Polka-dots, Stipple Blocks and Creativity, Oh my! Part 2

We are excited to have Eileen Roche, Editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery share this content with you, which was originally posted on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog : 

If you missed Part 1, click here.

I was making excellent progress this afternoon—stitching block after block.  I have quite an assembly line going!  Then I heard the dreaded Low Bobbin Warning beep with the accompanying sad face on the machine.  I always appreciate that the machine feels my pain.  Maybe it’s also a signal it’s time for chocolate.

Denise’s Must-Haves

Pre-wound Bobbins are the greatest invention since sliced bread!  They are the no-muss, no-fuss way of making sure you keep stitching!  When you hear that dreaded Low Bobbin Warning—you don’t have to worry about stopping to wind a new bobbin.  Just be sure you purchase the right type for your machine.  Consult your favorite local dealer for advice or open up the manual that came with your machine!

Or you can take the Always-Prepared-For-Every-Emergency-Approach and before you begin stitching wind a bunch of bobbins so you’re ready.  Either way works—you’ll be glad you have them handy.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog—I like to focus on one or two blocks and make as many variations as possible changing fabric, thread colors, etc.  I decided to use 5 Flower 5_small for my quilt.  I hooped a quilt sandwich using Snap-Hoop Monster and stitched a series of blocks.  Like snowflakes, I decided no two blocks would be alike.

To add variety I layered the applique fabrics in a different order and sometimes I got daring and skipped some applique steps and just stitched the outlines.  I kept my assembly-line process—and continued to stitch block after block without trimming away the applique.  This was a good idea and also a learning experience.  The finished blocks wouldn’t be unveiled until I trimmed them—talk about a fabricated surprise!

Using Snap-Hoop Monster makes it easy to lift the frame and slide the fabric to make room for the next block.  Love that!

I ignored that voice in my head that cautioned against layering light colored fabrics on top of black fabric.  I ignored that voice in my head that warned against using light colored thread on light fabrics.  After all, my goal was to be a free-spirit and create however I wanted.  I stand by that goal of creating and experimenting to see firsthand if something works… or not.  Who’s to say it does or doesn’t work but you, the designer?  Besides, it’s a valuable learning experience….

Denise’s Tip #1

Go ahead and experiment with colors, layering different applique fabric, working with busy prints, etc.  Make a note of what works and what doesn’t so that you can improve next time.

Learning Experience Block 1

I admit it was laziness that inspired me to not change thread colors.  I started out with white thread and figured I could stitch the entire block with white thread.  But if I had changed the thread to black when stitching the polka dot and the white fabric, the block would have been more attractive because the detailed stitching would have ‘popped’ more rather than blend in.  Sometimes, you do want everything to blend in… so there’s no hard fast rule.

Learning Experience Block 2

Light colored fabrics can be placed on dark fabrics.  You just have to place a second layer of light fabric underneath.  Notice how the black fabric affects the vibrancy of the orange polka dot fabric in Block 1 above.  For Block 2 below I used two layers of white fabric on top of the black.

More Experimentation!

After stitching a set of blocks using white and black solid fabric as a background I decided to experiment by using the orange polka dot fabric as the background.

Denise’s Tip #2

Remember to hoop the base fabric straight when working with printed fabrics.  If this is a challenge—then you’re not using Snap-Hoop Monster!  Snap-Hoop products have a flat top and bottom frame making it simple to adjust the fabric by giving it a tug.

Time to Play

I enjoy Stipple collections not only because they produce results quickly and flawlessly but I get to play!  I love stacking my quilt blocks then arranging them—and rearranging them and …  you get the idea.  There are countless ways to lay out the quilt blocks—go ahead and set aside some time to play!

It’s also a fun to get others involved in the creative process.  I asked Editor, Eileen Roche to rearrange the blocks.  I like what she’s come up with!

Looks like I’ll have a tough choice deciding layout.  Plus I’ll need to come up with some extra blocks to fill in!

Thanks for reading!

Reprinted with permission from Eileen's Blog.

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