Monday, 27 February 2017

Discussing freezer paper applique techniques

For the first flower I thought I would try out a different technique... the next flowers are circular and need to be very precise.  Apparently some people use the freezer paper on the wrong side of the fabric, then use a washable glue stick to fold under the seam allowance. This is how I have attached the purple petals.

working out the first circular flower for Diamond Hill

I thought I would give it a try. First I glued under the vanilla background circle. Uh-oh. Had to remove it from the freezer paper to see through  the fabric for placement of the other (purple) pieces... and if I had left it in, I would've had to stitch right through the double thickness of freezer paper. No, that wouldn't be good for the needle or my finger or my stitches.

The purple petals were turned under using a Bostik washable glue stick (I've been using that brand for years for foundation piecing), then I used Burrows clear gum from Officeworks to baste the petals onto the vanilla circle.

How do I remove the freezer paper?

In the past when using a single layer of freezer paper, I have stitched around the freezer paper, leaving it in until fully stitched. Then I would cut a slit in the background fabric, and remove the freezer paper there. No freying ever occurs as the applique on top prevents exposure of the slit on the top, and once it's quilted nothing can be seen at the back.

back of Diamond Hill block 1, made using my usual needleturn technique

 Even when I have handled blocks for years (as in my Baltimore album blocks which literally took 10 or 15 years to make, and aren't even assembled into a quilt top yet, and Civil War Bride blocks), no damage has occurred by cutting a slit, and no glues were left in the fabric.

The edges on the purple petals above are turned under with glue, and stuck to the freezer paper. I think I will have to hand swish/wash the block to remove the glue before I can cut a slit and pull away the freezer paper without damaging my stitches.  Then, a yellow circle is to be appliqued over the centre of the petals.

Now I am looking at the next circular flower which is different again.

Last night I was thinking to cut a circular background again, and applique every second petal. This will make some of the applique pieces come forward, and some will recede. This is my favourite plan, not just for ease of stitching, but because I like a variety of depths, colours and prints in my work. (Even in jewellery I am not into matching, but prefer to co-ordinate earrings and necklace).

 If I made every petal individually and stitched them, I would have to cut the freezer paper slightly smaller than marked line to account for the thickness of the fabric in the turned under section, then try to line up the outside to make a circle.

Esther also has a tutorial on how to machine stitch those seams when making leaves, but I estimate it would be a bit frustrating for me on a circle where I want the outside to line up perfectly into a circle.

Esther has another tutorial on how to use Floriani fusible stitch n wash, but that still requires ironing over the seam with a starch product, not glueing. I am finding the ironing over to be a bit heavy on my arm, and not all the curved edges are as curved as I would like using the ironing over technique. Hence, why I wanted to try the glue.

There are two circular flowers in the pattern above. I am still wondering whether to use this technique: applique 4 parts onto a large piece of circle fabric, stitch, wash to remove glue, cut slits to remove freezer paper inserts, then iron on a large circle template onto the back, cut out, glue and applique, then wash again later to remove glue, then cut a slit to remove freezer paper. OR this technique: applique background circle first, wash, cut a slit to remove freezer paper, position petals, stitch, wash again.

Either way, with this many layers I see the block being washed at least twice. It's going to be a matter of getting all the flowers to a certain point, then washing to remove glue, cut a slit to remove freezer paper, then add second layer with a second washing at the very end.

I really don't want to wash the block more than twice.

The reason I am trying all these gluing things is to improve the placement of my applique, as without basteing, it seems to migrate all over the place while I sew.

Maybe I just need to try a different iron, and take more time. I have just seen the Petite Press Portable Mini Iron, which looks like you can apply pressure with a finger.

And I've just done a little bit of youtube research.. I think I'll buy the Roxanne glue baste, the Sewline glue stick and the Floriani fuse and wash papers. Giving it a go on this applique journey!

I welcome your ideas, and sharing of your experience with any of these techniques in the comments below.

Thank you.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

In the background

All it takes is a little bit of attention each day, and your projects keep moving forward.

It's so much easier when others are also working on the same project. Online stitch alongs are like my quilt community at the moment, and I am so grateful. I am thankful for the opportunity to see everyone's fabric choices, and colour pallettes.

I am very surprised at the number of quilts being made with Fairy Frost. Yes, I am using it too, making a quilt for an older woman. Maybe it's more appealing to the older market with eyes that need the extra twinkle in the fabric for definition and contrast... or maybe it's because now that more shops have them in stock we can source them easily!

This is my first time using the Fairy Frost. I had no idea it was so popular. I bought a few little pieces of 20cm or 30cm to start a pallette for the two BOMs with Esther, with plans to use one of the shimmery vanilla ones in the border of Diamond Hill. I can see it twinkling already!

All of the tendrils and light coloured leaves are stitched on the second block of Diamond Hill now. Time to add some flowers I think. Although I find the more pieces I baste on, the stiffer the block is from the glue and the spray starch - it's the first time I've ever used this method of applique.

And in the background, mostly stitching in the car when I am occasionally chauffeured around by my sweetheart... is the ever growing Red Brolley redwork for the Christmas quilt.

Slowly, slowly, the redwork grows.

I really must get around to looking for the missing bolt of fabric to catch up on the Labyrinth quilt stitchalong. Eek!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Getting away from it all with our sewing...

Do you ever use your crafting to take you away from it all? Like, really go somewhere else for a while? It's definitely less harmful than substance abuse, but probably just as addictive.

There are busy times in our lives when we don't really have time for our sewing... funnily enough those are the times when out brain needs our crafts more than ever...

Even if there isn't time to actually stitch, I will try to think on the fabrics, and drool over possible combinations, think on future projects, browse online fabric shopping, and admire what others have done (mostly on blogs and social media).

It's been a crazy couple of days here preparing important documents and burning the candles both ends in a way I can't remember doing since I was completing big assessment tasks... except now I'm also juggling a balanced family life, and the assessment isn't just about getting a good grade, it feels like a major assignment for studies was nothing in comparison to this... and the intense relief of submitting the papers in time stands alone.

Here's what I did in snatched half hour sessions of "getting away from it" with my sewing. Prepared all the leaves and tendrils, and the stems for block 2 of Diamond Hill.

This time I've used 2 layers of freezer paper, then used Crisp spray starch to iron the seam allowance over.

And this is what I've got glue basted in place.

It doesn't look like much, but it really helped me to zone out for a while.

It's a funny thing. Some sewing projects are so emotional, I can look at the quilt and remember what I was watching on TV, or which music I was listening to, or even how I was feeling.... in kind of the same way that smell can trigger memories, I think my sewing triggers emotions and memories too.

I wonder if I will remember these last few days when I look at Diamond Hill when it is finished.

Enjoy where your sewing is taking you while we create memories. xo

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Wonderful Mystery Tour

Hurrah! The first block of Esther's Secret Garden BOM is stitched!

(and washed to remove Crisp spray starch, clear gum, and Artline green markers)...

I drew faces onto the flowers, but it was too much, so I just washed out the marker without stitching.

The fabric block feels wonderful. It's a big piece - approx 20in x 30in. It has weight. It's not too soft, and not too stiff.

I can feel myself handle it reverently as I move it to the ironing surface, then on a flat surface for photographing..

There's a LOT of work on this piece of fabric, and it contains so much joy!

Can you read the quote I've stitched on here?

I am staring at some hoarded fabrics wondering how to include the swirls and leaves and animals into more flower blocks... but what if they aren't flower blocks? We cannot know!! It's a wonderful, wonderful mystery!

And now, I feel confident I can start the next Diamond Hill block, and finish it fairly quickly... it's only a week until the next Secret Garden block, and the Alice in Wonderland theme I've chosen  will be consuming my active imagination.

I am linking up to Esther's Working on Wednesdays, and feeling on track!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A little bit of excitement

I was lucky enough to get to the local quilt shop on the first day of their Wideback sale! Yay!!

I found this smashing print for the Diamond Hill basket and on point squares....  I even got enough for the binding.... it looks perfect....
And I thought I could add a little more to the collection for the two Esther quilts...

Two Tula Pink snail fabrics for fussy cutting leaves for Alice's garden...

A big rabbit print for the white rabbit with a watch....

A couple more fairy frosts and shimmers for Diamond Hill - yes... yellow and pink will be a welcome addition...

This whacky black and white print hurts the eyes to look at it, but it's going to be wild flowers in the Secret Garden, with so much movement, and a little bit more Fairy Frost in other colours..

because it just glows... and I think the more choice I have when stitching flowers, the easier it will be to choose the fabrics that make a zing.

I also found backings for these two quilts... such a great find! everything is coming together! Now all I have to do is sew!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Quilter's Diet

As I am hand stitching with silk thread onto this (very large) applique block from Esther's Secret Garden BOM, I have recently felt it is getting heavier and heavier.

I've never made an applique block this big before. (it's currently approximately 20in x 30in). Nor have I used this technique with Crisp spray starch, nor have I basted pieces onto the background with clear gum before. All of these things add a little bit of weight.

The weight in the block is increasing as I stitch... and I have been basting on more pieces as the stitching's not all the weight of the silk thread.

I think I've enjoyed handling the block most of the time in its skinny format (less pieces). It's only now that it's almost finished that it's really feeling quite heavy. Even then, I probably only really notice it's heavy when I'm folding it up to go into a plastic box to keep Bub's (possibly) sticky fingers off it.... he's into EVERYthing that is not his.  I'd definitely make my next blocks in the same way. Decide on some fabrics... prepare pieces... start stitching.... decide on some other fabrics while sewing....

I am wondering if I have a kitchen scale sensitive enough to weigh the block before it's washed, and again afterwards. (It will be hand washed to remove the green markings, the Crisp spray starch and the clear gum baste.) And how much do you think it would drop in weight? What if it became 10% or 20% lighter, just by giving it a good swish in water.

What a great quilting diet that would be. Swish me in the water to remove 10% or 20%.  Four showers today please. Hee hee.

Although it's a mystery, I know the finished quilt measures about 80in x 80in. The first block might be only a few grams lighter after a wash, but what about over the entire quilt? Hee hee. Half a kilogram? Well, who knows.... I guess it is a mystery quilt after all.

Some people probably prepared all the pieces before they started stitching. Wow. That's really not me. I'd be bored standing at the ironing board (or in my case kicking the cat off the freezer where I've put a towel to iron on) for hours on end. And then whole time they've stitched, holding a large piece of fabric with little pieces all over it in all directions! Besides that, this Mumma has to be a sneaky ninja using any scraps of time that come along. Sometimes it's for applique preparation, and sometimes it's a few moments sitting in the air conditioning hand stitching. *ahhhhhhhh*

When you're sewing in the outdoor kitchen in Far North Queensland Summer, you share that kitchen sewing space with toads, frogs and insects, 2 cats and a dog,  and sometimes 40 degree heat... Oh! and the family that prepare and eat meals there.... It's mostly the insects and the family that choose when I get to use the kitchen sewing space.

Just two or three pieces left to prepare and glue baste, and almost all of the stitching is done.

Then, it's time to embellish the block in my own way following my Alice in Wonderland theme.

photo from original Alice in Wonderland movie

Ooh! I hope I get to make bread-and-butter-flies somewhere in the quilt!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Begin at the beginning

It's been a very exciting time putting together the first block for Esther's Secret Garden Mystery BOM.

So much is going through my head. I've been collecting quotes and pictures from Alice in Wonderland. I'd really like to watch the Tim Burton film again, although I found it quite strange at the time, I would look for different things this time around.

I've been on Etsy and bought more wild fabric (Tula Pink) for the leaves and flowers, and I've decided to stitch a quote from the book (or film) onto each block.

I think this first block will have the quote embroidered: "Begin at the beginning... and go on till you come to the end: then stop." 

I think it's particularly funny because it's the kind of quilt where I may need to be told to stop... hee hee. One can keep adding and adding sometimes.

This photo shows the auditioning of fabrics for the bow, key and basket outline.

I am liking the stripe at the bottom which pulls in the red flowers and the green stems. The spotty ribbon seems to be working, it is connecting the purple and pink in the leaves, and I have some Fairy Frost in purple for the keys to try out too.

The flowers are mostly red, but you can see where one white flower was being painted red (as in the book). The rose bud was painted red, and it burst open a bit more exposing the original white colour underneath.

Here is another picture from the original movie. The flowers are really very exciting.

Today at the Sunlit Blooms sit n sew morning I hand-stitched away. It doesn't feel like there is so much to do anymore.

Exciting day as Esther has released block number 2 of Diamond Hill. Go to her blog to download the free pattern, as it will come down when the next one goes up on the 15th of next month.

Ooh yes, it's a full time job keeping up with 2 large hand appliqued BOMs!! On another note, I've made a decision that it's been more than 2 weeks since my birthday and my sister hasn't even sent me a card yet (she lives 3,000km away, so fair enough for not visiting), but I think I'm going to keep the Christmas Redwork quilt for my family and give her something a bit less time consuming for her birthday.  Surely us quilters are allowed to keep some of the quilts we've made for ourselves? And, it means I don't have to finish it by mid May in order to get it to her in time. More time for my applique quilts. Yay!

Linking up to Esther's blog for WOW.