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.

  •  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.


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 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. 

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).

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:

Stitch Along - Solstice Dream

Welcome to my Stitch Along for Solstice Dream, a new pattern available for immediate download in my Kerry Stitch Designs Etsy Shop.

This stitch along will focus on the embroidery for each block, with some photos, maybe a video, and a few tips you won't find in a book.  Thread types, colors, needle types and detailed embellishment instructions are listed for each block in the Solstice Dream pattern. 

Solstice Dream is wool applique on a wool background, using 100% hand-dyed felted wool (not wool felt).  I never use any fusible products as it flattens the wool and makes embellishment more difficult.  I just pin the applique piece in place and use a small whip stitch to applique the wool with a matching wool thread.  There are also a few bits of cotton applique using the needle-turn method. I applique all of the wool and cotton motifs in place, layering for added texture and then add the embellishment.

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.

Block 1 - Butterfly

Let's begin with the Butterfly's head which is a whipped spider web using a size 8 pearl cotton in a variegated color (page 144).  I seldom draw any lines for my embroidery, and never use a hoop.  However, I confess to drawing a circle on the head to help me get it placed just right.  Tip:  use the eye-end of the needle for the whipping so the fabric isn't caught. 

I covered the body with Chain Stitch (page 43) and you can click "here"  to watch a short YouTube video on how it's done. Yes, those are my hands in the video with my husband using my cell phone to record over my shoulder. 

The antennae are long Drizzle Stitches (page 81) that are held in place with a few small stitches in the same thread.  I suggest stitching these last so they don't get in your way while you embroider the remaining stitches.


The above photo shows the chain stitching complete and 2 long Drizzle Stitches (pg. 81) for the antenna using a #1 Extra-long Darner.  The drizzle stitch on the right has been held in place with several small stitches using the same thread.

Thread up a #24 Chenille needle with Silken Pearl #5 and Back-Stitch (pg. 10) 3 lines from the body to the outer edge of the orange "inner" wings.  Change to a #1 Milliner needle and make Drizzle stitches with the same thread along the edge of the inner wing (see photo).

Using Silken Pearl #5 come up in the center of a blue circle and take a straight stitch to the outside edge of the circle.  Repeat to make 8 spokes.  To keep the spokes evenly placed stitch each spoke opposite the one across from it, beginning in the center of the blue circle each time. 

Add a French Knot (pg. 94) or Colonial Knot (pg. 63) outside the circle where each straight stitch ended and in the center of the blue circle.

To complete the embroidery for this block I chose to outline the butterfly with a simple Back Stitch using Sea Grass.  Tip:  Sea Grass can be kind of "wrinkly" and I like it to lay flat in a Back Stitch.  There are 2 options to flatten it out - (1) Iron it!  Yes, it's 100% cotton so just run the iron across it and it's ok to use steam.  (2) If you're sitting in the chair and don't want to get up and then wait for the iron to get hot just run it through Thread Heaven, keeping it flat as you pull it.  You guessed it - I discovered using Thread Heaven when I was too lazy to get out of the chair.  Now you have flat Sea Grass. Thread Heaven is available in most quilt shops.

 Another Sea Grass Tip:  Take a longer stitch that you would with a different thread and use a #1 Milliner needle.  Just in case the Sea Grass twists as you pull it through the fabric the Milliner can be used as a laying tool to smooth it out.

Final Block 1 Tip:  Enjoy this process and don't worry if every stitch isn't perfect.  If you want perfect buy an embroidery machine.  

The next Solstice Dream Stitch Along will be posted "soon".  I hope to keep you going on this project without delay.

Please feel free to share photos of your progress on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Solstice Dream

 Although I haven't posted in a while it's not because I wasn't stitching.  Solstice Dream is a wall hanging I designed and completed over the past few months.  

Each block is appliqued onto a wool background and the applique motifs are primarily wool with a bit of cotton just to make it interesting.  Speaking of interesting - embroidery embellishes the applique and there are lots of bees along with a spider, caterpillar, lady bugs, frog, dragon fly, birds and flowers.

 My friend, Cindy Paulsen of Quilted Connection, added amazing machine quilting, and quilted the words "Grow Wings", "Take Flight", "Soar", in the borders.

Patterns for Solstice Dream are available in my Etsy Shop.
Detailed instructions for wool colors, embroidery threads, and embellishment stitches are included for each block along with the applique template patterns.  The pattern is for instant download making it easy to print off the information for one block at a time - great for a take-along project. 

Are you thinking that you would love to make it but it just looks too complicated?  Not to worry - the stitches really aren't that difficult and I have an idea to help you:
Step 1:  Buy the pattern and get your wool and threads ready.
Step 2:  Beginning mid-March on this blog I will walk you through each block.

Tuesday I will be leaving for Quilt Con in Savannah, Georgia, USA.  I have no idea what to expect but a good time.  If you are there, get in touch so we can meet in person.

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