Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Applique Day

If you're a regular reader, you know I'm a flitter. I flit from project to project, most of which I finish, except for the applique blocks which always tend to be part of a much larger undertaking that I've not set any goals for. (So wrong)

Like this Fiesta (not KKB's Fiesta, but Fat Cat Pattern's Fiesta) block that I started...a foray into fusible/machine applique that never made it past the first block. I couldn't decide on a machine stitch...the one on the center flower wasn't enough, the one on the motif to the right of it took a week to stitch out and I calculated that it would take me about 15.7 years to finish the quilt if I went with that one--which happened to be more of the look I was going for. I guess I'm just not wired for machine applique, so the box full of fabric sits in a corner, and the sole block hangs in the studio closet, in applique limbo (do I go with the heavy stitch, do I rip out all of those stitches and cut new pieces for the ones I need to restitch, or do I trash the entire block and reconfigure the pattern to include 1/4" all around and do this one needle-turn?).

Ah, but I digress.

I've still got that Karen Kay Buckley applique block that I took a workshop for.
It's my foray into applique with batiks...you know how there's always one person in your class/workshop who brings in the most beautiful batiks to use for their Baltimore album, and you're swearing about how your traditional-print fabric is fraying as you turn it under while they're ravel-free and sewing at twice your speed?  Yeah, that's what this was about. Of course I then learned that Karen appliques with the freezer paper under the fabric, which is probably the first method I learned (and it was miraculous that I came back for more after that). Not my favorite way to applique. Not to mention that I abhor the unnecessary 'surgery' of cutting my fabric to remove the freezer paper I've sewn inside. In trying to be true to the Buckley-style applique of the piece, and considering the fact that this winds up being an orphan block when done, it's easy to understand why this one is buried in an envelope in the closet.
We are one block away from a mini Aunt Millie's Garden. (Piece o' Cake Designs)
The fabric is so darn bright and cute, that we can't help ourselves from wanting to pull it out of it's little plastic bag and work on it now and again. This is usually our 'plane project', but we don't have any flights scheduled until November, and it would be a shame to let this sit for another 6 months, However, I am sewing it with DMC Broder cotton thread, instead of silk, which is more than enough reason to not want to stitch on this every day and finish it.
Last month, there was an opening in another guild's workshop with Barbara Burnham. Barbara is the woman who recreated and patterned the Baltimore Garden Quilt, which she published a book about.
The block we took on in the workshop was Miss Parker's Pompom Dahlias
I love a good Baltimore-style class, and I've got to say I learned a whole lot more than I had bargained for in this one-day workshop.
I learned to use a piece of foamcore to tape your pattern and backing to, and then stick pin your pieces down as you  baste them to the background fabric (yes, I said 'baste').
And I was also reintroduced to appliquing with freezer paper on top. At first I had my negative 'been there/done that' thought, but once I started stitching that way--because I always follow what the instructor is teaching us, even if they say you can do whatever you're comfortable with--I was glad I did, because for now, it turns out I like to applique this way.

This entire quilt only uses 3 colors of fabric, so I swung by Jinny Beyer's studio and picked up a background, a red, a green and a yellow from one of her 'mottled solid' fabric lines to use on this block. I figured that if it turns out well and I like it, I can select a few more patterns from the book and run over to Jinny's for more fabric to make a small wall quilt. But for now, this one requires a bit more prep and sew time than I'm willing to put in at the moment, so it's also bagged and tagged for later. Maybe this will become the November plane project.
My newest distraction is a Christmas BOM designed by Erin Russek and posted intermittently on her blog.  It's called 'Jingle', and it's going to include 9 pieced blocks, 9 applique blocks, and a large center medallion. Here's her 'representation' thus far.
Jingle Quilt-web_edited-1
If you'd like to get in on this, here's a link to the Jingle info on Erin's blog:

I've finished two of the applique blocks so far, I'm working on the third

(Note that I'm using the freezer paper on top technique)

(Yes, I need a manicure--badly)

The center medallion has been 'kitted', and I've got a box set aside with some appropriate fabrics and the pieced patterns. This one is high priority. Once I finish that small applique block above, I need to crank out the 3 pieced blocks before Erin uploads the next applique block and I'll be caught up. Then I can focus on the center medallion. I WILL have a 2013 Christmas quilt finished in time to display the day after Thanksgiving. (We are exercising the power of positive thinking here).

I'm also working on some non-applique projects -- I told you I was flitting about. But those are for another post, as my head is spinning from being reacquainted with all of these WIP appliques I've got looming perilously close to being sucked into the block hole of unfinished projects.

What are you working on now, and are you struggling to keep your head above water or lounging on a pool noodle raft with a pina colada?



  1. Oh I like the idea of lounging on a pool noodle raft. Not happening though. We are having beautiful weather. The freezer paper on top method looks interesting, but I think it is just easier to not fiddle with anything but the fabric. Straight needle turn works best for me.

  2. I have two applique projects and another one ready to start tracing shapes. Applique takes me years, no matter how I try to do it. I have a needle turn started and a machine applique started. But, I'm not certain I could lay my hands on either one right this second as they are buried in the stack of other projects that get dropped so I can "flit" to something new and shiny. Lane


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