Thursday, January 9, 2020

Coming Along!

About a year ago, I joined the local chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America. After years and years away from it, counted cross stitch and charted embroidery grabbed my attention again. Throw in new-to-me forms of charted embroidery like hardanger, blackwork, and needlepoint. . . 

I was kinda hooked, but I'm a quilter. I make QUILTS. While I appreciate them,  framed hand work pieces to hang on the wall isn't my jam. So, I started playing and experimenting with turning stitchery into quilted projects.

At the guild, a different project or technique is featured each month. For January 2019, we were introduced to a year-long 'sampler' of alphabet charts. Mostly-cross stitch, but this particular sampler featured a different stitch for each block, one to go with each letter of the alphabet.

My first thought was - what a fun way to get familiar with different stitches. My second thought was - I'm going to make a quilt, and test my 'idea.'

This stitchy/quilty concept was something I had been twirling around in my head several months prior. I wanted to incorporate quilting techniques that I know like the back of my hand and newer-to-me stitchery techniques.

Nothing new, but. . .

Adding cross stitch to quilting isn't anything new. Cross stitch on cotton or linen, much like redwork, has been part of the quilting world for a very long time.

However, adding continuous, counted stitched borders is, to my knowledge, a brand new technique that came from my brain. I've dubbed the technique Stitchery Crossover.

After testing the Stitchery Crossover technique on a few smaller projects, the alphabet blocks are my big test to see if this would really work in a quilt (or quilt-related projects). Each alphabet chart included a small border within the chart, I repeated that border in my blocks with a quilt fabric border in between (that's the key to this technique). Sounds easy enough, right?

Very quickly, I discovered to get this done right, it was not so fast, and not so easy. And I developed a system involving calculations, precision applique (incorporating a familiar applique technique from my quilting tool kit), and familiar, but slightly different, quilting construction processes and considerations.

With 24 blocks - one for each letter of the alphabet (X,Y,Z are together in one block) - this was no small undertaking! Stitching and handwork are slower sports than machine piecing and quilting, but equally enjoyable, IMO.

One year later, the blocks are almost done.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, I laid them out the other day on my work room floor to snap a picture. . .

Not done yet. . .
While the end is in sight. There are still lots of decisions to make and steps to complete. . . What size to trim the blocks; sashing, no sashing; choose an overall focus print, or use the leftovers from the blocks in a border or backing treatment, quilting that highlights the various techniques involved. 

And of course, I have one last block to finish - the border is *almost* done.

A few months ago, I invited you to join me on this continuing journey. Once the alphabet quilt is done, I'm excited to put Stitchery Crossover to the test, with some new projects already in the works.

The invitation is open, would you like to learn this brand new Stitchery Crossover technique for your quilty-crossover endeavors? Get ideas, learn the technique, and have fun as the detailed steps unfold. C'mon along!!

CLICK HERE for more information and to join.

Happy Stitching!

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