Thursday, December 29, 2011

Comfort and JOY with Kd of KdQuilts and her Crystal Angel

Merry Christmas a few days after the fact!
Hey, this is Kd from KdQuilts
and I sincerely hope you are enjoying the
holidays this year and being super crafty. Once again, huge thanks
and appreciation go out to Madame Samm for hosting
Comfort and Joy on the SewWeQuilt blog.
She is so talented at organizing wonderful
events to satisfy the creativity in all of us!

When I read the suggestions for this December quilty marathon there
seemed to be quite a bit of interest in embroidery, so that is when
the idea began to form in my mind for this little piece. Unfortunately,
it isn’t a five minute project. But I think you’ll really enjoy stitching
my Crystal Angel and displaying her into the New Year. She might
even become a new Angel Series! Stay tuned in the future on
Here’s a photo of the finished Crystal Angel
wall hanging so you know where we’re headed.
Select a light colored fabric for the embroidery background.
A fat quarter or 1/3 of a yard will do because the piece you
need to cut is 9” x 11”. I chose a fabric with a silver fleck in it
to add interest and sparkle, but you don’t have to use anything
that fancy. It’s a good idea to zigzag the edges to prevent raveling,
but not totally necessary. For the pattern go over to my blog at
sign up to be a follower and then you can
download the PDF file for the embroidery.
Using a light table or window secure the pattern with masking tape and 
center the fabric over the pattern. The pink "+" on the Angel's hand
on the pattern marks the center of the design. Then trace all the lines
with a fine brown 005 Micron Pigma pen. Just make a small dot to 
show the placement of the French knots.
I like to use Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. I bought the 24 count 
tin and used half of the colors. I love all of the colors, and can’t imagine 
what it would be like to own the entire set of 150 in a neat 
organized tin. Maybe someday! But I digress.
 Mount the fabric backwards in a large hoop so that the fabric is held
securely but you can place it on a hard surface to be able to apply the colors.
With your colored pencils shade the Angel as shown in the picture below.
 Here are a couple of close-ups for more detail. The top half...
...and the bottom including the star basket and red shoes! 
 The colors I used are listed in the following table. Most of my 
coloring was just around the edges to accent the embroidery we will
be doing soon like the light green around the edges of the dress.
When using colored pencils in your quilting and embroidery, 
a textile setting medium must be applied, allowed to dry, and 
then heat set to make the color a permanent part of the fabric. 
I like to use Jacquard Textile Color #100 Colorless Extender. 
This product can be found in art supply stores, or you can use 
Plaid brand FolkArt Textile Medium available at most craft stores.
The Jacquard Textile Colorless Extender is a milky white in the jar, 
but dries clear. Again, it helps to secure the background fabric in a
large hoop for this step of the process, so remount the fabric in the 
hoop in the normal manner. With a paintbrush apply the extender to all 
areas of the fabric that are colored. Note: if using FolkArt Textile Medium 
be careful to rinse your brush in between different colors and do not 
paint any areas that are not colored as they will be stained. With the 
Jacquard brand I didn’t have to be that careful as it worked beautifully 
right out of the jar. Rinse your brush in water to clean the bristles.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on the back 
of the jar for this step. Jacquard says to allow the extender to air dry 
for a couple of hours, remove the hoop and from the wrong side of
the fabric, carefully heat set the colored areas with a medium hot iron
for about 30 seconds, watching that you do not scorch the fabric.

Now cut a 9” x 11” piece of light to medium weight fusible interfacing 
and iron it onto the back of the background fabric according to the 
manufacturer’s instructions. I used medium weight Pellon 911FF 
fusible interfacing for this step. Using an added layer of interfacing 
helps prevent shadowing of the crossovers and knots (if you use them) 
on the backside of your embroidered piece. Some people believe in 
using knots to begin and end their floss ends and some don’t. 
It is up to you how you wish to secure your floss ends.
The handy embroidery supplies pictured above (from top 
to bottom) include a 4” hoop, a Clover needle threader, 
Gingher 4” embroidery scissors, a pack of size 7 Bohin crewel 
embroidery needles, and a brown 005 Micron Pigma pen.

We’ll keep it simple and only use 2 different embroidery stitches: 
1) the Back Stitch and 2) the French Knot. 
If you are confident with your embroidery skills feel 
free to commence stitching. Otherwise we’ll review 
the steps you’ll need to know now.
This is pretty simple. Mount the fabric in the hoop, thread a needle with 
2 strands of floss, and knot the end if you wish. Holding the hoop 
right-side up poke the threaded needle up from the backside at 
Point #1 and pull the thread all the way through. Insert the needle 
from the top side of the fabric down at Point #2 and back up
at Point #3 and again pull the needle and thread all
the way through to complete the back stitch. 

I like to keep the length of each of the stitches about 1/8”
or less depending on how tight the curve is I am stitching.
The smaller the stitches the sharper the curve you can nicely stitch.
Repeat inserting the needle in the fabric at Point #2 and bringing it up 
at Point #3 following the line you wish to stitch. Be careful to not pull 
the thread too tightly as you stitch. Keeping a nice even tension is best.
A lot of embroiderers hate French Knots. I think the key to making 
them is controlling the tension on the thread at all times. 
Remember, practice makes perfect. So here we go.

STEP 1: Again, have your fabric mounted in the hoop, thread a 
needle with 2 strands of floss, and knot the end if you wish. 
Holding the hoop right-side up poke the threaded needle up from 
the backside at Point A and pull the thread all the way 
through. Hold the thread taut with your left hand 
(if you are right handed) as shown above.
STEP 2: With the needle pointed away from the fabric wrap the thread 
around the needle the required number of wraps around the taut thread.
STEP 3: Without losing the thread wraps, carefully poke the needle 
back down into the fabric close to Point A. Continue to control 
the thread tension with your other hand as you pull the 
remainder of the thread through to the back side.
STEP 4: Admire your beautifully stitched French Knot!
So now we are ready to hand stitch the angel. You can see all 
of the colors of DMC 6-strand embroidery floss I used in this 
project. DMC #5282 is a metallic floss, but it's really not that
hard to work with and adds a nice touch to the embroidery.
The floss table below
is a guide to the colors to use for the different
parts of the Angel including the number of strands and the 
number of wraps for the French Knots wherever they occur.
Stitch the parts of the Angel in any order you wish, but just have 
fun with it! It is very rewarding to watch the progress 
of a project like this and see it through to the end.
Back stitch all the lines and stitch French Knots on all of the dots.
Once your hand stitching is complete, remove the hoop and carefully 
press the embroidery from the wrong side. You may gently hand 
wash the piece if you wish, then towel blot and iron it dry.
With a rotary cutter and ruler, center and trim the design to 
5.5” wide by 7.5” high. 
We’re going to do a quick-finish now, 
flip-quilting it so the completed piece will measure 
8” x 10” with a hanging pocket on the back. You’ll need a
small piece of thin batting and a couple of fat quarters of 
coordinating cotton fabric to complement the colors 
in the finished Crystal Angel embroidery.

Cut the batting 8.5” x 10.5”
Cut backing fabric 8.5” x 10.5”
Cut 4 squares 2.75” x 2.75” for corners
Cut 2 – 2” x 9.5” strips for side sashing
Cut 2 – 2” x 8.5” strips for top and bottom sashing
Cut 1 – 2.5” x 7.75” for hanging pocket
Place backing right side down with batting centered on the top. 
Center the embroidery on top of the batting and pin in place.
Press each of the four 2.75” squares in half diagonally.
Place one on each corner of the embroidery and pin as shown.
Pin each of the 2” x 9.5” strips with their right sides down 
along long side edges of embroidery and sew with a ¼” seam. 
You will be sewing through the side piece, triangle, 
embroidery, batting and backing all in one step.
Press each side fabric piece away from the 
embroidery and pin in place along outer side edges.
In the same manner, pin each of the 2” x 8.5” strips with their right 
sides down along the short top and bottom edges of the embroidery
and sew with a ¼” seam (as shown below). Wait on pressing these strips
in place until the hanging pocket is sewn in place in the next step.
On both of the short edges of the 3” x 7.75” hanging 
pocket piece turn under edges ¼” twice.
Stitch close to first fold to hem on both edges.
With pencil lightly mark a line centered down the length of this strip 
(1.25” from each edge). Center this pocket piece right 
sides together on the top edge of the back.
Sew along this center line through all three layers (pocket strip, 
backing, and batting). Press bottom edge of pocket along 
sewing toward the top, matching edges. Pin in place.
Now press the 2” x 8.5” strips on the front away from the
embroidery toward the top and bottom edges and pin in place.
Lightly press the entire piece. Evenly rotary trim the edges
so that the piece measures 8” wide by 10” tall.
Bind all edges as desired. This is how I did my binding:
For the binding fabric cut bias strips 2” wide and at least 38” 
long (piece together strips if necessary). Sew binding right sides 
together onto front of quilt with a 3/8” seam mitering corners as 
you go. Turn binding to back and hand whip stitch in place.
Turn the four bias triangles away from embroidery and 
lightly press as pictured above. Hand sew a decorative 
button, as shown in photo below, on each one.
Insert wire hanger into pocket, hang on your wall and enjoy!
Thanks for “hanging” in there with me 
through these lengthy instructions. 
Happy New Year and a blessed 2012 to you and yours!


  1. My Mum would love this! and I have plenty of time to make it for next Christmas :-)
    Thankyou for posting.

  2. This is so beautiful! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I had seen this type of stitchery but had never understood how to do it 'till now. Well done!

  3. The is such a sweet angle. Oh my. And I love the way you finished it. What a great idea with the corners.
    Check - on my list to make in 2012.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Good Morning Kathleen...wow....detail, color, original, heavenly...that about says it all..thank you for a lovely tut.

  5. Angels are a particular favorite of mine - and this one is wonderful! blessings, marlene

  6. This is just beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing how to create this lovely angel!

  7. Sew lovely!
    Angels have always been a favorite of mine. Thanks for the creative tut!

  8. Gorgeous! Thanks for the oon-line workshop, great tips!

  9. Oh my, That is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  10. This angel is so sweet and precious. Thank you for sharing your wonderful tutorial. Angels on High...

  11. Kd, that's the cutest little angel. Love the turned back corners - great idea. Sweet design.



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