Before we begin with the borders, let's talk a bit about stitching the blocks together. I stitched the blocks together by machine using a 1/4" seam allowance. It's important to pin the blocks together - say 5 or 6 pins on a 6 1/2" side- before stitching to avoid having the wool stretch as you stitch.
Also, make certain that you don't catch any embellishment stitches as you sew the blocks together.
I used steam in my iron to press the seams open and suggest using a Strip Stick under the seam allowance as you press. This handy tool helps you to press the open seam flat without flattening the embellishment stitches.
Option 1: Cut the strips to size then applique and embellish as much as possible before sewing the strip to the block section.
Advantage to Option 1 is that a strip is easier to handle for applique and embellishment than the entire quilt.
Disadvantage to Option 1 is that you must be careful to pin the pieces in place so they line up when the strips are stitched to the block section.
Option 2: Add the border strips to the block section before adding the applique and embellishment.
Advantage to Option 2 is that it is easy to match up the vines and leaves as they turn around each corner.
Disadvantage to Option 2 is that you must be very careful to avoid crushing the embellishment on the blocks as you work on the borders.
I have made 3 Solstice Dream quilts this year and tried both options. When the advantages/disadvantages of each option are considered, decide which method will be easier for you.
Beak: Using Silken Pearl #5 in a #1 Milliner needle, stitch a Woven Picot (page 158) over the beak. Take a small stitch with the same thread at the point of the beak to secure it in place.
Using Sea Grass in a #1 Milliner needle, Back Stitch (page 10) a line across the wing. Add 3 Fly Stitches (page 91) on each side of the back-stitched line. Thread Dazzle into a #24 Chenille needle and whip the back-stitched line and add a Lasy Daisy/Detached Chain (page 46) in each Fly Stitch.
Outline the wing with Sea Grass in a #1 Milliner. I like to use the Milliner needle with Sea Grass as it can act as a laying tool to keep the Sea Grass from twisting as you stitch.
Tip: To keep the Sea Grass flat it may be ironed or run through a thread conditioner such as Thread Heaven before stitching.
Using Shimmer Floss in a #24 Chenille needle, Fly Stitch (page 91) along the bird's belly.
Outline the bird (except wing and beak) with Pekinese Stitch (page 13) using Silken Pearl #5 for the back stitches and Dazzle for the weaving.
Eye: My eye beads have just 1 hole in the yellow center. I use a regular cotton thread to come up from the back, through the eye bead, then through a small black seed bead and back through the eye bead to the back - repeating several times to make certain it is secured.
Using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle outline the outer and inner nest with Chain Stitch (page 43), adding a row of Chain Stitch below the inner nest (see above photo).
Using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle outline the egg with Coral Knot Stitch (page 64).
With the same thread in a #1 Milliner needle, stitch a Bullion Knot (page 18) rose inside the egg.
Outline all of the berries with Bullion Knots (page 18) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #1 Milliner Needle.
With #5 Pearl Cotton in a #24 Chenille needle, Fly Stitch (page 91) the center of each leaf and outline with Back Stitch (page 10) (refer to photo of nest above).
Using #5 Pearl Cotton and #24 Chenille needle, add Back Stitches (page 10) about 1/4" from the edge of the large leaves. Fly Stitch ( page 91) in the center of each large leaf with the same thread.
I hope you have enjoyed the photographs of the amazing machine quilting on my blocks. The extremely talented Cindy Paulson of Quilted Connection quilted Solstice Dream for me, adding her creative touch to make my quilt awesome. I asked Cindy to quilt the following words in the border:
Grow wings - left border
Take Flight - bottom border
Soar - right border
A variety of threads and stitches were used to embellish Solstice Dream in an effort to add dimension to each block I also added a copper tag to the bee skep in Block 6 which is now available in my Etsy Shop.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed making the Solstice Dream. I loved making every stitch - and yes, the third was as enjoyable as the first.