Saturday, March 25, 2017

Solstice Dream Stitch Along - Block 2

Petal Show - Block 2

I hope you are enjoying the Stitch Along so far and are excited about the Petal Show block.  Before we get started, I have some exciting news! My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe in Midway, Utah is busy dying wool and gathering threads to make kits for Solstice Dream. You will have the option to purchase an entire kit or begin a Block of the Month program.
Contact Jennifer or Teresa by phone at 435-654-2844 or email for details.

For this block I have included links for tutorial videos on the Cast-on Stitch and Feather Stitch done by Mary Corbet on her Needle n Thread website.  Mary provides excellent instruction and I encourage you to subscribe to her daily email newsletter on the left sidebar of her website.  My husband recorded a video of me stitching a bee which isn't near as good as Mary's but nevertheless, you will learn how to stitch all the bees on Solstice Dream.

Flower Center
Now that the applique is finished, use a size 8 pearl cotton in a #1 Milliner needle to make the Cast-On Stitches (pg. 39) in the flower center.  Begin the stitches about 1/4" from the outside of the circle to create the first ring.  For the next ring, move towards the center of the circle about 1/4" and continue until the center is filled. Click Here for video.

Thread the #1 Milliner needle with a contrasting color of size 8 pearl cotton to add Bullion Knots (pg. 18) to outline the flower center.

Tip: I like to leave a small space between each Bullion Knot.  This space allows each stitch to "show".  Otherwise the stitches blend together. 

Thread a #24 Chenille needle with size 8 Pearl Cotton and starting at the top of a petal stitch Feather Stitch towards the flower center.
I have trouble following the instructions in our embroidery book for this stitch and recommend that you follow Mary Corbet's video tutorial for Feather Stitch by clicking here.

When the Feather Stitch is complete add a Detached Chain Stitch (page 46), commonly called Lazy Daisy, at the end of each Feather Stitch.

Tip:   Practice the Feather Stitch on a scrap of wool to get the size just right for the petals.  Don't pull the Detached Chain too tight to keep the roundness of the stitch.

Thread the #24 Chenille needle with the same color pearl cotton used for the flower center and outline the inner petals with Basque Stitch (page 15).  This stitch is one of my favorites and just takes a little practice to gauge the size of the loop and the distance between stitches.  Again, don't pull the stitch too tight to keep the roundness of the loop.

Back Stitch (page 10) with Sea Grass to outline the outer petals.

Stem & Leaves
Pearl Cotton size 5 in a #24 Chenille needle is used for all of the embroidery on the stem and leaves.

Begin with Ladder Stitch (page 42) from top to bottom of the stem.

Stem Stitch (page 146) a vein in the center of each leaf and outline the leaf with Back Stitch (page 10).

I love adding bees to my stitching along with all the other little critters hiding in Solstice Dream.  Thread two #1 Milliner needles with a gold/yellow Dazzle in one and brown/black Dazzle in the other, a scrap of wool and watch this video of how to stitch the bees.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Solstice Dream Stitch Along - News Flash

Forgot to mention that I've created a new Facebook group for our Stitch Along.  Join now to share photos of your progress:

Stitch Along - Solstice Dream

Welcome to my Stitch Along for Solstice Dream, a new pattern available for immediate download in my Kerry Stitch Designs Etsy Shop.

This stitch along will focus on the embroidery for each block, with some photos, maybe a video, and a few tips you won't find in a book.  Thread types, colors, needle types and detailed embellishment instructions are listed for each block in the Solstice Dream pattern. 

Solstice Dream is wool applique on a wool background, using 100% hand-dyed felted wool (not wool felt).  I never use any fusible products as it flattens the wool and makes embellishment more difficult.  I just pin the applique piece in place and use a small whip stitch to applique the wool with a matching wool thread.  There are also a few bits of cotton applique using the needle-turn method. I applique all of the wool and cotton motifs in place, layering for added texture and then add the embellishment.

The Right-Handed (and left-handed) Embroiderer's Companion is my favorite embroidery stitch resource and is available in my Etsy Shop.  I will reference page numbers from this book as we Stitch Along.

Block 1 - Butterfly

Let's begin with the Butterfly's head which is a whipped spider web using a size 8 pearl cotton in a variegated color (page 144).  I seldom draw any lines for my embroidery, and never use a hoop.  However, I confess to drawing a circle on the head to help me get it placed just right.  Tip:  use the eye-end of the needle for the whipping so the fabric isn't caught. 

I covered the body with Chain Stitch (page 43) and you can click "here"  to watch a short YouTube video on how it's done. Yes, those are my hands in the video with my husband using my cell phone to record over my shoulder. 

The antennae are long Drizzle Stitches (page 81) that are held in place with a few small stitches in the same thread.  I suggest stitching these last so they don't get in your way while you embroider the remaining stitches.


The above photo shows the chain stitching complete and 2 long Drizzle Stitches (pg. 81) for the antenna using a #1 Extra-long Darner.  The drizzle stitch on the right has been held in place with several small stitches using the same thread.

Thread up a #24 Chenille needle with Silken Pearl #5 and Back-Stitch (pg. 10) 3 lines from the body to the outer edge of the orange "inner" wings.  Change to a #1 Milliner needle and make Drizzle stitches with the same thread along the edge of the inner wing (see photo).

Using Silken Pearl #5 come up in the center of a blue circle and take a straight stitch to the outside edge of the circle.  Repeat to make 8 spokes.  To keep the spokes evenly placed stitch each spoke opposite the one across from it, beginning in the center of the blue circle each time. 

Add a French Knot (pg. 94) or Colonial Knot (pg. 63) outside the circle where each straight stitch ended and in the center of the blue circle.

To complete the embroidery for this block I chose to outline the butterfly with a simple Back Stitch using Sea Grass.  Tip:  Sea Grass can be kind of "wrinkly" and I like it to lay flat in a Back Stitch.  There are 2 options to flatten it out - (1) Iron it!  Yes, it's 100% cotton so just run the iron across it and it's ok to use steam.  (2) If you're sitting in the chair and don't want to get up and then wait for the iron to get hot just run it through Thread Heaven, keeping it flat as you pull it.  You guessed it - I discovered using Thread Heaven when I was too lazy to get out of the chair.  Now you have flat Sea Grass. Thread Heaven is available in most quilt shops.

 Another Sea Grass Tip:  Take a longer stitch that you would with a different thread and use a #1 Milliner needle.  Just in case the Sea Grass twists as you pull it through the fabric the Milliner can be used as a laying tool to smooth it out.

Final Block 1 Tip:  Enjoy this process and don't worry if every stitch isn't perfect.  If you want perfect buy an embroidery machine.  

The next Solstice Dream Stitch Along will be posted "soon".  I hope to keep you going on this project without delay.

Please feel free to share photos of your progress on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Solstice Dream

 Although I haven't posted in a while it's not because I wasn't stitching.  Solstice Dream is a wall hanging I designed and completed over the past few months.  

Each block is appliqued onto a wool background and the applique motifs are primarily wool with a bit of cotton just to make it interesting.  Speaking of interesting - embroidery embellishes the applique and there are lots of bees along with a spider, caterpillar, lady bugs, frog, dragon fly, birds and flowers.

 My friend, Cindy Paulsen of Quilted Connection, added amazing machine quilting, and quilted the words "Grow Wings", "Take Flight", "Soar", in the borders.

Patterns for Solstice Dream are available in my Etsy Shop.
Detailed instructions for wool colors, embroidery threads, and embellishment stitches are included for each block along with the applique template patterns.  The pattern is for instant download making it easy to print off the information for one block at a time - great for a take-along project. 

Are you thinking that you would love to make it but it just looks too complicated?  Not to worry - the stitches really aren't that difficult and I have an idea to help you:
Step 1:  Buy the pattern and get your wool and threads ready.
Step 2:  Beginning mid-March on this blog I will walk you through each block.

Tuesday I will be leaving for Quilt Con in Savannah, Georgia, USA.  I have no idea what to expect but a good time.  If you are there, get in touch so we can meet in person.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving - Cooking or Shopping?

This is a short post because I'm cooking and today my "to do list" says make pies and clean the house.

If you get a chance to shop, check out my Etsy shop at for a 15% discount.

Just enter the coupon code smallbusiness15 at checkout.

This offer is effective now to Monday, November 28 and includes everything in the shop including patterns, books, fabric and Yazzii bags.  Buy yourself a gift and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

November Already?

Really, I thought it was just last week that I posted.  What a surprise that a month has gone by.  Thanksgiving is just a few days away and before you know it Christmas will be upon us.  We have had a lovely fall with unseasonably warm weather and then reality arrived a few days ago with cold and snow.  Time for staying indoors stitching (I hope).

Yesterday finished up my series of classes at K&H Quilt Shoppe.  Kay and Heidi have been great to work with at their store and always make me feel welcome.  Our class used my Crazy For Embellishment sampler for inspiration as they learned new stitches.

Flower and leaf by Marla and Lisa.
 I have enjoyed teaching the past few months and am finished up for this year.

What's next?  I'm really excited about a new wool appliqued and embellishment wallhanging that's in the works.  Hopefully I can dye wool for the borders before I start cooking Thanksgiving dishes this week. 

My plan is to have the pattern ready by early January and I will also have a limited number of kits.  

Soon I will be showing you a few "teaser" blocks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Remember me?

I can't believe my last post was over 4 months ago!  The summer months were both busy and at the same time relaxing and I decided to try Facebook and Instagram instead of blogging.  Both social media sites have some good aspects but neither are as personal as blogging.  So here goes - a quick update.

My husband, Dale,  and I spent as much time as possible these last few months at our cabin to escape the heat and a few trips for Dale to teach wood carving.  My "summer box" of projects saw good progress.  All of the blocks for Garden Vale were completed and are now waiting to be sewn together, Bird On A Wire just needs binding, and the pile of wool is becoming a new wallhanging design.

Here's a sneak peek:

 small blocks 6" square
and large blocks 12" square

The background and majority of the applique motifs are hand-dyed wool and are embellished with beautiful threads and easy embroidery stitches.  Hopefully this project will be completed and ready for quilting in a few weeks.  I've been keeping track of the threads and wool used to make a pattern and plan to offer kits. 

The last few weeks have found me trying to learn a new computer and updated software programs.  Let me tell you, it's not as much fun as stitching! 

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