Monday, 16 June 2008

second block done!

Dear Lene,

I know I've been bad about taking pictures of the blocks I'm working on. First we had that heatwave, and now we're into our third day of clouds and thunderstorms here. Fortunately, I prefer that to the heat, but the rare sunlight we've had has made it difficult to find just the right time to take pictures. But I tried my best, to keep you updated.

Here are the first two blocks, finished except for the center reverse appliqué:

The reason I'm waiting to do the reverse appliqué is because I wasn't sure if I was going to have enough of the blue for it. I have other blue fabrics that are similar, though, so I figured if I run out, I can use an alternate fabric at the center. I'm still not sure which fabric I'm going to use for the swags in the border - I'm hoping to have enough of the green, but I may go with blue. (Or maybe the blue will be used for the binding instead? I'm really playing this by ear, as I go along.)

When I was basting down the center yellow piece for the third block, I had a funny parakeet moment, and managed to grab my camera just in time:

That's Moe the parakeet, who just discovered pins for the first time. What I did was to lay down the piece with freezer paper still attached, pin down the seam allowances, and then remove the freezer paper and baste just the fabric down to the background.

For the first two blocks, I left the freezer paper on, and worked around it. Normally, this is one of my favorite methods of appliqué, but with the 22" square yellow piece, it just wasn't practical. After reading the comments about this method, I decided to try something else for the third block. I had thought I was going to mark at least the inner curves (the deep ones at the base of the scallops) with white chalk, but when I tried that I just wasn't happy with it.

Of course, when I finally took a picture, you can't see the white chalk marks at all. But I did spend some time wiping them off in frustration - it really was worse before.

What I decided to do in the end was something new for me. I recently found a small size hera marker in one of my sewing supply tins. I had never used it (it was still in the packaging) but had probably bought it because it was different than the other ones I have, with one end that was pointy - almost like a plastic awl.

I tried using the pointy end of the hera marker to press turning lines into the fabric, and was really pleasantly surprised by the result. I had to lay the freezer paper back over the yellow fabric to do it, but that was easy enough.

I'm very happy with how it's going, and will probably use the same method for the fourth block. Next time, though, I'm going to mark the turning lines before I remove the freezer paper. It will stabilize the fabric a bit more.

When we had started up with this whole idea, I mentioned another four-block quilt I had started a few years ago. I think I said something about lots of leaves being too fussy. I pulled the block out and ironed it (although you can't tell at all from this picture!) and re-examined it.

I really like it, and I realize now that the Tulip quilt I chose to copy is a much harder pattern to sew than this oval wreath pattern. Oh, well. Maybe it will be my next project.

I chose to work on the wreath quilt totally freehand, although I did baste the pieces down using a pattern, I didn't mark any lines. It works out just fine for these smaller pieces, unlike the large piece at the center of the tulip quilt. I found the block with a needle still in place:

I've been really tempted by it - to just pick it up and sew a few pieces down, but I'm resisting the temptation. I'm telling myself it can be my reward for finishing up the tulip quilt top. I only have a quarter of this one block sewn, but have all the fabrics set aside for the entire quilt. Something to look forward to....


PS - I'm not ignoring your hexagon madness. But may I make a suggestion? Step very slowly and carefully away from the hexagons. They seem dangerous.


beadlizard said...

Love the shot of Moe with the pins!

Your Hera marker looks more effective than my ancient one (an antique from an ancestress' sewing basket). Hmmm.

DD and I were unpacking some sewing stuff and found a small quilt that I didn't recognize. I mean, the shapes were familiar, but the colors were totally off -- my vision has changed that much!

Your blue and red one is going to take some studying. All the little bits are hard to make into one image. Is there a faint print on the white background? I like the acornyness of the red bits. Are you turning under about an eighth inch?

pacalaga said...

I'm not sure I could keep myself from the blue one. It's so hot these days that red and yellow just seem to make it worse. I need blue.

elizabeth said...

Moe's trying to help! Like the woodland creatures in Disney movies. :o)

Okay, get this. The word verification I have is "soxwar."

Quilts And Pieces said...

Well I never thought of using the hera marker to mark the applique lines! Very cool!

Diane said...

I know it is hard, when your nose is mere inches away from the applique you are stitching, to recognize that this amount of accuracy will go unnoticed when the piece is complete. Have you tried stitching the pieces without freezer paper, pencil lines, or hera marks of any kind? Just "eyeball" the turn under line ~ as long as you have a decent seam allowance, it will look fine.

Caroline in NH said...

Thanks for mentioning the hera marker! It may be just the thing I need for a project in the planning stages that has me just a little puzzled!

I love, love, LOVE that wreath pattern! Enough that if you ever decided to provide a pattern for sale, I would be willing to buy it...