We were on the road again in May. Spring brings so many wildflowers to our nation’s roadsides, it seemed natural to choose “Roadside Flowers” as my CQJP May theme.
I originally planned to use many different floral prints, but as I searched for fabrics, they just didn’t seem to coordinate. I finally chose just two floral prints and 3 shades of green. I decided to paper piece a fan shape for the block (it seems as if most crazy quilt designs contain random shapes; no matter how I try not to create symmetrically, I seem to keep returning to symmetrical designs), so I laid out the long strips of the block on paper to use in piecing.
The first TAST stitch of the month, Crossed Buttonhole Stitch was used to embellish the center most seams of the block. I’ve been surprised to see how decorative variations of the common buttonhole stitch can be.
On my TAST Sampler, the stitch became a Crossed Rail Fence.
The next week’s stitch was the Half Chevron, and it embellishes the next two seams on the quilt block. I like stitching this stitch.
I also used it in a circular pattern to create a purple thistle for my TAST sampler. My designing of the thistle is described in a prior post.
The following week our TAST group explored stitching the bullion stitch. I have avoided this stitch in the past, imagining it to be difficult, yet as I began stitching it, I found that I love the shaping and appearance of the stitch. For the sampler, I created “Dragonflies among the Cattails”
On the quilt block, the stitch was used on the next two seams with a variegated floss. As I stitched the seams, I envisioned the stitches as flowers hanging from a vine. However, as I completed the block, it worked better rotated, and the bullion flowers became upturned.
Next came the Butterfly Chain Stitch, a natural for Kites on my TAST Sampler…Why kites on a nature themed sampler?…. What better way to be a part of nature than to be out on a crisp March day in the sun, flying a kite?
One of my best school memories date back to the years when I was in the 5th and 6th grade. I wasn’t fortunate enough to go to a one room school, but it was close – a “three room school” with two grades per room (and teacher). On those particular years, our teacher allowed us to bring kites to school, and to fly them in the nearby vacant lot during the lunch hour. The sky blossomed with kites of every color.
We often took advantage of his good nature, and would make sure the kites were at their highest right before the bell rang to return to class. Ten to fifteen minutes later, we would breathlessly arrive late to class, (“I got the kite down as ‘quickly’ as possible, honest” ) with very little reprimand forthcoming. Looking back, I can see that the teacher, seemingly strict in many ways, remembered what it was like to be a kid in springtime.
I used the Butterfly Chain Stitch on the next seams of the quilt block, again as flowers, but the blue floss (with yellow centers) I chose to complement the fabric colors, does not show up as well as I’d like.
The last week of May brought the Knotted Cretan stitch. I struggled with this stitch trying to decide how I could incorporate it into my sampler which has a nature theme. I finally came up with a fantasy pinwheel flower, picturing it in full bloom, budded and partially blooming.
For the quilt block, I decided to create a simple variegated green vine running along the last 2 seams of the flowers.
I used the white on white fabric, common to all my blocks for the quarter circle of the “fan”. It seemed a little plain, so I added a flower from a lace panel Bernice shared with me.
As I had in May, to symbolize our travels, I added a “highway” bias strip to the block. It was the adding of this element that changed my mind on the orientation of the block, and I turned it 180 degrees from what I originally planned.
As we entered each state in May, I snapped photos of the Welcome signs.
These became the signs on my quilt block
Finally, all that was left to add was a tatted element. I wanted to use all the floss colors I had embellished the seams with, so I wound 5 bobbins, each with 2 strands of DMC floss. I used a poster tacky adhesive to stick the 4 flower color bobbins together so they wouldn’t tangle.
I used Sheron Goldin’s pattern, “Mother-In-Law’s Edging” and the same technique as she describes for a double bobbin, except that instead of a double bobbin with 2 thread colors for the flowers, I have 4.
The 4 flower threads are held together and the green bobbin is used to encapsulate them for the core. In other words, the stitches are not flipped.
As I came to the place for a flower, I removed the bobbin holding the blue thread from those stuck together, and tatted the flower made of rings.
Then, I placed the blue thread bobbin back with the other three, and resumed the encapsulation stitches with the green. I dropped the 4 flower threads after 12 encapsulation stitches, and added a ring of green between each flower.
Here’s what the edging looked like after a couple of flowers.
Since my embroidery embellishment was symmetrical on the sides from the center out, I placed the edging colors in the same sequence; here’s the finished tatting.
I didn’t bother hiding the thread ends, as they will be included in block side seam later.
And this is the finished “Roadside Flowers”: