Thursday, November 30, 2017

Free Block of the Month: Goldenrod

It's hard to believe that we are already up to block 4 of our Flora and Fauna of Germany, Stitch Along. While most of the flowers around here are gone, I still have fond memories of seeing the large bushes of goldenrod along our walking paths. They were almost as tall as me and loaded with golden spikes of flowers.


As I was planning this block, my initial instinct was to use French knots for the flowers because that is what goldenrod looks like from afar. The goldenrod was a common flower to stitch in Victorian crazy quilts and most of the ones I have seen were made with French knots. I fell in love with and bought this antique, embroidered, goldenrod piece a couple of years ago—talk about lots of French knots!

I love the texture the stitcher created with the silk thread and all those knots.


So many knots!

However, when you look at the flowers up close, they are made up of a fluffy center with some petals around it. This changed my thinking as to how to do the embroidery on this block.

A collection of flower clusters.

A couple of months ago, I was in my friend Birgit's quilt shop and I noticed a basket of embroidery threads in all different shapes and sizes. A couple of them caught my eye, but one in particular screamed "goldenrod". It was more of a tape than a thread, but I knew it would provide just the right texture. Now I had the thread but I needed to scour my stash for just the right golden, appliqué fabric and I found it in the Van Gogh inspired piece. A little scrap of green and I was set to start the cotton block.


Cotton Block

I began this block by transferring the design onto the back of the fabric, and then proceeded to back-baste all my goldenrod pieces. The fabric I used was perfect in color but tended to fray, so I had to pull out my trusty glue stick. A swipe with my needle over the top of the glue allowed me to tame the pesky threads as I turned them under.

Leaves basted and ready to stitch.

I was happy with the way the appliqué looked without embroidery but I knew it would be even better with the goldenrod thread/tape I bought. I stitched a French knot and then 4-5 straight stitches around it, starting at the top and working my way down the appliqué.

The stitches added another layer of texture.
I loved this tape!

The finished block  with a stem-stitched stem out of #5 pearl cotton from Oliver Twist Fibres.

I was happy with the finished result and Teri said it made her sneeze just looking at it!

Stitches and Threads Used (cotton block)

Gold hand-dyed tape for French knots and straight stitches on flower (I got mine from an unknown source but you can purchase something similar from Threadnuts in the Klimt palette.
Variegated blue/green #5 pearl cotton from Oliver Twist Fibres for stem stitch.


Wool Block



I gathered my two colors of wool and matching threads; the green wool came from a source here in Germany, DK Wright Construction.. Kelly, the owner has been fantastic to work with and I was thrilled to be able to find a source here.










I stitched down my flower pieces with matching thread using an appliqué stitch and for the leaves I used a blanket stitch with a silk and wool blend from Thread Gatherers.


For the wool block, I wanted to pay homage to the antique goldenrod piece above, so I decided to do French knots for the flowers. The knots don't have to be orderly and perfect, so I varied the size with 2 and 3 wraps and I also varied the tension of my wraps to give some a looser look. The hand-dyed #12 pearl was perfect for creating variation in the color of the knots.

Varying the size of the knots helps to add texture.

A stem stitch with #12 pearl cotton for the leaf vein.

The finished wool block.

Stitches and Threads Used (wool block)
Gold #12 pearl cotton, Painters Threads from Threadnuts in Klimt, for French knots
Green wool/silk blend in Dark Forest by Thread Gatherer for stem stitched stem and blanket stitch around leaves
Light green variegated #12 pearl cotton Valdani #O575 for stem stitched vein on leaf


And then there were four!

All the cotton blocks, August-November.

All the wool blocks, August through November.

Have you joined in the fun yet? If so, we'd love to see your blocks! These blocks go together very quickly, even with the embroidery and there are more to come, so if you haven't joined us yet, jump right in.

Download the Goldenrod HERE

To see the other blocks in our stitch along:
Fly Agaric

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