I made a big push and got the top and back ready for the quilter. I am very pleased.
The last piece of bias binding didn’t go as planned. I thought I would applique’ a really long piece all across the top. It didn’t quite work out as I hadn’t planned ahead an there wasn’t a clear path. I filled in some large-ish spaces on each side, but that’s it.
I delved into my backing fabrics for the back. i didn’t have to do too much fussy piecing so the back didn’t take forever. I am really glad this is done and hope to put something lighter and cheerier up on my design wall very soon.
I spent some time yesterday working on the Red Scribbles quilt top. I made good progress and am now ready to put the whole top together.
I cut one last rectangle and appliqued bias strips on the rest of the individual rectangles. I am happy about my progress. I am hopeful that I can finish the top and the back this week, but things seem to be taking longer lately, so we will see.
I made more progress the other day. When I think about this project, I don’t want to work on it. When I actually work on it, I don’t mind it. It’s weird, but I think it comes from not working on the right project at the right time.
Obviously, work is getting done on this, however I am not working on it as quickly as I had hoped. I want to work on something else, something with more mind sorbet type of piecing. Perhaps one of the Vanessa Christensen patterns using her ombre fabric that has been sitting around waiting for my attention? I want to work on something easy and fun and not as dark.
I made a little progress on the black & red quilt I am now calling Red Scribbles. I am calling it that because I think it looks like someone took a red crayon and scribbled all over my quilt.
I thought I would get more done, but Sunday was not a good sewing day. It may be time for some four patches or mind sorbet sewing. I do want to finish this piece, though. Oh well, I am sure things will even out.
I said yesterday that I was enjoying the bias tape applique’. You can see from the photo that the curve is smooth and flat.
I am trying out how tight I can make the curves and still keep them smooth. While machine applique’ is generally a hassle, it is much better with the bias tape, because the edges are not raw. I don’t like to leave my edges raw. I usually cover them with satin stitching and that takes time. I don’t like it, though I like the look because I have to reset my machine. With the bias tape, I can use a straight stitch and follow the applique’ with my regular leaders and enders.
You saw the other day that I had finished the first layer, or perhaps it was the second layer?
I really kind of liked this look despite the slightly depressing look, but I was on a mission.
I used a satin stitch, but not a dense one stitch down the River. In some cases I will straight stitch first, but I didn’t in this case. I try to keep track of the settings so I can use the same density again. I often start with the density I used to sew on Merit Badges and then adjust from there. Despite the siren call of temptation, I always test the density before I sew on the actual piece. Have you every tried to rip out a satin stitch. It is doable, but I don’t find it to be fun.
After applique’ing down the River shape, I moved on to the broken hearts.
After making some hearts some time ago I have a trick, so I used it to make the heart shape then cut into them with very sharp scissors (should have used my Karen Kay Buckley scissors) and made the broken part. I put fusible on the back of the hearts and pressed them down. I use Soft Fuse. I have used other products, but that is my current favorite.
I had to play around with the placement of the hearts. I wanted them on the background, not on the borders or covering the River. Once they were placed where I wanted them I satin stitched them down and added the tears. I think tears coming off of a heart is powerful imagery.
The signs took a lot longer. I needed to add sticks and get the placement right, trim the shapes and write the messages.
I don’t know why I wanted these Easter Egg colors, but they seemed right. I didn’t even have to hunt for them as they magically appeared in a convenient stack of fabric.
I fused the sticks, then found they didn’t show up very well, so I stitch around them to highlight them. I still don’t think they show up as much as I wanted, but I am okay with the look.
This is very much a quilt where you get one view from afar and need to come closer to get a more detailed view.
I am making some progress on Under the Sea. It is a shock, because this piece has been on my list and a UFO for YEARS. I really never thought I would finish it and here I am.
We went to Southern California for the weekend, so no sewing machine and I missed the BAMQG meeting. My DH better know I love him. 😉 I did take Under the Sea and my EPP project to work on. I didn’t do much in general – no sewing, no EPP, no quilt shop visits, but I worked on Under the Sea a little on the way home in the car.
I bought some 12wt Aurifil and have used a little of it along with the Perl Cotton that I have had laying around. It is fun to add layers of texture to this piece. The stitches are adding interest.
I am not sure about the green circles. I like them as a motif. I am not sure I like them around the turquoise dots. I don’t want to disrupt that bubble like effect.
I am hoping that the viewer won’t see them until they get closer. We’ll have to see.
In my previous machine applique’ tutorials, I used designs where the direction of the motif didn’t matter. When I went back to review the tutorial (yes, I do use my own tutorials!) in preparation for doing some machine applique’. I was preparing to applique’ letters, which have a definite right and wrong way. I realized I had omitted directions for using directional motifs (where the direction of the motif matters, such a numbers or letters) for applique’, so I had to figure out how to do them again.
In order to understand this tutorial, you will need to look at How to Applique’-TJW and the 3 Fusible Applique tutorials (pt.1, pt.2 and pt.3). All of these are part of a whole.
Draw out your design. I used a pattern for the letters I wanted to applique’. You can draw or print your design. There are a lot of free clipart you can use. Since I had a pattern, I laid out the pattern, placed a piece of drawing paper over the letters I needed and drew out the design using a pencil.
Trace over the pencil lines you used to trace the design with a Sharpie. The lines should be dark. Make sure the Sharpie does not bleed through to your table.
Flip your drawing paper over and put it on your light box. You can also tape it to a window or sliding glass door. The wrong side of the letters or directional motif will show through.
Using your Sharpie, trace the letters again on the wrong side of the paper. You will be tracing the backwards image of the letters.
Leaving the paper taped to the window (or laying on the light box), tape a piece of paper backed fusible, paper side UP, over your design which is on the window or light box.
Trace the backwards design on to your paper backed fusible using a Sharpie. **Nota bene: my Sharpie tended to smear on the paper of the fusible. I couldn’t find a pen that worked well, so be really careful to keep your hand out of the way to avoid smearage.
Once finished, remove everything from the window or light box.
Place the fabric you will use for your directional motifs right side down on the ironing surface. The fabric should be sized slightly larger than the fusible.
Place the fusible on top of the fabric with the paper side up. Make sure no edges are over your ironing surface.
Place your applique’ pressing sheet over everything.
Press according to the directions on the fusible package.
Once you are finished pressing, you will have a piece of fabric with fusible on the wrong side. The motifs (letters) should appear backwards and you will see the wrong side of the fabric.
Decide on which scissors you will use. I always have a fight with myself about this. I don’t want to ruin my Ginghers, which are super sharp and great for cutting out detailed types of designs by using them to cut through paper. I also don’t want to ruin the edges of my motif with a pair of papers scissors that will not be sharp enough to cut through the fabric. I have a pair of Fiskars that I end up using for this task. Not ideal, but the best I am willing to do.
Once you have decided on scissors, cut out your designs (letters, in this case). First I do a rough cut, then I cut with more detail.
Layout your background fabric on a flat surface, right side up. I use my ironing board, so I don’t have to move the motifs in order to press. If I have to sew two pieces of fabric together to make a large enough background, I press the seam open.
Take each motif, one by one, and peel off the paper. Carefully place each prepared applique’ motifs in their desired location before moving on to the next one. With motifs such a letters, I use a ruler to make sure they are straight.
You should be able to see your design correctly. If you are using letters they should not be backwards and you should be able to read the word.
Place your applique’ pressing sheet over everything.
Press your applques so that they are stuck to the background fabric.
Set up your sewing machine with the correct colored thread and a foot suitable for zigzag or satin stich.
I set the zigzag to 3.5 (width), 0.7 (density). I like my satin stitch to be a little open, but you can adjust it to your favorite length and density.
Cut a piece of tearaway the width of your motif and twice as long
Fold the tearaway in half.
Pin the double layer of tearaway to the back of the background fabric. Pins should be out of the way of the machine foot.
Satin stitch all the way around each motif, carefully negotiating curves so the satin stitch looks smooth.
Trim and/or tie off all threads.
Tear away/cut away the excess tearaway stabilizer.
The Food Quilt #2 still needs a back. I have been putting it off, because I wanted to applique’ the recipient’s name on to a piece of fabric as part of the back. The idea is to discourage theft. We’ll see if it works.
I had a good chunk of time over the weekend. Thus, I spent most of the afternoon on Sunday preparing and appliqueing the name to a piece of fabric.
I accomplished the job, but it was a really big pain and not very pleasant. I fought with the fusible the whole time. It wouldn’t stick and then it stuck too much. I felt the whole process took much more time than it should have.
The picture (left) is part of the work I did. I am not showing the whole name, because of privacy, but you can see the work.
The alphabet is from a pattern called Critters Alphabet. I like it because it is cheerful and different. I used it on another quilt I made for a nephew. I bought the pattern at PIQF about a zillion years ago and I am pretty sure I saw it there last year. I did a search and found it under a new name, Alphabet Critters.
Next time, though, I might try paper piecing for the letters. We’ll see.
As mentioned in part 1, above is the current block in our Sampler Quilt Class. These directions are for machine sewing your Flower Basket and include a little applique’. The applique’ can be done by machine or hand.
Are you playing along? If you are just starting, below is the complete supply list. You won’t need everything for this step, but you will need to start with part 1 and that part requires more supplies. Also, note, there are a LOT of photos in this tutorial.
These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance. Check your seam allowance before you begin. If you don’t know how to do that, there are resources available, including one from Connecting Threads and Craftsy. You can search the web for others if you don’t like these tutorials.
You will be directed to use the Triangle Technique. Make sure you have the chart as well as the instructions handy.
Respect the bias.
After working through part 1, you have already chosen your fabrics, made your templates and cut your pieces. You are ready to sew.
Carefully stitch along the hypotenuse of the large background triangle, about 1/8″ from the edge, to stabilize it. This stitching will be covered up when you stitch the handle part of the block to the basket part of the block.
Use the Triangle Technique to make your half square triangles. Make sure you have the chart available to confirm sizes. A brief overview is:
Draw an X from corner to corner diagonally on the wrong side of each of your 6.25″ x 6.25″ squares.
Place them right sides together and sew 1/4″ on each side of the diagonal lines.
Nota bene: If I had wanted to pin I would have pinned far away from any of the diagonal lines.
Now you have a piece with four seams forming an X.
Next cut the ‘Plus’ of your sewn piece. This means that you are cutting horizontally down the middle and vertically down the middle.
Line up your ruler with the edge of the fabric and the point in the middle where the two lines forming the X come together.
Do NOT move your fabric.
Reposition your ruler and then cut the piece horizontally.
The result is 8-2.5″ half square triangles. The above are actually a thread or two larger than 2.5″, which leaves the perfect opportunity for trimming to make them an absolutely perfect 2.5″.
Trim your HSTs to an absolutely perfect 2.5″.
Now you have 8 beautiful HSTs.
Of course, you can use whatever technique you like to make the half square triangles.
Layout and Assembly
Now that you have cut all of your pieces, lay them out on your sandpaper board, or put them up on your design wall. It is great to be able to see where all the pieces belong and adjust any pieces that need adjusting before you sew.
Sew Handle to Background
Because I decided to use the method described below, I made another handle template with NO seam allowance. I placed it on the handle I had cut from the striped fabric carefully so there was an even seam allowance on all sides. Then I traced around it with my thin black pen. I thought the template was a little wide at the end so I adjusted the line a bit to make the seam allowance larger.
My pieces looked a little weird-not the right size, etc when I laid them out. Have no fear! They will improve.
I was using my stiletto to adjust the seam allowance, but it was impossible to hold the stiletto, the camera and the iron all at once. Press carefully, so as not to distort your pieces.
Pay attention to the corners. The layers of fabric will want to pooch in weird directions. This is where one of those mini irons might come in handy. I used my regular iron and a stiletto, so I know those tools work.
Take your handle and press the the seam allowance under on both sides of the piece. Press so that the drawn line is on the inside of the handle and is covered by the piece once the handle is sewn.
<Nota bene: the orange fabric was selected for good contrast so that the steps would show up well>
Fold the handle in half with wrong sides together and finger press on the midpoint. Unfold.
Fold your large triangle in half with right sides together and finger press. Unfold and layout.
Nest the handle into the triangle with the right sides up.
Line up the bottom edges of the handle with the hypotenuse of the background triangle. If the handle ends are a little over, it will be fine. You can trim them later.
Eyeball your piece to make sure everything looks good and even.
Pin the handle to the background down the center of the handle. Remove the pins as you sew. Try not to sew over them.
Using a lot of pins will help keep the handle in place as you sew
Sew slowly and carefully along the drawn line around the curve. I chose a matching thread, an applique’ foot and a topstitch/sharp needle.
You will either need to hand applique’ the other side down or using a machine stitch that suits you.
You could sew both sides down with a straight stitch, like I did. There are many options.
Optional: You can satin stitch (see the Machine Applique’ tutorial) or blanket stitch or use some other decorative stitch to machine sew the handle to the background triangle piece. If you use one of these stitches, you may need some tearaway stabilizer
Optional 2: you can hand applique’ the handle to the background triangle.
Once the handle is sewn you are ready to move to the woven part of the basket.
Sew Basket Together
The block can be broken down into two pieces: the top half with the handle and the bottom half with the basket.
The two colored HSTs are supposed to give the illusion of a woven basket.
Trim off dog ears from the A,B-HST/1 combo.
Sew HST/2 to HST/5. Press towards HST/5.
Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew your A,B-HST/1 combo to your HST/2-HST/5 combo. Press towards the red.
Sew HST/8 to Square 10. Press towards the Square 10.
Sew HST/6 to HST/9. Press towards the red part of the HST.
Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew your HST/6-HST/9 combo to your HST/8-Square/10 combo. Press towards the HST/6-HST/9 combo.
Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew C to HST/3. Press towards the red.
Using the diagram above to confirm placement, sew D to your C-HST/3 combo. Press towards D.
Trim your dog ears.
Sew HST/4 to HST/7. Press towards HST/7, making sure your seams will nest with the seams you have already pressed.
Sew HST/4-HST/7 together and then sew the HST/4-HST/7 combo to E. Press towards E.
Using the diagram above for placement, sew your HST/4-HST/7-E combo to your C-D-HST/3 combo. Press.
Trim dog ears.
Sew your A,B-HST/1-HST/2 segment to the HST/6-HST/9 segment.
Trim your dog ears!
Sew the last two segments of the basket part together. You may have to re-press some seams.
I didn’t move the borders the whole time I worked on the quilt See how much the basket part shrank? That is seam allowances for you!
Trim the dog ears, if you haven’t already.
Now you have two halves of the basket. Sew the woven part to the handle part by placing the woven part on top of the handle part, lining them up and then sewing carefully. You can fold the two sections in half, bisecting the handle, to match them up if you think that you need to trim the handle portion later.
Now you are ready to sew on the borders.
Sew the B2-G background section by placing the red triangle (G) face down on top of background piece B2 and sew the short end of the background to the triangle, as shown in the picture.
Take the basket piece that you sewed together above and place the B2-G background section on top of the basket section. Line up the red triangle’s seam from the B2-G background section with the HST/8-Square 10 section. You want the seams to match, so pin. Press towards background piece B2.
Only one more border to go.
Take the basket piece that you sewed together above and place the B1-F background section on top of the basket section. Line up the red triangle’s seam from the B1-F background section with the HST/9-Square 10 section. You want the seams to match, so pin. Press towards background piece B1.
Now you are ready to sew the last piece.
Trim dog ears.
Your basket is almost complete.
Complete your basket half by sewing background piece B3 to the basket. You have already snipped off the corners so you just have to line up the triangle piece with the borders already sewn to the block. Press towards the background piece B3.
Your half is complete.
Take the top half of the basket, the piece with the handle, and carefully sew it to the basket half.
These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance. Check your seam allowance before you begin. If you don’t know how to do that, there are resources available, including one from Connecting Threads and another from Craftsy. You can search the web for others if you don’t like these.
You will be directed to use the Triangle Technique. Make sure you have the chart as well as the instructions handy.
Respect the bias.
You really only a need a template for the basket handle. If you are using templates for all of your pieces, then prepare all the templates for pieces in the patterns as directed below.
Prepare pattern for your basket handle template by printing two copies of the pattern. I am telling you to do this first so when you get into the throes of sewing you won’t have to stop and fiddle around with templates.
You will eventually place one copy of the pattern in your binder, but keep it handy so you can use it as reference.
Nota bene: You probably know how to make templates. However, I am including a quick refresher. Look for a comprehensive tutorial soon. (I’ll update this post and link it from here)
Rough cut* the handle pattern out of the second printout.
Glue the paper pattern (with seam allowances) using the glue stick (or other suitable adhesive) to the template plastic.
It is okay to use scraps of template plastic. Put a piece of tape on seam lines to keep the joins stiff.
Fine cut** the paper pattern and template plastic you have adhered so you have an accurate template, cutting off any seam allowance that may have printed.
If you plan to machine sew the handle at all, you will want to prepare another basket handle template, in the same manner, without seam allowance.
Gather your fabric and press it all. You can rough cut some pieces and press it with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to help deal with the bias. Consider this step for the large background triangle and the basket handle.
In my example basket, above (same as at the beginning of the post), this fabric is the medium blue.
Draw around the template with your black fine tip marker. Rough cut a piece of fabric large enough for your basket handle.
Place your handle template right side down on the wrong side of the fabric. Trace around the template carefully with your Pigma pen. Trace carefully without pulling or tugging at the fabric. You will be dealing with some bias on the curves. You will need to carefully move your hand along the template to keep it in place while you trace. Use the Pigma pen with a light touch.
Using your fabric scissors, cut around the traced image, cutting the drawn line off. If you are using a template with no seam allowance, leave approximately a quarter inch seam allowance on all sides.
In my example, above, this fabric is the blue Michael Miller Ta Dot with white dots.
Measure the template for the large triangle of background fabric. It should be 10″ on each of the outside edges WITH seam allowance. Cut a square 10.5″ x 10.5″. You can trim it later. Better safe than sorry. Press the square with Mary Ellen’s Best Press.
Cut the square in half along the diagonal.
Cut the following additional pieces according to the measurements given:
2 patches: 2.5″x8.5″
1 patch: square 4 7/8″x 4 7/8″. Cut in half. Nip off the bunny ears with the Judy Martin Point Trimmer
1 square: 5″ x 5″. Cut in half on the diagonal and set your second triangle aside
Remember: you have already cut the large background triangle
You can cut some of the background pieces out of the leftover triangle.
The foreground fabric is used for the basket. You will need at least two fabrics for this part. In my example I am using a scarlet red and a medium blue. See picture above for placement of foreground fabrics.
1 square: 2.5″ square
For the HSTs, you will need 2 squares, according to the Triangle Technique Chart, 6.25″ x 6.25″. Each square should be from a different foreground fabric. See the picture above.
Nota bene: The above Triangle Technique only yields 8 HSTs. You can make another set using the Triangle Technique directions and have some extras, or you can cut the triangles themselves
1 square 2.5″ x 2.5″
Cut 4 squares 2 7/8 in by 2 7/8 in the second background fabric (red in my project). Cut in half. These are the base and top line of your flower basket.
* Rough cut means that you cut around the outside line and a little away from it, leaving some extra paper. This helps to position the template properly and eventually cut it accurately.
** Fine cut means that you cut the template out very exactly and carefully getting rid of any extra paper and template material used when you rough cut. This is the shape you will use to cut your fabric so prepare this step with care.
We had a discussion at the CQFA social on Saturday about Workshop projects and how they are not always the kind of projects one wants to finish. There are a lot of variables going into the workshop -the right fabric and supplies, working in an unfamiliar environment, etc. – that conspire to make you learn something, but not always like the end result.
That is not the case with Serendipity Lady. I have wanted to do this design ever since I made stained and leaded glass panels back in the dark ages. Caroline’s workshop at CQFA last spring (?) gave me the means in fabric and the inspiration to make this dream a reality.
The problem was that my piece had so many small pieces that cutting out the pieces straight from the fabric became an issue. I went back and tried a few times and failed – or didn’t succeed as thoroughly as I would have liked. I didn’t want to simplify the pattern and I didn’t want to blow it up larger either. Struggling with the mechanics of making a piece does not make it fun. Finally, I put it aside to mull over.
This was disappointing, because I came home so jazzed about this project after the workshop. Creating is a struggle, but for this one, I just wanted it to work. Sadly, that is not the way ‘making’ works.
In the mulling process, I came up with the idea of making templates for each piece. I was about to embark on that line of thought using the kind of cardstock (tagboard??) I used to use for cutting the templates for stained and leaded glass panels when I had lunch with Maureen and Dolores.
I mentioned my problem to them and how I wanted to use templates and asked their advice. They both immediately went to freezer paper and patiently explained how to use freezer paper to make the templates. I couldn’t really envision the process in my head. It became clearer when they kind of walked me through the process, reminding me to trace the design backwards.
Again, I was really excited so I came home, taped the design to my sliding glass door and retraced the pattern backwards. Then I traced the backwards pattern on to freezer paper and sat in front of the TV and cut it out.
Again, those tiny little pieces were not my friend. At the moment I have them all paperclipped together, but that is only because I keep forgetting to get an envelope each time I go downstairs.
Next I started applying freezer paper to fabric. Then the real fun began. I threw out some fabrics after putting them near other fabrics and the picture really started to take shape. I am not done and I haven’t glued down the pieces yet, but I really had a lot of fun making some serious progress.
My mind is whirling with the possibilities of adding a few beads, embroidering the eyelash, etc. Fun!
We are making the Flower Wreath block. To find out how to make templates, including the ring, see Part 1 for making templates and Part 2 for making the ring and positioning the ring on the background.
Now we are going to stitch the ring. If you haven’t started, check the Supply List in part 1 and grab your 3″x5″ tearaway backed fabric. Your ring should be applied to the background and ready to stitch. If your ring is not fused and ready to stitch, go back to part 2.
I stitch in layers, so that the stitching is easier, there are fewer starts and stops and the piece looks more finished. Now that you are ready to stitch, it is time to choose your thread.
Whenever you choose thread, you must consider the stitch. If the stitch will be dense like a satin stitch, you should choose the color by looking at the thread wrapped around the whole spool. That will give you a better sense of the color the satin stitch will end up.
It you will be using a straight stitch, you should unreel a bit of the thread and look at one strand on your fabric. You may need to pool a little of the thread together – less dense than the whole spool and more dense than one strand.
Now set up your machine for zig zag stitching. You will need to choose a stitch density. I like a semi-open zig zag that is not too wide, because it uses less thread and looks more interesting. Dense satin stitching, however, can really highlight and outline each piece. I use the following settings on my machine:
Ring: width: 3.0, density: 0.45
Flowers: width: 3.0, density: 0.45
Leaves: width: 2.0, density: 0.5
Flower centers: width: 2.0, density: 0.5
Even if you haven’t chosen all the fabric, I like to get the ring stitched down first, so I can audition the other fabric without worrying about the ring. Yes, it is fused and shouldn’t go anywhere, but I still like it to be stitched down.
In order to choose the stitch density, you will need to test. Get the tearaway backed sample piece you have prepared and start testing with the width and densities I have provided above. Stitch lines of zig zag stitching 2-3″ long using a contrasting thread similar to the thread you will be using to stitch the ring. Adjust the width and density on your machine until you are pleased with the look.
Put the ring on the machine and start stitching. I always leave a long tail that I can pull to the back and tie shut later. My zig zag does not automatically tie the ends. If your machine is more advanced you may not have to tie a knot on the back. I don’t want my zig zag to come out if it gets snagged while being used, which is why I tie the ends.
I use my applique’ foot, which has a red arrow in the center to stitch out the zig zag. I place the tip of the red arrow on the raw edge of the ring and follow it around. You should stitch with needle down or use the hand wheel to put the needle down when you stop. If the center point on your foot gets off the raw edge of your ring, stop and readjust. Stop with the needle down on the outside of the ring’s curve whenever you need to readjust the needle to accommodate the curve. Turn the fabric to the left to get the center point of the foot back on the raw edge of your ring. The stitching will be slightly closer together on the inside of the shape, when the needle punches the fabric to the left, and more open on the outside of the shape or when the needle hits the background.
When you have done about half – 3/4s of the stitching on the ring, stop and pull the beginning thread to the back and tie it off, if you need to.
I tie the beginning off before I get to the end, because the beginning and ending threads can get tangled up and make it impossible to make small, neat knots. I have tied all four ends together in a pinch, but prefer to make the knots as small as possible.
I also use this technique also if I have to stop and pull the work out of the machine because of thread breakage or necessary bobbin refill.
I fold the work back (I only used my pincushion so I could photograph what I was doing. Normally, I just hold it with my wrist as pull the front through to the back and tie the ends together. I don’t take the work out of the machine unless there is a good reason – like a big knot, or thread breakage, etc.
Once your knot is tied, continue stitching to where you started. I don’t overlap much once I get to the beginning, perhaps only a stitch or two, because I don’t want the look to be too different.
I pull the work out of the machine and tie off the ending threads. You may not need to do this if your machine does it for you.
Now do the same thing, but on the inside to finish stitching down the ring. Once you have stitched both the inside and outside of the rings, your ring will be complete and you will be ready to place the leaves and flowers on the ring.
If you have not already done so, choose the rest of your fabrics. You will need fabric for the flowers (1-4 fabrics) and leaves (1-20 fabrics). If you have not cut out and fused the wreath to the background, please go back to part 2. The leaves can be the traditional green or you can use something else. If you use one color, you might want to mix up the prints to increase interest. You can also use different colors. Make the block your own.
I thought about making the leaves green to make them more realistic, but decided I was still of a mind to use a variety of turquoises and aquas and keep my quilt’s color scheme of aqua/turquoise with red consistent. I found more leaf fabrics in my scrap basket. It is important, with my limited color scheme, to make sure the viewer can see the individual leaves. For that, I will need to have enough contrast between the various aquas and turquoises. Remember, when choosing your fabrics, to make visual decisions visually. Put your potential fabrics on the background and step back to look at them. From my test piece (right) you can see that there are a variety of tones of aqua and turquoise. Some of them blend a bit into the background. I want movement and interest.
Once you have chosen all of your fabrics press the wrong sides, cheek to jowl, to one side of the fusible.
You are not going to be able to cover every inch of the fusible, which is why you have a pressing cloth or applique’ pressing sheet. If you press directly, the fusible that is not covered by fabric will end up on the bottom of your iron.
Cover this piece with a press cloth and press the fusible to the fabric following the directions on your fusible’s packaging.
Make all of your leaves and flowers. Flip the fusible so that paper side is up. You will be able to see your different fabrics through the paper. Place a template face DOWN on the appropriate fabric and trace with a writing implement. I use a Sewline pencil, but you can also use a pen, regular pencil or anything. I wouldn’t use a Sharpie even though I don’t think the paper will allow the marking to bleed through to the fabric.
Once you have traced all pieces**, cut them out right inside the drawn line. You should have 20 leaves, 4 flowers and 4 center flowers.
Take all of your pieces and arrange them the pleasing way. Arrange them into the position you want them to end up once they are fused. You are doing this to look at the effect. Once you are pleased with the arrangement, take a photo or sketch out placement.
You will need to stitch the flowers first, then the leaves and finally the flower centers. The flowers and leaves are on the same layer, so you can stitch them in any order. Anything that will be covered by another piece will need to be stitched before you fuse the covering piece.
Place the flowers on the ring using the press marks you used to place the ring on the background (or fold the background in quarters and finger press again). Place them symmetrically along the ring, or in a pleasing way to your eye.
Fuse them into place and get ready to stitch. You can also reference the machine applique’ tutorial for more information. Again, pay attention to where the layers of the design are placed. If there are leaves that you want to place under the wreath, you will need to satin stitch them before you fuse the wreath down entirely. For the flowers, you will need to satin stitch down any parts of the design that will be covered by another piece of fused fabric, such as the centers. The design will look better if you satin stitch a layer and then fuse the next piece down.
Place the interfacing under the background. You could use a machine basting stitch to stitch the interfacing temporarily to the background, but pinning works fine, too. You will need to zig zag with the interfacing under the background.
Satin stitch all the other pieces down using the thread you chose. When you stitch, the middle of the stitch will cover the outside raw edge of each piece. I line up the red arrow on my foot (see photo) with the sharp edge of that raw edge. The pieces you will satin stitch have curves, thus you will need to manipulate the stitch so it is smooth. This means that you will need to stitch with needle down.
Stop with the needle down on the outside of the curve for the leaves and flower petals. For the inside point between the flower petals stop above that point on the inside. If you do not have a machine that automatically stops with the needle down, then you can use the hand wheel to move the needle into the downward position when you stop. Do this carefully without moving the fabric. Once the needle is down you will need to assess the way to turn the fabric. Always turn the fabric very slightly to ensure a smooth curve. You may only need to take one stitch before adjusting the fabric again in order to get around the curve smoothly. For the outside curves, generally, you need to turn the fabric to the left to make a smooth curve. (Updated 10/30/2012: My engineer SIL says: You turn it clockwise for outside curves and counter clockwise for inside curves.) The stitching will be closer together on the inside of the shape and more open on the outside of the shape when you move in this direction. For the inside point of the flower, between the petals, you will need to take a slight adjustment of the background to the right. For the pointy ends of the leaves, stop the needle on the outside of the leaf near the point and adjust the fabric to the right very, very slightly. Take one stitch, stop on the outside of the point again. Adjust very slightly to the right. Your goal should be to get the needle into the same hole on the inside of the leaf until the arrow or line on your machine’s foot is in line with the raw edge of the other side of the leaf. When you move the fabric always keep the needle down. Before starting, take a few of the shapes, e.g. a leaf and a flower, make some test pieces and do a test on junk fabric so you get the feel of the procedure. This is not something you should work on when you are pressed for time.
Once you are finished with the flowers, change your thread and adjust the width and density of your stitch, if desired.
Arrange the leaves in a pleasing manner. I placed 5 at a time on the background and stitched them down.
Arrange and stitch all of the leaves. My photo shows only 10 sewn leaves.
Place the centers on the flowers and stitch them down. Follow all the directions above for tying off and moving the needle to create a smooth curve.
Once you have stitched all the pieces, rip off the tearaway. I use a seam ripper to get the ripping started on pieces that are surrounded by stitching.
Once you are finished with the entire stitching and tearaway ripping, trim the background down to 12.5″
**Nota bene: These pieces have no right direction. You can trace them any way and apply them anyway and they will look fine. Pay attention if you are cutting out letters or another motif that has a special direction. Put the right side down on the paper backed fusible and trace the motif backwards.