Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Invisible" Machine Applique

I would definitely recommend Pearl's DVD for learning the process of freezer paper applique - however - she does not show any machine stitching in the DVD, just hand applique.

After a long time of practicing and reading up on various methods of stitching, I finally learned that the best way to accomplish "invisible" machine applique is to experiment with the stitches on your machine, and with the threads you have. Here are two blog postings that can be helpful on choosing the stitch settings for your machine: BlackBird Designs and BunnyHill Designs. On my Viking D1, I use a blanket stitch that has a couple of forward stitches, followed by one stitch bite going into the fabric. The width is set at .5 and the length at 1.0. This does take practice, and it does seem at first that the needle isn't even going into the fabric because of the very narrow width. Just practice on your machine and find what's right for you! Don't forget too, that through the quilting process your applique pieces will likely get "sunk" into the batting and back, so the stitches will likely become even less visisble.

Monday, May 25, 2009

“Redwork” Outline Embroidery

blackwork embroideryI so enjoyed sewing the black outline embroidery blocks from Lydia Quigley’s Whitework Applique Samper.  (more about this in previous posts).

I’ve since added a couple of more outline embroidery projects to the list of handwork projects.

chunky tulip blueworkAt first I thought I would make up some blocks from Margaret Docherty’s book Hearts and Tulips, using both fusible applique and outline embroidery.  Here’s a picture of the first block, I was partly through the second block when I thought this wasn’t turning out the way I’d like.  So  that book and its lovely patterns are shelved for a while!

forget me notI have often thought of a series of flower applique drawings in a Better Homes and Garden book, but I never did take the idea to planning a quilt with them.  I now realize they would make up very nicely as bluework sampler – blue outline embroidery with blue and white setting pieced blocks; the block size is just 4” so they are a great little quick project.  These flowers are all American state flowers, fifty are presented but there are some duplicates.  Some of those duplicates are the same as ones that represent out provinces, and I’ll make up drawings for our provinces as well.  I don’t care what the flowers might officially represent, I just like the detailed drawings and the flower name given and drawn on each block pattern.

a tisket a tasket redwork blocksThen I came aross this month’s installment of Anne Sutton’s A Tisket a Tasket.  Looking at the previous blocks I had made, I realized that they were looking too cluttered with the orphan blocks that I wanted to use with them in a quilt – and, these blocks kind of deserved their own fabric theme.  So I started to make them up with a dark brown thread outline embroidery which I think will go very nicely with the orphan blocks – here are two done, shown with paper copies of two more and a possible block setting.

For outline embroidery, I back my fabric with a very light fusible interfacing.  This gives the fabric just enough body that I don’t need a hoop.  I used a red transfer pencil for the basket blocks, and a black transfer marker for the flower blocks.  I’ve also in the past just pencil traced the outline with the help of a lightbox.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Applique – Honoring Emma

I was happy to find Lori Smith’s new applique pattern – Honoring Emma– I like Lori Smith’s applique designs because of their flowy curvy shapes, and this one had just the right size of blocks, a small centre medallion, and a good variety of designs throughout the blocks.  (Oh! and her new sampler patterns are wonderful too – I will likely end up starting one of those soon as well :))

honoring emma draft block ones abcI ended up making 3 versions of the first block (well, the two cotton ones aren’t fully finished).  As my optometrist would say, “better A, or better B?  Better B or better C?”, lol.  I’m going with C – the wool applique.

  There’s nothing particularly wrong with A and B, they just somehow didn’t seem right to me – not the look I wanted to achieve.  C is the first wool applique I’ve done and it was fun. I used a flannel background, and wool felt which was I think 60/40 wool/rayon. The layout was much easier than with needleturn, the stitching honoring emma block one woolwas quick and easy, and I got to do a bit of decorative embroidery on some of the flowers.  So I will soon move on, finally, to block two.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Try, Try, Again

Anyone who has read this blog, or knows my quilting style, knows that I am indecisive in choosing and sticking to quilt project.  I’ll plan a wonderful quilt, start a block and yuck.  I’ll prep a kit for quilt, then decide later to use those fabrics, or part of them, in something else.  I have sewn countless applique blocks in the past two years, all from different sources and never ending up to be just what I wanted.

The past few weeks I’ve sewn two needleturn blocks – the same but different fabrics – and now I’m making it up as wool applique on felt.  I’ve also sewn one and half bluework blocks, from Margaret Docherty’s Hearts and Tulips book, but came to realize that it wasn’t working out how I imagined.  The past few months I’ve been following Anne Sutton’s (BunnyHill Designs) A Tisket a Tasket block of the month, working it as a fusible applique project.  Now I’m thinking of turning it into a redwork quilt.  I’ll post pictures of all these efforts in the next few days.

stars and nine patch quiltedMeanwhile, I did get a quilt quilted! (With of course one or two areas tried out, ripped out, and re-quilted).  Here’s the Stars and Nine Patch,

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About Me

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southern Ontario, Canada
I began quilt-making in January 2001, as therapy following diagnosis a chronic autoimmune condition. I enjoy creating and exploring hand and machine applique, machine piecing, english paper piecing, machine quilting, and machine embroidery. I have been working with Electric Quilt for several years and I'm comfortable with just about very aspect of using EQ to design pieced, applique, and embroidery quilts. I'm an early retired Mom with two teenager and a son who'll be married in Fall '09. My husband is my biggest quilting supporter.

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works in progress

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