Washing my finished block

Once I finished embroidering all the ropes with 2 strands of floss, I was ready to wash my block.  I must mention at this point that I prewash all of my fabric in Synthrapol before I even think of putting it in a quilt.  That way, the fabrics do not run in this washing process.  Why do I wash my blocks?  When I trace my pattern onto the background, I use a Clover water soluble marker and a Frixion marker.  To prep my applique pieces, I use starch and Roxeann’s Glue.  All of that stuff needs to be removed from the block before it can be stitched into a quilt. Oh….and did I mention the cat hair?

DSCN5056

It was in a class with Pearl Pereira at the Applique Academy that I learned about washing blocks.  By the way, have you seen Pearl’s new Block of the Month on her website?  It’s called Forever Blooming and it is free!  I have downloaded my patterns and I am raring to get started!  I am also super excited to be attending this years TESAA!  I will be taking classes with Rita Verroca and Sandra Leichner.  Only 42 more sleeps!

So, this is how I wash my block.  First, I check to make sure all the pieces are stitched down.  You really don’t want this to happen!

oops-21

Oops!  Can you see that I did not stitch all of the bias pieces down?  There are bias strips in between the leaves and they are not stitched yet.

20140105_105406

They should look like this.

20140105_105356

You only need a clean sink, some mild soap and a block.

20140105_110759

First, fill the sink with hot water and add a bit of soap.

20140105_110833

Now, place the block in the water.  If this is the first time you are doing this, you are allowed to hold your breath and close your eyes!  I usually let it soak for a couple of hours.  No need to check on it, it’s not going anywhere!

20140105_110959

Next, drain the water and rinse the block with clear water.  Gently press some of the water out.  I like to leave the block fairly wet.

20140105_152036

I place the block out on a thick towel and smooth it out.  From experience, I have found that leaving the block wet means less wrinkles when the block has finished drying.  I like to pin the corners of the block to the towel, just to keep it as flat as possible.

20140105_152143

Once the block is completely dry, I flip it over on the thick towel and press with a hot iron.

20140106_153932

Presto!

20140106_154018

Til next time…

Kerry

A Good Way to Spend the Evening!

It was going to be a very exciting evening!  I have completed another four  blocks from Sue Garman’s “Friend’s of Baltimore” and they are ready to be stitched together into a row.  I already have one row stitched together.  You can read about that here.  When I cut my background blocks, I always cut them 2″ or 3″ larger than the finished size.  So, before I could stitch the blocks together, I had to trim them down to the correct size.  Here is what I did to make the job so easy and stress-free…The best part is, I never had to measure anything!

I made a window template  with the opening the exact measurement of the unfinished size of the block.  The finished size is 15″, so I needed to trim the blocks down to 15 1/2″, therefore I made the opening 15 1/2″.  (I hope that makes sense!)

trim 2 (1)

So now I could place the window template on the block and make sure that everything was centred nicely.

trim 4 (2)

Next, I traced around the opening with a marking pen.

trim 7

Then I trimmed the excess fabric away by cutting on the marked line.  Easy peasy!

trim 5

trim 6

So, once I trimmed all the blocks to the correct size, I started to stitch the blocks together in a row.

r rows (2)

Ta da!   An evening well spent!

r rows (1)

Til next time…

Kerry

So Close to a Finish!

This block in Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”  is so close to being complete!  I am so excited!!  The only thing left is the Album that will sit in the empty space.

First, I made the spine of the Album…

book 1

…and then I prepped the red background of the Album.  I chose more of a burgundy red so the Album would stand out from the red flowers.

book 2

The skinny beige border is a full piece.  I think it is easier to work with a big piece rather than a skinny little piece!  And finally, the top red piece of fabric.

book 3

I added the spine…

album

…and I placed the Album in the basket……

almost finished - Copy

…and I topped it off with a flower and some leaves.  Voila!!

officially finished 6

Can’t wait to start the next block!  I am pre-washing the fabrics as we speak!!

pre-washing next block

Til next time…

Kerry

Spare time??

This time of year, spare time is a rare commodity.   But I still managed to find the time to finish this block from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.

finished block

And here is a close up.

detail

My Sunday Afternoon Group meets the third Sunday of every month so that means we meet this Sunday….already!  Every year we begin a new project so I offered to design next year’s quilt.  Here is a preview of the first block.  They haven’t seen it yet, so mum’s the word!

sneak peak

I am taking the plunge and using my collection of batiks.  (I’ve never really used batiks but somehow I ended up with an amazing batik collection!!)  So far, I love them!  The colours are so vibrant and saturated.   The best part is the fabric does not fray.  I am now an OFB… Official Fan of Batiks!

I pre-washed every last one of them…

DSCN2316

…and Bruin found yet another (!) cat bed!

bruin and fabric

I have started the next block of The Civil War Bride.  First, I stitched some branches and some leaves..

block 4

I used every inch of the branch fabric!

every inch of fabric

The tail feathers have me very intrigued!  They seem to fit together like a puzzle.  I love puzzles!

tail feathers

And here are the tail feathers just waiting to be stitched!

prepped tailfeathers

Til next time…

Kerry

Hand-quilting the night away!

What is it about hand-quilting that is so darn relaxing? I am making pretty steady progress on Sue Garman’s “Bouquets For A New Day”. When I sit down to quilt, I am always surprised at how quickly time (and stress!) seem to slip away.

And here is a close-up. I am using a Frixion pen to mark the cross-hatching. There was a bit of a discussion in my Sunday Afternoon Applique Group regarding these pens. I am always careful to test the marker on a scrap of fabric before marking the quilt top.

When my block is finished, I like to give it a warm bath to remove all residue left from the glue, starch and marking pens. Even though I pre-wash all (and I do mean all!) of my fabric in Synthrapol, my heart still skips a beat when I do this!

I am getting ready to start the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friend’s of Baltimore”. My least favorite part of appliquing is the tracing. So here is how I avoid tracing…

First, I scan the patterns and then “reflect” them. Then I print the patterns directly on to freezer paper. When a pattern has lots of layers and pieces, I usually print two or three copies. Here is the original pattern.

And here are the freezer paper copies. If you look closely, you will see that they are printed “backwards”.

The fabric for this block is already pre-washed and has the usual amount of cat hair on it!!

Til next time…

Kerry

The bird is done…but the grapes are not!

This bird is taking on a life of its own!

So…here are the top feathers.

…and the back and head.

The side feathers are stitched on. I also added the band around his neck.  At this point I realized I forgot the beak.  I think I was just so darn excited about how the bird was starting to look..well..very bird-like!

…and finally the last piece of the bird is  stitched in place!

I un-stitched a small section of the head and tucked in the beak.  Now I can concentrate on stems and leaves and grapes!  Did I mention there are 98 grapes!

I am pre-washing the fabrics for the appliqued border on my Feathered Star.  I am not sure what pattern I am doing yet but I want the fabric to be ready when my idea hits me!!

This is why I pre-wash!!

I pre-wash all my fabric in really hot water and Synthrapol.  I just sleep better when I do!!