We received several letters from our customers asking how photo stitch designs can be used in quilt blocks. On this page, we share some of our ideas. As it is still summer, we used mostly floral designs.
Machine embroidery looks great on traditionally pieced quilt blocks. Here is an example. First we pieced the block, then embroidered it right across all the seams. An ordinary tear-away stabilizer was used. The block features Pink Fairy and Columbine from Wild Flower Series.
The piece shown on the picture consists of four 9" x 9" blocks sewn together. We used two light baticks and two green baticks. To make one block, you'll need to cut three 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares out of light fabric and three 3 1/2" x 3 1/3" green squares.
To make a two-color square, we recommend to use Thangles available in all quilt stores, or at www.thangles.com. Thangles is a paper foundation to make fast and accurate half-square triangles. They come in different sizes; choose the 3.0" finished size.
If you do not have Thangles, you'll have to cut out three 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" squares out of light fabric and the 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" squares out of green fabric. Place tan and green squares together face to face. You'll get 3 pairs. With a lead mechanical pencil, draw a diagonal on the lighter square. Stitch 1/4" from the pencil line on both sides.
Cut along the line. Open the new square. Press the seam towards the green. Trim the ears. Repeat for all the pairs. You will get six two-color squares, measuring 3 1/2" x 3 1/2". For one block you'll need 3 of them. Use the other 3 for the second block.
Sew the block together. First sew the squares into rows, then sew the rows together.
Make the three remaining blocks and sew all four blocks together.
If you feel uncomfortable about embroidering across seams, here are some ideas of blocks with solid central parts.
The first block is the Magnolia block. It features the design Magnolia from the Trees in Blossom Series. The central part is 7" x 9" (cut it 7 1/2" x 9 1/2"). The first, white, border is 1/2" wide (cut it 1" wide), the second border is 2" wide (cut it 2 1/2"). The second border is pieced of scraps of 2 different fabrics - crazy piecing was used and the border has an irregular pattern.
The Saguaro Cactus block features four different fabrics and the Saguaro Cactus design. The central part is sand-colored and 7" x 9" (cut it 7 1/2" x 9 1/2"). It is surrounded by a 1/2" wide desert green border (cut it 1" wide). The second border is 2" wide (cut it 2 1/2" wide).
The upper, lower and left side of the border are pieced out of dark green-brown batik and the desert greeb fabric. The right border is made out of patterned fabric with South-Western motifs; the fabric matches the sand color of the central part. The unexpected use of the patterned fabric to break the symmetry of the block adds an artistic touch to the block.
Both Magnolia and Saguaro blocks can be incorporated in a quilt or used as separate units in a wall hanging, tote bag or similar project.
The following four blocks are very simillar - the central part is 7" x 9" surrounded by 2" wide borders. The finished size of each block is 11" x 13" (11 1/2" x 13 1/2" with unifinished edges). All these blocks can be used separately or combined into a quilt. The choice of flowers in our collection and fabrics in quilt stores is so wide that you can make hundreds of different blocks.
The Columbine block features three fabrics and the Columbine design from Garden Flower Series.
The central part of the block is 7" x 9" (cut it 7 1/2" x 9 1/2"). The first border is 1/2" wide (cut it 1" wide).
The second border is 1" wide. To make it cut two different fabric into 1" wide strips. Sew the strips together and press the seams. Cut the piece you get into 1 1/2" wide strips. For corners, cut four 1 1/2" squares out of the dark violet fabric.
The third border is 1/2" wide (cut it 1" wide).
The California Blue Bells block features four fabrics - a pale blue background and three narrow borders.The first two borders are 1/2" wide (cut them 1" wide). The third border is 1" when finished (cut it 1 1/2" wide).
The Physalis block uses three fabrics. The central part is of lime green color, it's surrounded with a 1" wide dark green patterned border. The second border is also 1" wide; it consists of half square triangles, made with the help of Thangles (1.0" finished size is used).
The Physalis design from garden Flower Series is used for this block.
The Sunflower block also consists of a 7" x 9" central part and a 2" border.
To get this border, you need four 1 1/2" wide strips: one strip of green fabric, two strips of brown fabric and one strip of the same tan-colored fabric as you used for the central part. Sew one the brown strips to the green strip, and the other brown strip to the tan strip. Press the seams. Cut the bi-colored strips into 1 1/2" pieces. Put the small strips together as shown.