Saturday, September 24, 2011

Take along applique kit

I love pretty storage. I guess that's because I have a lot of stuff and if it isn't stored well it is difficult to appreciate and enjoy that stuff. I found the perfect storage solution for my "sprigs" applique project at the Vera Bradley store. This is their Mini Hanging Organizer and it is just the right size to carry everything I need to take an applique block in progress with me everywhere. My silk thread, scissors, needle threader, a couple needles, my basting thread and some little applique pins are neatly stashed in the handy compartments. Then I can fold up the block in progress and put it on top and zip it closed.

It fits right into my purse and is ready for stitching no matter where I am. How do you like to organize your projects? I would love to see pictures.

I finished two more blocks while I was on the road the last couple of weeks. This red, yellow and green one is my favorite. That's because I am partial to those wonderful mid-19th century applique quilts in the same colors.

I like the way this brown fabric worked as stems in these two blocks. It's another Judie Rothermel fabric.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Who's cruising now?

Me, that's who! I complained in my last post about how I felt like I was all thumbs stitching on my little sprigs applique blocks. When I mentioned to Janet (Quiltsalott) that I thought part of the problem was the silk thread I was using, she directed me to a Youtube video on how to knot the thread in your needle. What a difference a couple of minutes instruction makes!

Silk thread is excellent for applique because it virtually disappears and you only need a small range of neutral colors instead of the rainbow of cotton thread necessary to match every fabric you are using. But, it is barely bigger than an human hair and slippery Stitching with it is a bit like running in flip flops. It's awkward and you keep slipping out of them. Because the thread is so very fine, you can put a knot right at the eye of the needle and it doesn't affect the needle going through the fabric at all. Once I was freed from worrying about the thread sliding out of the needle after every stitch I could zoom along just like I was using cotton. Janet has posted the video on the Glorious Applique blog. You can find it here.

I am also finally feeling comfortable with my sewing machine again. As I mentioned previously, it was feeling its 20 years and needed refurbishing to work again. After spending the summer at the sewing machine spa, it's back and humming along beautifully. Above are star blocks 7 and 8.

When I was searching for a quilt with a plain back to use as a background to photograph my blocks, I happened upon this little doll quilt I bought a couple of years ago. I think it is sweet and clearly has been cuddled by some dolls.

I have my next two Sprigs blocks prepped and ready for stitching. Now that I am a wiz with the silk thread I expect to finish at least one of them this weekend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Applique is NOT like riding a bike...

At least it isn't for me. I haven't ridden a bike in a couple of years but I could hop on one right now and cruise like a pro. Not so with applique. It's only been several weeks since I last appliqued but I was all thumbs when I picked up my first "sprigs" block. I prepped this block last weekend and had the presence of mind to stick it in my purse before we headed off to a family wedding on Saturday. When we ran into an hour long traffic jam I pulled out Sprigs 1 and stitched down the stems. Did I mention I was the passenger, not the driver? Anyway, it was a very relaxing (and productive!) way to pass the time. But, I am a s-l-o-w stitcher.

I also put together a couple more stars blocks today. After looking at the six I've done so far, I can see it's time to stop using pink.
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