Monday, January 7, 2019

Nocturne - A Magical Nighttime Garden


Nocturne is my new wall hanging design featuring felted wool applique with embroidery embellishment.  I had a lot of fun designing and stitching this project and hope you plan to join me either by registering for a block-of-the-month (bom) program or using your own stash and my pattern.

Midway Wool is offering a bom for Nocturne with kits beginning in February.  If you are interested in just the pattern, it can be purchased through Midway Wool or my Etsy Shop.  

There are many good embroidery stitch books available and my favorite is "The Right Handed Embroiderer's Companion", by Yvette Stanton which is also available in a Left-Handed version, available in my Etsy Shop.

Wool:
I used 100% hand-dyed felted wool (not felt) for the background and applique designs.  A complete list of colors and sizes is included in the pattern.

Threads:
The embroidery is the "whipped cream and cherry on top" finish to Nocturne so I selected only the finest silk, cotton, wool and metallic fibers.  The pattern includes a listing of the threads and colors used for each block.

I will post tips for making each block "my way".  Now I know that some of you may have used different methods in the past.  Of course you can do it "your way" but your results may be a little bit different than mine.  

Are you ready?  Let's get started.  Read the pattern for block 1.

First up - I said it's OK to do it "your way" but I really want you to try "my way" and PLEASE don't use any fusible product on the back of your block or the applique designs.  Any glue or fusible interfacing will make it more difficult to stitch through and you will lose the wonderful texture of the layered wool.


The pattern includes full-sized drawings of the applique designs.  Trace the applique designs onto the matte side of freezer paper with a pencil, cut out each design on the drawn line and iron the freezer paper to the appropriate colored wool.  Cut out each piece right along the edge of the paper.  The freezer paper will peel right off without leaving any residue on the wool.

Notice in the above photo that I have included the beak and the portion of the wing that extends above the bird body.  This gives a foundation for adding the stitching on the beak and also gives a reference point for wing placement.  The wing will be placed right on top of the bird and appliqued in place giving some nice dimension.

Here you can see that I've drawn the circle berries using a circle drawing template and pen - so much easier than drawing on freezer paper then cutting out.  My templates for the Large Bell Flowers include the entire flower from this color.  

Now I have cut away the top and bottom portions from the freezer paper template and ironed only the center strip to this color.

I've layered the purple wool on top of the flower shape.  By using this method the strip fits exactly and I don't have to fiddle matching seams.  Again, I have some good dimension in the flower.


Cut the background block the size shown in the pattern, 11 1/2" x 15 1/2" for block 1, which includes the seam allowance.  There's no need to "oversize" the block before applique.  Just don't pull your stitches too tight.  If you decide to wait and cut the block down after it's finished, you may find that the ruler smashes down the embroidery.

It's very important to leave enough room to place the tree trunk in Block 11.  I traced my block drawing onto an 11x17" piece of Vellum paper and pinned it along the top of the block (leaving room for the top and bottom seam allowances).  By lifting this (see through) paper slightly, I was able to place each applique piece exactly where it should be.  

Note:  don't cut a template for the tree trunk
from the block drawings.
This is a separate pattern that will be added in Block 11.

All of the pieces have been cut out and pinned in place on the background with small applique pins.  Notice that I have also cut out the top leaf and will save it to applique in place when I work on Block 11.

Applique:
I prefer using a small whip stitch to applique each piece in place with matching thread.  I use a wool/acrylic blend thread in a #24 Chenille needle for this step.  There are several brands available including Aurifil, Wonderfil and Genziana.

You don't have wool thread?  No worries, a cotton thread will work just fine.  DMC embroidery thread comes in every color and is a good alternative.  Just remember, we want to hide the applique stitches and show-off the embroidery stitches.  Make the whip stitches small and don't pull so tight you crimp the edges.

The Nocturne pattern includes detailed instructions for embellishment, including the thread and needle used for each stitch.  In addition to the book referenced above, another excellent resource is Mary Corbet's Needle n Thread for online video instruction.

Please join my "Kerry's Crazy for Embellishment" Facebook Group to ask questions and share your progress.  


Most importantly, relax, have fun, enjoy every stitch of the journey.


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