Saturday, March 11, 2017

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. 


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