January 2008

Julie Yonge © 2008

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This block was created to be grouped with several others for a “healing gift” wall hanging. It was given to a friend grieving a very personal loss. The colors chosen were a fairly neutral pastel palette to easily accommodate most décor.

I found a graphic of a beautiful angel with a dove and decided that would be my focal point; and I chose an oval, center placement of it on the block. That made it pretty easy to put down pieces of fabric around the outside of the center area. I pieced the block on muslin; the order is indicated by the numbers one through ten and you can piece it in that order, but it can be done in any fashion that is pleasing to you. I was able to leave the center area fairly open, not worrying about what it looked like there since I would be covering that area with my graphic.

I fused my silk graphic to a piece of muslin with a thin fusible stabilizer, since I knew I would be adding some stitching and silk ribbon. I decided I wanted a bit of a quilted or dimensional texture, so I put a layer of Warm and Natural batting behind the graphic and hand-stitched it in place all around the outside edges. I knew I would be adding some type of trim around the oval graphic, but was not sure what that would be; and I wanted to do my seam treatments right up to the graphic so the trim placed around the graphic would lay on top of them. The trim around the graphic would be pretty much the last thing to go on the block.

Before starting my seam treatments, I hand-dyed a couple of rose motifs and placed them on the upper right and lower left of my graphic. Next, I added hand stitching in a kind of thread painting technique to give the motifs some dimension and shading. Once I had those completed, I started my seam treatments.

A. This is a simple feather stitch done along the seam in a burgundy silk thread. I then went back with a beautiful bronze metallic Kreinik thread adding triple lazy daisy stitches at each point and I also whipped this bronze metallic thread around the main portion of the feather stitch.

B. This is a ribbon ruffles from Ribbonsmyth stitched down in a kind of zigzag ruffle design, with Swarovski crystals added for a little glitz.

C. Here I did a chevron stitch in a hand-dyed 4mm bronze silk ribbon. I interlaced that stitch with another chevron stitch done in a thin metallic gold thread by Yenmet. I went back and added little lazy daisy stitches in yellow to the outside of the gold chevron stitches and put a small fly stitch at the bottom of each yellow lazy daisy to make them appear like buds. Then I added some beads and bugles.

D and E. This is the crested chain stitch, one of my favorite stitches. It looks different depending on the type of thread or ribbon used. Here I have used 4mm hand-dyed variegated green silk ribbon.

F and H (patches five, six, and seven). Instead of just putting down seam treatments, I decided to do some silk ribbon embroidery.  First I used stem stitch in variegated green thread for my stems, then placed my flowers. I used a 4mm hand-dyed variegated burgundy silk ribbon to make Japanese ribbon stitches, overlapping them at the base. Then I carefully added my stamens, using French knots with a tail, in a yellow thread. The last step was to add leaves using lazy daisy stitches in a variegated 4mm hand-dyed silk ribbon. In order to balance the block, I decided to add the same silk ribbon flower treatment on the upper left of the center motif in patch number two and put my spider web and spider there for good luck. The spider web was stitched with twilight silver purple metallic Yenmet thread and the spider was done with a variegated black/brown/gray cotton thread for texture.

G. Here I added a beautiful Mokuba metallic trim that has a slight lavender tint to it.

I. I recently fell in love again with the silk ribbon bullion-tipped lazy daisy stitch; to get some practice, I decided to create this seam treatment. I first put down a series of cross stitches with 4mm cream silk ribbon all along the seam. Then I added the triple bullion lazy daisy stitches along the first stitches in the same cream silk ribbon. Large pearls were added to the center areas on the seam and small champagne glass beads were placed at the base of each of the grouped petals.

J. This seam is a chain stitch done in light yellow-green thread. The centers of the chain and outside edges were then treated with pink beads and bugles.

Patch seven: Here you can see I added a cluster of white pearlescent buttons laid down with beaded champagne glass bead clusters. Some of the beads I let dangle just for some fun movement.

Patch one and ten: This was a nice brocade fabric with a design all its own; I just added a tad bit of ribbon in places using the bullion lazy daisy stitch.

Center graphic: Here I just had fun using ribbons, thread and beads. I put down a little garden of flowers with all different colors and sizes of silk ribbon and thread and popped in some beads for sparkle. I added gold metallic stitches around the dove in flight, put tiny little French knots and beads in the angel’s hair and added a 2mm blue silk ribbon bow at the angel’s chin. I found a cotton trim with little roses just the right width to cover the edges of my oval and stitched that down. Then I went back and added a few more silk ribbon flowers to drape over the edge of the trim to give a little depth to  the picture. Since I had put the Warm and Natural batting behind my graphic all the stitching I did on the graphic gave a quilted affect. I then added tiny pearl seed beads all around the trim.


All these stitches can be found in The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden, Krause Publications, ISBN 0-87349-510-1.

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