Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A stitch here, a stitch there

When I began embroidering details on my Phebe quilt, I looked for images on the web of any other Phebe quilt which had been embellished with embroidery but I couldn't find any. In this post, I'm including a few photos of the embroidery stitches I'm adding for anyone who would like some ideas about embellishing their Phebe quilt.

I've learned how to do all the stitches from my experience with crazy quilting and by looking at stitchery books. I am certainly no expert but just keep trying different stitches, colors and floss or perle cotton until I find the results I like. Click on the photos for a closer look and please forgive my fuzzy photography!

The first thing I remembered about hand embroidery is how long it takes! Besides stitching some embellishments on each applique, I'm also stitching a decorative stitch or backstitch around each piece of applique. I feel like I worked on this all last week but haven't made much progress. Of course, I always think I can do things faster than what really happens.  I'm using whatever floss I can thread the needle with - DMC, Valdani and whatever I'm finding in my embroidery box in both floss and perle cotton weights. I especially like variegated colors.

Unfortunately, I'm finding that some of my applique is too close together. For instance, the flower and leaf above. I think I know what I'm going to have to do but am still trying to convince myself about it. The flower is going to have to be moved, isn't it? Don't want to even think about picking out the blue French knots. It looks like the too closeness could be an issue at another part of the border too.

My "design wall" is such a mess, not to mention my sewing room! We're in the process of decluttering our house and my sewing room is going to get the treatment when I'm finished with Phebe. Maybe I will post photos of where I stitch when my room gets its makeover. Please bear with me but this is my "design wall" with layers of projects and stuff pinned to it.

If you can make it out, on the right is another section of Ohio Stars. This section was definitely a challenge because hardly any of the blocks were the correct size. I'm going to try to block the different sections to get them less lumpy and bumpy before I sew them to the medallion. Poor Jan (the machine quilter)! Can you quilt that out?!? 

On the left are the 3 1/2 nearly finished sections of the 8 dogtooth borders which are coming up. Since I'm paper piecing these, its fairly mindless sewing and sometimes I've wondered where my mind is! I've sewn pieces on upside down and in the wrong order, etc. so I keep my seam ripper close by.

The other stuff on the "design wall" is an EPP Grandmother's Flower Garden I started two years ago and would still like to finish. When I started it, I thought it would be bed sized but now I'd be happy with a wallhanging. The print out for the Love Entwined quilt center is peeking out from behind the dogtooth border strips and the actual center is under the Ohio Stars. Under the lower part of the dogtooth borders is a "Welcome" wallhanging which was a present from our outgoing guild president.

Must get back to stitching so until next time,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Phebe - Keeping it Real

Last week, I finished sewing all the fussy cut sashing on to the wonky Phebe star blocks. I was relieved I was done with that step and excited to start sewing them all together this week. I wasn't so happy with the results though! Below's an example of my not so stellar piecing which is the reason I've spent the past two days picking off the horizontal sashing.
I realized I hadn't been accurate enough when cutting the cornerstones. They're only 1/2 inch square finished so being off just a little bit is bad. Sometimes I had to trim only a very minute amount off of the block to square them up. By the way, I hate squaring up.

Its a slow process but I've carefully resewn the stars for the left side together again.

Lots of pinning to match seams and to try to get the star points to line up. Notice the word "try", these are wonky stars afterall!

I'm also still working on embroidery! Lots of French Knots happening. I keep seeing more embroidery to add but for now, I'm concentrating on the leaves.

The next border (around the stars) is going to be very time consuming so I'm trying to work on it a little at a time in advance. I'm paper piecing the dogtooth borders and have drawn out the strips on paper. I copy the original and then cut the strips apart. After my experience with the cornerstones, I don't think I could be accurate enough if I were to hand piece the triangles. What do the numbers mean? Never mind them, that was another idea of mine that didn't work. The finished triangles measure 1 inch at the base and are 1 inch tall. Since there are two of these borders, that's a lot of little triangles!

Until next time, Mayleen

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fido and Fluffy

For the past few days, I've been working on adding a dog and cat to my Phebe quilt. Here is Henry with the dog which I think is looking fairly good. This is the first time I've appliqued a dog or cat. I've got to fix that wrinkle across Henry's face though!

And here's Phoebe with her cat which still has a few issues but at least she's no longer sitting on the sheep's head! I need to make the cat's eyes more visible.

I've also been adding some embroidery to the center and applique borders. I added couching and veins to the oak leaves and made French Knots around some of the leaves to make the edges look jagged. Today, I decided I'd put off my wonky Ohio Stars long enough and added a sashing/cornerstone strip to twenty more. Only 33 more to do before I can start planning their layout. Looking forward to the next big step!

Until next time, Mayleen