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, October 9, 2012

Lorraine's dilemma

Well it's been a very busy six months but I'm back.... It's not that I'm not thinking about blocks all the time because I do.... They're like puzzles to me and I just can't help thinking "what if?'  The other day Lorraine posted a "recovery" on her CQJP project and  to quote her...   "It is far too heavily stitched but I really had no choice if I wanted to save the block. "     And she's right about too much stitching... There's no place for the eye to rest and even though the stitching is perfection all the parts are not in harmony...  But I wish I had caught her attention BEFORE she started to save it..

At the beginning she stenciled some leaves along a seam and some branches leading gracefully into the block..  She decided to experiment with some fabric paint and a couple of stencils  and thought it sounded  like a good idea but once she started stitching found the branches looked too thick and wanted  to cover up the  permanent stenciling!  Since the leaves were along a seams they were going to be easier to conceal but the branches went across most of the block and 4 patches...

Well I must confess that I think her idea was inspirational (branches not leaves.) and her problem was not how to hide the branches but how to save the branches.

By over-stitching along the branches with several shades of brown they look entirely different.. If you try to cover the branches with a satin stitch they would still look too thick... but by loosely following their path the stitching defines the branches and the stenciling almost becomes shadow like.

Then if she came in and delicately added blossoms to the branches the problem would be solved... What parts of the branches did peek through would have added strong direction and interest to the design of the block... and she would have had room for her lovely butterfly to show up..

Now can you see the difference?  The floral motif adds direction and does not compete with the fabulous seam treatment hiding the leaves.

Lorraine has just opened an Etsy shop which is filled with luscious hand-dyed threads...  Check it out..

Fun to be back at BlockTalk and as always these are just my opinions and my 


  1. Yes! I've been checking here occasionally for months and today is my lucky day - you're back!! Learning from you is so much fun.

  2. I follow Lorraine's blog and saw her block when she posted it. I thought the block was beautiful....but now when I see it through your eyes, I have once again learned a thing or 2. I know Lorraine had recently taken a crazy quilting class and thought the teacher had inspired her choice of embellishments. The floral ribbon band drew my eye when I first saw the block and I like the "fan" stitch she accented it with. The abbreviated branch and flowers allows me to enjoy those fan stitches even more.
    Glad to have you back!

  3. For me, I LOVED the original branch and the leaves for a seam treatment. I would have removed the big pink trim or tried to dampen it quite a bit. To be honest, I didn't even realize there was a branch underneath all the SRE. Your idea for only stitching on one side of the branch is brilliant.

    If it were mine as is and I wanted to save it, I would treat the big block of SRE as "wisteria"-ish and add a craggy, wisteria like trunk up the left side of the block from the bottom using a brownish green, helping to bring out the underlying brown tones of the greens to help settle the block a bit.

    This was fun. Thanks to Lorraine for being such a good sport and to you for sharing the challenge. xo Susan

  4. So glad you are back Gerry! As always, your comments and those of both Deb and Susan are fabulous! In retrospect, I think it would have been a really good idea to post my block and find out how to "fix it" PRIOR to trying to do so myself. Live and learn.... After reading the various ideas I think I will give another branch and perhaps a tree a go on my next block. I'm hoping once I start putting all the blocks together that I can arrange this one in such a way as to save it. Otherwise, it will be a lesson learned and I'll move on. Thank you SO much for the shout out! Look forward to seeing more blocks from others too.