Saturday, August 16, 2014

Embroidered Quilt Blocks

My maternal Grandmother taught me how to embroider when I was a child. She gave me patterns for making blocks that had our state birds and state flowers on them.  I bought white fabric and started making two sets the way she taught me. It seemed to be the most peaceful past time in my life, and something I pulled out almost every evening.

I have quilts ready to add batting, baste, quilt & bind. The most recent was a quilt made for my younger Sister with 9 blocks, complemented by batik sashing, corner stones, borders & binding. Its really lovely. 

Last year, I did one Heart-shaped embroidered block for a swap, and plan to do an entire Halloween-themed embroidered BOM swap. I am already ahead having finished the first one we plan for October. As I browsed online, I discovered many free or public domain patterns that are Halloween-themed. I found a whole form of embroidery that I did not know existed called "Blackwork" which is simply using only black threads to embroider the same way "Redwork" is done with red threads. It continues using more of primitive embroidery stitches. 

I cut out 12 blocks in white, browsed the ideas & pulled out 12 different patterns that were free downloads, including a zombie couple, this bat, a mummy, ghost, & more. I wanted to ensure ease in my nightly work. Then, I found an example of how embroidery blocks done with Blackwork could look in a finished quilt. 

These blocks are a bit more detailed than I want & more well planned out as mine might end up being, but I like how the blocks were used as a border around a middle piece.

I still have the old bag I kept my WIP in, with the hoop and needle pack, making it easy to find wherever I am. To transfer a printed pattern to the fabric, I simply tape the paper to my window and then tape the fabric over it, and trace away. 

Embroidery for quilting projects gives me such joy. Gramma made her quilts for us to use, and we loved them all to shreds. I am not sure any of us ever thought about keeping them for good---whatever that means. I think of her all the time as I quilt, and especially as I embroider. I can hardly wait to get started threading the black threads. 

Blackwork. Its a Halloween thing.