Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's NEVER Finished!

Hi applique lovers!
Here's a riddle for you:  When is a Baltimore Album Block finished?  Answer: NEVER!!!!  If you are working on a deadline you can always PRETEND it's finished when you run out of time.  But in your heart you KNOW there was still more to do.  The lost BOM posting I proudly displayed a photo of the first block in the Baltimore BOM series with the captioned "finished".  I was a fool.  As soon as I posted the blog that I realized I forgot to add the rose moss embroidery detail.  So, I pulled out my trusty hoop and favorite embroidery needles.  My first wrong turn was to follow the directions on the pattern.  It called for 2 back to back rows of blanket stitching using one strand of embroidery thread.  Guess what?  You couldn't even see it 4 feet away.  As Mary Sorensen likes to say "If I'm taking the time to do it then I want credit for it!"

The invisible stitching is at the 12 o'clock position.  At 2 o'clock is the same stitch with 2 strands of embroidery thread.  It made the center look too thick - yuck!  But I liked the look of 2 strands.  At 9 o'clock is a thicker silk in a feather stitch.  I was trying to avoid the thick center of the back to back blanket stitch.  I liked the stitch but the thread was too thick.  Then I tried the feather stitch with 2 strands of silk embroidery thread.  It was just like right.

I completed the rose moss embroidery and was able to move on to the other blocks (notice I didn't say it's finished!).   

Block two is a woven basket filled with ribbon flowers.  I decided to use Sharon Schamber's applique technique for the next two blocks just to shake things up a bit. In her technique, you use a special foundation paper that serves as a pattern for the applique shape.  You prep the applique piece by gluing the seam allowance to the underside of the foundation paper.  The shape is then appliqued either by hand or machine.  After the block is complete, it's soaked for several hours to dissolve the glue - AND the foundation paper turns to a fiber that acts like stuffing under the applique shape.  The result is VERY nice.  See my Applique Academy blog for a finished block using her technique.  

Here is Block #2 with  basket, stems, leaves, and acorns prepped according to Sharon's technique.  My fingers are pointing to places I will un-stitch later after washing to insert ribbon flowers.

After the block is prepped, even hand stitching goes really fast.  I decided to sew this block by hand.  Here is a close up of the basket.

Here is Block #3.  I prepped the Dove and Olive Branch with Sharon's technique and stitched by machine using mono-filament thread.  I discovered that the machine stitching shows on very light fabric - it's not the thread that shows but the holes from the needle.  I was able to cover the machine stitching holes with hand embroidery.  The photo at the top of the blog is a detail of the Dove and shows a close up of the embroidery.  It gave the block a very authentic Baltimore.  And, the best part is that it was all a nice accident.  Sometimes it does pay to experiment!

Happy Stitching!
Mercy in Miami
aka The Savage Quilter

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