Monday, April 15, 2013

Little Blocks Embellishment

 Last week I posted photos of the blocks designed and stitched for my new bucket.  Thank you to everyone who requested a copy of the patterns and if you would like them, just send me an email at and I will send them out - free.

I thought it would be fun to share how I embellished each block and which threads I used.  Let's start with the dragonfly block as everyone seems to love this one and it was sooooo easy.

The background is a Japanese cotton fabric but any fabric, cotton or wool, will do just fine. Hand-dyed wool was used for the leaf and flower. 

The leaf and flower are traced onto the dull side of freezer paper then cut out exactly on the drawn line.  Iron the freezer paper templates onto the wool and cut out very close to the edge of the paper.  Peel the paper off and keep it as the templates are reusable.  A few clover applique pins will hold the wool in place while stitching - no fusible is used - and applique in place with Aurifil wool thread  in a #24 Chenille needle, using a small whip stitch. 

Two of my favorite thread colors were used for embellishment - Valdani size 8 pearl cotton in color M26 for the leaf.  The Thread Gatherer dyed a special color of Silken Pearl for me, Berry Spritz in size 5 for the detail on the flower.  You will notice I used both of these threads on 3 of the blocks.  The flower center is Valdani Size 8 cotton pearl color 12.

Palestrina Stitch outlines the leaf and Back Stitch for the veins of the leaf.
Colonial Knots (or French Knots) are stitched in the flower center.
Pistil Stitch in Silken Pearl radiates out from the flower center.

Those are easy stitches with dramatic results.  Now, the dragonfly is just as easy!
Make freezer paper templates of the wings and iron onto ribbon.  I used an inexpensive synthetic ribbon that was rather sheer and I liked the color.  My ribbon didn't fray but if your's does, use a very thin line of Fray Check on the edge.

Pin the wings in place and stitch with a tiny Buttonhole (Blanket) Stitch using a very fine metallic thread.  I purchased the thread at the craft store (Joann) and it was very inexpensive, kind of a silvery metallic color.  Next, Feather Stitch with the same metallic thread on the wing.

I also purchased inexpensive beads at the same craft store.  1 round black bead for the head, 2 dark silvery/black ovals for the body and an assortment pack of the blue bugle and seed beads used for the tail.  Of course, I couldn't buy just 1 round head and 2 oval body beads as they were on a string.  But, they were inexpensive, perfect for a dragonfly, and sure to be used in the future.  The beads were just stitched in place over the wings using cotton thread and a straw needle.

The Valdani pearl cotton, Thread Gatherer Silken Pearl, and the Right Handed (and Left Handed) Embroiderer's Companion are available in my Etsy Shop

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