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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

My Applique Routine

Hello there! With the kick off of the Gnome for the Holidays block of the month, I have gotten a lot of questions about how I put something like this together. This is by no means intended to be a lesson or how to. Just sharing the method behind the madness here!

Oh before I begin to babble, this is the 2018 BoM from FatCat Patterns. You can find the downloads here
Blocks are free for the month they are posted.
You can follow along with the Facebook group and chat about your progress.
I do not send out personal emails, or download updates. You will have to visit the site yourself once a month.

I start off just like you, having to print out the pattern pages. Which I quickly separate by block. Each blocks pages get folded in half making a neat little packet. Then I begin tracing the patches onto my Heat Bond Lite. This is normally done on a TV tray in the evenings. As I trace I make any needed notations on the patches. Trim them to size, then slide them between the pages of their block.
The packets as I call them, are then stacked up in an empty box or basket to keep everything safe from pets. Or me tripping over them. Traced templates are not safe until they are securely ironed to their fabrics, lol. If the pattern has a LOT of patches per block I use gallon zip bags to store the pages and traced patches in.

Here in the apartment, I have this lovely island for the next bit. Although for years I have made do with using my ironing board for this. Each packet gets the fabrics that will be used stuffed into it :) I tend to pull from my stash and use scraps for almost everything. Once the fabrics are all chosen, everything gets stacked back into the box. Another evening with the TV tray and the ironing mat will have all the patches fused to their fabrics. Scraps and odds and ends are put into another zip baggy in case I lose a patch and have to make another. Sometimes I find I just plain forgot to trace something!
 Now the hard part for me. Cutting all the patches out! I like to use Ginger 8" Featherweight Shears. They are the best I have found for my arthritis. Still, I end up taking many breaks and a few Aleve.
The part I enjoy the most is assembling the patches onto the base blocks. I pre-assemble as many patches as possible using a Teflon baking sheet. Especially the little stuff! So why the pressing sheet? Well, if you make a mistake it is easy to fix. Just let it cool then peel it back apart. Want to make sure you overlapped the edges enough? Flip it over and look. I am a huge fan of Teflon sheets. You can buy these at the local quilt shop, Joann's and even most grocery stores. Mine is from Aldi and cost 5 dollars. man, I really do miss Aldi. Maybe one day they will come to Colorado.

Now with this block as an example. The gnome was pre-assembled. The blocks with letters were pre-assembled. And the entire Christmas tree with lights was pre-assembled. I folded my base block into quarters and ironed a good crease into it. Then I was able to use the placement guides (page 3 in the instruction package) to tell where each patch would sit. Sometimes your patches are not exactly as expected. Our hands shake while cutting or tracing (at least mine do). So some of the placement settings are personal judgment, making it look good to Your eye. If you look closely you can see that I cut a wee bit too much off of the blue block for letter L.

The stitching takes me awhile also. On this project, I am using my Brother 400 and a mock buttonhole stitch. Changing thread color to match the bright fabrics. Sewing slowly. Lots of pivoting. Minor swearing when the bobbin runs out. You would think by now somebody would have made a sewing machine with an economy-sized bobbin! At least the Brother is polite enough to warn me that it is running low.
 I do my stitching assembly row style. Start with block one, sew everything red, move on to the next block and do the same. Get to the end of the stack of blocks, flip them over and start another thread color.
 After that, it is pressing, squaring up. Then sew the top together. :) I am not quite there yet so that picture will have to wait.

 Here are some pictures of my blocks before stitching.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October in Denver

So much has happened since I last sat down here to visit.
We sadly had to have my cat put to sleep :(  That is an experience I choose not to dwell on. The only silver lining in the whole thing, was the Kids were able to bring Wally up here and give him back when they visited. So we are still a two pet household, just chihuahuas now.

 Changes keep getting made to the apartment also. I used heavy canvas drop cloths (from Home Depot) and made curtains for most of the windows. Used clip rings. And only had to make a quick hem on each. Total investment was under 100 dollars for three windows and a sliding door.  They really help with the morning sun and afternoon privacy :) I can open the blinds and still get an abundant amount of sunshine.

I am still working on what I have dubbed "The Colorado Beast".
This is going to be a larger than king sized quilt for our queen size bed, lol. Jon wished to have enough drop on each side that neither would pull the cover off of the other. And long enough on top and bottom to tuck under the mattress at the foot, and go over his "pillow fort" at the head. I am having to make it in two sections then will join them by hand. My poor machine just can't handle something this big. The kitchen island is just PERFECT for pin basting! The pictures shows one section. It was very nice NOT to have to crawl around on the floor. And there is a picture of one half laid across the bed. I will not be able to wash this here at the apartment either. Will have to find a laundromat.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Move!

I have decided I am not very good at this Blogging stuff, lol.
There have been a lot of changes since my last post. Jon accepted a relocation to Colorado and we made the move in May. It will not be a permanent move, as Texas is home. We decided not to sell the house in Texas, instead our oldest and his wife moved into it. Jon and I downsized and have chosen to live in an apartment. I have to admit, it is nice not having to do yard work, and to be able to call maintenance when there is a problem. We moved with only the necessities. I gave a lot of my fabric stash to Jamie. And left many of my crafting supplies for the girls to do with as they wish. Three of my sewing machines made the move. Even though the movers managed to drop one of the 401's out of its cabinet (!!!) all of them arrived safely.

My new sewing area is our bedroom :) Jon has been very supportive of this. So instead of dressers, one wall is taken up with my work bench and work station. Another wall is taken up with my full sized sewing table. Totes of fabric are hidden behind the bedroom door. One tote has been emptied, as I cut it ALL up into 2 1/2 inch strips for a jelly roll race quilt for the bed.
  You might have noticed a slight design flaw in our apartment floor plan. There is a direct line of sight from the bathroom to the bedroom window! As you can guess that was a very rude discovery :)
The dining area has been turned into my office space and is housing the second 401 in its cabinet, along with my computer desk. Have I mentioned how very supportive Jon has been, lol! In a perfect world we would have chosen a two bedroom apartment. Unfortunately there is quite a housing shortage here in the Denver area. Prices are outrageous! All in all, we are very happy with the new digs. We are adapting well to seeing each other every day instead of just on weekends. I do miss the kids horribly. But I am very blessed in that they ALL call, text and video chat with me A LOT!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boundless Solids Crayon Box - Review

Hello Friends!
 A couple of weeks ago I was approached by the good folks at Craftsy to review one of their new fabric lines. Of course you know I said YES! Who doesn’t want to play with fabric? The bundle that arrived was Boundless Solids Crayon Box 6” Strips. It was packaged quite prettily, lol, but didn’t stay that way long. I needed to see how it felt and draped. Have to say I was very impressed. The thread count is quite nice. Closely woven and it passed the “Cookie Test”. What? You don’t have a cookie test? That is where you hold the fabric in front of your face and look through it towards the cookie jar. If you can spy which kid is snitching cookies and how many they have in their hand, you toss the fabric out! This test also allows you to smell the fabric as you are so up close and personal with it. I was amazed that these strips had NO smell! So many times I have to pre wash fabrics before I can stand working with them.  They were cut with a pinking blade so there were no threads hanging or ravels to worry about. The drape was soft and inviting! No starch or sizing type feel. I was very pleasantly surprised. Enough sniffing, peeking and petting. It was time to start sewing! Of course the pattern chosen was applique. A scaled down version of Tattered Garden to become placemats for the little table. The bright colors were perfect for this. I traced my templates onto fusible then ironed it to the strips and began cutting out flowers. 

Anxious to see if there would be fraying once the cutting began. None! My cut edges held together wonderfully! After a day or so I had a table full of beautiful primary colored flowers. My new concern was would the fusible adhere to the fabric and would it stay in place while stitching? Anyone who has machine appliqued knows the frustration of fabrics that have been treated and will not hold to the fusible. I shouldn’t have worried. The Boundless flowers behaved just as intended. It took a couple of weeks to finish up the placemats. Coasters are still in the works. 
You can purchase this fabric bundle from Craftsy here - The pattern I used, Tattered Garden, can be found in my Craftsy Store
It is a free pattern.