Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Solstice Dream Block 9 - Nest Building

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 pretty little bird just makes me smile, from the frilly tail feathers to the wing detail.  

When the bird body and wings have been appliqued in place, Couch (page 66) a stem for the small leaves using Pearl Cotton size 3.

Bird Body
Begin by threading a #24 Chenille needle with Dazzle thread to stitch 2 slightly curving rows of Fly Stitch (page 91) along the tail section and a short line on the neck.

Tip:  If you don't feel comfortable "eyeballing" the curved tail rows, just draw a line to follow.  I like the Fons & Porter mechanical pencil with a white lead.

Satin Stitch (page 132) the beak with size 8 Pearl Cotton.
Switch to a #1 Milliner needle and the same Dazzle thread to outline the bird's body with Back Stitch (page 10).  Don't stitch the end of the tail.

From the point of the beak to the front edge of the lower wing,  Pekinese Stitch (page 13) in the Back Stitches. 

Tip:  I use the Milliner needle to make the Back Stitches a little bit longer to accommodate the weaving.  When weaving use the "eye" end of the needle to avoid catching thread or fabric.

With the #1 Milliner needle and Dazzle thread, add tail feathers with Drizzle Stitch (page 81) using 12 wraps for each stitch.  I added a Pearl Cotton size 8 in a coordinating color for some of the drizzle stitches just to add some interest.

Thread a #1 Milliner needle with Silken Pearl #5 and make 3 Cast-On Stitches (page 39).  Secure the cast-on stitches in place with a Pistil Stitch (page 94) using Dazzle. 

Tip:  Practice this on a scrap of wool to determine how many times to cast on for the desired size.  I would begin with 10 or maybe 12.
Use 2 wraps for the knot on the Pistil Stitch.

Outline each leaf with small Back Stitch (page 10) using Pearl Cotton size 8 in a #24 Chenille needle.  Use the same needle but a contrasting color of Pearl Cotton size 8 to add 1 Pistil Stitch (page 94) in the center of each leaf.

 Begin the layout by stitching a circular flower at the top of the wing (1/2 flower on the upper wing).  I used Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle and a Lazy Daisy Stitch (page 46).

Tip:  I used 12 Lazy Daisy stitches on the full flower, beginning at 12 o'clock, then 6 o'clock for even spacing.  Continue with 3 o'clock, then 9 o'clock.  Now that you have 4 of the stitches in place continue adding in this manner.

Beginning near the tip of the wing and curving to the flower, make Tete de boeuf Stitches (page 91) using Pearl Cotton #8 in a #24 Chenille needle.  Next, thread the same needle with Silken Pearl 5 and add a small Back Stitch where the tete de boeuf stitches intersect.

With the Silken Pearl add French Knots (page 94) at the end of the tete de boeuf "arms".  Add french knots where needed to fill in the design (see above photos).

Outline the wings with Bullion Knots (page 18) using 8 wraps on a #1 Milliner needle and Silken Pearl size 5.

I used small hand-made beads for all of the birds' eyes and if you have purchased the Block of the Month kits from Midway wool, these eye beads are included in your kits.  I stitched them on with regular cotton thread in a Short Darner #11 (or #11 straw) needle as follows:
  1. Double the thread and knot at the end.
  2. Bring needle up from wrong side of wool block going through the hole in the center of the eye bead.
  3. Take needle through the seed bead then back down through the eye bead.
  4. Repeat once or twice and knot thread on the wrong side of wool block.
If you don't have the eye beads 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.
With a #24 Chenille needle and Dazzle thread, make 3 Pistil Stitches (page 94)to accent the eye.

For those of you participating in Midway Wool's block of the month, you will receive Block 6 - Thorn Birds & Bees in August.  I hope that many of you will finish your applique on this block in time to attend my class at Midway Wool on September 29.  The class will focus on embellishment for Block 6 and any other stitches you would like some help with.

For more information on the class contact Midway Wool here.


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