Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Block 6 - Thorn Birds & Bees, part 1

When I began stitching Solstice Dream this is the block I started with.  If you are doing the blocks in order, the only new stitches are the Feathered Chain and Turkey Work.  Let's get started!

The stitch along 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.

Branches:
Applique the ric-rac in place with a matching cotton thread.  Using Pearl Cotton #8 in a #24 Chenille needle, make a small Pistil Stitch (page 94) on each peak of the ric-rac.


Leaves:   
With Pearl Cotton #5 in a #24 Chenille needle stitch a Feathered Chain (watch my video here) down each large leaf beginning at the point and continuing to the rounded bottom.  

Don't pull the chains too tight.  We want them rounded so we can add a Bullion Knot (page 18) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #1 Milliner needle into the center of each chain.
For the small leaves use Pearl Cotton #5 in a #24 Chenille needle to Feather Stitch down the center of the leaf.  Add French Knots (page 94) inside each feather stitch with Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle.

Outline all leaves using Pearl Cotton #5 in a #1 Milliner needle with Bullion Knots (page 18).  


Purple Leaves:
Couch (page 66) a length of Pearl Cotton #3 for the stems using either a #1 Milliner or #18 Chenille needle.  Outline each leaf with Back Stitch (page 10) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle.  With the same thread and needle add a Pistil Stitch (page 94) in the center of each leaf and add 2 small Pistil Stitches to each side of it plus a French Knot (page 94) at the tip of the leaf.

Center Flower:
Begin by using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle to Back Stitch (page 10) around the small petals.  Using the same thread and needle, outline the large petals with Crested Chain Stitch (page 58).  The Needle 'n Thread video is easier to follow on the  Crested Chain Stitch

Tip:  There are multiple steps to this stitch.  Practice on a wool scrap with the Silken Pearl #5 to learn the size of the chain and the small stitch for the knot.  I made small stitches and yes, it took some practicing to get it just right.  The crested chain is stitched on the flower, not the background.

Highlight the large petals with a line of Sea Grass using a #1 Milliner needle.  If you don't feel comfortable "eyeballing" this line as you stitch, draw a line to follow.  

Tip:  Run a length of Sea Grass through Thread Heaven a few times or iron it to keep it flat as you stitch. I also like to make the Sea Grass back stitch just a little bit longer.

Using the same Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle, Fly Stitch (page 91) on each flower sepal and down the entire length of the stem.

Birds:

I used a fun thread to embellish the birds called Shimmer Floss in a #24 Chenille needle.  Fly Stitch (page 91) two rows along the body and then Back Stitch (page 10) two lines on the tail.

Outline the bird with Back Stitch (page 10) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 chenille needle.

Add a bead for the eye or here's an easy way to stitch a similar looking eye:
  1.  Thread a #1 Milliner needle with Dazzle thread and make a Bullion Loop (page 20) with 25 wraps. 
  2. Add a few couching stitches with the same thread to hold the loop in place.
  3. Inside the loop add a French Knot (page 94) with a darker color of Dazzle.
Optional:
I've been stitching a second Solstice Dream for my good friend, Julie.  She loves to applique but isn't too crazy for embellishment.  I missed stitching on my Solstice Dream so much I asked her if I could do the embroidery for her to which she immediately said "yes".
 
When I finished this block for Julie I added Satin Stitch (page 132) to the beaks using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 chenille needle.

I'm going to take a quick break while you catch up.  I promise to get back soon to finish up with the fun fuzzy bees.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Solstice Dream Block 9 - Nest Building


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 pretty little bird just makes me smile, from the frilly tail feathers to the wing detail.  

When the bird body and wings have been appliqued in place, Couch (page 66) a stem for the small leaves using Pearl Cotton size 3.

Bird Body
Begin by threading a #24 Chenille needle with Dazzle thread to stitch 2 slightly curving rows of Fly Stitch (page 91) along the tail section and a short line on the neck.

Tip:  If you don't feel comfortable "eyeballing" the curved tail rows, just draw a line to follow.  I like the Fons & Porter mechanical pencil with a white lead.

Satin Stitch (page 132) the beak with size 8 Pearl Cotton.
 
Switch to a #1 Milliner needle and the same Dazzle thread to outline the bird's body with Back Stitch (page 10).  Don't stitch the end of the tail.

From the point of the beak to the front edge of the lower wing,  Pekinese Stitch (page 13) in the Back Stitches. 

Tip:  I use the Milliner needle to make the Back Stitches a little bit longer to accommodate the weaving.  When weaving use the "eye" end of the needle to avoid catching thread or fabric.

With the #1 Milliner needle and Dazzle thread, add tail feathers with Drizzle Stitch (page 81) using 12 wraps for each stitch.  I added a Pearl Cotton size 8 in a coordinating color for some of the drizzle stitches just to add some interest.

Head:
Thread a #1 Milliner needle with Silken Pearl #5 and make 3 Cast-On Stitches (page 39).  Secure the cast-on stitches in place with a Pistil Stitch (page 94) using Dazzle. 

Tip:  Practice this on a scrap of wool to determine how many times to cast on for the desired size.  I would begin with 10 or maybe 12.
Use 2 wraps for the knot on the Pistil Stitch.

Leaves:
Outline each leaf with small Back Stitch (page 10) using Pearl Cotton size 8 in a #24 Chenille needle.  Use the same needle but a contrasting color of Pearl Cotton size 8 to add 1 Pistil Stitch (page 94) in the center of each leaf.




Wings:
 Begin the layout by stitching a circular flower at the top of the wing (1/2 flower on the upper wing).  I used Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle and a Lazy Daisy Stitch (page 46).

Tip:  I used 12 Lazy Daisy stitches on the full flower, beginning at 12 o'clock, then 6 o'clock for even spacing.  Continue with 3 o'clock, then 9 o'clock.  Now that you have 4 of the stitches in place continue adding in this manner.

Beginning near the tip of the wing and curving to the flower, make Tete de boeuf Stitches (page 91) using Pearl Cotton #8 in a #24 Chenille needle.  Next, thread the same needle with Silken Pearl 5 and add a small Back Stitch where the tete de boeuf stitches intersect.

With the Silken Pearl add French Knots (page 94) at the end of the tete de boeuf "arms".  Add french knots where needed to fill in the design (see above photos).

Outline the wings with Bullion Knots (page 18) using 8 wraps on a #1 Milliner needle and Silken Pearl size 5.

Eyes:
I used small hand-made beads for all of the birds' eyes and if you have purchased the Block of the Month kits from Midway wool, these eye beads are included in your kits.  I stitched them on with regular cotton thread in a Short Darner #11 (or #11 straw) needle as follows:
  1. Double the thread and knot at the end.
  2. Bring needle up from wrong side of wool block going through the hole in the center of the eye bead.
  3. Take needle through the seed bead then back down through the eye bead.
  4. Repeat once or twice and knot thread on the wrong side of wool block.
If you don't have the eye beads here's an easy way to stitch a similar looking eye:
  1.  Thread a #1 Milliner needle with Dazzle thread and make a Bullion Loop (page 20) with 25 wraps. 
  2. Add a few couching stitches with the same thread to hold the loop in place.
  3. Inside the loop add a French Knot (page 94) with a darker color of Dazzle.
With a #24 Chenille needle and Dazzle thread, make 3 Pistil Stitches (page 94)to accent the eye.

For those of you participating in Midway Wool's block of the month, you will receive Block 6 - Thorn Birds & Bees in August.  I hope that many of you will finish your applique on this block in time to attend my class at Midway Wool on September 29.  The class will focus on embellishment for Block 6 and any other stitches you would like some help with.

For more information on the class contact Midway Wool here.









 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Big Bloom Satchel



Whether you have already started making the Solstice Dream wall hanging or still thinking about it, this new satchel is just what you need to hold a few blocks with patterns, threads and notions.


The pattern is made to cover a newly designed Yazzii bag that is 10" wide x 12" long x 3" deep.  As you can see in the above photo it zips open completely to prevent that "digging around" looking for the right thread and has a handy divider.

 
The 4 removable pockets have a variety of dividers that fit spools, scissors, thimbles, needles, etc. and the see-through pockets keep the guess work out of where you put that needle threader.

I have made a limited number of kits that include the pattern, hand-dyed wool, cotton, batting...... well, basically everything you need to make this handy project bag.

Kits will begin shipping on July 10, 2017 and can be found in my Etsy shop HERE 

 

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:
 

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.

Popular Posts