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. 

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.

  •  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.


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