Getting Ready to Start

I am eager to start the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  But, before I can start cutting and stitching, there are a few things that need to be done. First, I pre-washed the fabrics for the block, including the background, in Synthrapol.  This stops the colours from running.

prewash 2 (2)

So, while the fabrics were soaking, I decided to start making my freezer paper templates.  I took a good look at the pattern.  I only had one thought:  that is a whole lot of templates, and a whole lot of tracing!  (Between you and I, tracing is the part I dislike the most!)  So this is how I avoid tracing…

This particular pattern is larger than an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper, so it has been divided in four parts.


I scan each individual sheet and import the images to my computer.


Next I open up Adobe Illustrator…


…and I scroll down and click on PLACE.


The image then pops up on the screen like magic!


This is the really cool part!  I hit REFLECT and the image….well, it reflects!  (If you use the needleturn method and trace your patterns on the right side of fabric, you do not need to reflect the pattern.)


You know you have done this properly if the writing on the pattern is backwards!  I place a piece of freezer paper in the printer, click on print…


…. and voila!


Now, I am going to make one big pattern out of the 4 sections.  I trim the patterns on the dotted lines.


I like my freezer paper templates to be double thickness.  So, I iron each section to a big piece of freezer paper and match all the dotted lines…like I am wallpapering…only better!



Now I get to cut out every one of those itty bitty pieces!


Here is a little something I want to share!

I use my light box all the time.  I love it…because I don’t have to trace the pattern on the background fabric.  Do you see a theme here?  Sometimes when there are multiple layers, it is hard to see what is underneath the pieces I have already glued in place. By gluing the leaves in place, I have covered up the flower that will sit on top of the leaves.  Confusing!   So here is what I do to make life easier.

hummingbird 1

I use my applique pressing sheet and build the flower on it, rather than on the block.  This is also called “off-block construction”.


I put just a dab of glue on each petal, and slowly add each piece, until I have a flower.


I very carefully lift the flower off the applique pressing sheet…


…and place it on the background.  Easy Peasy!


Til next time…



Finish a block…start a block!

Darn it!  Does this ever happen to you?  I was stitching merrily along, when I thought my stitches felt a little weird.  Then I noticed my background had folded over on itself and I was stitching through two layers.  I keep my stitch ripper handy for occasions just like this!

stitch 2

So, once the block was finally finished, I did what I do to all my finished blocks….I gave it a bath!  I like to wash everything out of my block…like glue, starch and anything else that shouldn’t be there!  First, I fill the sink with very hot water and a bit of soap.

sink 1

Next, I take a very deep breath…and then I toss my block into the water.

sink 3

I usually let it soak for a couple of hours.  Then I let the water out of the sink and rinse the block under hot water until there are no more suds.

sink 4

Next, I gently squeeze the block so it is not dripping wet, but still fairly wet.  Finally, I spread the block out on a thick towel and pin the four corners.  Then I just let it air dry.  I should mention that I pre-wash all of my fabric in Synthrapol before even beginning the block.

sink 6

sink 7

So…while the block was drying, I started the next block of Civil War Bride.  First I traced the block…

cwb 1

….then I made lots of bias.  (You can never have too much bias!)

cwb 2

Oh!  And speaking of Civil War Bride, I finally made a decision.  I chose Nest #2!  Instead of putting 5 eggs in the nest just like the pattern, I chose to add 3 eggs…an egg to represent each one of my lovely children!

nest 7

Til next time….


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…


…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…


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.


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…


…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…


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…


Not Exactly Finished!

Once I finish stitching my blocks, I always give them a soak in the sink with hot water and soap.  I use marking pens, glue and starch on my blocks when I am working on them so I like to clean them up a bit.  You can read more about that here.

So while the block was soaking, I started working on the last (!) block of Sue Garman’s “Bouquets For a New Day”.  It is by far the simplest of all 12 blocks, so I should have it done in no time!  The pieces are nice and big and there aren’t too many of them!

This is the fabric I am using for the backing.  Bruin and I are getting it ready.

I bought the backing fabric 8 years ago and I always knew I would find a use for it!  I am looking forward to hand-quilting “Boquets For a New Day”, now that the skin on the tips of my fingers has grown back  and I have regained some feeling!   Colleen, at Elite Quilting, is going to machine baste the three layers together for me on her longarm machine, which has me very excited!  That means I don’t have to spend hours on my hands and knees basting the layers together.  Life is good!

Oops!  I guess I wasn’t exactly finished!  I wish I could tell you that this is the first time this has happened, but, sadly, that is not the case.  When I soak the block, I assume that I have stitched every piece in place.  It is not until I lay it out on a towel to dry that I see that I missed a spot!

Til next time.


Four blocks of Roseville completed!

Well!  I am thrilled with the way these blocks are turning out!  I am having way too much fun choosing fabrics for each of the blocks.  The fabric is “Summer House” by Lily Ashbury for Moda.  When I bought the fat quarter bundle last summer, I was not sure what I would ever do with.  All I knew was that I loved it and had to have it!!  I pre-washed the fat quarters and put it in my closet with the rest of my fabric.  When I was stumped by my first attempt at Roseville, I went through my closet looking for some inspiration.  My eye was immediately drawn to the bright, cheerful fabrics and I knew right away that this fabric was going to work!

Here are four of the blocks:

4 Blocks of Roseville