This week we finish up the middle column of blocks with Shoofly. It goes next to Spool to finish up this column.
The featured technique is needlepoint plaids. It uses a quilt block called Shoofly, one of the simplest nine-patch blocks.
Needlepoint plaids were developed in the Needlepoint Renaissance of the 1970s. The sophistication of the finished design belies the ease with which it is constructed. By changing the threads used and the pattern, or sett, of the plaid, anything from a subtle heathery look (this plaid) to something bold and contemporary can be created. If you like doing plaids, you might want to take a look at the Birthday Plaid mini-socks or Three Scotties, both available here; they take the idea one step further by showing you how to develop your own plaid for a birthday or other special event.
The block used for this patch is one of the most popular nine patch blocks — Shoofly. A center square is surrounded by four triangles. All are done in plaid, as if they were cut out of a plaid fabric. If using plaids and stripes is of interest, there is an excellent book on the subject by Roberta Horton called Plaids and Stripes. Although designed for quilters, the principles in this book could be applied to needlepoint plaids (which have to be charted before stitching) and then used in different projects.
All plaids have a pattern going in two directions; vertically and horizontally. In order to make a needlepoint plaid, each direction of the plaid must be stitched separately. The finished look of the plaid emerges when the two parts are put together.
The following threads are used in this block:
- DMC floss 776 (background)
- Caron Collection Watercolours – Amethyst (1 strand)
- Kreinik Tapestry (#12) braid (026V)
- Impressions 1091
- Anchor Floss 859 (four strands)
In this block, feel free to substitute other threads or manufacturers to get the most harmonious set of colors for your plaid. If you are running short of colors, feel free to add in black or white; they are common in Scottish plaids.
To stitch the plaid, work in stripes, skipping every other stitch in the row. All the stitches are Tent Stitches. Work all the stripes in one direction first. Continental is the best choice here. Then go back and do the same thing (working stripes, filling in the holes you left) in the other direction. The plaid will then emerge.
To make it easier to see the pattern, there are three different charts of the patch, one for each direction of the stripes and one of the completed plaid. The completed plaid chart is for reference only; use the two separate charts to work the block.
Start the block by working one of the background triangles first, then completing the plaid half of that corner. Once one plaid patch is done, the rest follow fairly easily.
Click on the charts to see the full-size chart in a separate screen.
Here is the vertical chart:
Here is the horizontal chart:
Here is the complete chart:
If needed, add the Cliff’s Stitch Border around the patch after stitching the block. The chart for Cliff’s Stitch is found on page 4. Do not add this border to the top edge of this patch, that will have the wider quilted border added at the end.
Follow the entire project on-line: