I didn’t bother to read the details of the Splendid Sampler when I signed up. I knew I’d bought 2 packages of mostly darker layer cakes that I ended up not using for the 365 sampler (because I ended up not doing that sampler). I decided to use it for this and figured this would be a really cheap sampler since I had the fabric. It hasn’t been really expensive, but it’s been decades since I’ve done any embroidery so I didn’t have any floss on hand, or a hoop, etc.
I saw Sunday’s block needed floss, and the sample block from Alyssa Thomas used variegated floss – I needed that! I headed over to JoAnn’s near me and realized that I couldn’t just buy one skein if I wanted variegated; I had to buy a package.
I had 2 options. There was the $19.99 version of the well-known manufacturer of embroidery floss. Or, I could go with the $8.99 Game Day floss. As a bonus (if you can read it) it says at the top “The Colors of Friendship”. Who could pass up floss that exuded friendship? Not me!
To back up, it took me longer to prep the block for embroidery than it should have because I opted to completely ignore the directions on the patchwork portion. I printed the pattern out on the Sulky stabilizer and then pressed it onto a 7″ square before I realized this one had sashing. I pulled the stabilizer back off, cut the 4 rectangles and 2 squares. At least I read that part!
There are a number of ways to put a triangle in a corner. The way I’ve done it most often is to draw a line, corner to corner and then sew 1/4″ from there on each side and cut between the 2 to end up with 2 squares.
I looked at the picture, saw the X so I drew that and decided I’d just sew down those 2 lines. You know, instead of reading what I was supposed to do. What I was supposed to do instead was sew around the edge of the block and then cut along the X line to end up with 4 squares. This came out right after I took the picture.
I finished up the piecing in short order and took a break until the evening to start the embroidery. I have a brand new package of embroidery needles; I’m not sure if I just don’t know my won strength, or if I got a defective package or what the issue is but by the time I was a third of the way through, I’d already snapped 2 needles in half. The back of my block is a hot mess of knots from trying to repair that.
My grandmother taught me to embroider and I remember as a little girl loving to do French knots and chain stitches. In spite of it all, I really have had a lot of fun working on this block but I finally decided to set it aside for the evening. Tomorrow is another day!
The next morning I realized one crucial thing – I was using an entirely different kind of thread than the sample had. It was very difficult to push the needle through fabric that had a much higher thread count than it was intended for. I wasn’t about to start over though.
I picked it up during lunch again on Tuesday and finally got into a rhythm. It’s still wet after rinsing out the Sulky stabilizer; I should be able to get the stitches to perk up a little once the quilt is done. I realized after I had rinsed the pattern out that I didn’t stitch the crochet hook into it.
I’m not gonna lie – I think this one took me the longest to complete so far. Lessons I learned:
- Read the instructions every time, all the way through – even if I think I know what they’re going to say.
- Read ’em again because I probably didn’t do that the first time even though I said I should have.
- If something doesn’t make sense, like the thread weight – set it down and think about it. Or phone a friend, blog about it, post on Facebook, stop random strangers on the street – whatever works until I know the plan before I start.
- Anticipate what other sundry items I might need for the remaining 90 blocks so that it’s a planned purchase next time.
- Resist the urge to put a time limit on completing each block.
- Enjoy the process!