Monday, April 27, 2015

Another Snowball Swap with Kathy S. in MD!

Just look what arrived in my mailbox on Saturday! Kathy S. (also known on-line as Clothqueen) and I arranged another snowball swap for this month. I asked for an autumn or Halloween themed square "snowball" this time to begin a new collection and I just LOVE this wonderful block she created!!! (If you missed the ten beautiful snowman/winter themed snowballs I have received, you may check them out here.)

In exchange, Kathy requested a black and white themed square snowball. It is about 4 and 1/4-inches. She emailed me pictures of a couple of blocks she planned to piece this snowball together with and they both had a touch of pink and green. I opted to stick with mostly black and white, but did add a tiny touch of soft pink.

Above is the bare block I created. I wanted more than one section of white fabric, but felt the white in the upper-left made the block unbalanced. Rather than tear it apart, I added a wide black ribbon before I began stitching. Below is the completed block I mailed to Kathy. (I am glad to say she said she just loves it. I was hoping it would work for what she had in mind!)
I cut a square out of a piece of paper and used the paper as a frame for the photo here. (My youngest son could not see my basted seam-lines and thought I had left way too much un-stitched until I showed it to him this way.)

Someone recently asked me how I made something on one of my blocks, so the following photos include information about the floss, beads, and stitches used for each section. (You can skip reading if that does not interest you!)
In my opinion, the black ribbon in the upper-left really helped balance out the block. 

I used a magic chain stitch to create a black and white seam. The seam below that is a cretan stitch with shiny silvery-gray seed beads. Butterflies were created with detached chain stitches (wings), straight stitches (bodies and antennae and for the flight paths), and French knots (tips of antennae.)

White perle cotton was used to create a cable chain stitch and silver seed beads were inserted to dress it up. Two strands of black and white DMC floss were used to make French knots for these little flowers. I used a single white strand of floss to make detached chain stitched leaves.

I wanted the seams to use black or white floss. The trick here was getting the floss to show up on both sides. So, I threaded a needle with two strands of size 12 perle cotton - 1 black and 1 white - to create this alternating buttonhole seam. I added detached chain-stitched leaves with only a single strand of black or white and used small black and white beads to create flowers at the top of each "stem."

The flower motifs also used black and white perle cotton for the detached chain-stitched petals. A clear Mill Hill petite glass seed bead went in the center of each. For the stems, I used a single strand of black or white floss to couch down a strand of black or white size 12 perle cotton. The leaves were also size 12 perle cotton, as were the straight-stitched blades of grass.

This is one of my favorite seam combinations and it is super easy to create. I used a single strand of white size 12 perle cotton to create a buttonhole seam. Three detached chain-stitches top each buttonhole "stem". (I usually make one on the left, one on the right and then one in the center that overlaps them both. The stitches begin centered just above the "stem" created by the buttonhole.) I topped each flower with a light pink Mill Hill Petite Glass Seed Bead. 

The flower is one I purchased from Thearica at Crazy Quilting Supplies. (I am not affiliated with her shop, but am a happy customer! Some of my perle cottons are from her shop, as well.) I tacked the petals down with white floss (careful to only catch the fabric beneath the petals so the tacking stitches did not show on top.)

I found this lace in my stash and thought it would also help balance the white and black in the block. I tacked it down with a single strand of white DMC floss and added a pale pink bead to the center of the flower within my basted seam lines.

This was another fun block to put together! I really enjoyed only using two colors of fabric and floss.  And, I am just thrilled with the Halloween block from Kathy!

Thanks for stopping by! I am linking this post with the Monday Stitchery Link Party #3 at Super Mom - No Cape. I do hope you will hop over to see what others have shared!



Sheryl S. said...

Visiting via Supermom. This is a beautiful piece of work, crazy stitching is always so interesting

Christine Barnsley said...

Hello Renee! What a stunning block I just love it. The stitches are exquisite! :) x

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Love the black and white colour combination! I have wanted to try that out but have to find more time!!

Pamela said...

Beautiful B&W block. I love all the details!

Queeniepatch said...

Maybe because it is in black and white you notice the details and all the work that has gone into this block.
You have used the beads well.

Anonymous said...

Great block! You answered the challenge of making the stitches show up so creatively. I agree with you about that black ribbon in the corner. That made it just right.

Elfie said...

I am fascinated by your blocks. Beautiful work.

Annet said...

You received a very pretty Halloween block. I enjoyed looking at all the details and reading the info about the gorgeous black and white block. Thanks for taking the time to share it! Love the seam with buttonhole stitch and detached chain stitch flowers!

KimM said...


SuperMomNoCape said...

I love the black and white block you created for Kathy. Thanks so much for explaining each of your stitches and which threads you used. I'm learning so much!!

The Halloween block Kathy made for you is so much fun!

Thanks for linking up again this week and for helping to get the word out about my Stitchery Link Party. Aloha hugs!!