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Perfecting the Tote Bag–Part 2, the Sheep in Sweaters Tote

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

So FINALLY we get to the Sheep in Sweaters Tote!  When I started the previous post, I discovered I’d never blogged about the turquoise tote, which is the forerunner and partner of this one!  I will say now that I have finished this post (Part 2), it is LONG–but I wanted to be sure you got ALL the good info. If you’re here for just the totebag part, skim the embroidery bits! Thanks for reading!

Those of you who get my newsletter (sign up in right sidebar on this blog or the bottom of all the other website pages–if you prefer enter 12345 as your zip code when it asks) or follow me on social media (@sarahannsmithq and @sarahannsmithartist on FB and @sarahannsmithdesigns on IG), may remember that in 2022, older son Joshua, daughter-in-love Ashley and I spent two weeks in Scotland.  While there Ashley spotted a hilarious totebag with this illustration.  It was a soft, squishy tote, but inexpensive so I bought it and vowed I would convert it into a bag I LOVE!

I forgot to take a photo before I picked out the side seams, but you can tell it is pretty supple.  Great for packing flat into a suitcase, but collapses and not so comfy when full.  In a minor miracle, it has only taken about a year to re-make it.  In the last post, I mentioned that I really like bags that stand up on their own, and that I wanted at least one pocket large enough to hold a knitting pattern in a page protector and/or an iPad.   FYI:  links to supplies / info on products is at the VERY end of this post.

The overall size of this tote was determined by the size of the image in the photo above and the width of the fabric I purchased to go with the colors of the illustration.  At Fiddlehead Artisan Supply (online shop, but if you EVER get anywhere near Belfast, Maine, you MUST go–quilting and garment fabric, books, art supplies galore, craft supplies…. LOVE), I found a Rifle Paper Company fabric with just the right colors.  Since it was about 43-44″ wide, that determined the circumference of the bag (didn’t want to buy a whole extra 27 inches to get just a short side panel!).  As with the turquoise onions tote, I quilted the fabric first, using cream thread and going around the motifs in the print.

I DO recommend clearing the area of stray stuff, like paper….that you really didn’t intend to quilt into the bag.  Ahem. Another truth-in-teaching moment……

At least you can see the lovely quilting pattern?

This year, as a Janome Artisan, I am one of the very few who was unbelievably fortunate to receive the new, top-of-the-line Janome sewing, quilting and embroidery machine, the M17 Continental.  I was determined to overcome my trepidation and learn machine embroidery.  OMG–yes I am affiliated but I’d say it anyway–the fact that I could get this outstanding a result on literally my first attempt says a lot of very good things about the machine and software as my skill level was way low (but I’m learning!).  I purchased an 18-color-change Tula Pink design from the Moon Glow collection at OESD.  I adjusted the colors very slightly (my blues are darker) due to the bazillion threads I already have and to better blend with the fabric colors.

The Janome software now works with both Apple and pc-based platforms.  You can use the Janome software to digitize your own designs and such on the computer, buy designs etc., then air-drop / send by wifi to your tablet AND to the SEWING MACHINE!  No thumb drives!  No compatibility hassles!  Just boom–you input your WiFi info into the sewing machine, and it talks to your iPad, which you can carry around the house with you as the design stitches!   There are also several free Janome apps for sketching, monitoring, accessing manuals and other helpful info.  Anyway…. here’s the screen

From top to bottom you can see

  • the recommended hoop size for the design
  • the proper embroidery foot
  • the dimensions of the design ( I think you can also change the settings so it displays in inches, not cm, but that may be a function of the design)
  • that tension is adjusted to manual
  • automatic cutting is on
  • speed of stitching is set to 600 stitches per minute (you get tension issues sometimes if you go too fast depending on the design)
  • minutes remaining until stitching is complete
  • Below the image, you see how many stitches have been sewn out of the total of 38,665 stitches.   The + and – sign are helpful–if the thread breaks or bobbin thread runs out, you can back up a few stitches so there aren’t any gaps in stitching!
  • To the right of that section, are the thread color (sequenced) and the thread color number if you are using a color supported in the software.  It is displaying the Janome thread colors but also supports major embroidery thread brands (but not alas the Superior Threads trilobal poly of which I have hundreds of colors, so I just winged it and chose colors, marking out which color corresponded)
  • A progress bar for stitching is below that.
  • In the very bottom you can see a square with arrows–that is to baste near the outside of the hoop to secure the stabilizer and fabric before stitching, and the brown box with a needle pointed at an X is to help you precisely position the design within the hoop.

Yes, as a total newbie to embroidery, I had to learn what all those things were, how to adjust this and that, but the fact that *I* could do it successfully on my first outing is a testament to good planning and design on Janome’s part.  Here are some photos from the embroidery process:

First, the design stitches a grid in a thread color to match the background fabric.  I am assuming this is to stabilize the fabric and prevent directional distortion from the way the stitches are programmed.   The first two layers were the dark gray, which is a pebble texture, then the darker blue in an extra long satin stitch that looks oh so lovely when all is done.

A lot of the stitching is now complete.  Having offset, duckbilled scissors (these were a gift from my dear friend Marie Z) helps a LOT when trimming threads close to the surface while still in the hoop).

The design is now completely stitched out and I am releasing the hoop from the carriage (on the left).

This is the back of the design… which frankly I think looks pretty good.  I used a soft shot-cotton plus one layer of sturdy stabilizer. I was a little concerned at some buckling despite hooping very snugly, but it pressed flat very nicely.  However, on a design as large as this one, about 4×5 inches, I might add a second layer of stabilizer next time.  I used the triple-stretch stitch to decorate the rest of the pocket background–this is a common utility stitch on many machines.

Next was assemble the parts.  In the photo above, you can see that I used a strip of print fabric cut 1″ wide, with edges folded to the center, to appliqué the Tula pocket (and also the front of the original totebag to the front of the bag).  The Tula Moon Garden Flower 3 (link at the end) embroidered pocket is on the side that faces my body…sized to hold my cell phone and safe from pickpockets by being on the inside.  I like the idea of a wipe-clean base for my bags–there is a lot of scuzzy, icky stuff out in the world.  AND by having something sturdy cover the bottom 1/2-1″ of the sides, it protects the corners from wearing out.  I used cork fabric from FabricFunhouse (a wholesaler, but they also sell retail–click on the link in the name).  The inside pockets were sewn on first (see photo below).  There is a single patch pocket behind the sheep-in-sweaters that is slightly narrower, so the stitching doesn’t show on the outside.  On the other part of the interior, I used leftover canvas from the original bag and the pretty selvage as a trim.  You can see my chalk-,asked guidelines.

It was on the printed pocket that I had my brainstorm!  I wanted the pocket to stand up and not flop, but if I had used the Soft And Stable all the way to the edges of the pocket it would have been way too thick and lumpy and hard to sew.  SO!  I cut the Soft and Stable about 2″ narrower than the full width of the pocket!  That meant I would have just the fabric on the edges, allowing me to sew the pocket in place, making a little pleat on either side.  Easier to sew and lets me slide my iPad inside without bulging. Mo’ bettah! (see second photo)

Here’s that side of the bag after it was completed:

Then I added the outside pockets.  The Tula flower pocket was sewn on so that the stitching created divisions in the interior pocket.  Here’s what it looked like when done.

Once the pockets were sewn it was time to add the cork on the outside/base and close up the bottom.

All these layers on the bottom made an extremely thick base, but a good sturdy machine like the HD9 from Janome (does only straight stitch, reasonably priced) or models like the 6600, M7 and so on, are all plenty strong enough.  See some caveats below though for safe sewing!

When sewing on cork, use a longer stitch. If you use a short stitch, it can perforate the fabric and it will tear like paper in a spiral notebook!  I think I used 3.5 length.  Notice that the right side of the Acufeed (Janome’s integrated dual-feed “walking” foot) is just OFF the cork.  I am using the inside edge of the foot and the precise positioning possible by moving the needle to one of the 19 positions to get perfect stitching alignment along the edge of the cork.

Once the cork is applied, I folded the bag so the vertical seam was in a corner. Boxing the corners is a bit of a heart-stopping effort for me.  I folded the corners to “box” it, making sure everything was squared up correctly.  That is a crazy thick amount of fabric on those corner triangles:   two of lining, two of the Soft and Stable, two of the linen-cotton light-canvas print, two of cork).

Here I am starting to sew from the outside edge to the center at the corner with the vertical seam (which extends to the center of the bottom of the bag).  I like to put something like a needle case or folded fabric about where my finger is pointing to get over the thick hump.  Clover Wonder Clips hold things way better than pins and don’t bend and distort.   I work from the outside to the center on each side of each triangle to avoid having to sew through the impossibly thick center seam.  Just sew up to the seam, HAND WALKING THE NEEDLE as you approach the center seam.  The machine is plenty strong enough to send the needle through, but needles are actually flexible and can BEND and “deflect” (get pushed sideways) just going through all those layers.  If that happens, then they hit the throat plate, break, yada yada–you don’t want that to happen!   So just hand walk those last stitches, then push reverse and hand walk going backwards.

PHEW… always exhale when this part is done.

A close up to show how snugly I have the foot up against the seam.  Gulp. Onward to finishing!

I trimmed away about 1/4″ of the carpet binding tape and put that raw edge next to the top of the bag on the inside and stitched it in place. I turned the tape to the outside and sewed it down using a cream colored thread which matched the zipper flaps.  But looked awful elsewhere.  Pitt Artist Pens (like Pigma but more colors–I get mine at Dick Blick online or at Fiddlehead) to the rescue!

Once again I used that carpet binding tape (think for rug hookers and such) as the straps.  I had the fun idea to use a strip of the print, just as I had used to appliqué the pockets in place, down the center of the handles, which otherwise were very brown and kinda overwhelmed the bag (no other color available at the time worked as well).  I LOVE the final look of them.  I stopped the strip up above the hardware to make it easier to sew.  In the photo above, I am using the other end of the handle to hold up the back of the presser foot and level it out, making it easier to sew to the very edges of the straps.  I used folded print fabric to make the tab that holds the hardware in place.  I could have sewn the straps directly to the bag, but if anything is going to wear out, it would be the handles.  This way I can replace the straps easily.  AND they hang down nice and flat by being attached with hardware instead of being sewn directly to the bag–that may not matter to you.  Do what works for you!

And Sorry this is SO LONG–want to get it all into ONE post.

You can see how I stitched the handle to the hardware, and the hardware to the cloth tab to the bag.  The cloth tab is partly hidden by the large outside pocket.  The top of the pocket gapped, so I used magnets again just at the center top of the bag.

For the closure I only had one yellow zipper and wanted to finish the bag in time for a trip, so instead of the double-zip I opted for this:

The ends, unlike the turquoise bag, are open.  I left the zipper tail LONG so that when full unzipped the flaps fold flat inside the bag and the tail hangs down out of the way (look at the pocket photos above).  I used a scrap of the cork to cover the end of the zipper.  Lesson:  it is good to have a stash of zippers on hand!  Time to order more from byAnnie— by the way Annie Unrein is one of my favorite people in the industry.  I love her patterns and the quality of the items she sells is top notch.

Final thoughts:  I still prefer the East-West orientation of the turquoise tote–the overall size and shape I like better.  But this tote size was dictated by the fabric and original tote, and it works also.  I LOVE the variation on the pockets on the sheep-in-sweaters totebag and will definitely use that un-padded edge trick again.  I prefer the two-zipper closing because …well… CATS chewing yarn is not fun.  Or healthy for them.  But for most folks the simple version I used on the sheep tote is just fine and dandy.

THANK YOU if you actually read all of this marathon of a post.  I hope you got some good ideas! If you design your own tote, do send me pictures!


I used the following supplies–note, you can find hotlinks to some of these products on Amazon by going here:

  • Fabric from Rifle Paper Company and purchased totebag
  • Cork fabric for the base from Funhouse Fabrics
  • byAnnie Soft and Stable for the “batting”–it is a foam with a peached (softly fuzzed) fabric that looks like nylon tricot but soft and grippy
  • Polyester and cotton threads
  • Carpet binding tape–I folded this in half, sewed at the edge and presto, nearly perfect handles that are soft, sturdy and comfortable.  Purchased at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply but not on their website alas.
  • Bag rings/rectangles–I bought mine from byAnnie but Sallie Tomato also has a good selection
  • Zippers from byAnnie –these zippers have wider tape and sturdy teeth that are perfect for bag-making
  • Magnets from byAnnie
  • OESD Tula Pink Moon Garden Flower 3
  • Corrugated plastic:  looks like cardboard but made of plastic, available at art and/or craft stores.  Cut to size to make a base for the bag.  Cover in a tube of fabric or leave as is.  Fabric is nicer, but… happens and sometimes that tube happens later!  Makes a fairly sturdy base, inexpensive, easily found.  You could also use cardboard or mat board, but they are more likely to bend eventually.

Miriam Coffey, Janome Educator, at the Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #5

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Several years back I had the great good fortune to have Miriam as the educator in one of the classes I taught in Houston.  It was fun to see her again at the Summit, and a jaw-dropping experience when we got to see some of the goodies she has made.  As she put it, she’s not a bows and teddy bears sort, but she DOES to machine embroidery on her Janome embroidery machine. I don’t do hearts and bows either, so I love how her entire approach–totally in keeping with her personality–is fresh and fun and inspiring.

Miriam brought show and tell, and it’s a miracle none of us tried to sneak home some of her goodies, except we wouldn’t do that to her! This sewing items case (could easily be an iPad cover etc), she used the embroidery module to create fabric, then cut the stitched fabric designs apart to use in patchwork. All those green bits were solid / plain fabric until she decorated them with embroidery.

Miriam must have been sitting under a vent because she was wrapped in this snuggle throw. It was made from flannel on one side, the Cuddle fleece (see earlier post) on the other, then free-motion quilted using fuzzy yarn and the couching foot. Let me just say I loved it so much I have already ordered fleece which is waiting for me in my workroom!

And another one of those throws. WANT!

Here’s a close up of a sample: Miriam hooped the fabric, embroidered it with a sashiko pattern (I think using a twin needle)

Lookit how modern the tumbling blocks pattern become hen using cloth that Miriam “made” by embroidering a simple solid.  With a little imagination, it would be possible to achieve some of this effect just using the decorative stitches on most machines.

A case Miriam made…same idea!

This is part of a wall hanging Miriam made using programmed designs. But I want to try to re-create that cross-cut of tree bark and tree rings just using the variable zigzag feature on my 9440 and free-motion stitching.

And a sample of a honeycomb programmed stitch (done on the embroidery module) on top of pieced squares.   It would be a fuss, but you could do this (probably not as perfectly!) using careful marking and a satin stitch, but obviously lots easier when it is a programmed design on the 15000 that you hoop and hit “start.”   It’s almost enough to convince me to try embroidery LOL!

Anyway, Miriam was so much fun to have in class…helpful, professional, capable, and obviously has a lot of creativity and skill to teach and share.  Thanks for schlepping ALL those things to share with us, Miriam!

Merry Mistletoe, a new free project

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Hi all!   At long last the new laptop has arrived, the nearly-deceased one is retired, and I’m scrambling to catch up.  So first things first!  Janome has published my freebie table runner pattern on their website and blog as part of the holiday celebrations. As always, thanks to Janome America for having me in their Artist and Teacher program for lo these many happy and productive years.

A table runner I made to feature the Janome 15000's beautiful embroidery

A table runner I made to feature the Janome 15000’s beautiful embroidery.  And no, my table is NEVER this tidy.  My laptop lives where the lower left corner is and there is always a pile of “to do” stuff!

I used a Lonni Rossi embroidery design built in on the Janome 15000 I am currently using.  I altered the colors of the built-in design to a wintry, holiday palette of red, green and golden tan.  Honestly, I never thought I’d like machine embroidery (the wanting to do my own thing stuff), but this design is so gorgeous and even *I*, a soul who doesn’t like uber-computerized machines, was able to stitch this out nearly perfectly the first try!

To see the project on the Janome site, go here and scroll down to December 14, 2015 or go here.   To download a PDF including full color photos with some neat tips for getting those skinny red strips to be perfect, go here.

The plain old vanilla photo of the table runner.

The plain old vanilla photo of the table runner.

Here’s what the project looks like in the original color selection on my 15000.  Quite a difference, eh?  And here is the boring, straight-on view of the table runner.

The Janome 15000 open to the Lonni Rossi block in the original colors.

The Janome 15000 open to the Lonni Rossi block in the original colors.

Close up of the original color way on the machine.

Close up of the original color way on the machine.

I’ve got one more version/colorway, but it is a gift (as yet unfinished) for Christmas, so I’ll just have to share it and add it in here later!

If you don’t have this machine, never fear–you can just insert your favorite embroidery or fabric instead of doing this beautiful design.



Janome’s 100 Blocks in 50 Days project!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Oh what fun!  Janome teamed up with Michael Miller and asked the folks in their Artists/Teachers loaner program as well as staff and educators to make 100 Blocks in 50 Days for a free online quilt project that debuted this past week.  You can sign up for free daily reminders from Janome so you can download PDFs of all the patterns (or just the ones you want).  I had so much fun,  asked if I could make extra blocks (ended up making six), then made doubles of each so I could have my own set, and as you may have read in my lengthy Skyline S7 review (here), made yet another block that will fit with these projects.  I’m sharing that block below (again) since it was at the end of such a long post.  I’ll have five more blocks which I will share as Janome publishes the links to them.  Some are easy peasy, some involve a lot of fun stuff with thread!

Michael Miller and Janome selected a set range of colors from Moda’s unbelievably silky-soft-delectable-heavenly Cotton Couture solids line.   Each participant got fat quarters in each of the colors.  I am planning to make even more blocks, then quilt them up into a wall hanging to use when teaching decorative stitching.   Or just to be pretty and colorful on the wall!

I was thrilled when my embroidered circles was one of the first two blocks featured!    Here’s a picture and a hotlink for the circles block which has the PDF (from Janome’s website):


Circles block (c) Sarah Ann Smith

The second block I will share with you is an “extra” which came from the Skyline S7 test-drive.  I’m calling it Embroidered Leaves (guess why…duh Sarah!):

Using the built in stitches on the Skyline S7, I made this block.

Using the built in stitches on the Skyline S7, I made this block.

You can find a PDF by clicking on this link or visiting my Resources page (here or use the link on the menu bar above).  Once on the resources page, scroll down to Tutorials and find Embroidered Leaves in alphabetical order.  There’s lots of other fun free stuff there, so browse around!


Janome’s new Skyline S7 Sewing Machine

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Janome never ceases to amaze me with the quality of its machines.  The Janome Skyline S7 is a more modestly priced machine than what I have used for the past decade, but it has features straight from the top of the line 15000 (click on the link to open a new tab to Janome’s page with all the features).   If your budget or preferences don’t run to expensive machines, this machine may have all the versatility and dependability that you need with the right sticker price.  I am, quite bluntly, surprised and pleased at the wide array of features and outstanding performance of the S7.

Here’s the nice photo of the S7 from Janome’s site (NOTE:  photos are mostly clickable to view larger):

A screen capture from the Janome America website. To link to the site, go here.

A screen capture from the Janome America website. To link to the site, go S7 and scroll down.

Also from the Janome site, the included parts. Pretty much everything you need for routine sewing.

Also from the Janome site, the included parts. Pretty much everything you need for routine sewing.

And much less fancy shot of the S7 in my studio:

The Janome Skyline S7 in my studio.

The Janome Skyline S7 in my studio.  Notice the wonderful knee-lift in place!

I prepared a variety of projects to work on during my brief loan period for the Skyline S7, which Janome introduced/debuted at Janome Institute late this August and is now arriving at Janome dealers.   I had piecing for quilting, mending and repairs, sewing a new top, free-motion quilting, and decorative stitching.  The machine handled every task like a champ.  Here’s a teaser…keep reading to find out more about this block:


For free instructions on how to use the built-in stitches to create this block, see below. This block will work with Janome’s ongoing 100 blocks in 50 days project; read more about the 100-Blocks Janome 100 Blocks.

Now…back to the regular review (I just wanted to tuck the pretty block up top!)

I've been piecing some blocks (who me?): made of turtleneck shirts. Eek! I had to stabilize all of them with interfacing (gray one in lower left corner). As expected, the machine breezed through without nary a burp.

I’ve been piecing some blocks (who me?): made of turtleneck shirts. Eek! I had to stabilize all of them with interfacing (gray one in lower left corner). As expected, the machine breezed through without nary a burp.  Because of the thickness of the fabric, I did find using a leader/ender so the stretchy fabric didn’t get pushed into the opening was a good thing.  Of course, I could have (and should have) used the straight stitch plate instead!

I had a tunic top cut out to make on this machine (see blogpost here or just scroll down two posts–and take a look at the review of the Janome15000 App while on your way).  I like a nice, clean finish.  So I used French seams (center vertical), overcast (using one of the utility stitches), and a bias edge as you can see in the next photo.

Seam finishes in my tunic: bias facing, on the top, overcast edge at the armscye (set in sleeve seam) and French seam (enclosed raw edges) on the side seam.

Seam finishes in my tunic: bias facing, on the top, overcast edge at the armscye (set in sleeve seam) and French seam (enclosed raw edges) on the side seam.

I did a quick free-motion quilting practice using the open toe foot skimming foot.  The default setting with my preferred threads, a 40-wt shiny poly in the needle and a 60-wt fine poly in the bobbin, wasn’t quite perfectly balanced for that thread combination, so I adjusted the balance by one notch and it looks excellent.  This is a common adjustment when using threads that are not identical.  Why do I use a thinner thread in the bobbin?  For art quilts, durability for wear and washing isn’t an issue.  And with the density of my stitching, the finer bobbin thread means less thread-build up, not as stiff, and more miles of thread to the bobbin!  ALWAYS test a potential new machine with the fabrics, batting and thread combinations that are your favorites–not whatever the sewing machine store has on hand!

Test free-motion stitching on the S7.

Test free-motion stitching on the S7.  You can see my note that says “Default 4.6” and “4.8.”  After looking at the back having stitched the first feather and name, I decided I wanted to have the balance adjusted slightly.  I always test for stitch balance with two contrasting colors so I can see what is happening.

Reverse of FMQ.

Reverse of FMQ.  The stitching on the right is the default setting.  I was seeing a TINY bit too much of the needle thread on the back, so I loosened the top tension one notch.  The second stitch out, on the left in the photo above, is better.  The tiny bit of dark you see is the shadow inside the needle hole.  A bit of moisture/steam or just time will close up those needle holes.  (Click for larger view)

The drawbacks to the S7 were VERY few and minor:  the harp, the space between the needle and the housing on the right, is that of a standard sewing machine.  I’ve been sewing on the machines with a longer harp area for a decade now.   However, I have also quilted a king-sized quilt (carefully) on a machine with a smaller harp than this one.   If you want to quilt king-sized quilts at home you might want to consider a longer harp, otherwise, you’ll be fine with this machine.  Also, the machine does not come with an extension table included.  These are minor quibbles:  this is a great machine for someone doing garment and home dec work, and for someone who is newer to quilting and doesn’t want to spend the bigger bucks for the larger machine.

Note:  one commenter told me “a regular sewing machine has a harp area of 6″-7″ and the S7 has a harp area of 8.25″ That makes it even more of a real winner (I hope you correct this on your S7 evaluation.)”   OK, I don’t have a measuring tape or the time to check this out (plus the machine is back at Janome), but let’s just go with “the harp area is smaller rather than larger.”  You can still quilt on it!  <grin!>

Janome makes a “Quilting Kit” to go with it that includes an extension table and my most-favorite-in-the-world convertible free-motion quilting foot.   The Skyline quilting kit part number is (according my lovely Janome contact) 003863402005, and comes with an extension table, appliqué foot, clear view quilting foot, ditch quilting foot, open toe satin stitch foot and (drum roll please!) the convertible free motion quilting foot set that is my fave!

My final test was the decorative stitches.  I’ve been able to be a part of Janome’s 100 blocks in 50 days project (ongoing now, here).  I liked the Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabric SO MUCH (silky, soft, glorious) that I made extra blocks for myself, and designed this embroidered block to go with mine. Here is the PDF for my Janome Embroidered Block .  Basically, start with a 7 inch block and stabilizer suitable for the weight of your cloth; you want to cut large because stitching can shrink a block a bit.  Basically, cut it big and trim to exact size when done.  Use a satin stitch (a short length zigzag) to create two stems coming in from opposite corners of the block.  Use the Satin Stitch leaf (built in on the S7–similar stitches on other machines) and adjust the stitch length (doubled on some) following the instructions in the manual, width and stitch density (refer to the PDF) to stitch out the leaves using my block as a general guide for placement–you don’t have to be exact.   I outlined the leaves with an overcast stitch from the basic utility stitches menu.  Then use the snowflake stitch, reduced in size, to make the “dots” in the background.  When complete, trim to 6 1/2 inches to match your other “100 Blocks” project.

Notice that I chalk marked a 6 inch square and a 5 1/2 inch square inside it. I needed to know the edges of the finished block, and wanted to leave a bit of clearance around the design so none of the decorative stitching accidentally ended up in the seam allowance.

Notice that I chalk marked a 6 inch square and a 5 1/2 inch square inside it. I needed to know the edges of the finished block, and wanted to leave a bit of clearance around the design so none of the decorative stitching accidentally ended up in the seam allowance.