Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thearica's block

Over on HGTV Message Boards Nickilee of Ravioli Dreams is hosting a crazy quilt swap called "One Block Swap".
 This will be my third year to participate and my block will be created for Thearica (Quiltaholic) of Pigtales and Quilts. Thearica lives in North Carolina, on a beautiful tobacco farm and she collects pigs...in honor of her grandfather who raised them during her childhood. We are allowed to give little sneak peeks along in the challenge...but not so much that you ruin the surprise when the blocks are sent. My first peek was posted yesterday...and I thought you might like to see it too.

The tree and pig are not finished. And I"m not showing the completed version because I want them to be a surprise to Thearica...and she follows the blog. However, they are close enough that if I explain how to do the tree, you can finish it off without problem. I also like this "unfinished" version as well...and will use it in the future too.

If you have purchased my book, the tree trunk motif is on page 143...the one with the stars! As you can see, the tree is very adaptable. If you don't have the book (and you're really truly missing out!) then just sketch out a simple tree trunk with limbs to begin. You can see from the photo that the trunk is embroidered in a simple back-stitch. This could be wrapped...or the area could even be filled in with straight stitches or chain stitches if you wanted a solid trunk.

Obviously, the "foliage" is done in French Knots...but where to place them? That's the part of the process I want to share. It involves something sticky...and in my case I used labels. You could use duct tape, shelf paper, masking tape...anything that would allow you to draw on it and then "stick-it" to your CQ block. For me, office file labels about 1" x 4" were handy. I began by drawing floppy little cloud shapes on them...and cutting them out. I placed these...and then moved them around...and moved them again...LOL!...until I had them where I thought they would make a realistic looking tree. I also made sure to cover the ends of all of the branches, so each one would have foliage.

These are the positions for the groups of French knots. Now, don't stitch on top of the labels! You'd never get them removed from your CQ block if you did! Instead, stitch enough of the French knots around the outside of each "cloud" so that you will be able to determine your "stitching border" when the sticky tape/labels are removed. If you are stitching all of one color, you might want to stitch more than I have shown here...so you don't loose your place. Since, I'm using different colors for my Autumn tree, this medium orange color will be easy to distinguish from the other shades of orange, yellow, red, and green I'll be using. You might also notice that I also "repositioned" yet again...even when I had begun to stitch...the "clouds" are different in the two photos!

Then, just continue to fill in each "cloud" with the amount of French knots you desire...and the tree will start to form! The pig is a simple embroidery in wrapped back-stitch...just find a photo of a pig, trace the shape and then stitch it in back stitch (just like the tree). Go back and wrap each back stitch...and you have the outline of the pig. If desired, you could fill in the pig with long-short stitches as well.
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