Itching to finish!

I was just itching to get this next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” finished!  But it just seemed to go on and on.  I started working on the red ribbons.  As you can see, this section of the ribbon was really skinny!  Here is how I tackled it.  Even though the freezer paper template was barely an 1/8″ wide, I still cut my 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around.

block 4

Once I prepped the first side, I trimmed the seam allowance so that I could  just see the edge of the template.

block 6

Next, I prepped the other side and trimmed it down also…

block 7

…and stitched it in place.

block 2

Then I prepped and stitched the second ribbon in place and added a pretty bow.

block 3

I thought I was done (and was high-five-ing myself!) and realized, no, I still had the bluebird to stitch.  So, here is the finished block…all tidied up after it’s bubble bath!

block 1

I took a close look and saw that,  once again, I forgot to stitch a tiny piece.  Drat!

oops (2)

Now, on to the exciting part!  The reason I wanted to finish this block so much, is that I now have enough blocks to sew another row together…I know!!!  So I dusted the cobwebs off my sewing machine, and started to make some half-square triangles.  You can read a little more about the method I use here.

It’s one thing to sit and sew a bunch of half-square triangles together.  It is another thing entirely to stitch them together in a row and arrive at the measurement it is supposed to be.  Here is a little tip I use to make life easier.

First, I sew my half-square triangles (HSTs) together in pairs.  Then I press the seam open.

stitched togethe in pairs

Then I stitch the pairs together to make sets of 4.  And I press the seam open.  And then, I measure the piece.  These HSTs finish at 1″, therefore, 4  HSTs sewn together should measure 4 1/2″.

four and a half

Then I stitch the sets of 4 together to make sets of 8.  I press the seam open and measure the piece.  It should measure 8 1/2″.  This section needed a nip and tuck!

eight and a half

Now, I take my sets of 8 and stitch them together to make 16 HSTs.  And, hopefully, it measures 16 1/2″.

sixteen and a half

So, now I can start to sew the row together!   Bruin always likes to be in on the action!

bruin helping

First, I sewed on  the bottom sashing, and then the side sashing on both blocks.

bottom and sides

And…two blocks sewn together!

2 rows sstitched together

I would like to continue, but look at the time!

nine o'clock

Keep stitching…



26 thoughts on “Itching to finish!

  1. Love the blocks, You seem to whiz through these no time at all, do you use starch to turn those applique pieces? Do you take out the freezer paper before your stitch or after? Love your blog

  2. All I have to say is Yowza! That’s skinny! I am glad to see you do this…I would have only thought of revers appliqué. Isn’t it neat how many ways there are to get a quilt done. I also love the quilting you chose to do in the last post. The echo quilting on the vase is perfect! Makes it look nice and rounded!,

  3. Thank you for sharing “how” you do these challenging pieces! It really is helping me! Beautiful work and love your blog. Happy Stitching!

  4. Oh, I know what you mean about having those half square triangles be the length they are suppose to be. My goodness they just add so much to the blocks, a beautiful frame around each block. Congrats on another finished block, each block completed is like finishing an entire quilt.

  5. Your work is just beautiful!!! I would have never been able to figure out how to starch that very skinny stem. You are clever to approach it that way. I am just starting to use the starch method and I like it, especially on my larger pieces. It seems to go very quickly. I am making baskets, they are all alike so it works very well. Thank you for all of your helpful techniques. I enjoy your blog and look forward to your emails. I live in an area where there is no one who appliques. The closest person is an hour away and she does needle turn. Thank you so much for all of your help. Linda in VA

    • Thanks for the great comment! It does seem that appliquers are a rare breed. My friend and I get together once a week or so and stitch. She lives an hour and a half away. It is really nice to stitch along with someone who “gets” you. If you ever get a chance, you should check out Baltimore on the Prairie or The Elle Sienkewicz Applique Academy. They are applique conferences where you can be surrounded by other passionate appliquers. I have been to The Elle Academy three times and plan to return next year.

  6. What can I say, your blocks are beautiful!! I love the tip about measuring before stitching all the half square triangles together. Very smart and quite logical. I’ll be doing it from now on.

  7. As usual Kerry, beautiful work. What thread do you applique with? I have been using YLI silk on a project I inherited from my late mother and I have to say — it’s a pain. Love the finished results but I’m wondering if it’s worth the bother. There must be another (better?) option.

    • Hi Janet
      I am a huge fan of Mettler 60 weight (green lettering on the label). It is the only thread I use for applique. I have tried YLI silk but did not care for it. I found it to be very slippery and became un-threaded, which was a pain. Also, I just feel that cotton thread “grips” the cotton fabric and gets buried in the fibers, better than silk does. A lot of it boils down to personal choice.

      • Thanks Kerry, I am going to try the Mettler. Sometimes I feel like I’m sewing with a worm the way the tread slips away from me – not fun!

  8. Kerry – After you give your block its “bubble bath” how do you keep it from wrinkling all over – assume you must pin it in place to dry? Thanks! Annie

    • Hi Annie: First I press the excess water out (never wring it out!). I leave the block fairly wet. Then I place the block on a towel and smooth it out. Then I put a dozen or so pins in it and let it dry flat. It usually takes about a day. Hope this helps!

  9. Your elegant work takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing yourself, your techniques and your beautiful creations. It is a treat to open your blog.

  10. Dear Kerry, Hope you remember me as I also am busy with the Baltimore Friends here in the Netherlands. And in the past I have asked you about several methods regarding this quilt. The next question. I still have two blocks and two borders to go and I start now with these dog tooth (teeth?) sashings. You washed all your blocks. And your sashings? I do not know what to do at this very moment. I have not washed a thing up till now and I am a big scared that if I wash a block and not my sashings, don’t you get a difference in shrinkage? Would it be wise as to sew the sashings to a block and then wash the whole thing. I hate being so unsure what to do and as you are the experienced one, I’ll ask you. Looking forward to an answer, kind regards, Auckje van der Leij

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