I’m leading a hand embroidery block party this year using the pattern Snowmen A to Zzzz… from Crabapple Hill. I’ve promised my group I’d post here after we meet. So if you miss a meeting or forget something you can catch up here. Also if time constraints or distance prohibit you from joining us each month, feel free to follow along here.
My quilt top is finished and hanging in the store. I didn’t get pictures before it went, so what you will be seeing is what I can get standing on a step stool.
Some general information before we start on the first block.
I used four different 7/8 yard cuts of white on white prints for the background. I did not cut background pieces as big as the pattern called for and was still able to work with them easily. I cut fifteen of the blocks at about 10-1/2″ by 10-1/2″, the background for the A block about 10-1/2″ by 27″ and the remaining five blocks about 10-1/2″ by 19″. I say about, because I wasn’t worried about whether the edges were perfectly straight at this point. If you would like to do the border as I did, DO NOT trim your blocks down to the size listed in the pattern after stitching. I will discuss what sizes to trim to later.
I do not back my embroidery. I am careful to keep the back neat. I feel I get nicer stitches without the added bulk of a backing. However, if you want to back your embroidery I would suggest a woven fusible interfacing such as Form Flex or Shape Flex rather than muslin as the pattern calls for.
For marking, I used a Frixion pen. I reviewed these pens here. The marks will come back in freezing temperatures, but I’m not really worried about that since they are covered with embroidery. I figure a permanent pen is always there and if I make a mistake when tracing the pattern I either have to cover it or leave it to show. With the Frixion pens, when I press my finished blocks the marks disappear.
For all the blocks, I changed the floss color for lettering. I outlined all lettering with DMC 3808 and filled the centers of the capital letters with Weeks Dye Works Oceans. I believe I used 4 skeins of DMC 3808 and one of the Weeks Dye works. If you do the lettering as instructed in the pattern it will be the almost black used in the snowmen’s eyes. I think red lettering could be very nice as well, in that case I would change the color of the feather stitch.
In January we started with the A block.
Other than the lettering the only change I made to this block was to add 1 strand of Krenik Blending Filament 002V to the floss when stitching the wings and halo. It added just a little bit of sparkle.
–February 8 This month’s assignment is the “B” and “C” blocks.
The “C” block was embroidered exactly as the pattern directed (with the exception of the lettering color).
March 14, 2012
This month’s assignment is the “D” and the “E/F” block.
Other than the lettering which I have mention in previous months, the only change I made was to add Krenik Blending Filament 002V to the screws/rivets on the drum. You should really be able to the sparkle it adds in this close up.
Again I added the Krenik Blending Filament 002V for the buttons and bells on the toes of the elf.
This is the first block that has used the fly stitch and you can find my video here. The pattern directions called for using 4 different colors for the fir boughs. I did use those four colors, but went just one small step further. I used one strand of two different colors of floss in my needle each time. Which gave a slightly more blended effect. I tried to use the lighter colors on the tips of the fir boughs and go darker closer to the stems.
April 11, 2012
The blocks for this month are G and H.
I made a couple of minor changes to this block. The pattern did not have cheeks on the snowmen, so I added them. I also added one strand of Krenik blending filament 032 to the two strands of floss in the bow/ribbon on the gift to add a little sparkle. This this is the first block in which I used that color of filament and is the final color I included in the quilt.
The only change I made to the “H” block was to satin stitch the berries. In the photo of the quilt on the pattern it appeared the berries were satin stitched, but the instructions didn’t specify. I jumped forward to the “W” block instructions which said to loosely satin stitch the berries. This is exactly what the pattern said for filling in the capital letters, but I didn’t want the berries quite that loose. I first outlined the berries and that did (for me) a loose satin stitch. Here is a video for the satin stitch https://atbquilting.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/satin-stitch/ just space it out a little. I did show the blanket stitch in class and the berries could be made with blanket stitch circles. https://atbquilting.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/blanket-stitch/
May 10, 2012
The blocks for this month are I and J.
The only change I made on this block (other than the usual lettering) was to add Kreneik Blending Filament C32 to the icicles.
My copy of the pattern did not have cheeks on the snowman, so I added a cheek to the visible side of his face. I added Kreniek Blending Filament 002V to all of the bells.
June 13, 2012
Today for block party we discussed the K/L block and I provided directions on my alternate border.
To this block, I added Kreniek Blending Filament 002V to the belt buckle and I satin stitched the lights. The instructions did not say to satin stitch the lights, but I think it was probably an oversight since the picture on the cover appears to have satin stitched lights.
When I have more time (who knows when that will be) I plan to do a detailed post on the Eight Pointed Star border with more pictures than are in my handout. However, for know I think this handout is fairly comprehensive Snowmen A to Zzz Alternate Border.
July 11, 2012
This month we discussed blocks “M” and “N”.
The pattern said to randomly use colors 3863 and 612 for the front legs and tops on the clothespins. Instead I combined one strand of each color and embroidered the clothespins.
The pattern didn’t mention the stem on the branch. I embroidered that with color 780.
The pattern said to randomly use four different colors to work the fly stitch for the branches. As in the E/F block, I combined one strand from each of two different colors and changed out one color each time I rethreaded the needle.
Finally the second mitten was supposed to be embroidered entirely with color 498. I chose to embroider the X’s with color 728.
The only change in the “N” block was to add Kreinik blending filament 002V to colors 781 and 783 on the horn.
August 8, 2012
This month’s blocks are “O” and “P”
As usual the lettering colors were changed. The pattern calls for 4 colors to be used randomly in the fir boughs. As in the F and M blocks, I did use the recommended colors, but had one strand each of two different colors in the needle at a time and changed them out randomly. I added Kreinik blending filament 002V to color 640 for the hooks and to color 783 for the ornament caps.
I added Kreinik blending filament 032 to color 728 for the lazy daisies in the left ornament, and for the french knots and heart on the right ornament.
There was some confusion in class on what the pattern meant when it said add a line of 720 directly under #728 scalloped line. It just means stitch the scalloped line first with color 728. Then directly below that line stitch another in color 720. My lines are touching as you can see in the close up below.
The “P” block has the usual change in lettering color.
In addition, I added Kreinik blending filament 032 to colors 597, 598 and 3810 for the cake plate. Also the pattern did not give specific directions for the holly berries. I outlined and filled loosely with a satin stitch as the other berries in the pattern have been done.
September 12, 2012
Today we discussed the “Q” and “R” blocks.
The only change to the “Q” block was the lettering color. The points on the stars in the quilt are filled with french knots. If you want to avoid all those french knots, they could be filled with satin stitch instead.
October 10, 2012
The blocks for this month are “S” and “TUV”.
On the snowman I changed the Xs on the scarf to color 728, rather than having a scarf all on color. I also added Kreinik blending filament color 032 to all the snowflakes. Oh, and least we forget the lettering colors are changed as well.
November 14, 2102
Traveling forward in time the blocks on today are “W” and “X”
Of course, change the lettering color. I added Kreinik blending filament 032 to colors 3810 and 597 which are the bow. Also I got my pattern when it was first released and there is an error in the colors for the berries. Rather than 988 it should be 321. If your pattern is new it has been corrected in later printings.
December 12, 2012
Today is the final block and our block party brunch.
For those of you that are wondering hey why did she time travel and already post the rest of the year. The reason is many people are getting close to finished and some would like help assembling everything. So in addition to stitching at the next couple block parties, I would be happy to help put the whole thing together. REMEMBER if you are doing the border like I did do not trim the blocks to the size directed in the pattern. Rather use the measurements I provided in the Alternate Border directions under the June entry. I hope you’ve had as much fun with this as I did.