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 months ago and forgot to post it.  Well, here goes.....Block 7.

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.  

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