Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I had next to no time yesterday for quilting as it turned out. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen today. So . . . when I got home from the Weight Watchers meeting (we won't talk about my weigh-in this week as it wasn't good) I got back to prepping eagle blocks. The first one is ready for stitching. I wasn't at all sure if this was the right fabric choice for the eagle, but now that the block is together I've decided I like the visual texture of the fabric. Of course I had to pin it up on the wall to see how it's going to look in the quilt - I like it!
Monday, March 23, 2009
I wanted to see how one of the new blocks looked when pinned into place on the quilt. I like it!
Off to the wholesale house today as I need batting for customer quilts. This afternoon I'll prep the eagle blocks.
I think I gave the wrong impression in my tutorial. Much of the prep work involved is the same as what I've already been doing - tracing pattern onto freezer paper, cutting it out, ironing it onto the fabric and then cutting out the fabric pieces. The difference is this - I used to iron the freezer paper onto the right side of the fabric and then traced around it with a permanent pen. Now I iron it to the backside and use the brush, iron, water and stiletto to turn under the seam allowance. So the reality is that the prep time is only a bit longer than before. And it's more than made up for by the speed with which I can do the actual applique when the seams are already turned under.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This isn't really a new method for hand applique - rather a new method for preparing the applique. Usually I don't like fussy preparation methods, as I'd rather just get to the sewing. I've decided I to like this, however, for several different reasons.
- There is no marking on the fabric at all, so no worrying about getting the black line completely turned under while stitching.
- All edges are nicely turned already, especially the curves, which makes the stitching go SO much faster!
- Because the edges are already turned, it makes placing all the pieces correctly in a complex applique piece much easier.
- Because of #3, it's easy to thread baste all pieces in place so I don't have little pins in the project that fall out or catch my thread as I sew.
- Because the edges are already turned, I can fold the back fabric as I stitch, making it much easier to catch only a couple threads on the fold of the applique, and thus my stitches are hidden much better.
- Unlike the starch method - similar to this except starch is used instead of water - I don't have any messy residue and I don't have to worry about bugs being attracted by the starch.
Tools you need - a small iron that gets HOT. I have the little wand iron, but it doesn't get hot enough. I love my Rowenta Craft (used to be called Travel) iron. A seam ripper or a stiletto. I love using the stiletto. A paint brush. I like mine because of the slanted cut to the bristles and the plastic cushion where I hold it. Margaret had one like this, which she got at Joanne's. A small container for water. I like the small ironing pad also so I can sit down while I do this instead of standing at the ironing board. Freezer paper, scissors and a fine tip permanent marker.
1. Trace each applique piece onto freezer paper. If your design isn't symmetrical you will need to reverse the image. I do this by tracing on the shiny side of the freezer paper rather than the smooth, paper side. I like to cut a shape for each piece instead of using the same piece several times, as then I can do all the cutting and ironing at the same time. Cut our all the pieces.
2. Iron the freezer paper shapes to the wrong side of your fabric, leaving seam allowance space between the shapes. Put the curved parts of each piece on the bias whenever possible. Cut out each piece, leaving 3/16" seam allowance all around the piece (think a very fat 1/8", but less than 1/4").
3. Using the paint brush, wet just the seam allowance. If it's a big piece I do this in sections, pressing each one before painting the water onto the next one.
4. Using the stylus or seam ripper, fold the seam allowance over right at the edge of the freezer paper, using your fingertips of your other hand to hold it down as you turn. Press the edge well with your DRY iron. You shouldn't burn your fingers as long as you don't try to use steam. Because the fabric is wet it will crease nicely. Do just a little bit at a time - if you try to do too much your fingers won't be able to hold it down. (You don't see my fingers holding down the edge as I'm turning here because my other hand had to hold the camera!)
5. Curves turn under easily if they are on the bias. You will need a clip or two at inner curves - just make sure every thread turns under. For outer curves just fold a tiny bit at a time to keep the edge smooth. Try to have no large folds, as they will make a point instead of a smooth curve. Use your stylus and turn only a tiny bit at a time, holding the SA under with the tip of your finger as you turn.
6. Work your way around the entire piece. Give it a final good press on all the edges - both back and front. Fix any points that you see by opening up that spot, wetting it again, ironing it flat and then turning it again. When done, just pull out the freezer paper. Fabric has wonderful memory, and the edges will turn back very nicely even if they flatten a bit while waiting to be stitched down.
It will go a bit slowly to start with as you get used to turning the edge and pressing. At first I pressed under part of the freezer paper too, resulting in an edge that wasn't smooth. It took me a couple sessions of practice before I could do this easily and quickly. Don't give up right away if at first you find it a bit tricky and time consuming. You will soon get the right feel of the process.
If you've tried needle turn and given up, try this method. The stitching is so easy when the edges are already turned in place. I first tried this method on the little gold "vases" on the outside borders of Heirloom Stitches. It seemed to take forever to prep those 20 little pieces. I wondered if it was worth the effort - until I started to applique them. That's when I fell in love, because the stitching went so very fast. The second time for this method was the center block in the "Holiday Inn" medallion. The prep went very quickly on that one - just part of one evening. That's when I became totally sold on the method.
One more hint - the circles are still done with the Mylar washers. Check my other applique tutorials to see how to do them.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
149 Papaya is Chrome Orange (which 21st century quilters now call Cheddar)
1482 School Bus is 1890’s orange
1551 Rich Red is Turkey Red
1480 Chinese Red is 1840-1860 Turkey Red
1390 Wine is 1920’s Turkey Red as well as 1860’s and 70’s Turkey Red
25 Ocean is the closest thing to 19th Century Prussian blue
1192 Lime, 1703 Grass Green, 317 Peridot, and 1451 Avocado are all overdyed greens from the 1850’s through 1900
1865 Celadon, 29 Spring, 1259 Old Green, 1328 Seafoam, 1256 O.D. Green are all 1920’s through 30’s greens
198 Parsley is 1820’s through 30’s green
1185 Kelly, 1166 Hunter Green, 137 Pine are all oil boiled greens of the 1850’s through 1870’s
1361 Spruce, 1217 Mallard are 1870’s through 1880’s greens
1002 Alpine is an 1890's green
1373 Teal Blue is 1850’s green
1151 Garnet is an 1890’s red
1082 Cocoa is Oxblood from 1870’s
1191 Lilac is 1840’s-1900’s
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Now I'm so eager to prep the last four applique blocks, get them stitched, and sew part of this top together.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
If you are interested in taking a look then click here.
As far as the feathered star quilt goes - thanks so much to everyone who left their opinions. I've decided to go back to the red and the original brown plaid because I love it's richness. What you can't see in that photo is that the red fabrics I had in my stash - a very few with enough yardage to use - are dull, old, and uninspiring. So I'm headed to the quilt shop tomorrow to find new, rich-looking fabrics. Hopefully that will include some red plaids!
I'll post photos tomorrow, presuming I have success.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In the first picture I've changed all the triangles - darker around the center block and blue instead of red around the edges. I think I like the blue much better than the red - it brightens up the entire quilt. However - since the blue is so much lighter than the red I'm now thinking that maybe the dark center triangles are too dark.
So - I tried changing the center triangles to my first choice. I think I like this better - but I'm just not sure.
I'd like your opinion. Do you like the picture I posted yesterday the best? Or do you prefer the blue with the dark? Or the blue with the original brown plaid? I didn't take a picture of the darker with the red because I didn't like that at all - way too dark.
I'm not going to decide for sure until I make the other four applique blocks. In the meantime I'm leaving this up on my design wall to see if time will help me make a decision.
Please let me know which of these three choices you prefer, or whether you think I should head to the quilt shop for something else entirely. Thanks for your input!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
First I tackled the third block of Times Remembered, which I prepped at the end of last December. The pieces were large, so it didn't take that long to finish it. Now three blocks are done, with six more to prep and finish.
Next I got out the two Carolina Lily blocks for Jan Patek's Feathered Star - Girl Gang 2003-2004. Those took a little longer since there were two of them.
My fourth applique block was the last block I had prepped from my Mid-Century Album class. I really loved how it turned out. This is another that I prepped at the end of last year. It was so much fun choosing the fabrics for this one. Now I need to prep a bunch more blocks so progress on this quilt can continue.
Lastly I pulled out the borders for Heirloom Stitches and started working on them again. I finished one border and now have the second border almost completed. When I finish it I'll sew those two onto the quilt top and take a picture to post. I'm sure most all of you have forgotten what this quilt looks like. I'm determined to finish the last two borders this month also so I'll have a finished quilt top by the end of the month.
Before I started the applique marathon I did finish the piecing I'd been doing before I got sick. I finished nine more blocks for the Hourglass Quilt - for a total of 13 blocks. Then I tucked that project away again, as I didn't have the energy to piece.
All this applique has really gotten me into the mood for hand stitching again - the virus effectively ended my desire to piece for the time being. Since my oldest WISP's are applique projects I guess that's a good thing!
I loaded the second of three postage stamp quilts onto the longarm near the end of the second week of February. I did about four rows of a simple pantograph before going to bed that night. I didn't get back to it the next day - Valentine's Day - because I drove up to Longview in the morning to my favorite shop - Momma Made It - for the start of their Jo's Little Women's Club. I've been collecting the Little Women's Club patterns since the beginning, and was thrilled that a local shop finally decided to offer the club. Then in the afternoon we all loaded into the CRV and headed south for Sophie's second birthday celebration .
The next day - Sunday - I got sick with a bad virus. I talked to Rebecca and she was sick also. I'm pretty sure we got it from Joseph - who was sick only 3 days. That was over 2 weeks ago now, and neither of us are completely well. Rick got sick about 3 days later, and Fred managed to fight it off until last week. This was a bad virus - absenteeism was over 40% for over a week in several of the local school districts. Some grade schools in Vancouver had absenteeism reaching almost 60%. I know we got our flu shots in the fall - as did many others - but this obviously was something not covered by the vaccine.
So . . . for two weeks I didn't do much other than sit in a chair and do handwork. Funny - most of what I finished had been January goals that I'd not finished that I decided not to list for February. Last weekend I managed to finish quilting and bind the postage stamp quilt so I had one finish to list for February. I've also included a picture of the back, so you can see how my "self-constructed backing fabric" turned out. I'm quite pleased with the results. This will go to guild on Thursday for Hotel Hope.
In the next post I will talk about the applique I finished.