Which Piece Goes Where??

One of the most challenging things about applique is determining which order to glue (and stitch) pieces to the background.   Some blocks are easier than others to figure out.  This block was not one of them!  Here is how I tackled the “Xebec” block from Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”…

Since the seam allowances on the black part of the hull were going to be completely covered by other pieces, there was no need to prep the edges.  But I did draw the seam allowance on the front of the piece, just to make sure everything was going to line up.

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I also took the time to baste it to the background just inside the seam allowance.DSCN5513

Next, I added the brown top piece.  Notice that the left hand edge is not prepped, but all of the other edges are.

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This next skinny piece is going to go on top those raw edges, but it is going to go under the top brown piece…..

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…but at the same time, this little gold piece gets tucked under the top piece.  The edge that is not prepped will go under the top piece and the rest will stick out.

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Needless to say, I had my thinking cap on!

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So, this is what it  looks like so far.

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As you can see, this skinny brown piece is actually smaller than the seam allowance, so I had to trim just a tiny bit of the black piece before I could stitch it in place.  Dicey business!

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Next, it was time to add the main sail.  I stitched the bottom and side edge, and then I basted the raw edge that is going to be covered up….

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…by this.

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Voila!DSCN5529

Til next time…

Kerry

First Border On!

Last Wednesday evening I finished stitching all I could on the first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I filled the sink with hot soapy water and let the border soak for a while.  I use hot water because I think the glue and starch soften quicker in hot water…maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, but that is just what I do!  Next, I like to use Soak in the water, but if I don’t have any Soak on hand, I use dish soap.

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I normally let it soak for an hour or two.  When I went to take the border out of the water, I was mildly shocked to see that most of the red fabrics had run into the white background.  After doing a quick bit of research online, I jumped in the car and went shopping for some Oxy-Clean and some color magnet sheets.  Luckily, I found them, came home and threw the border into the washing machine with both products.  I am happy (and sooooo relieved) to tell you the border came out of the washing machine without a speck of red dye on it.  Thank you, Quilting Gods!

The following day, I laid the border out on a towel and let it dry.  Once it was dry, I placed the border  onto the pattern and marked the cutting lines with a water soluble marker.  I always cut my background pieces  larger than the pattern calls for, so they need to trimmed to the correct size.

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Next, I stitched the border on.

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When I went to press the seam flat, I noticed that some of the navy blue fabric had frayed, and it was sticking out past the seam allowance.  I very carefully trimmed off the navy blue bits.  I mean….very, very carefully!

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So here we are!

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I promised myself once I had the first border stitched on, I would start the next block of Ladies of the Sea, another Sue Garman pattern.  The ship on this block is called The Xebec Pirate Ship.  It looks very interesting with that skull and crossbones!  I used a gradient fabric for the bias stems.DSCN5454

If you look closely, you will see  the color goes from light to dark green.  Fun!

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One day (when I have time!) I am going to do some research on cats and quilts.  I had not seen Bruin all morning.  I placed my quilt on the floor so I could take a picture of it. I went to find my camera and this is what I returned to find.  Sheesh!

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Til next time…

Kerry

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?

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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!

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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.

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They should look like this.

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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Presto!

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Til next time…

Kerry

I am no sailor!

Although I spent 2 weeks last January on a sailboat, I do not consider myself a sailor!  Almost every afternoon, our Captain and his wife would quiz us about the parts of the sailboat.  We learned what the pulpit is, what the head is used for and what to do when someone yells “Grab the painter!”  So, I was pleasantly surprised when I actually remembered the parts of the sailboat as I stitched the first block of Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”.  For those of you who are not familiar with the basic parts of a sailboat, this should help!Sailboat Parts 4The sailboat on the first block is Canada’s own “Bluenose”, surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves.  (Makes me proud to be a Canadian!)  Although I prefer the starch and freezer paper method, I decided to do needleturn for the leaves.

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Once the wreath was finished, I added the crown.

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Now, on to the parts of the sailboat…the masts and boom are really skinny!

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So, here is the mast, mainsail, the boom and the jib…

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…and all the rest of the parts!  I have only marked the rope lines with a Frixion marker.  I am not sure if I will use 1 or two strands of embroidery floss to stitch them.  I will figure that out tomorrow!

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Til next time…

Kerry

The Sun is Shining!

The sun is shining, so I ran to get my camera so I could finally take a picture of “Circle of Tulips”.  I find the handquilting shows up really nicely in the bright sun!   The only time I hand-quilt is in the evening.  I like to sit down around 9 o’clock with a pot of tea and stitch the night away and contemplate life in general!   You can download the pattern for “Circle of Tulips” on my website.  It’s free!  You can also check out the new video for the second installment of “Peggy’s Puzzle”.

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Finally finished stitching the fruit bowl from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  This could possibly be one of my favourite blocks!  One more block left!!DSCN4918

I used Ultra-Suede for the little frilly green things on the strawberries and blueberries.  Ultra-Suede is a life-saver for these tiny, tiny pieces.  I also love the little bit of texture that it gives.DSCN4919

I was going to wait til I completely finished the fruit bowl before I started Ladies of the Sea, but I couldn’t help myself.  Curiosity got the better of me.  I just wanted to see what the colours would look like against the background.  Dandy!

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Til next time…

Kerry

OK…where was I?

Now that I have finished Civil War Bride, I have some spare time on my hands.  What will I do?  Will I work on finishing some neglected UFO’s or start something totally brand new?  Well…since I like to work on a number of projects at once, the answer is…both!  I am going to work on finishing up Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” and I am going to start Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea” tomorrow.  I have been wanting to start this quilt for a while now.  I showed the pattern to my son a couple of years ago and told him I would like to make it for him.  He said “Sweet”.  A couple of months ago, he actually asked me if I had started it yet.  I said I hadn’t.  Last week he asked me again if I had started it and I told him I was getting ready organizing my fabrics and I would start it soon.  He said  “Sweet.  Make sure you make it long enough to cover me”.
(He is 6′ 5″.)  I was torn between mortified and ecstatic.  Mortified because he wants to use the quilt.  Ecstatic because he wants to use the quilt!

I try to keep all of my unfinished projects organized in clear containers.  That way, when I am ready to pick up where I left off, I know exactly where everything is.  How is that for organized? This is “Friends of Baltimore”.  I have just 2 blocks left, then I can start the borders.  (Have you seen the borders? Yikes!)

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So, the fern block is finished, but still needed a bath.  You can read more about “Washing My Blocks”   here.

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While that block was soaking, I started the next block, the fruit bowl.  First, I traced the pattern on to my background with a Clover water soluble marker.  I used my light box to do all of my tracing.

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I started with the base of the bowl.  All I can think about is how nice it would be to go whale watching right about now!

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Next, I added some circles.

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Now I was ready to add some leaves.  I have been thinking about leaves lately.  Probably because we have been raking them up before the snow falls.  Leaves come in more colours than just shades of green.

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I have been keeping my eyes open for some really different leaf fabrics to add to my stash of applique fabrics.  Check these out!  I especially like the second one from the left and decided to use that one in this block.

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Here it is….DSCN4848

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Til next time…

Kerry