Making a Quilt Backing

I finished my Trail Mix quilt ages ago and I was supposed to drop it off to Colleen at Elite Quilting to be quilted…in August.  Well, August has come and gone.  And so has September.  It just needs a backing and I have procrastinated long enough!  So I am determined to get this quilt and backing to Colleen by the end of October.  Always good to have a goal to aim toward!


At first, I was just going to sew a backing together using a lovely beige fabric that has maps printed on it.  I had a sizable amount in my cupboard so….why not?  So I cut myself 2 pieces the length of the quilt (plus 10″) and was getting all set to sew them together and be done with it.  But then I remembered a few orphan blocks I have had kicking around for a while.  A really long while.  I thought it might be nice to incorporate them into the background.

These are the blocks I decided to use.  I was just going to sew a beige sashing in between each block and call it a day.  Cross if off my To-Do List.



Ok….but then I found a box of half-log cabin blocks and some interesting sashings leftover from a project that I don’t really remember.  I thought they would add an interesting touch.




A while ago I decided to make a quilt using the Bear’s Paw block.  I made 4 blocks and decided… I am not sure what I decided but I just didn’t make any more blocks.  I just thought it would be nice if they were being used for something more than just a cat bed!



Then I thought….”I know I have some more blocks kicking around.  I wonder where they are?”  I found them and added them to the quilt backing.


I noticed I had a few blocks with the fabric left over from the quilt I made my Mom.  So, of course I had to incorporate them into the backing.  This is a post I wrote about my Mom’s quilt.


To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun playing with my fabrics!


Have you given any thought about going to the Academy of Applique in February?  I hope you will take the time to visit the website and check out all the super-talented teachers.  Just to be included in this group of awesome teachers makes me break out in goosebumps!  I am so excited to be teaching at the Academy and being able to share everything (and I mean everything!) I know about hand-applique.  Won’t you join us?

Til next time….




Block 2- Part 2

In my last post I showed you how I made the wreath, the leaves and the circles.  Now I am going to show you how I made the middle section.  I mentioned how I photocopied the pattern onto freezer paper to make most of my templates.  You can do that with this block because the majority of the shapes are symmertical.  Why is that important?  And what is symmetrical anyway?  Good questions!

Symmetrical simply means that if you take the shape, and draw a line down the middle, both halves are the same, but mirror images.  Like these  leaf shapes.


Even though the bird is not symmetrical, the fact that there are two birds (and they are reversed) means that you can still use the photocopied templates.  In fact, the entire block is symmetrical at this point.  If you were to draw a line right down the middle, both sides would be a mirror image of each other.


Freezer paper and starch (or Prepared Edge Applique) is the method I use so I will explain why symmetrical shapes are important.  If I were to use the templates for the middle section (the bouquet of 3 roses) from the freezer paper I photocopied, the bouquet would be reversed on the finished block. So for that not to happen, I need to reverse my templates if they are not symmetrical.   With experience you will be able to look at all the shapes in the block and decide if you can use the shapes as they are, or if you have to reverse your templates.

So, how do I reverse my templates?  There are a few ways…..I can flip my pattern over on to my lightbox and trace the templates onto my freezer paper (paper side up).  Or, I can flip my freezer paper (shiny side up) and trace from the right side of the pattern.  Either way, you have to flip something!

Believe it or not, the only shapes I had to reverse (or flip) in this block are the stems and leaves for the bouquet.  The roses are symmetrical, so I used the photocopied templates.


The buds are not symmetrical, but there are two and they are reversed.


Notice I prepped the rose, and then removed the template and cut out the buds to prep them.  No need to make new templates.  Here is a post that explains things in more detail.


Even though the leaves and stems are all one piece, I decided to separate the pieces.  Some of those curves are pretty deep and there isn’t a lot of seam allowance to fold over.  I use the word “dicey” to describe how I feel about doing this shape.  So I came up with an alternate (and less dicey!) way to handle these pieces.  I also used this technique on a pair of pants, an elephant and a horse.

First, I drew a line that separates the leaves from the stems.  Don’t worry that the stem looks a little thicker in places because we will be using bias for the stems.  dscn8093

Next, I traced the shapes onto the shiny side of the freezer paper with a fine Sharpie.  Remember, you can flip the pattern, or you can flip the freezer paper.  But you can’t flip both.  These shapes are not dicey at all!


Now I just went merrily on my way gluing the leaves in place.



Next, I added some bias stems.



Next I added the roses.  Yummy!


Then I added the ribbon.




Til next time….


Block 2 – The Rose and Cherry Wreath

This is the second time I have made this block, and I feel the same way about it now as I did when I made it the first time.  Yikes!!  Looks very daunting, doesn’t it?  But don’t be fooled.  This block is not nearly as difficult as it looks.  Trust me.

Tracing the pattern on freezer paper is the one thing I will avoid if at all possible.  So with that in mind, this is what I did.  First, I made a photocopy (using a single sheet of freezer paper)  of each of the four sections of the pattern.


Next, I cut a larger sheet of freezer paper (about 16″ square).  I made sure my iron was really hot and ironed each section on top of the larger sheet of freezer paper.  The majority of this block is symmetrical (as opposed to asymmetrical) so I did not have to reverse the pattern.



Now I was able to cut out the wreath, which is one entire piece.  Take your time.  Make a pot of tea.  I ended up spoiling some of the leaves, which was ok, because all of the leaves are the same shape and size, so I just made some new leaves by tracing one of the leaves on 2 layers of freezer paper.


I did not worry about cutting out each of the circles (cherries) because I am a huge fan of Perfect Circles and prefer to make my circles with them rather than freezer paper templates.



OK.  Now it’s time to iron the wreath onto the back of your fabric.  Start ironing at the bottom and slowly press the wreath into shape.  So far, so good!


Now comes the fun part!  I found it easier just to trim a small section at a time, and then prep that section.  You can see from the photo below that when I clip my curves, I clip about 1/8″ away from the freezer paper.





The technique used to prep the heart shape is called Reverse Applique.



Now comes the part you have been dreading.   It’s time to take the freezer paper out.  Do it carefully!



Looks like a jumbled mess, right?


That wasn’t so bad, now was it?  I have already traced the pattern onto the background.  Speaking of the background, I chose this one from Northcott because I wanted an antique sort of look.

Now it’s time to glue the wreath onto the background.  Instead of putting dabs of glue on the wreath (and ending up with glue all over your fingers) I put the dabs of glue on the background, one small section at a time.  Take your time.  Drink your tea.




Once the wreath was glued in place, I stitched it in place.  In fact, that is normally how I work.  I prep a bit, I stitch a bit.  Breaks up the monotony of any one task.  So next I added the circles.  I used Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles.  Here is my Youtube video on How To Make Perfect Circles.


Next, I added the bluebirds and hearts.



The leaves are easy peasy, so you will not have any problem making them!




I was going to show you how I made the flowers and buds, stems and leaves and the ribbon in this post, however my husband just came home and informed me he just put a deposit down on a snowmobile.  A snowmobile.  He wants me to go (now!) and have a look at it before he decides for sure.  I have a feeling I already know what he decided!!

I will show you how I do the rest of the block in my next post.  Here is the finished block.  Dainty!


And here are our first two blocks.  Goosebumps!!


Til next time….