In completing my 12th Romantic Crazy quilt block I decided to be more flamboyant than usual. After I had added the four pastel shades of silk dupion along with some lace to the base fabric and completed the embroidery, I searched for lots of silk ribbon, pearls, crystals and other items to embellish my block. I find it is a good idea to lay them all out around the block to see what goes well and what doesn’t….
This block does not have any curved fabric joins so all the fabric pieces are added with a small seam and folded back in place, secured with some fabric glue to prevent puckering. The block features several hearts and the largest has the option of an applique and for my stitch out I used a small scrap of precious lace I was reluctant to throw away.
Included in the block is a small dragonfly which can be stitched at the end of the embroidery process, eliminated to allow you to use a lace motif, or it can be stitched out separately on tulle so it can be decorated and added later on so it looks as though it is in flight.
I made the mistake of stitching my dragonfly in ivory which is too stark, thinking it would match the lace I had added. However upon reflection I think he should have been stitched in the colours I had originally selected for him. I like the way the body looks and find that cutting around the embroidery just under a ¼” prevents the stitching from being cut, and hardly shows after washing out the stabiliser. Try staining white lace with tea or coffee for a more antique look.
As you know I prefer muted colours and tones and hardly ever use primary colours which I think take away some of the beauty of my embroidery and reflect the colours of nature. I also find when making a selection of beads and crystals that if I introduce too dark a colour it draws too much attention to itself. I had intended not to use any crystals for this block and just to use the hot fix pearls that I have, but in the end I added some coffee coloured hearts to continue the theme.
To create my bows I cut two pieces of silk ribbon and one of raw silk thread, tying them in a bow. To be successful in doing this cut your pieces about 12″ long and tie slightly toward the right if you are right handed, then the finished bow will be balanced. Dress appropriately for the right look.
I embellished the top of the lace applique heart quite heavily with several colours of pearls. I adore Venise lace and have found that it can be split quite successfully. If you are worried about fraying a spot of fray check will secure any loose ends. When using lace look at it closely as the side that shines is the correct side to use. The petals of the tiny hibiscus flowers shown below were stitched in two colours which were not close enough in shade and have a slight harlequin look to them which I don’t like. I would try next time to make them closer shades or stitch them with the same thread.
For the buttonholes in this block I experimented with plaited silk ribbon but it did not work so I inserted some narrow satin ribbon instead. Make sure that you secure it on the back so it does not move. This block will be released on Monday at Graceful Embroidery and a smaller block has been created for a 5″ wide hoop.
Happy embroidering from Hazel