Testing, Testing… Dipping My Toe Into The “Applique” Waters


HELP!! I am so out of my comfort zone. Going to applique my String Circles.

I have only done mostly zig-zag stitches around raw fabric edges. I have to rewind back to St Pat’s Day to remember the first time I tried something different. Blanket stitching. Remember? But this time I wanted to try the applique stitch.

Got my sewing machine ready. Cleaned out the bobbin area. Put in a new needle. Swapped my quarter inch foot for the “F” foot and practiced making a few stitches to see if I needed to adjust anything. Nope. Stitch length seemed about right.

The first string circle I practiced on was one of the yellow ones.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

I pulled it from the pile for two reasons. It wasn’t my favorite. Kind of pale looking and I had been thinking it wouldn’t make the cut. Wouldn’t be used in my quilt. And also the strings crinkled when I ironed them. Meaning either bad fabric or bad sewing. So I figured, what the hay, stitch around it to see what happens.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Not happy. Nothing to write home about.

On to the 2nd one. Turquoise/Aqua. A circle I liked and for sure wanted it to be part of my quilt.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

I got about the same result. Pulling in around the edges of the circle. Not the flat look I was trying for.

OK.. so what gives.. what was I doing wrong?

Ah, Ha. I know!! Something in my head said “stabilizer”. Some sort of backing. Off I went to dig out what I bought YEARS ago around the same time I purchased my sewing machine (which BTW, embroiders).

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Since I was clueless on which did what, I experimented with both, using the same background fabric.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

And they both turned out the same. No pulling, no ruffles. So… that is what I needed. A stabilizer. (It appears I spent WAY too much on one of these.) But glad to know I could achieve a flat look.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

These aren’t the best applique but with practice and perhaps using my embroidery thread, I should get better at it.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


Questions for you applique experts out there.

  • What stitch do you use for applique?
  • Do you use any special thread?
  • Any tips for me, the Newbie?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. 😀

Hugs and Kisses: The Block That Keeps On Giving


Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Finally….

I have settled on the final look for my Hugs and Kisses quilt. The X’s and O’s design. It took awhile and I ended up making 238 blocks. My quilt uses just 168. 14 blocks across and 12 blocks down. That left 70 that I discarded due to various reasons. Print too conflicting, too loud, too pale, too dark, not a perfect blend. Those were mainly the reasons. I think I have a good mix now. I double, triple checked the “tips” to make sure there were no duplicates inside the diamonds.

So… now that I am happy with the arrangement, it is time to take them down one by one and begin sewing the columns and rows together.

There was one thing I hated about making this block. The trimming. No matter how carefully I sewed on the diagonal across the 3″ and 2 1/2″ squares, I still had hangover on the sides that needed trimming.

But there were a couple things I LOVED!! This block is forgiving as well as giving.

The Forgiving. What do all of these cut squares have in common?

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

They are flawed. Tips missing or chewed up. One edge shredded. One has a dark blotch. These for a regular quilt would probably be discarded, tossed in the scrap bin. But for this block, since only half of the square is visible, they can still be used.

The Giving. The design of this block automatically creates dog-ears. Lots of them. Four per block. But with sewing an extra seam 1/2″ from the corner-to-corner diagonal seam, a Half-Square Triangle is made when trimmed. Yes, I know. That takes more time to complete each block. Time I have. And more scraps accumulating in the scrap bin I don’t need. So, I took the time to sew the additional seams.

And guess what? This is what I have to show for it.

Almost 1,000 Half-Square Triangles (HST’s). Can you believe this?

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

The process is pretty simple. (I posted the link to the instructions on the bottom.)
You can see how I made mine from these photos.

One 5″, two 3″ white and two 2 1/2″ squares. Per block. (Instead of drawing a pencil line down the center to mark where to sew, I pressed a crease on the diagonal fold.)

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

First sew corner-to-corner on the pressed diagonal line to add the two white squares. Mark 1/2″ from the sewn line. Now sew on the marked line. Cut in between the two sewn seams. And you get your first Half-Square Triangle. HST will be about 2 1/8″. Press white triangle up. (Don’t do any trimming just yet.) Repeat process to add the 2 1/2″ squares.

This photo is showing all the seams you will sew. You will cut in between the seams.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

The first cut produces a 2 1/8″ HST and the second cut produces a 1 5/8″ HST.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

I have wanted to make a quilt and pillows out of HST’s. Now I can. I will NEVER again cut away the dog-ear ends and toss them in my scrap bin.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

How about you? What do you do with your dog-ear ends?


Go here for the instructions to make your own Hugs and Kisses quilt.

http://www.littlemissshabby.com/2011/11/hugs-kisses-quilt-block-tutorial/

More Scraps… String Quilt Blocks


Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

I am still working hard on the project I cut all those squares for. Will be able to show you in a couple days. Just need to get a few more blocks made and up on my design wall. It is coming along nicely. Slow but steady.

And since I was craving another finish, I decided to take a break from my large project and do something quick and small. I signed up for a string block swap with one of my quilt groups. I have made the blocks before but it was a while ago.

This is the practice one I made this morning.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

And it wasn’t all that quick. Easy, but not quick. I used 14 fabric strips sewn down onto a muslin foundation. It is 7″ square.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

It took almost an hour. I think because I was hemming and hawing as I sewed. Hopefully the next few won’t take as long.

Here’s the second one. Laid out, ready to sew.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Depending on how many sign up for the swap, I am thinking I will be making about 30 blocks. Thank goodness I will have a month to complete them. If I make one a day, I should be OK. Got to get faster. No more hemming and hawing. Just Sew!! 😀

What projects are you working on?


Go here for the string quilt block tutorial. Great site!! (Don’t let the words “paper-pieced” scare you off. You can do like I am doing. Sew the strips to muslin.)

http://www.filminthefridge.com/2009/04/27/a-string-quilt-block-tutorial-paper-pieced-method/