Thursday, September 20, 2018

Free Block of the Month 12—Thistle

We have come to one year of our Flora and Fauna of Germany blocks. Originally, the plan was to stop at a year, but we are going to continue for a little while longer because the blocks are so much fun! 

This month's block is a bit prickly but beautiful in its own way and is actually a member of the sunflower family. In Celtic symbolism, the thistle represents bravery, devotion, and determination; however, in Victorian times, the thistle was a sign of meddling or intrusion. 

In Scotland, there is a legend that Viking invaders came to the Scottish coast with plans of conquering the sleeping Scots. While trying to be stealthy, they came ashore barefoot, stepped on thistles, and their cries of pain alerted the Scots to the impending invasion. Thankfully, our block version of this historical plant is all beauty, and hopefully, no pain.


Cotton Block 

This block is simple to appliqué and embroider and will go together quickly, as the only stitch used is the straight stitch! The stitch lines on the pattern are just guidelines—fill in your thistle flower and base with straight stitches until it looks good to you.

The appliqué is finished and the straight stitches started.

Straight stitches using two strands of floss make up the purple part of the flower,
and I used a #12 pearl cotton for the green.  

The finished block!

My pearl cotton and floss

Stitches and Threads Used (Cotton Block)

Thistle top—Six-stranded floss, 2 strands, straight stitch
Thistle bottom—Painters Threads, Turner, #12 pearl cotton, straight stitch


Wool Block

Thistle tops vary in color from pink to purple, and I decided to go with a purple thistle for both blocks. Only small scraps of wool are needed for this block and I had just the right green and purple in my scrap drawer. When Teri and I were in Birmingham, we met a wonderful vendor selling some vintage linen threads. This project seemed perfect to give those a try.

Staples worked well with the little scraps.

The stems of real thistles vary from green to brown. I decided to make the stems
of the wool thistle in brown using a chain stitch with linen thread.

Purple wool thread was perfect for the thistle top.

The finished block!

My linen and wool threads

Stitches and Threads Used (Cotton Block)

Thistle top—The Gentle Art Simply Wool™,  Hyacinth, straight stitch
Thistle bottom—Lingarn linen thread, green, straight stitch
Thistle stem—Lingarn linen thread, brown, chain stitch

We have a visit to Scotland coming up, and I hope to see this Scottish emblem while I'm there. Thankfully, there were no Viking invaders around when I stitched this block, but I loved how it turned out and how simple it was to make. I'm looking forward to adding this block to the collection. 

Stay tuned for a sneak preview in the future of how these blocks are coming together—and as always, if you have stitched any of these blocks, we'd love to see them!!


To download the Thistle pattern click HERE

To see the other blocks in our Stitch-Along:

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