Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crazy Quilt Day 15

Yesterday was an opportunity to practice the stem stitch.  I think it is safe to say that I need more practice with curvy stem-stitched lines.  The green vine (2 strands DMC S702) started off pretty well - looking kind of hilly.  However, near the end it looked more like volcanoes.  The small, lazy daisy flowers (2 strands DMC S666) make that problem a bit less noticeable.

 Stem Stitch (vine + February), Straight Stitch (flower stem), Straight Stitch (flower stem)

I also used the stem stitch to "write" February on the block with 2 strands of DMC 33607.  (I opted not to use the applique block after all, so I need to add 3 more beads to the seam below that section.)  A couple of years ago, I wanted to purchase Photoshop to play with some of my pictures.  My husband talked me into trying Gimp2, free software available on-line, first.  I tried it and I liked it.  (I still have a lot to learn with that, too!)  I played around with some of the fonts on Gimp2 to help me figure out how I wanted to put the name of the month on this block.  I decided upon the Designer 2 font.  I printed it out on paper (along with ideas for my future blocks that I cannot wait to try!)  Next, I traced the word on the wrong side of the page with a fine-tipped Sharpie.  I taped the paper to a window.  With the muslin side of my block facing me, I positioned the block over the paper, lining the reverse image of the word where I wanted to stitch it.  Using a regular pencil, I lightly traced the word.  This became my pattern.  It did not turn out too bad.  (Did I mention I need to work on curves and the stem-stitch?!  I took the "u" out a few times and finally decided it was good enough.)

It is difficult to see here, but I used 2 strands of red DMC 304 to embellish the seam along the "Be Mine" fabric with a Vandyke Stitch.  I'm not quite sure I made it correctly.  The directions I had were unclear on the final step, so I will need to look that one up on-line.

On the pink triangle in the lower-left corner, I used 3 strands of red DMC S666 to make a single stem-stitch rosette.  Two leaves were added with 2 strands of DMC S702 using the satin leaf stitch.  Six French knots were the finishing touch (2 strands DMC 35200.)  This motif was found in An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs (which my mother-in-law found on another website for less than $20!)

In these photos, you can see that I sewed strips of muslin to the edges of my blocks so they would fit in a hoop.  I did not want to put the block into the hoop because it could stretch the fabric out of shape.  Recently, I learned a better way of doing this.  The blocks are made with a muslin foundation.  This allows the fabric to have more stability for the embroidery.  I cut the muslin to the size of my block.  Then I learned I should have cut the muslin a couple of inches larger than I planned to make the block.  I could mark the square on the reverse side of the fabric and baste along that mark so the borders showed from the front.  (Of course, if I use that tip, I probably would not practice my stitches on the "sidelines" - which you can see in these pictures.)

This is how my block looked at the end of the day.  (You may notice I also removed the red chain-stitch rosette seam on the triangle on the lower-right corner.  The stitch was so loose that it easily snagged.  I'm not sure what I will replace that with.)

Once again, I have my poor husband baffled.  It looks done to him.  I still see 8 to 10 things to do - I am not sure quite where to start though!  Decisions, decisions...

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