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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Help with a block?

Hi Gerry, I am wondering if you can help me with my Swedish Country block  I have lots of ideas   but not sure how to decide where to put them. I have attached a pic of the block so far and also pics of the elements I want to add.  The flag is blue and yellow, so those are the main colors, but a dash of red and green will also be added.
I added the silkie because it was by a national artist (Larsson) and the right colors for the block, but now I am afraid it is too small and my idea to add the piece of light blue to the top to "extend the sky" is causing problems. Do you think I should cover the pic and add it elsewhere?
 Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.  Thank you so much. Darlene

Well this is going to be a little long because there are some interesting points.  You were very clever to pick Carl Larsson as the artist for this block... He is a contemporary of our Norman Rockwell and both focused heavily on family and everyday life..  You were right in the the silkie is too small and really makes no impact at all...  I looked for that particular painting with no luck...

Often when making silkies the option of severely cropping can be a big asset...  Most of the time the image chosen is just too busy to make an impact on a block...  Focusing on just the elements that are relevant to your block makes a tremendous difference.

Since I couldn't find your painting I chose another winter scene.  You can see that the picture as a whole is too complex, but if you crop out everything but the child it is much more suitable.
Since the elements you chose are quite simplistic and lovely, if I were you I would follow along with this throughout...  I love the birds (big surprise) and not only would I use the larger white one which you already have on the block, I'd repeat with several of the smaller one.  You had thought of adding skates but why not also add mittens, hats and scarf in one cluster... The scarf and skate lace could make fantastic directional elements.  Be sure to do your flag "waving" so it add additional movement to your block.

Just an added thought or two... I adore the twiggy blue and red things by the dala horse and encourage you to use them... Also I googled Swedish needlework and it is a goldmine of inspiration for seams. You might also consider a snowflake or two or maybe even some norther lights...
So using all your choices and a couple of mine  I whipped this rough draft  up in photoshop and hope it gives you some directions...

And that's my 


  1. Hi Gerry, thanks so much for the work on my block. Your advice was helpful for this block and I am sure will be put to use for many others to come. I am anxious to get started and will post a picture when done. Thank you again for all your work. Darlene

  2. Darlene, I know your block will be awesome and I love Gerry’s comments. And BTW, the trim we talked about is on its way to you and will be PERFECT for this block!! Hugs, Cat K