I have finally finished the squirrel and strawberry block for the Rachel Meyer quilt. So happy to be finished with all those tiny strawberry caps!
The original quilt has lots of embroidered details and while my adaptation is by no means a faithful reproduction I do try to add some embroidery in each block. In this block I embroidered all the strawberry stems in a tiny chain stitch using 2 threads of Valdani variegated embroidery floss. It comes in a little ball and has only 3 threads rather than the usual 6 threads of embroidery floss. I have used Valdani whenever possible in this quilt as I love the depth of color in the hand dyed threads. The squirrel's eye has been embroidered using an outline stitch in one thread and a French knot.
Since it has been a long while since I shared the beginnings of this quilt I thought I would show a little of the next block being prepped. Several people have asked if this quilt is begging made from a pattern. It is not a pattern exactly however I am using the "pattern" for the quilt that appears in the out of print book American Graphic Quilt Designs by Dolores Hinson. Here is a picture of the pattern for the fish block.
The book includes these drawn templates for each block and a tiny illustration for placement. Unfortunately the templates do not always fit in the block when the placement is made so I must evaluate each one to determine if the piece needs to be reduced, enlarged or remain in the original size. Some blocks require very little adjustment but others involve significant changes. A bit challenging but not too bad once I realized that I needed to pay attention to size before cutting fabric pieces. So when I start a block prep the first thing I do is take a copy of the template drawings and then do my size adjustment on the copier in my sewing room. In this block the bird and the upper interior flowers needed to be reduced
The next step is to select fabric possibilities for the whole block. Here are the fabrics I selected for the outside flowers. I ended up making a few changes in the final flowers but since I have so many different fabrics pulled for this quilt it helps if I make some choices before I start cutting.
My prep method is very simple. I cut the template shapes from the copies I made, trace around them on the front of the fabric using a Frixion pen and cut them out using about a 1/8" seam allowance. I do use a sandpaper board when tracing the template as it helps to hold the fabric in place. Once a few pieces are cut it take them to my light box to be glued in place. In this quilt the light box is not necessary as I am not using a full size placement pattern but if I did have the pattern the light box makes placement easy. In this quilt I lay out by sight and usually fold the background into quarters to give me center lines for guides. Here I have laid out the circle and made sure the fish, bird and flowers fit inside before gluing everything down with tiny dots of Roxanne's basting glue. I did alter the fish slightly as it is only one piece in the original quilt. I couldn't resist changing one fin and the tail to separate pieces so I could take advantage of the printed fabrics.
Next were the outer flowers and leaves. The original quilt has a bit of a crowded feel so I decided to use the flowers and leaves at the original size. Once everything is glues down I drew in the stem details and birds feet ,using a Frixion pen, to be embroidered after the appliqué is complete. Finally after about 4 hours of work this block is ready to stitch.