Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My First Round Robin #2

Mardeen's Block when it arrived.
Last night, I completed my work on Mardeen's block through the Crazy Quilting International Novice Round Robin.  On the 15th, I will mail it on to the next lady and she will be able to add her own "magic" to the block.

Mardeen requested a woodland theme for her block.  I spent a couple of days wondering what to add and where to add it, as well as wishing I knew how to stitch animals.  As mentioned in my last post, I was finally inspired by Diana Lampe's Embroidery for all Seasons.

Mardeen's Block after my work.
So, I pulled out my doodle cloth and tried to rake up the courage to actually pull a needle with thread through a block that belonged to someone else (gulp!)  In the end, I was very glad I did.

Snail and Silver Birch
I began in the lower left corner, starting with the little snail.  (Click on photos to see a larger image.)  Fighting back my nerves, I then attempted the silver birch tree (which is roughly 6-inches tall.)

After adding the flowers and spider...
After that, I added English primroses (which I fear are a bit too tall for scale), followed by winter irises and some small forget-me-nots (in a shade similar to the flowers on the center of the block.)  English bluebells, a few Dutch hyacinths and a bunch of snowflakes followed.  Empty spaces were filled in with more forget-me-nots. (I did my best to make sure anything near the seam line would be okay if it were sewed into the seam, so they would just make the picture appear to expand past the block.)

A small black spider hung from the tree, descending to the flowers below.  I really wanted to add a web for him in the tree; however, I had to take it out.  The branches were so subtle on the purple fabric and the web stood out so much that it simply did not look right at all.  In the end, I also changed this light gray strand of web to a more subtle strand of silver metallic thread.

Bird, nest, & butterfly seam treatment
Up above, I made my first silk ribbon bird, following a pattern from another treasure I found at the library: The Big Book of Little Ribbon Embroidery Designs by Deanna Hall West.  And I added a little nest to the tree with two (colonial knot) eggs that the bird was swooping down to reach. 

After that, I felt this area was complete.  I added a very subtle butterfly seam treatment (an idea from An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs by Linda Causee.)  I did not want the seam treatment to detract from the scene below, or to limit the ideas for the block above.

This section completed!
So, if the area was complete, then this section should have felt done.  I had looked up all of the flowers and birch trees on-line.  They all bloomed late winter and early spring.  The birch tree was said to get its leaves later in the spring, so it was okay to have bare branches, wasn't it?  Hmm... After my mother-in-law (an incredible gardener) emailed me asking about adding some leaf buds to this spring scene, I knew she was right.  I had been thinking the same thing, but been too afraid to fix it.  I gave my mother-in-law my feeble explanation, and admitted I was terrified of "messing up the block" because the leaves were not in my nifty little embroidery book.  She assured me of her faith in my abilities, and I spent two days building up courage.  In the end, I chose two shades of green that were also used with the flowers below, and made tiny satin-leaf stitched leaves.  To my relief, it did not ruin the block - whew!

Upper-right corner - bee and tree line.
Next, I was finally able to use a seam-treatment I had seen in An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs that I really wanted to try.  Using an uneven blanket stitch and small straight stitches, I created a tree line! It began and ended past the seam lines, so it would appear to be a part of the fabric with the completed project.  Then I toyed between adding a silk ribbon butterfly, or a button of a bee to the center of the green triangle.  The bee won.  (I wish I had written the name of this button down when I purchased it, so I could share that information with you all.)  Using a subtle shade of green, I stitched in a loopy flight path.

I had a lot of fun working on this block.  By facing my fears of tackling the birch tree, followed by my fear of giving it leaves, I concluded my work on the block with a bit more confidence and ready to take on another challenge.  I hope Mardeen likes it!

Thanks for visiting!


Lei said...

I meant to comment earlier but just have not been at the computer much lately. I love the stitching that you did on your RR block for CQI. It is so detailed and beautiful. I am so excited for you and hope to see pictures of the next RR you join in on. I have yet to work up the nerve to join in on the fun. Maybe one day soon.

Renee said...

Lei, Thank you! Your first block was absolutely gorgeous. I hope we can be in a round robin together sometime. When you do join in, the ladies in your group will be lucky to have you work on their blocks! Hugs, Renee