Thursday, September 14, 2017

Solstice Dream Block 11 - Sneaky Spider

I've heard it before..... you don't like spiders.  I kind of like them, especially on stitching and this sneaky spider makes me smile.  Maybe it's my fascination with the amazing webs they weave.  If you don't like them, just add some bees instead.

Before we get started, don't you just love the quilting on this project?  Cindy Paulson at Quilted Connection is a true artist, bringing each one of my quilts to life.  As you get close to finishing Solstice Dream, I encourage you to think about the quilting and contact Cindy to be added to her calendar.  

Flower Petals:
Three of the petals have an inner petal of cotton that has been appliqued in place, with another petal that is really a show-stopper.  Let's begin with the "different" petal.

Iron the freezer paper template for inner petal #3 in place marking the center of the outside rounded edge.  Using a #24 Chenille needle and Silken Pearl #5, Back Stitch (page 10) around the freezer paper template from the point to the center mark.  Before proceeding, count how many stitches you made.  Proceed with Back Stitches to the point taking the same number of stitches.  This is important to keep the weaving in the next step even.

Remove the freezer paper template and thread a #1 Milliner needle with the same Silken Pearl #5 and weave Double Pekinese (page 14)  through the back stitches.

Tip:  Use the "eye" end of the needle for the weaving to avoid catching the underlying fabric or piercing the back stitch threads.

Outline all 4 inner petals with Bullion Knots (page 18) using a #1 Milliner needle and Silken Pearl #5.

Outline the outer petals with Back Stitch (page 10) using a #1 Milliner and Sea Grass. 

Yellow Flower Center:
Use a #1 Milliner needle and Silken Pearl #5 to make Bullion Knots (page 18) of varying lengths across the bottom of the flower center.

Randomly stitch French Knots (page 94) with 2 wraps, using a #24 Chenille Needle and Dazzle thread along the top. 

Stem and Curvy Branches:
By now you know I just "eyeballed" the curvy branches, but if you feel more comfortable with a line, just draw them on with some type of marking pencil.

Thread a large-eyed needle similar to a #18 Chenille with Pearl Cotton #3, bringing the ends together to make a double thread.  Pull the needle up from the back side and hold the threads along your drawn line (or eyeballed line) as you Couch (page 66) in place with Pearl Cotton #8 in a #24 Chenille needle.  To finish, take all the threads to the back and secure with a knot.

Sneaky Spider:
I appliqued a 1/4" wool circle in place for the spider's body, and then covered it with Satin Stitch (page 132) using a #24 Chenille needle and Dazzle thread.  The wool circle gave me a guide for my Satin Stitches and more texture than stitching directly onto the background block.  The legs (remember, there are 8), are small Bullion Knots (page 18) with the same Dazzle thread in a #1 Milliner needle.  I used 5 wraps on the Bullion Knots.  I added 2 eyes using a yellow Dazzle in a #24 Chenille needle to make French Knots (page 94) with just 1 wrap.

This Sneaky Spider is hanging by a Dazzle thread that is Couched in place.  Both the long stitch and couching stitches are the same Dazzle thread.


Block 10 - Big Bloom

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.

This block is going to be so easy for you!  Let's get started with a new stitch, Pekinese.  We used the Double Pekinese for the flower petals on Block 3 and this is a more simple variation.

Flower - light purple:
The Pekinese Stitch (page 13) is a 2-step stitch beginning with a Back Stitch (page 10).  Thread a #24 Chenille needle with Dazzle thread to Back Stitch an outline along the top of the flower.

Tip: Don't make the back stitches too small.  Making them just a bit larger will make the next step easier. 

 Thread a #1 Milliner needle with Silken Pearl #5 and weave through the back stitches to complete the Pekinese Stitch.

Finish off the light purple with French Knots (page 94) scattered along the top.  Use a #24 needle threaded with Dazzle and just 2 wraps.

Flower - bright pink:
Thread a #1 Milliner needle with Silken Pearl #5 and outline the bright pink center with a row of Bullion Knots (page 18)

Flower center - dark purple:
Begin near the top edge of the dark purple center and work Cast-On Stitch (page 39) with a #1 Milliner needle and Silken Pearl #5.  About 1/4" below this row continue with another row.  Continue stitching 2 more rows of the Cast-on stitches about 1/4" apart.

Large Petals:
Inner Petal
Thread a #24 Chenille needle with Silken Pearl #5 and outline the inner petal with Crested Chain Stitch (page 58).  

 Tip:  There are multiple steps to the Crested Chain 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. 

Outer Petal
With a #1 Milliner needle and Silken Pearl #5, outline the petal with Palestrina Stitch (page 117).

Create the vein in the center of the leaf with Fly Stitch (page 91 ) using Pearl Cotton size #5 in a #24 Chenille needle.  Using the same needle and thread, outline the leaves with Back Stitch (page 10).

The bees are stitched as explained in previous blocks.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Block 6 - Thorn Birds & Bees, part 2

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.

This block is the focal point of Solstice Dream containing so many elements of a garden right down to the fuzzy bees.  Let's not wait any longer to finish this block.

Bee Skep:

 It's easy to see in the above photo that I didn't mark the stitching lines on the skep.  If you want your lines perfectly straight start by drawing a line 1/2" from the bottom of the skep, and 4 more lines 1/2" apart.  A chalk pencil works well for this.

Thread a #1 Milliner with size 3 Pearl Cotton and stitch the 5 rows in Palestrina Stitch (page 117).  Using the same needle and thread, outline the bee skep with Back Stitch (page 10).

Fuzzy Bees
Whenever someone sees my Solstice Dream for the first time, they love the fuzzy bees and reach out to touch them.  These 4 bees are a real eye-catcher on this project.  Have you been worried about stitching the bees?  Don't be concerned, they are easier than you may think.
This bee looks quite naked withought his "fuzz", doesn't she?  With a #24 Chenille needle and Dazzle thread cover the head with Satin Stitch (page 132) and add 2 straight stitches for the antenna.

With a #24 Chenille needle and  Sheep's Silk thread, cover the bee body with Turkey Work (page 155) which is just a loop and straight stitch. You can also watch this helpful video.

Cover the bee body with loops.
 Cut the loops.
 Fuzz it up.
 Trim the fuzz to give a rounded shape.
Tip:  I used the point of my needle to fuzz up the threads by running it through the cut threads.  A bunka brush is made specifically for this but I find the needle or a small eyebrow brush works just as well.
Bunka Brush

Thread a #24 Chenille needle with Dazzle and add 2 Lazy Daisy (page 47) stitches to each side of the body for wings.

Using a #24 Chenille needle and silken pearl #5, Fly Stitch (page 91) around the inner oval.  Inside each Fly Stitch, add a Lazy Daisy using the #24 Chenille needle and size 8 Pearl Cotton.

There you go! You have just completed the largest block on Solstice Dream.

Solstice Dream Stitch Along Class
 Join me for a fun day at My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe in Midway, UT on September 29, 2017.  I will be teaching stitches used to embellish Solstice Dream.  Bring your appliqued blocks and questions.  For price, time, and to register contact:

Jennifer or Teresa
My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe

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