Welcome to Joy of Stitches!
I am new to blogging - this is my first post - but a friend suggested I should start blogging my craftiness, so here we are!
Today’s post is about ‘Garden Gate’, the paperpieced block I designed for the Sewhooked April Garden Party Blog Hop.
This sample is slightly different (in piecing only - not in appearance) than the paper pattern due to pattern improvements. The center archway has been simplified in the printed pattern to use fewer seamlines.
As I'm sure many of my fellow crafters and quilters have done, I've often dreamed of my perfect garden. With this block, I was able to recreate a little of it...if only in fabric and floss! A stone path leads to a gate and trellis overlooking the rolling hills beyond the garden. I populated my garden with some of my best-loved blooms: wisteria, poppies, delphinium, gladiolus, and peonies. The embroidery design is included with the block pattern. Or feel free to plant what you wish in your 'garden'!
I am relatively new to the world of paperpiecing and quilting in general, but I was fortunate enough to be a part of The Project of Doom, Sewhooked owner Jennifer’s Harry Potter Block of the Week quilt. I learned SO much making those thirty blocks. I modified some of Jennifer’s blocks to suit my own devious purposes (more on that in another post...) but ‘Garden Gate’ is the first one I have designed from start to finish. (Actually, Jennifer helped tremendously in helping me finish it, simplifying the piecing from 13 units down to 8!)
I hope you enjoy piecing this pattern, which is very versatile depending on the fabrics you use. I’m thinking about a four-block wall hanging featuring the four seasons.
Customization of this block can be taken even further with embroidery. Needlework is my first passion, and it was a joy to populate my garden in this block.
On to the embroidery tips!
Transferring the design.
Keep in mind the embroidery design included with the pattern is based on the printed pattern. When you transfer your design, you may need to make slight adjustments along the way to compensate for the Real Life block that you sew. Tiny variations in the seams of the block can make a big difference when they accumulate in the final block.
Because of all the seam allowances, light box transfer might be difficult - the layers of fabric are too dense for the light to shine through. I used a combination of two methods to transfer my design - tracing paper and water-soluble marker.
The tracing paper method is traditionally used for stitching on problematic surfaces, such as velvet or other highly textured fabrics. Tracing paper worked well for the first part of the embroidery on this block. I printed the design on tracing paper and basted it to the block. I then stitched through both the paper and the fabric and tore away the paper when I was finished. For this project, I only stitched the stem stitch lines through the tracing paper. I’ve found that french knots tend to be loose when stitched through tracing paper.
Unfortunately, I neglected to get a picture of this part of the process, but I do have a shot of the same method on another project:
The black is the fabric, the white is the tracing paper, and the gold is the stem stitch sewn through both paper and fabric.
After stem stitching and removing the tracing paper, I used water soluble marker to freehand the rest of the design, using the printed pattern as reference. You could also use quilter’s transfer paper or dressmaker’s carbon for this step.
Preparing to stitch.
Whenever I have a piece that I’m going to stitch to the very edge, I baste muslin around the edges to give a little extra space for hooping. Here, you can see my basting in red:
The largest hoop I have is a 10”, which happens to be the size of this block. Not ideal. You could use a larger quilting hoop or square frame, one that allows you to see your whole block at once and eliminated the need for re-hooping.
I used variegated floss for most of the blooms. I mixed variegated and solid green for the wisteria vines and french-knot leaves. I used 2 strands on the whole piece. Here are some closeups of the stitching:
If my pieces are washable, I always wash the whole thing when I’m finished stitching. I do this for two reasons: to ensure that I fully remove all traces of water-soluble marker, and to make reshaping of the piece easier. When wet, the block can be reshaped easily into the square it’s supposed to be! Here's my sopping wet block:
To press, place your embroidered block face-down on a fluffy, folded, terry-cloth towel. This will allow the stitches to maintain their dimension while you press.
That’s it for post 1! I would love to hear from you, with any questions or comments about this block or the embroidery.
Enjoy the rest of the Sewhooked garden party!