Everything I Know About Making Bias Strips!

I love (love!) when people ask me questions about something I post on my blog.  For that reason, I am going to show you how I make my bias strips, which I use for stems.  First, let’s start with my pressing board…..it is a wooden board approximately 18″ x 18″ x 1″ that I have covered with a few layers of cotton fabric, so that the surface it still hard.  I have tried making bias strips on my ironing board (it has a very soft, thick pad on it) and it does not work at all.

When I use my 1/4″ bias maker, I cut my strips 1/2″ wide.  If you cut your strips even a 1/16th of an inch narrower, the strip will not go through the bias maker properly.

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Next, I spray the strip with starch.  I like to do one strip at a time because the starch dries fairly fast and you do not want the strips to be dry. Your strips  should be very damp when you put them through the bias maker.

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Using my stiletto, I guide the strip into the bias maker.

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Next, I turn the bias maker over and continue to guide the strip so that the end comes out the other side.

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Now I lay everything on my pressing board and place a pin through the bias and into the board.  You will be glad you did this!

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I take my iron in my right hand and slowly move the bias maker with my left hand and press along the folded bias strip.  Important note:  I don’t leave any space at all between the bias maker and the iron.   Also, I use the flat edge of the iron, rather that the tip of the iron.

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It’s as easy as that!!

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This is a post you might be interested it.  It shows how to use up your short pieces of bias so that no one will be the wiser!!

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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

A good day…considering!

Exciting times!  Earlier this spring, a dove built a nest and laid some eggs in a tree that is visible from our front window.  Last weekend, my husband was trimming the bushes around the tree and noticed the Mama bird keeping her 2 baby birds warm.

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On Thursday, I noticed a bit of commotion around the tree (and our cat was going crazy!)  Good thing he is an indoor cat!  The baby birds were finally leaving the nest!  I made sure my still-living-at-home, recently graduated 21 year-old daughter was paying close attention!  Here is the Mom and Dad and one of the babies.

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The other baby is over here, maybe in a time-out?

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Anyway…back to the block!  I added a few more flowers and leaves…

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Next, it was time to make the vine.  First I ironed the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric.  I trimmed just one side of the vine.

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I prepped one side…

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…then, I trimmed the other side.

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I finished prepping the vine, removed the freezer paper and added a few dabs of glue….

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…..and added it to the bouquet!

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In the meantime, I  noticed that I had forgotten a little bud in the top right hand corner of the bouquet.  So I prepped the missing bud, and also the blossom that goes at the end of the vine.  And stitched them in place.

Here is the missing bud…

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…and the blossom at the end of the vine.  Spiffy!

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I must confess, I did not look at the pattern, and mixed the two pieces up.  I did not think it mattered….keep reading!…

So once all flowers and vines and leaves stitched in place, it was time to make the stems.  I used bias bars to make them and used 4 different fabrics.  I did not want to glue all the stems in place before stitching them, so I glued and stitched a few at a time.  I took a few minutes and traced the stems so I wouldn’t have to keep putting the background back on the lightbox.

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I added a few more stems and stitched them in place…

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…voila!

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Next, I added the leaves.  So far, so good!

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I was pretty impressed with myself (which usually means I have screwed up somewhere!) and started prepping the ribbon.  I put the pattern back on the light box and started to glue the ribbon in place.  Yikes!  Good thing I keep the stitch ripper handy!

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Ah….that’s better!

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Til next time…

Kerry