Tag Archives: applique

A birthday, a job, a sewing machine, and a move

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A birthday, a job, a sewing machine, and a move
mighty bail of batiks

mighty bail of batiks

Remember these batiks I collected last week? Well, they’re part of my awesome-possom blossoms quilt. It’s definitely my very most expensive and labour intensive quilt top! I have made 90 10″ blocks for this oversized queen. It means an awful lot of applique. Too much applique for me to do in a reasonable way by hand. So. I collected the money I made from selling off some of my homemade jewelry and a quilt that had been commissioned and grabbed my new sewing machine!!

Who wouldn't want to be a quantum stylist?

Who wouldn’t want to be a quantum stylist?

This machine, compared to my old one, can do basically everything except embroidery and all my housework. Otherwise it’s got 800 some stitches and came with 18 new feet! I bought nifty threads for applique and dove in to do really give machine applique a try. I know I’ve bad-mouthed this before, but I’ve seen it done so much and with such killer stitches that would be stronger than decorative hand stitches, so I leaped in. And I must say, with a machine that is nicely engineered and has a few extra niceties like needle down and better tension control, the process hasn’t been nearly so grueling. See, part of my issue before was that I would try the blanket stitch and because there was no speed control or needle down, I couldn’t effectively pivot around curves. It would take forever to get anywhere and the results would be better if I’d done them by hand! Here’s an example:

machines do not always make things easier...

machines do not always make things easier…

Look at that hilarious machine applique! hahaha! I learned that speed control is everything and also, for thinner fabrics like my batiks, tear away stabilizer, mi amigos and amigas! It will def make your life totes better.

The other trick I learned from one of my applique classes was to “window” your fusible web by tracing your design from your template onto the fusible’s paper side. Then cut on the inside of the line by the standard 1/4″.

windowing applique

windowing applique

I know it’s not totally clear on the white fabric, but I gotta work with what I have. The part that is bare fabric is the part that forms the design. The next step is to trim away the remaining fused fabric on the pencil line. Then you fuse it down to your background.

blossoms units

blossoms units

So what’s the big deal about all that? Well, as you can see from the dark batik background, it’s shadowing through the white blossom applique pretty harshly. That’s no good. So the reason it’s “windowed” is because the next step is to sneak in behind the white and trim away the dark stuff! It’s actually a brilliant idea, although a lot of work. But I think it will be worth it!

Oh, check out that hot pink blanket stitch!! I’m so pleased! The machine has a really great feel on the foot pedal so I can tell when it’s going to make a stitch. It also finishes a stitch in the needle down position when I lift my foot, so all I need to do is slightly lift the presser foot (I’m using an open toed satin stitch foot; works like a dream!) and pivot. It doesn’t get much nicer than that!

closeup blanket stitch

closeup blanket stitch

Also, today is my husband’s birthday! So to celebrate we got him an ice cream cake from the Marble Slab. It promises to be delish! It caps off a difficult couple months of job searching. He accepted a job on the mainland. So it’s across the Georgia Strait we go, back to the lower mainland where I spent many of my formative years. The only way we’re going to have any acceptable standard of living over there is because they’re a busy firm and my husband is finally going to be an associate, not just an articled student.

Right now he’s got our daughter in packing mode filling up today’s box. We tend to do one or two boxes a day when moving. That way there’s not a crazed packing binge the week before moving day. We’ll be leaving within the month. I get to drive the moving truck because I’m the only one licensed enough to do it. That will make for some awesome reportage! I promise to take pics of that for sure!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this rattling on. There’s loads going on, lots to do, and it’s all a bit overwhelming. But I’m using it as an excuse to finish all my quilting projects so that I can just slip all my tops into a bag and travel free of little bits and pieces. I will miss my island home.

Have a good week everyone!!

 

 

 

 

 

Sashing sweatshop

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I am still working on making all the HSTs I need for my sashing! I think it’s totally worth it but I have been living in the HST hinterland (aka sashing sweatshop) for a week straight!

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My quilt top is fully assembled with two borders now. 🙂 But it needs some more width or it is both too narrow and too short. Whoa is me.
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I am likely going to need another 200 HSTs for the last element of piecing before moving on to doing the finishing border. This time I’m going to try something fun–curved corners! It takes bias binding but I think I can handle it. I’ll take pics and post about it when I get to that stage!

I don’t know about you, but I love quilt bindings that are different. It’s cool to do something that lends itself to the design in your piecing rather than do a simple straight edge, straight grain binding. I got a bee in my bonnet about this particular look for this quilt because of all the appliqué and the curved bias strip stems on the flowers. Short of doing a full-out scallop, I thought I’d just go ahead and do it this minimalist way.

I am also lusting after my latest acquisitions–two very different jelly rolls. One is Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille, which is super cute and springy. Then I got a decidedly more masculine jelly roll, Sweet Serenade, by Basic Grey. It’s got more greys, teals, blacks, and some soft neutral strips.

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I haven’t really secured any ideas in my head about what to make with them. I was thinking about maybe doing a really cute Irish chain pattern that’s got some curves with Scrumptious, but then I got Sweet Serenade and I’m thinking that would make an awesome and unexpected Irish chain.

I find myself thinking about patterns that are unexpected when paired with modern fabrics instead of the usual traditional stuff.

Here’s a traditional looking stars quilt. I made it decidedly modern by using a charcoal grey Kona solid as the background and an urban jelly roll called Bluebird Park by Kate and Birdie.
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There’s the very traditional like the double wedding ring. Very beautiful. Nothing wrong with it. But I don’t want my patchwork (or quilting, for that matter) to make the house look like Downton Abbey. I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face in my own home if I did that! I want it to be modern and loads of fun with texture both visually and physically. I have every intention of making this pattern but I have yet to decide how to go about my palette.

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That is my CD rack/jumble of saved selvages and jelly roll wraps. It’s one way of going about my palette choice. Each wrap looks neat and has colour ideas on them!

So that’s where I’m at, guys. Lots of piecing and quilting to do!

Have a good week!

Applique is okay!

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Applique is okay!

Applique. This word alone can cause anxiety for quilters. But before you grab a dose of Ativan, check out the prescription-free ways of alleviating that feeling–there are fusible web products that can hold the fabric down while you machine stitch it to the quilt. Here’s my example of the first time I ever attempted applique by machine. It was done on a Dresden plate and is a totally laughable piece of work! I made sure to add lots more interest by hand with some embroidery and hand quilting. I think the block is still cute, but I learned that I am just not a machine applique person. I see some people out there online who are just amazing at it but I…well…produce some interesting results, shall we say.

machines do not always make things easier...

machines do not always make things easier…

Okay, so I’m not so hot with the machine. But anyone who knows me can likely understand that. I’m just better when stuff is done with my kinetic senses. So needle turn applique it is! This is the only way I’ve gotten good results–invisible stitching (or barely visible).  And I have a nifty secret: I don’t use an iron and seldom need those tiny applique pins. As you can see in the image below, my petal has a crease where it will fold. The trick to getting this crease is to simply pinch it in your fingers. It’s just like any other finger pressing, only you’re pinching your seam allowance. Then you have your line to follow. Oh, and to hold the fabric in place I use Roxanne’s applique/basting glue. It comes out in the wash and is it ever strong! Don’t bother with glue sticks!

needle turning a petal

needle turning a petal

Now how to make a nice pointed petal. Simply stitch to the very end of your crease (where it crosses over with the crease for the other side). Then take your needle (be sure to use a straw/milliner’s needle for applique–much easier) and stick it in the end of your fabric and with a circular motion twist the fabric down and under itself. Make sure your doubled-up seam allowances are seated on top of each other and give the corner a slight tug to bring the point out more. Take a stitch to hold it in place and carry on down the other side! I want to make a video of how to do this so it’s as easy to grasp as possible. I promise to post that as soon as I can.

turning a corner

turning a corner

petals for spring!

petals for spring!

I am doing hand applique for a quilt pattern called “tuilleries.” The pattern calls for machine work but I’m just not fond of it, so here I am doing it like Frank Sinatra: “my way!” Therefore I’m not doing all the panels the same with three sets of these petals, as the pattern calls for. I am including things like butterflies, flowers, and sweet little birds. I will keep you posted on this quilt’s progress!

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Who could resist this sweet little bird?! I love him!

Major!

Major!

Good thing I used glue drops to hold things together or Major would have ruined everything by his sitting on the applique pile.

I know this post was sort of short, but lots of pictures makes up for it, I think. If you like the idea of any sort of applique let me know! If you have machine secrets, I’d be more than happy to hear them because even though I’ve seen it done, and even tried it a few times, I can never get it to work as well as I can by hand. Comments are welcome!!

Have a good week everyone!