Monday, August 5, 2013

CQI Winter/Christmas DYB RR - Barbara's Block is done!

CQI Winter/Christmas DYB RR - Barbara's Block embellished by Renee
I had so much fun working on this block!  It gave a whole new meaning to "Christmas in July!"

Below, you can see the block as a beautiful blank canvas.
Barbara's Block before embellishment.
And, here is the plan I sketched out after staring at these beautiful blocks for a few days and finally choosing one to work on:

Looking back at my sketch, I believe this is the most I have actually stuck to the original idea.  (In the end, I added three angels in the upper-left corner and did not stitch in the metallic silver stars I had planned on.)

Santa and Teddy Bear - pattern from 501 Cross-Stitch Designs by Sam Hawkins
I REALLY wanted to add Santa to this block, but had no clue how to stitch one; so I looked through all of my cross-stitch books to see if I had a pattern that would fit. 

In early July, I picked up a copy of 501 Cross-Stitch Designs by Sam Hawkins at Goodwill for a whopping $3.99.  It includes a chapter titled, "50 Santa Designs" and 3 of those designs would fit patches on this block.  I chose Santa on his sleigh because I thought it would go well with the reindeer trim I purchased from Evening Star Designs anticipating this round robin.

Sadly, my family could not tell what the teddy bear was until I told them.  But, I just loved Santa sitting on the metallic gold sleigh.

Small pearl beads for snow finished up this section.

Beneath Santa, I did my best to make holly leaves for a border and added a red seed beads for holly berries.  If you look too closely, you will see my leaves are not all the same size and shape.  (I decided they are not in nature either - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Tree adapted from Pencil Pine directions in Diana Lampe's book: Embroidery for All Seasons
For the Christmas tree, I followed most of the directions for the Pencil Pine in Diana Lampe's Summer Garden in her book, Embroidery for all Seasons.  Instead of adding nuts to the tree, I added silver and red seed beads as ornaments, and a small star I received with a package of beads I purchased from Evening Star Designs.  I also combined one strand each of two shades of brown cotton floss and created my own tree trunk.

The gifts had me baffled.  I attempted using a long and short stitch to create them.  Luckily, I tried that on separate fabric first.  I did not like my results.  In the end, I found silky fabrics and cut them into small squares and rectangles.  I ironed the edges under and stitched them onto the block with clear quilting thread.  I suppose I should have used a bit of interfacing.  They may have held their shape a little better.

My husband told me several times he thought I should have a red package under the tree, but I worried I may have too much red.  I chose the silver and blue because the fabrics in the top corners both had blue hues to them and a couple of the fabrics included silver.  I did make my husband happy by adding a 4 mm red silk ribbon to the silver package.  I couched size 5 DMC metallic silver "ribbons" onto the blue packages.

Using a fishbone stitch and variegated green EdMar rayon floss, I created a seam of small pine trees to the right of the Christmas tree scene.

Barbara's Block - North Pole close up
For this sign, I printed out the words "North Pole" in several fonts and sizes.  After selecting one that I liked, I traced it onto tissue paper and couched the letters onto white felt with red DMC cotton floss.  I cut the rectangle from the felt and used a blanket stitch and white DMC 8 perle cotton floss to attach it to the block.  The post for the sign was among the last additions to the block.  I had a hard time deciding how I wanted to make it look.  I finally decided to couch down a full strand of metallic white floss with a single strand of red metallic floss.  However, I could not pull the white metallic floss through and feared I would ruin the fabric if I forced it.  So, I used three strands of a white rayon floss and stitched from the sign to the seam.  Then, I made a second stitch right next to it.  A single strand of red metallic floss couched the six strands down perfectly.

A single strand of white metallic floss enhanced two snowflakes on the fabric and I added a couple more for good measure.

Red and white glass seed beads treated the seam to the left of the sign.  And two strands of a light blue DMC rayon floss were used to make lazy daisy and straight stitches to create bows.  Clear Mill Hill petite glass seed beads (#42010) were added to the center of each bow.  (This is a seam treatment I used with my Valentine's Day block.  The idea came from An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs by Linda Causee.)

The angel border is also from An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs.  It is a border I have been itching to try since I first saw it.  However, I found closed blanket stitches a lot trickier than I thought they would be.
Angel seam from An Encyclopedia of Crazy Quilt Stitches and Motifs by Linda Causee
I used a single strand of a blue and white variegated EdMar rayon floss for the angel seam treatment.  I found the large clear angel beads at Michaels.  My concern was that they did not show up very well on the light fabric.  At JoAnn Fabrics, I discovered the smaller blue angels.  Not only were they perfect, but they were 50% off.  Once I began stitching these on, I worried they may not work.  I began with the halo and I was not sure I would be able to get it to stay in position.  In the end it worked out.  It is hard to tell from the lighting in my photo, but the fabric has soft shades of blue and silver.  Beautiful.

Candy Cane button on Barbara's Block.
I picked this button up sometime last year at a little shop I would LOVE to visit again.  (I just need to save up some cash so I don't overspend again - lol!  There are SO many cute beads and buttons and threads and patterns and... well, you get the picture!)  Acorns and Threads is located on Scholl's Ferry Road in Portland, Oregon.  I have not ordered from them on-line, but they do show a catalog on their website.

Reindeer and Stars on Barbara's Block
This was my first time using a trim (other than ribbon) on a seam.  I used clear quilting thread.  If you click on the photo for a larger image, you may be able to see the red French knot I added to the first reindeer's nose.  My thirteen year old (nicknamed Mutt - his choice) told me Rudolph needed to be on the block.

The gold metallic star is right-side-up when the block is right-side-up.  And a scattering of the clear Mill Hill petite glass beads add sparkle for the other stars in the sky.

Wreath adapted from motif in The Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible by Joan Gordon.
I found a wreath motif in Joan Gordon's book, The Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible, that I really liked.  I made a couple of changes and made this with two strands of green metallic DMC floss and red seed beads.

The area needed something more; so, I added a few snowflakes using two strands of white rayon DMC floss.

Wreath adapted from motif in The Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible by Joan Gordon.
I really enjoyed working on this block!  It will be mailed on to Donna on August 15th.  And I will anxiously await my turn embellishing a block for Kathy S. 

Thanks for visiting!


Thearica said...

This Christmas block is fabulous! May I ask where you found the reindeer trim?

Renee said...

Thank you! I ordered the reindeer trim from Evening Star Designs ( when I ordered their Winter Challenge 2013 Kit.

Sew so crazy! said...

so interesting!! Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Love the block!!!

Melody said...

Love the block and really apprechiate your post and naming (and linking) the various resources. Great ideas for future blocks!

floozina said...

I agree with Melody - your idea of posting different parts of the block and telling us what you used and where to get it is brilliant. I may borrow it in future, if that's OK with you.

Renee said...

Thank you!

Renee said...

Thanks! I am looking forward to seeing more of the project you are working on. :)

Renee said...

Thank you! An on-line friend is wonderful about sharing resources with me that she finds inspiring. I try to do the same here with books and blogs that inspire me. I'm glad you found something you like, too!

shawkl said...

The block is just perfect and makes me remember that Christmas is actually closer than we think! Love that you used so many different techniques to create the holiday magic. The Christmas wreath and the santa are my favorites! I'm not a fan of the reindeer trim, but don't enjoy the leave trims of the same think that is why. It does certainly fit well in this specific good choice! And the silver and blue packages under that wonderful Christmas tree are just perfect!

Renee said...

Borrow away! When I first started blogging about my projects, I decided it would be a great way for me to record what I did and what I used in case I needed to go back to fix anything in the future or wanted to make something similar to go with it. I always worry I am being too verbose in doing so, so I am glad you enjoyed it!

Renee said...

Thank you, Kathy! As for Christmas, it certainly is sneaking up quickly. I keep thinking of the gifts I want to make and realize I need to get moving. I am looking forward to working on your blocks next!