I plan to break my work on this block down into a small series to limit the photos, but I fear they may still be photo heavy posts. (You may click on any photo for a larger image.)
1. Select a block
I am currently working on a block from the set Sandra T. created for our CQI UTS RR. (If you are not sure what a round robin is or how it works, this post may help.) Of the 4 blocks remaining to be embellished, I chose the one above.
2. Sketch the blockFor a round robin block, occasionally I feel comfortable just winging things by embellishing seams and then adding motifs as the mood strikes me. However, I found I feel less stressed, I am able to finish a block sooner, and I am happier with the end results if I take a bit of time to plan things out first.
I believe some people make a photo copy of the actual block. I prefer to sketch the block on notebook or graph paper. I had a spiral notebook handy and used that and a mechanical pencil this time.
After sketching a 6" block (the actual block is larger with seam allowances, but I am only planning out the embroidery area), I sketched in each seam.
3. Plan the Seam Treatments
Personally, I like to embellish every seam. To avoid conflicts between my seams and motifs, my next step is to figure out how I want to embellish each seam. In a round robin, it is important to consider how the other blocks were embellished while making these decisions so all of the blocks go well together when they return to the owner.
Along the sandy shore, I opted to put one of my favorite (mostly) horizontal UTS seams. It is a buttonhole stitch where the stitches are not uniformly spaced and may be various heights and/or angles. When finished, small beads will be attached to the top of each stitch. This one reminds me of algae.
Next, I wanted to add some curves and swirls to match both the fabric in the lower-right-corner of this block AND because Kathy S. and Nicki Lee S. both added swirls and/or curves within their blocks, as seen above.
So, I thought I would use these curvy fly-stitches to embellish the short, somewhat vertical seam near the bottom. It seams like a perfect seam , as it is emerging from the sandy ocean floor.
In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to dress up a vertical seam on a UTS block is with a feather stitch. The stitches do not need to be even, as they are imitating seaweed or algae, which would not look uniform. This felt perfect for the long, tall seam along the left side of the block.
All three of the seams above are along the sandy ocean floor on Sandra's block. One of the reasons I chose these particular seam treatments is because they look natural along the bottom of the ocean.
You may remember, on the last set of blocks, I used a seam treatment Nicki Lee had used on the block she embellished for Kathy S. My work is not nearly as encrusted as the work others are doing on these blocks, so I wanted to use similar colors and a version of this seam treatment to create something similar between the two blocks. I love the subtle way this seam treatment adds sparkle and interest to a UTS block. It is just perfect for a seam running through the ocean waters; so, I decided to use it again along the long slanted seam on the right side of this block.
And, when I am not sure what to do with a seam on a UTS block that runs through the ocean water, small chain-stitched fish are my go-to seam treatment. I chose them for the fifth and final seam.
My next post will share how I planned the motifs.
Thanks for stopping by!