Quick Quilt Query

>> Friday, January 29, 2010

Ok, I know I'm crazy. I just couldn't resist a title with all "Q's". LOL.

Had a little inspiration that I put together quickly today and wanted to share it with you all.  I call it "Adam".


I really like it. (Excuse the quilting, I was playing with a pattern from Diane Gaudynski called "Apple Core". I need to practice it more).

Have a nice day!


Hex's-Cheaper Than Therapy!

>> Thursday, January 28, 2010

I've been a busy girl here in beautiful Florida. I've done some applique...

But mostly I've been consumed by hexagons! I like a tidy work area (well, I try...) so I have the hex materials in a wood drawer insert.

This is how I make fast work of hex's:

  1. I have eight different fabric half yards of fabric from Rouenneries by French General.
  2. Cut each half yard into 3" strips x WOF
  3. Cut these strips into 3x3" squares
  4. Using the AccuQuilt "Go" 2" hexagon cutter, place 4-6 squares on template and cut. (If you don't have the AccuQuilt, cut hex's by hand)
  5. I used die cut Paper Pieces for the templates. The paper pieces are 1" hexagons (hexagons sizes are determined by measuring the length of one side). I find ordering the paper pieces is better for me. They're cheap and very accurate. Besides, I'd rather be sewing!
Place the paper template on the wrong side of the fabric hex. You don't need to pin, just hold firmly. 

Fold over one side with your right thumb (if you're right handed)

    Using your left pointing finger, going counter-clockwise, fold over the next side

      You now have a little corner. Using a sturdy thread (it won't show-I use Coats Dual Duty Hand Quilting thread) sew the two corner edges together

        Sew them once more

          Going counter-clockwise again, fold over sides with thumb and pointy finger and sew twice.

            Go all around the hex until you sew the last corner. Go once more to the first corner and sew once

              Knot and cut end. I like to press both sides to set in the edges. Makes sewing together easier.

                I hope that is clear and helpful. This way you don't sew through the paper pieces so you can reuse them indefinitely. It's also easier on your fingers and needle. The sewing is quite fast, I timed myself and I can do one in 45 seconds.

                Next installment, sewing the hex's together.

                Have a wonderful day!


                Experiments and Eye Candy

                >> Monday, January 11, 2010

                Greetings from Freezing Florida!

                Last night (whine) it was 35 degrees! We are huddling together to maintain body warmth. LOL. I don't know how people live in frigid temperatures all the time!

                On to serious stuff! I've been dabbling in colored pencils on fabric to accentuate my applique. Got the idea from Sandra Leichner and it's been a blast "playing with my crayons". I thought it'd be smart to make a chart of different techniques and how they affect the color. So, here is my chart, drawn on white Kona fabric with the results: (you can click to enlarge)

                Each row compares three Derwent Inktense pencil colors with three similar colors from Faber-Castall watercolor pencils.

                The first row is just straight coloring of the pencil on fabric.
                The second row is wetting a paintbrush and collecting color off the pencil. The triangle is a shape I made to see if the colors bled outside painted lines.
                The last two rows are straight coloring on fabric followed by Marvey Blender Pen Le Plume (which I got at Michael's Craft Store)  in row three and the Prismacolor blender in row four.

                My impressions:
                • Forget the Prismacolor blender. Didn't work. I probably didn't use it correctly.
                • Love the wet paintbrush colors, but they bleed outside desired area
                • The Marvey Blender pen is a keeper. Rich, deep colors and didn't bleed.
                There you have it folks! Straight from the lab!

                Now for some eye candy. These came in the mail:

                Two 3.5" Dovo scissors (one for paper, one for fabric) and a set of Roxanne's applique needles and #11 sharps needles. Just wait until DH gets the bill!

                Have a warm evening!


                Confession Time

                >> Friday, January 8, 2010

                Well, it's 2:30 in the afternoon here and I'm still in my pajamas! LOL. Don't tell anyone!
                Soon I'll brush my teeth--at least before my husband comes home from work!!!

                "Why in the world am I still in my pj's?" you might ask. Besides the fact that I really don't sleep at night (thanks to menopause and MS) I've been obsessing on applique. And I have this most beautiful photo (above).  I thought I'd try and capture it in cloth.

                Here's my first attempt...

                Not too bad. Didn't bind it. (lazy, practical) If you click on the photo you can see I quilted it to look like water.

                My critique:

                PRO's                                                  CON's
                Nice first attempt                              The yellow bit is weird, confusing
                My embroidery is improving          The embroidery doesn't work
                Quilting pattern good idea              Use a darker thread to emphasize the water

                Summary: much fun and exciting. Back to the needle and thread. Any ideas/suggestions are welcome!

                Have a great afternoon!

                PS forgot to clean up the white pencil marks before photographing. OOPS!


                Applique Tips

                >> Saturday, January 2, 2010

                I've been obsessing about applique lately! I've read books, blogs, watched DVD's etc to improve my skills. I've tried everything from glue stick, back stitching, needle turn to fusing. I've finally determined that I prefer the looks of needle-turn and have blended several other techniques to find one that fits me. If you're exploring applique, I hope this will be helpful.

                Melanie's Applique System

                1. Make a copy of the master pattern
                2. On this copy, mark the order the pieces will be placed on the background fabric (ex 1, 2, 3). Also highlight areas that won't need to be turned under because they will be covered by another pattern piece.
                3. Trace each piece of the pattern individually on the paper side of freezer paper. (if you're doing a flower, trace the center, petals, stem, leaves etc separately)
                4. Cut these pattern pieces out carefully, on the lines
                5. Iron pattern pieces on the front side of chosen fabrics.
                6. Draw around the pattern pieces with a chalk pencil or pencil
                7. Cut out pattern pieces, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance or less
                     a) if you're doing a very large, small or fiddly piece, use cut-away applique. You will leave several
                         inches of seam allowance.
                8. Remove freezer paper
                9. Cut background fabric, allowing an extra one inch on all sides
                10. Fold background fabric in half and half again and crease fabric. Unfold and mark center with pencil. Also mark center of sides.
                11. Place background fabric on top of pattern copy, matching center points. Tape down with painters tape. (a light box may be helpful)
                12. Place the first piece of the pattern (pattern #1) in place on background and pin using applique pins.
                13. Use needle-turn applique to secure piece.
                      a. Cut about 18" of silk thread the color of the applique piece
                      b. The end you cut is the end you knot. This makes a big difference. Use quilter's knot
                      c. Using your needle or a toothpick, turn the seam allowance edges under, about an inch at a time and sew. The secret is to not turn under more than an inch at a time. Use your non dominant thumb to press  and hold the turn under in place as you stitch.
                      d. You will start by coming up from the back of the background fabric and catching just the edge of the turn under. Then bring needle down, going through the background fabric, just under the applique fabric and short of the edge. You should not be able to see where the stitch goes later. The needle should scratch your finger under the background fabric and come up next to the last stitch, but through the applique fabric. Repeat.
                14.  If an applique piece is small (or very large), use cut-away applique. Basically you don't trim the seam allowance until it is pinned in place and then you cut away a bit at a time and stitch. On the picture below I'm about to cut a little more fabric to continue stitching.


                1. The less clipping you do on inside curves, the smoother your applique will be
                2. If you are right handed, you will stitch from right to left. Use a toothpick to sweep under the edge to be stitched. It is best to only sweep an inch or so at a time. Use your left thumb to press hard the area just swept under.
                3. For outside points (like a star), take two stitches at the point's end, turn fabric, trim away any dog-ears, use toothpick to sweep and stuff seam allowance under fabric. Then press hard with thumb and use toothpick to fiddle with point until it is sharp.
                4. For inside points (like a heart), just before the point, take one stitch slightly longer than normal (biting into more of the applique fabric), then take an even longer stitch in the center of the point, repeat but only stitch through the applique piece, not the background, then take one more longer stitch to the left of the center stitches. Now continue on as normal.
                5. If there is fray or the point isn't as sharp as you'd like, roll the point of the toothpick in a glue stick and then try manipulating the fabric with this point.
                6. Circles are actually fun! Treat as you would any other piece, cut out, pin in place but only turn under a stitch or two at a time. That's the secret. You may want to try cut-away applique as described in #14
                7. The more you needle turn, the better you'll get. It's a soothing, enjoyable form of quilting. Be patient with yourself.

                Suggested supplies
                1. Freezer paper
                2. The best thimble I've found is the pinkey end of a kitchen rubber glove. Cut about 1" off.
                3. The Clover needle threader will save your sanity
                4. Use #11 straw needles
                5. Use YLI 100 wt silk thread. Your stitches will disappear.
                6. Toothpicks
                7. White chalk pencil and regular pencil
                8. Small, sharp scissors
                9. Glue Stick
                10. Applique pins with a white teardrop head. It keeps your thread from catching on it.
                11. Beam N' Read light with magnifier. It costs about $25 and is worth every penny.

                I'd like to suggest the book "Artful Applique" by Jane Townswick. She covers all types of applique techniques in a clear manner. This book has been the most useful resource for me to date. Hope this post is helpful! Now go out and have some fun!



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