I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Deb's Block - My Two Cents!!!

I love Deb... not only because she does extraordinary needlework but also because she follows this blog and comments often... (and we all love comments!) Recently I visited her blog  and she had posted this block and asked for suggestions...  You know me I ALWAYS have a suggestion and I will tell you about it but first let's block talk about what is so great about this block..

The thing that I felt most compelling was the repetitive elements in the stitching..... a long loopy cadence... This ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! throughout the block actually gives the block rhythm..  Can you feel it...? I'm sure she didn't set out to do this intentionally but it happens in some stitchers' work and it is a mark of their style. The stitches are different but the unifying characteristic is the length..  I also mentioned this recently in someone else's block.   If you are aware of it you can almost feel the beat..

The next thing I want you to notice are the fans... same shape - completely different.. That arc element is even echoed (repeated) in the top of the heart.  As I say often it is this echoing of shape, color, or other elements that bring harmony to a block...  This IS something that you can do intentionally as you work on a project..  It can be subtle but should be there in your work and something to strive for...

I know I sound like a broken record but the one thing I learned from teaching primary grades is that if you repeat an idea often enough it starts to sink in...

Finally there is this patch with the all-over treatment which I refer to as "surface texture"  It has an entirely different purpose than a motif.  A motif is a focal point and draws your eye...  It says "look at me!"  Surface texture not only enhances the "encrusted" quality of a work, it give the eye a place to rest...  It fills a space quietly and elegantly. I love the way she let the pattern ease over to the adjoining patches... a very nice touch.

Here are three other examples..  The top one was done by Manya of Romania and if you do not follow her blog  you should because she is an extremely talented needle person. 

The next one is by Lisa Boni whose work I praise often.  This is from a work she is finishing up now and has been long in the works..

And it doesn't always have to be monochromatic.. The bottom is from a small corner of a block I worked on..  This block had some pretty dramatic things going on as focal points and this bit of needlework quietly filled this corner.  Usually, but not always, surface texture is vine-like in nature because it is easy to fill space this way.  I'm collecting examples as I go along and will devote an entire post one day to surface texture...  You can watch for it and send me examples when you see them...

Now remember the picture of Deb's block at the beginning...  When I looked at it I felt the poor little butterfly far right was lost and lonely...  I would have liked to have seen more to the left of the heart in that space left.  The heart touches two other seams and leaves that space.... a perfect place to add a few butterflies for some "action"    I also felt that seam by the butterfly could be extended to balance the one of the left of the heart. 

So with the magic of photoshop I sent this to her.... On the whole these suggestions were very minor and quite irrelevant....

but she did add to the seam on the right and added another butterfly and a darling little beetle to appease me..

Thanks Deb for letting me use your block on "Block Talk" and that's


  1. I think Deb's work is so beautiful . it is always beauty to my eye... and your suggestions will be taken well by her as she goes upon her journey in needlework...I am sure she so appreciates you and your work as well..

    Love this block Deb... :D

  2. Thank you for your kind words here Gerry. I learn so much from your explainations, about what is right or what can be improved. There is much to said, for an honest opinion. Thank you for taking the time to really look at my block, make photoshop suggestions and emailing those to me. With those suggestions I could see where the block needed additions. The block, has now gone to live with Rose Ann in Canada. It was part of a block swap.
    Thank you again,

  3. I ALWAYS learn something when I visit your blog so thank you Gerry. I've not done an "all over" treatment so will be adding this to the next block - adore the look...