Tuesday 24 March 2020

Hope: Working on the Border Blocks

I must have a short memory. The last time I worked with linen I had to work extra carefully to stop stretching and warping of the fabric fibres.. and totally forgot about all the hassle. Well, now I'm repeating myself! I love my Hope background in this rough linen but am having to work with extra diligence to make sure my seams and fibres stay nice and straight. I do this with spray starch and double checking every single piece before and after I sew it in. Phew.
With the strips sewn in and correct (yes, even I have to double check everything against the pattern sheet), it's time to create the beautiful vines.
I'm using my trusty turn edge applique technique with Elmer's glue for this.
Next, it's time to create the flower heads
it doesn't matter how many I make, I never get tired of applique flowers.
Aren't they sweet?
And this is my border block, waiting to be sewn in
Hope is a gorgeous blooming applique design, perfect for beginners. You can start this quilt anytime as a BOM or purchase the pattern outright. Simply click the image to learn more. 

Monday 23 March 2020

Hope: Making Stems With A Bias Tape Maker

This is my favourite way to make vines and stems for applique foliage and flowers.

When considering a pattern, I think about whether an embroidery stitch, tracing from pattern or bias stem would work best.

Sometimes, especially when creating traditional or historic style quilts, imperfect stems look best. The size variations might exist to give a pattern a 'hand drawn' or naive look. In those cases, I simply trace the vines or stems from the pattern sheet like every other applique shape and work from there. 

However, most of the time I turn to my trusty bias tape makers to those lines.
I like to starch my fabrics first, helping to create a neat bias tape.
This is what my fabric looks like before it enters the tape.
Then I simply feed it through.
Sometimes the feed needs some help with a pin to wiggle the first bit out.
As soon as it appears, I start ironing the fabric tape to set it.
It looks like this. And then I simply repeat. Easy, isn't it?
If you aren't already creating bias tape for your stems and vines, give it a go. It's a satisfying technique for your applique that allows you to create neat and uniform lines with the least amount of hassle.

Friday 13 March 2020

Flash Sale: On My Window Flowers Bloom

'On My Window, Flowers Bloom'
Finished size:  38 x 48 inches

'On my Window, Flowers Bloom' says it all. I love this design. I love the flowers and all the fun to be had during fabric selection. Will you go sophisticated with a naturalistic pallette or bright and bold? And what about that sky peeking through? Will it be daytime? Night time? Starry or snowy? I couldn't decide. I kept going back and forth. In the end I played around with two main ideas; the top one is just lovely and I can already see it shining on my wall. The one below is made up from my Fassett stash - because it's about time I started putting that gorgeous stash to proper use in a fabulous wall hanging. 

Whichever way you decide to go with it, I can't wait to see your progress. So don't forget to share as you work and chat along with all of us over in my BOM Group - we're more than just an online quilting group, we're a friendly and supportive community. 

Like it? Make it! 

On My Window Flowers Bloom
An applique wall hanging, finished size 38 x 48 inches
Complete Digital Pattern
$19.95 USD


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Thursday 12 March 2020

Hope: The Blooming Dahlia Block

Today I'm making the Blooming Dahlia Block. If you're making Hope month by month, this block is created in Part 8. I'm making my quilt parts 'out of turn', according to my fabric usage - I have a limited amount of Japanese Woven fabrics that I am balancing out between the blocks. 

Like always, I'm using fusible to create my turn edge applique. For newcomers, you can read detailed tutorials on this technique right here on my blog by clicking here now or the Guide To Applique button on the page header. 
I number all my shapes to help me arrange them when it's time to layer. I even number my leaves, when it comes to prep work, you can't be too organized.
 Layering up
I started with the centre circle and added the first layer of petals, adhering them with dabs of Roxanne glue to keep them in position until I'm ready to machine stitch them down.
 First layer complete and pinned into position - 
I do this to make sure my applique isn't 'growing' as I work
 Now it's time for the second layer
 Second layer pinned and checked against the pattern for size accuracy
 Motif completed and held in position with glue
 Ready for positioning on the block background! Today was all about creating the applique.
I'll be sharing a step by step tutorial on creating the circle star background for this block shortly. 
 Now I'm heading back to my Facebook Group to enjoy all the gorgeous centres that are being created - the range of fabrics and effects are stunning.
Hope is a gorgeous blooming applique design, perfect for beginners. You can start this quilt anytime as a BOM or purchase the pattern outright. Simply click the image to learn more. 

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Creating Turn Edge Applique on Curves

Consider this simple flower shape. When creating applique pieces, there's a huge advantage to using a fusible that doesn't need to be washed away. The fusible is the white you see. The fusible has been cut as per the pattern sheet - that is, it's the true actual size of the applique piece. It's ironed onto the fabric and then the fabric is cut around the fusible shape with a quarter inch seam allowance. It's this allowance that provides us with the lovely edge we want in our pieces. 
When I talk about fusible, I'm pretty much always referring to Floriani Stitch N Wash Fusible. This is my preferred fusible product. It doesn't need to be removed at any stage and after applique, it doesn't bulk out your applique and the quilt can be washed and handled as usual. I'm not associated with Floriani and I don't even get a discount on their products, I have simply found this to be the best fusible for applique so far. I also have trouble finding it outside of the US, so check with your local quilt store and get your hands on as much as you can afford. It can be really irritating to stall a project whilst hunting it down. There may be other products that work just as well as Stitch N Wash, but my location means that I simply don't get access to the large array available to so many North American quilters. I suggest you experiment with as many fusibles as you can to find one that works for you. 
When you cut your fusible shape out with the seam allowance, respect the shape of the applique motif. You'll notice I cut my seam allowance with gentle curves to follow the fusible.With the shape plus seam allowance cut out of the fabric, dab the sides with glue. This is to hold everything into position until you're ready to sew( by machine or hand) your applique into it's position. I often use Elmer's Glue in Disappearing Purple. I find that it doesn't gum up my machine or cause any stitching problems. It also washes away later. There was some talk a few years ago that this glue was so good because it was essentially a starch.. and then it was discovered that it actually wasn't a starch product at all and some quilters went off it. Personally I don't care that it's not a starch, it works fine for applique and washes out easily. If you're one of those quilters who doesn't wash her applique, don't worry about it because you won't end up with a stiff cardboard applique shape anyhow. 
Once you've glued the seam allowance, snip carefully around the fusible shape. Don't snip right up to the fusible white shape or the cut marks will show on the right side. This takes practice and a sharp pair or narrow scissors.
As you clip each side, turn the edges inwards neatly and press down to keep then down in position. As you approach the tip, you need to make smaller, finer cuts and tuck in the excess fabric to create the neat curved edge. This is more than your hands can accomplish alone. You also need an orange stick. The wood is good because it won't break the fibres of your fabric whilst you're manipulating the fabric. You could also use a thick pin to do this work, but be careful of breaking down those fibres.
When I reach tip points that are curved, I neatly pleat the seam allowance as tightly as possible all the way around.
This means that curved points will always look fuller on the wrong side than other parts of the turn edge. After you've created a few, you'll pick up a technique that works for you. I find that pulling the pleats down towards the fusible as tightly as possible and then holding them down until the glue fastens (about a minute) works for me.
 Now to create the top edge of the flower shape. You'll notice that I first snipped the larger area into 3 sections, this will allow me to create 3 x pleat zones, which will give me the neatest result. If I tried to just follow the curve without breaking it down with a snip in the 'dips', the shape would lose it's detail and look overall rounded.
 After snipping your zones, add your glue. It's best to add glue in stages and not all at once so that you can handle the shape cleanly and can use as little glue as possible. If you add your glue too early and take too long to come around to the area, it will dry out quickly.
Next, pleat and turn each area as neatly as you can, pulling the fabric towards the fusible and holding it down.
Whilst still drying, you might want to try rolling your applique to help flatten it. I often beat my applique edges with a small rubber hammer to get them really flat and reduce bulk built up on tight corners. It really works, give it a go.
This is where I ended up using this shape. It's from a block in my quilt design Secret Garden.
I also went on and adding highlighting to this shape for added dimension with a process that is pigment fast and permanent.
 Not bad for a simple applique shape, eh?

Monday 9 March 2020

Hope: Centre Progress

In the last few years I've really embraced bows in my applique and I have to tell you, I'm still not over this design motif. I'm definitely in a bow mood, I think they're gorgeous. In Hope, I restrained my bows- they're neat and sweet.. but I can still definitely see a hint of Love Always flourish in them.. what do you think?
Here are my flower heads, I'm happy with how the Japanese woven fabrics look on the linen, it's a subtle almost aged look that agrees with me. Originally I had decided on a different colourscheme - much lighter and brighter, but as always, the fabrics changed the mood and I went with what I had.
And I love how they look on the grey background. Originally I had opted for a pale pink background but the grey linen offsets these applique fabrics much better, so I had to adapt.
 How gorgeous is this stripe fabric for the stems??
 And I'm nearly there.. 
Hope is a gorgeous blooming applique design, perfect for beginners. You can start this quilt anytime as a BOM or purchase the pattern outright. Simply click the image to learn more. 
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