl Cotton size 5 in a #24 Chenille needle is used for all of the embroidery on the stem and leaves.

Begin with Ladder Stitch (page 42) from top to bottom of the stem.

Stem Stitch (page 146) a vein in the center of each leaf and outline the leaf with Back Stitch (page 10).

Bees
I love adding bees to my stitching along with all the other little critters hiding in Solstice Dream.  Thread two #1 Milliner needles with a gold/yellow Dazzle in one and brown/black Dazzle in the other, a scrap of wool and watch this video of how to stitch the bees.





Saturday, March 11, 2017

Solstice Dream Stitch Along - News Flash

Forgot to mention that I've created a new Facebook group for our Stitch Along.  Join now to share photos of your progress:
 

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