Monday, October 5, 2009

Noah's Ark Embroidered Blocks

With a new bub in the family, I've naturally turned to baby thoughts like, "What else can I make for baby?" Embroidery sounds good, especially because I can travel with it. (You know how I always like to have hand work to travel with!)

I've been inspired by Aussie quilters who are making some gorgeous pieces combining stitchery and patchwork. Friends here gave me advice, and bloggy Julie in Oz shared her insights and experiences with embroidery.
An aside: Julie and I swapped emails and Skyped. If you haven't tried Skype-ing yet, I highly recommend giving it a try. It's quite remarkable to not only talk - for free! - with someone on the other side of the world (Iowa, USA to Queensland, Australia), but see them too. Though I Skype with family almost daily, it's still a marvel to me that it's even possible.
After shopping for and gathering everything, I'm undertaking another new project with these supplies:
  1. DMC embroidery floss - two strands separated (term: "stripped"), pulled from the skein and threaded into the needle with the thread grain.
  2. Needles - Foxglove Cottage, size 9 embroidery/redwork needles, by Jeana Kimball
  3. five inch spring embroidery hoop, used with the ring on top and the clamp on the bottom
  4. white Kona cotton fabric backed with
  5. something equivalent to "Whisper Weft." It's a white, 24"-wide, super-lightweight, woven fusible used for interfacing collars, backing t-shirts for quilts, and embroidery. You use this, or another layer of fabric basted to the embroidered design so you can carry threads across the back without shadowing on the front. (What an "ah-ha" moment that was for me when I figured it out myself!)
Bub's nursery theme is Noah's Ark. I saw this embroidery in a quilt at our Iowa State Fair, and I searched it out on the Internet. Inexpensive too.
I started embroidering on the smaller animal pairs, deciding to save the big ark design until I feel comfortable with the fusible backing, and my stitches.

I'll have to say that I always thought the most commonly-used embroidery stitch was the stem stitch, but since talking with Julie, I decided to try the backstitch. I used the "poke-stab" method. This is where I push the needle in from the top side of the embroidery, then move my hand to the bottom of the embroidery to push the needle up from the bottom.

Feeling confident, I moved on to another animal pair.
They are pretty small. Less than four inches square.
For them being such little blocks, it took a lot of time to choose floss colors. I resorted to looking on the Internet for photos some of the animals because I didn't know the colors of their beaks, bills, or hooves!

I'll probably backstitch all the blocks for this quilt, unless I come across places for other stitches. A good online resource for stitches is this one by Sharon B.

So now I've begun two embroidery projects, the other being "Snowmen from A to Zzzz." Sounds about right to me.


  1. Lovely embroideries Linda, perfect sizes for travelling. The little lambs are so cute.
    Will make up to a beautiful babies quilt.

  2. Your stitching is just beautiful! I love the design too.

  3. I love embroidery Linda, and particularly redwork. I've done several baby quilts and am working on another in redwork and they are so cute. You can find lots of free redwork patterns by googling it. blessings, marlene

  4. Love those closeup pictures. Your stitching is great. It will be a really cute quilt for the new baby boy.



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