Thursday, 22 May 2008

second block on the way

Dear Cassie,

Ever since we started this quilting endeavour together, all that I have been thinking of is quilts. And fabrics and thread and scissors and needles.

I have already managed to dull one of my sharp 12’s and I had to pick a new needle this morning. Actually, the dull needle had troubled me for two nights already but I blamed the new background fabric. As I told you I have enough background fabric for three blocks but not for four and I decided to do the different now and all the time I thought that this fabric choice was not good. Finally today I picked a new and fresh needle and sewing has again been smooth dancing.

I have tried two different appliqué stitches. The first block was done completely with ladder stitch. Today I wanted some entertainment and changed the ladder stitch into fell stitch. I think I prefer fell stitch - but when I am appliquéing piece that has paper inside, ladder stitch seems to be easier to control to avoid catching the paper - but I am sure I will get better with fell stitch and will soon do all the appliqué with it.

I don’t think I prefer freezer paper on top from freezer paper inside or the other way around – basting through freezer paper is a pain, no matter what. What I would love to do is to get rid of all the freezer paper and develop good coordination between eye and hand. I am using freezer paper inside for the centre part of the block because I find it easier to place the pieces when you can see the pieces without any seam allowances. But I gather all these steps are part of my appliqué journey and at some point I might be doing everything differently!

So I am already on the second block. I can see very clearly that there is a bridge to be crossed every time I move from one block onto another – it is like starting the second sleeve when making a sweater or like knitting the second sock. Starting the process all over many times worries me, so I have been thinking of preparing the pieces for the third and the fourth blocks soon to be able to avoid the problem but so far it has been just a thought. Maybe over the weekend… The weather forecast for the weekend is sunny so I am not counting on doing that.

What I need is travel quilt – I mean take along project. These huge blocks seem too big to be carrying around and I would love to have something smaller to take along. First I thought of something very simple but then decided to take up on a challenge – maybe.

I have this old folder “Best-Loved Quilt Patterns”, I got it from my MIL long time ago and it is not complete, there are some lessons missing from the folder. It was published in 1991 by Oxmoor House and I think it was a series where you received a package every month. Anyway it has some good old patterns in it and many that are not designed for rotary cutters but plain old scissors and templates.

These are the three I have been thinking of (in order from the top: Joseph's Coat, Double Wedding Ring and Ceasar's Crown). I can’t decide because at some level, I am very worried of starting another quilt, I am cautious for a good reason… I have more ufos in every possible handwork field that I dare to tell you…

Joseph´s Coat is very tempting don’t you think? It is very challenging, there are no straight seams in the whole quilt but since I am willing and eager to learn new things right now, maybe I should try and go for it … or maybe not. Maybe I should stick to Yellow Flowers only because it still makes my heart sing.

It is beautiful sunny evening. It does not get dark at all, the sun dips under the horizon but gets up very quickly. May light is pure magic, I find it very hard to go to bed in the evenings, partly because of the light for sure but partly because of my quilt.




suzanne said...

Dear Lene,

What a wonderful post! Although I have sewn and quilted for many years, and no doubt used both, I don't know what ladder stitch and fell stitch are. Could you say next time?
By the way, the first carry-along project you are considering is also known as "tea leaves" here. And, a way to applique that I like without freezer paper is to draw the shape around the template onto the right side of the fabric with faint pencil (or permanent ink, if more daring), cut out shape with seam allowance, then use your fingers to crimp a crease along the turnunder line all the way around the shape (this is the crucial step -- just go around the shape pinching the fabric along the drawn line), pin or baste the shape to the background and turn under the seam allowance as you go, like needleturn only the shape will follow the "memory" of the crease in the fabric. The drawn line, no matter what made with, disappears as the piece is turned under. You and Cassie should do a joint book of applique projects.

Kathie said...

I am really enjoying reading your letters to each other and seeing your progress. both of you are making beautiful quilts. Your so lucky to have antique quilts to reproduce.
I use needle-turn appliqué and use a general's chalk pencil to mark my lines.
I trace around my pattern piece I cut out of template plastic or freezer paper that I remover after I trace the lines and like this method a lot.
I think we all have to try different methods to find the one that works best for us.
I have never head of the fell stitch and would love to see an example of it
I would be happy to send you pictures of my applique block in progress marked with the chalk pencil if you want ot see it.
Just send me an email.