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).

Leaves:
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.

Ovals
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
435-654-2844

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Block 6 - Thorn Birds & Bees, part 1

When I began stitching Solstice Dream this is the block I started with.  If you are doing the blocks in order, the only new stitches are the Feathered Chain and Turkey Work.  Let's get started!

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.

Branches:
Applique the ric-rac in place with a matching cotton thread.  Using Pearl Cotton #8 in a #24 Chenille needle, make a small Pistil Stitch (page 94) on each peak of the ric-rac.


Leaves:   
With Pearl Cotton #5 in a #24 Chenille needle stitch a Feathered Chain (watch my video here) down each large leaf beginning at the point and continuing to the rounded bottom.  

Don't pull the chains too tight.  We want them rounded so we can add a Bullion Knot (page 18) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #1 Milliner needle into the center of each chain.
For the small leaves use Pearl Cotton #5 in a #24 Chenille needle to Feather Stitch down the center of the leaf.  Add French Knots (page 94) inside each feather stitch with Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle.

Outline all leaves using Pearl Cotton #5 in a #1 Milliner needle with Bullion Knots (page 18).  


Purple Leaves:
Couch (page 66) a length of Pearl Cotton #3 for the stems using either a #1 Milliner or #18 Chenille needle.  Outline each leaf with Back Stitch (page 10) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle.  With the same thread and needle add a Pistil Stitch (page 94) in the center of each leaf and add 2 small Pistil Stitches to each side of it plus a French Knot (page 94) at the tip of the leaf.

Center Flower:
Begin by using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle to Back Stitch (page 10) around the small petals.  Using the same thread and needle, outline the large petals with Crested Chain Stitch (page 58).  The Needle 'n Thread video is easier to follow on the  Crested Chain Stitch

Tip:  There are multiple steps to this 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.  The crested chain is stitched on the flower, not the background.

Highlight the large petals with a line of Sea Grass using a #1 Milliner needle.  If you don't feel comfortable "eyeballing" this line as you stitch, draw a line to follow.  

Tip:  Run a length of Sea Grass through Thread Heaven a few times or iron it to keep it flat as you stitch. I also like to make the Sea Grass back stitch just a little bit longer.

Using the same Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle, Fly Stitch (page 91) on each flower sepal and down the entire length of the stem.

Birds:

I used a fun thread to embellish the birds called Shimmer Floss in a #24 Chenille needle.  Fly Stitch (page 91) two rows along the body and then Back Stitch (page 10) two lines on the tail.

Outline the bird with Back Stitch (page 10) using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 chenille needle.

Add a bead for the eye or 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.
Optional:
I've been stitching a second Solstice Dream for my good friend, Julie.  She loves to applique but isn't too crazy for embellishment.  I missed stitching on my Solstice Dream so much I asked her if I could do the embroidery for her to which she immediately said "yes".
 
When I finished this block for Julie I added Satin Stitch (page 132) to the beaks using Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 chenille needle.

I'm going to take a quick break while you catch up.  I promise to get back soon to finish up with the fun fuzzy bees.

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.

Head:
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.

Leaves:
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.




Wings:
 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.

Eyes:
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.









 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Big Bloom Satchel



Whether you have already started making the Solstice Dream wall hanging or still thinking about it, this new satchel is just what you need to hold a few blocks with patterns, threads and notions.


The pattern is made to cover a newly designed Yazzii bag that is 10" wide x 12" long x 3" deep.  As you can see in the above photo it zips open completely to prevent that "digging around" looking for the right thread and has a handy divider.

 
The 4 removable pockets have a variety of dividers that fit spools, scissors, thimbles, needles, etc. and the see-through pockets keep the guess work out of where you put that needle threader.

I have made a limited number of kits that include the pattern, hand-dyed wool, cotton, batting...... well, basically everything you need to make this handy project bag.

Kits will begin shipping on July 10, 2017 and can be found in my Etsy shop HERE 

 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Block 8 - Pollen Gathering



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 block works up quickly with stitches we have used on previous blocks, so let's get started with a few ideas on the applique.  

Tips: 
  1. I use a hole punch to cut out the 1/4" circles for the buds.
  2. From the teal wool cut out the entire flower (including the red base portion) and then place the red wool flower base on top of the teal wool.  This method will give more texture to the flower and eliminate any variation in the thickness of the red base that can occur if you only slip a small portion of the teal wool underneath.  

Flower:
The red buds above the flower may be appliqued in place or simply attached with a French Knot (page 94) using a #24 Chenille needle and just 1 wrap with Silken Pearl #5.

Add a stem from the buds to the Teal colored flower using #5 Pearl Cotton and #24 Chenille needle with Back Stitch (page 10).

Thread a #1 Milliner with Sea Grass and Back Stitch 2 rows on Teal flower.  See tips for using Sea Grass on Block 7 - Woven Petals.

With Silken Pearl #5 in a #24 Chenille needle, add 5 rows of Chain Stitch to the red flower base (see above photo).


I began my chain stitching by placing a small pin in the top center of the red wool to guide me.  Next, I chain stitched along each edge of the red wool and then the row between the center and edges to get the proper spacing.

Leaves: 
The inner leaf is embellished with Fly Stitch (page 91) using Pearl Cotton #5 in a Chenille #24 needle from point to point.
Outline the outer green leaf with the same Pearl Cotton in a #1 Milliner needle stitching Bullion Knots with 8 wraps.


 The lower peach colored leaves are woven with Silken Pearl #5 in the #1 Milliner needle.  Begin by making 7 evenly spaced Straight Stitches  from the top to the bottom of the leaf.  Next, weave 3 lines side-to-side across these stitches.

To finish the lower leaves and secure the weaving, stitch a small X using Pearl Cotton #8 across each intersection (see top photo).
 
 Pollen gathering requires bees so follow the instructions in previous blocks to add 3 or more bees.

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