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.

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