Thursday, January 3, 2019

Block of the Month 16—Pinecone

Thank you for your interest in our Flora and Fauna blocks! They are no longer free but will be part of a future quilt pattern.

My, how time has flown! I (Kara) can't believe that it has been over a year since we started our Flora and Fauna of Germany stitch-along. It seems like just yesterday that I was walking the trails in our little German village for the first time, full of wonder at the natural beauty that I was seeing. Our first block was the Butterfly, back in August of 2017. 

Our first block!

We have stitched 15 blocks since then, and we have come to the end of the series. It's a little sad, as we have enjoyed putting these blocks together for you. But all good things come to an end, and we have our last block ready, with the decidedly winter symbol—the pinecone. 

Cotton Block

I began by appliquéing the pinecone shape onto my background using a piece of fabric that contained different shades of brown. It is a simple shape with just a few, gentle, curves—the details are added with the stitching. Using my white marking pencil, I traced the half-circle shapes onto the appliqué, using the pattern as a guide.

Marked and ready to stitch.

Using a variegated brown pearl cotton, I stem stitched the marked lines, working from the top to the bottom. I love the texture a variegated thread lends to my stitching, so I tend to gravitate towards those types of threads. I used a Valdani #12 in this instance.

Looking more pinecone-like

It started to look more like a pinecone, but I felt that it needed a little something more to make the petals or scales stand out. Using one strand of a dark brown floss, I added a stem stitch directly underneath the previous stitching.

Here I have done just the top row. Can you tell a difference?

All the scales have a little shading. It's just a little detail, but it adds a lot.

Next was the branch, and that was just a simple chain stitch for the branches, and some straight stitches for the needles. Hooping the block. when stitching the branches and needles for both blocks, helped to eliminate puckering.

Hooping helps!

A #5 pearl gives some dimension to the branch.


The finished cotton block

Stitches and Threads Used (Cotton Block)

Pinecone—Valdani #12 pearl,P12, stem stitch 
                   Gentle Arts floss, 1 strand, Espresso Bean, stem stitch (for shading)
Branch—Painters Threads, #5 pearl, Friederich, chain stitch
Needles—Gentle Art, Simply wool, Blue Spruce

Wool Block

For the wool block, I wanted to use the wool in layers to mimic the look of the scales. After I glued the pattern to freezer paper, I cut it into 6 pieces and ironed those pieces to my wool. For all the pieces but the top one, I cut straight across the scales in order to have something to stitch down. (See the picture below to show how I did that.)

There is a piece missing in this picture, but you can get the idea.

Starting at the bottom, I stitched just the top of each set of scales and then layered the next one on top of the previously stitched scale.

The first 4 layers

The finished pinecone

I used the same #5 pearl cotton for the branches, and a slightly thicker wool/silk blend for the needles. 

I tried to vary the needle angle and size as I went along.

The finished wool block

Stitches and Threads Used (Wool Block)

Branch—Painters Threads, #5 pearl, Friederich, chain stitch
Needles—Thread Gatherer, Sheeps Silk (wool/silk blend), Dark Forest

There you have it! The final block in our series and I think this was the fastest block yet. You can download all the blocks by clicking below in case you may have missed any. Have you made any of the blocks? Please email us pictures of your blocks  or post them on our Facebook page.

Stay tuned for our reveal of all the blocks put together and a special chance for those who have participated!!

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