Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Project Short of an Intervention

I'm treading on some seriously dangerous ground here this week. I've begun yet another project without completing the others I've started. I do this a lot, not just in quilting. I'll be emptying the dishwasher and decide that the Tupperware cabinet needs a total re-org, and off I go.

Clearly the applique bug bit this week, and fortunately it reminded me that I'm heading to Florida in a couple weeks and have not restocked my in flight project carry on.

This is what accompanies me on all trips:
It's my tricked out Omnigrid zip case, and it's fully loaded for hours of hand applique fun.

This is what came out of it on our last trip to Florida in November:

I'm honing my hand applique skills on Piece of Cake Designs' Aunt Millie's Garden.

So last night, instead of stitching down the Fiesta motifs, or  making a Checkerboard Hearts sandwich, or whipping out a Valentine's version of a Letty's Bag (I could go on, but I think you get the point), I was up until 3 a.m. with this:

I traced my current block onto freezer paper and cut it all out, neatly, and on the lines. And I even remembered to use the light box so I could do the right thing and trace the pattern from the backside. (oooh....I am getting good!)

And then I flipped it over to the right side and traced it on my background fabric.
And I did this with my trusty, sharp, #2 pencil. Trace just inside the lines, and you'll cover it with the applique pieces and don't have to worry about 'erasing' something.

Today, the fun begins. It's time to iron all those little freezer paper pieces to our fabric.

The best thing about freezer paper applique is that when you iron them to the wrong (right) side of the fabric, you can just peel them up.

And iron them to the right (wrong) side of your fabric. (Which I did more than once, by the way.)

Once everything is pressed to the fabric, you cut around each piece and leave just shy of a quarter inch all around, which you are going to iron under.

Now the fun really begins.....

Gently spray a bunch of spray starch into the cap of the can. (It'll be all foamy at first, but it will settle down into liquid). You're going to use this to brush on the edges around your freezer paper template.

Don't be afraid to saturate the fabric, and it's okay if the freezer paper gets can take it. You're going to iron it dry momentarily. You want the fabric wet so that it's pliable.

As you turn the wet fabric over the edge of the freezer paper, run your iron along it to crease it down.

If you don't like what you've done, wet it again with the spray starch and start over. I never worry much about the 'points' as I'll adjust them when I'm sewing the piece to the background. But a good way to iron them is to first fold your point straight down from the top and then in from the sides (think napkin folding).

Once I've got them, I'll pin the groups of each type together (or if you do a whole motif at a time, pin the parts needed for each together). I work by piece, across the background so I don't have to change thread colors as often. When you're ready to sew it on, remove the freezer paper. Keeping the paper inside it until you use it helps it keep its shape.
I also keep them in a small, zip bag. I can see what I have, and there's no danger of losing a little piece (though there's always the danger of losing EVERYTHING that way.) Very conducive to sitting next to that person on the plane who feels the need to visit the bathroom every 10 minutes, requiring you to pack it all up, secure your tray table, and refrain from asking them why they didn't heed their mother's instruction to potty before they left the house.

I highly recommend this Omnigrid case for your applique. One of the best things about it is that it's unpretentious, unassuming, professional, not too large, and has a shoulder strap. To cut to the chase, it's something you can ask your hubs to take on the plane as his 'personal item' (aka ManPurse), when you've already got your own purse, and the big Vera Bradley tote bag that's stuffed with all the stuff you don't want to disappear out of your luggage, or can't live without when you arrive and your luggage does not.

More on travel projects tomorrow. I've still got 32 pieces of applique that need to be starched, turned and pressed before I go to bed. And the sooner I put my PJs on inside-out and hit the sack, the closer we are to knowing if we get a snow day tomorrow (highly unlikely, but what the heck).

Sweet dreams of applique and quilting to all!


  1. Oh Thank God I am not the only one!! Your routine sounds just like mine! 92 projects on the go but I'd really like to try......(fill in the blank!) Your appliqué is beautiful. Thanks for the spray starch tip!

  2. One day, I'll be brave enough to hand applique again and when I do, I'm going to remember I saw this post and I'll proactively say, "I love you for it".

    I never thought of the spray starch idea but it's great!

  3. YOu made me smile today....instead of doing are doin that...sounds soooo familiar around here.

    I just love your block...amazing.

  4. Thank you for the tutorial on how to hand applique. I was wondering how to do this technique. Is this what they call hand turned applique? I think I might be ready to start up that Fiesta pattern. LOL!

  5. You're going to Florida again . . . so soon? . . . and you're getting all of your projects ready . . . this is the stuff I always seenm to save for the day before we leave. Pretty fabrics, it will be fun, you'll have a great time.

  6. I am coming ot of lurkdom to say that I think we all belong to the same tribe. I don't think I know one quilter that doesn't have projects lined up on the runway, half startd but not quite in the air....Speaking of Air.I am in FL right now and I have the perfect solution to lost luggage and traveler wih tiny bladders....Drive.....I takes longer ....but there are so many shops along the way.


I appreciate and look forward to your comments. Thanks for reading. Happy quilting!