The Final Christmas Block!

The last block for the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along came out this past Tuesday and I couldn’t hardly wait to sew it up. It is a cute string of lights designed by Laura Piland @Slice of Pi Quilts. She designs such wonderful things!

I mentioned in my last post that I am running a bit low on large pieces of my fabric. So instead of one large background square, I improvised a bit and added the border pieces to it. I really like the dimension it adds:). Quilting is such a forgiving art. ❤️. It’s all meant to looked pieced anyway so adding a few more pieces never hurts:)

The actual appliqué was very easy.

I glued the bias tape down with a glue stick and fusible web/ironed the lights down. Then I button hole stitched around everything. I made sure to have a paper towel on the back for stabilizer.

It turned out sew, sew cute! Now it is on to the setting. I can start on that next week with time left over before Christmas, right? It will be cutting it close, but I can do this!

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a SWEET rest of your day! 🙂

Moving Along Down the Rabbit Hole

I can’t believe three weeks have gone by so quickly and it is time to post about my Hand Quilting progress for the Hand QAL that Kathy is hosting over at Sewing Etc.

The last time I posted I had just marked and glued my wedges to my back ground fabric for my Down The Rabbit Hole Quilt.

I am happy to report that all of the wedge stitching is done. Yea! Aren’t they pretty? ❤️

I moved on to the twelve corner arch pieces that make the sunflower corners. I’m a bit worried they won’t all match up once I start to put them together, but onward I go!

I have found brief sewing moments here and there in between other projects. I even resorted to sewing in the car which was a bumpy challenge!

I was able to get the four corner blocks done and two of the side arches done

I have six more of these arch units to do and the leaves before I can call this round done. I bet I will have it all done by next time.;)

This is the layout of what it is going to look like when it is sewn together. Those flowers are going to bloom right off the quilt!

As far as the Salem Quilt Guild quilt goes, I did get a little bit more done. I finished coloring one panel and am almost done with the second. I can guarantee that this one will not move any further along than this for the next month or so. Christmas is coming and I have a lot of sewing and preparing to do. You get it, right?

I am thankful to Kathy for organizing this QAL. Here are the details if you would like to join us:)❤️

“This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.”

Kathy, Bella, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Susan and Jessisca If you have a moment and want to see some pretty eye candy, be sure to check out the other Hand stitchers as well:)

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you have a SWEET rest of your day😊

Angels We Have Heard on High

Merry Christmas!  I had sew much fun making this pretty little angel block designed by Sandra Healy Designs for the I Wish You a Merry Christmas QAL.   

 I am trying to stay as close to the designer’s instructions while adding my own personality to the blocks.  I added all of the embroidery and an extra wing on this block.

The actual construction of the background  was very, very easy.  The simple squares were cut and sewn together in no time at all.  

When it was done, I had a beautiful blank slate for my angel to fly on as she places stars in the sky.   The pattern called for adhesive peel and press paper for the appliqué, but the angel and stars just sang, “Please, Tracy, needle turn appliqué and embroider me!”  Of course!!


I cut the shapes from thin card board and sandwiched them inside foil. I then pressed the little packets.   Easy!  I drew the embroidery designs I wanted on the fabric and glued them to my background with just a small dot of glue.


The next few evenings were filled with needle and thread as I relaxed and watched a show with my husband.  


I was happy to use my newly acquired appliqué skills on these little stars. Invisible stitches.  Yea!   You can read about my journey in how I learned to needle turn here.

I made some pretty wings with some of my favorite lace. The pattern only called for one wing, but with lace this lovely, I opted for two.   I love how the fabric is still a bit visible under them.

But my favorite part of this angel block is my pretty angel’s flower crown.   I designed the face and hair myself.  I did not use a pattern.


Her cute little ringlets and darling smile really tickle my fancy.  The flowers were fun to watch bloom as I stitched them down.  I added a bit of color shading to her cheeks to give her a rosey glow..


Isn’t she SWEET?!  I am absolutely in love with her:)❤️. 

Thank you for stopping by today.  It is always nice to share a creative moment with friends like  you!

By Jove, I Think She’s Got it!

Appliqué has been my quilting nemesis for years.  My stitches always show and the thread really tends to stand out.  

Because I have been so frustrated, and not very patient, I usually just opt to embrace the visible stitches and use my sewing machine with either a small hem stitch or go all out and use a buttonhole stitch with contrasting thread.

I am not at all against machine appliqué, in fact I am a big fan of the speed and consistency of the stitches.  BUT  (I’m sure you knew that was coming) I really WANT to be proficient at appliqué.  I feel that any really good quilter should know how to needle turn.

Well this is it.  This is the quilt where I learn the appliqué ways!  I started out with my usual try to take a small stitch, but the stitches still show technique.   Ugh!  No matter how hard I tried, those stitches showed!

Then I looked at the back and had a brilliant thought—


I said to my myself, ” look at those tiny pinpricks. Why can’t they be on the front?”   Wait a minute–why can’t they?  I know, I know, I’m very slow to the rodeo with this one!   I think everyone else had this figured out long ago.  Where have I been?!


This time I entered my quilt top completely next to where I came out on the last stitch. Do you see where I put the arrow in the above picture?


Here it is again.  The picture on the left shows what I WAS doing. I was entering the fabric a few stitches ABOVE where I came out on the last stitch.  The totally correct awesome way is once again to go back down RIGHT NEXT to where I came out of the fabric on the last stitch.


Look at how pretty that looks!  You can BARELY see the stitches at all!❤️❤️. The back has the long stitches and I’m ok with that:)

I should be quite the proficient when I am done with this Down the Rabbit Hole quilt.  In fact for the next few days I am really going to be stitching and stitching on these leaves!  There are about 50 of them!


Yep,  I think I will have the hang of it for sure by the time I’m done with them:)

Now I have to get the curves a little smoother, but I will get there!  No one is going to be looking that close except me and you:)!

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope my appliqué journey helps any of you who are new to appliqué:)

Life is SWEET!

Down the Rabbit Hole Appliqué Preparation 

Good Morning!  Im glad to be home and back to some bit of normalcy.  The best part of being home is spending a bit of time in my sewing room.   I have been loving some of the fun techniques I am learning in my Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt by Sarah Fielke

I need to be more careful about second guessing how to do things on this quilt.  For instance, I used my normal sew around the circle with fusible web technique.  It is a very good way to make a fusible circle that can be found here.  But I will show you in a minute that should have waited.


Dont they look pretty?


I gathered my 1/4″ bias tape that I made last time I posted about this quilt.  I put a few drops of glue on the back and glued it down around my psychedelic Rabbit Hole. 

Then I ironed my beautiful circles down .  I LOVE it! –But there was an even easier way to make perfect circles.

In section 3 of Sarah’s directions, she introduced me to a new way to make circles for applique.  I know the “Magic Circle” for Crochet. Now I know a magic circle technique for quilting too!❤️❤️

  • First, I gathered my perfect circles templates and took out the circles that were the right size for the pattern. But really a piece of cardboard cut into a circle would work as well.
  • Then I took out my kitchen aluminum foil and cut some squares that were bigger than the circles I was making.  
  • I cut my fabric into circles that were 1/4″ larger than my template circle, but next time I am going to cut them 1/2″ larger for added adjustment.

  • I followed Sarah’s instructions and placed the foil down first, then the fabric with the right side down, followed by the template
  • It was easy to then fold the foil and fabric over the template to make these little foil circles
  • I took the circles to my ironing board and pressed them with my iron.  The foil was very hot so I waited a bit to let them cool:)
  • When I opened my little foil package, there was my pretty little ironed circle!  Easy, easy, easy!!

Can you see why I wish I would have waited on my larger circles?   The interface method worked, but this way was even faster and easier!  

I am so excited to start my hand appliqué.  I  am always tempted to use my machine, but I really WANT to become a proficient hand appliquer.  I will never get there unless I keep trying.


So—Here I go Down the Rabbit Hole!  

Thank you for dropping by and reading about my creative adventures.  I hope you have a SWEET day:)

The Last Stitch!

I have busily been sewing on my final few blocks for my Splendid Sampler.  It has been so much fun:)   I finished my final seven blocks this morning and have an elated, sad type feeling.  


I have been working on, and looking at this beautiful stack of blocks every day while sewing and creating.  It has made me smile.  

Now it looks like this–See what I mean?   Oh well,  now I have a spot to fill with the next new 6.5″ project.  One will come along, it always does.

But look at how pretty this huge stack of blocks looks.  I’m excited to put them all together!

Here are my final blocks:

Full Circle Star

This one was a little trickier than I thought it should be.  There really wasn’t much of a pattern for the center aqua appliqué pieces.  I sewed a circle and cut it to make my pieces. I think it turned out just fine:)

Circle of Friendship– I loved all of the fun stripes in this one. I was happy to be able to use all of my fabrics as well. I like the circle contrast here. It’s a great block!

Prism—  I am always happy for an easy block to break up the difficult ones:)

Unity Star-– The cutting was the hardest part on this one.  It is a Square in a Square type block with lots of stitch and flip.

Minnesota Maze- Isn’t the fussy cut flower fun?

The Early Bird— I didn’t think I was going to like this one as much as I do.  I had to take a lot of deep breaths and just sew because there were so many tiny little pieces.  But it was worth it.  I think this block is the iconic block of the Splendid Sampler.  I love it!
And my final block–

Wild Roses


I am now, not afraid of needle turns appliqué.  I can do it, and find that I even like it!  Thank you Splendid Sampler;)

Here they are laid out and ready to sew together.  I have several extra that I am not putting in because I like the size of this.  So 81 blocks it is!  I will sew these together and add two fun borders.  Hopefully I can get these added in the next week or two….we’ll see:)

It has been a simply SWEET and Splendid journey that is almost done.  Life is good!

Dear Daughter Chapters 8 & 9

I am excited to say that I am  now only one chapter behind on this QAL.   By the end of the month I will have chapters 10 & 11 done as well:)  Yea!!   I can see right where they will fit in.   I really like these new blocks. I like how the “&” symbol combines the messages.   In  our family Faith in Jesus Christ  is the center of our lives. So  I changed the pattern from “Have Courage” to “Nourish Faith”.  This will  remind my daughter to always take care of the spiritual side of her life.  True happiness and strength can never be achieved without that:)

Chapter 8–The block itself  is beatiful. I like how the words of faith are sort of holding up and nourishing the bloom of the flower.  They work together so well!  

Don’t you just love those  pieced corner flowers?

I used a clear mono filament thread to appliqué the petals and flower center.  It  is almost impossible to see!

The turning of the appliqué pieces was easy as well. 

  • I traced the pattern to the smooth side of a piece of fusible interfacing.  Then  I sewed it to the fabric  with the sticky side facing the right side of  the fabric.  
  • I clipped only the facing and turned it right side out using my handy cuticle stick.
  • Now it had the sticky facing side on the back of the petal  so I just ironed it to the block and sewed it down.  Easy!

Chapter 9— I also love the message of “Be Kind”.   The flower is so so cute!Because the circle and the petals were right next to the script, I opted to use fusible paper web for the appliqué.  That way the block would all match.

Fusible web is not always easy to pull away. So I have learned that if you score it with a pin, you can bend it and easily remove the paper.

I am not sure if I am crazy about the pink petals.  I may trade them out for orange to match the satin stitch around the lettering and to pull some more orange to the bottom of my quilt.

I know it doesn’t really matter, but hey why not?  I also think the complimentary colors of the blue and orange would really make this block pop:). Ok– I’m doing it!

Well, there you have it.  Almost done now.  SWEET!   

Don’t forget to follow my blog so you can enter the drawing for the free quilt that I am giving away to one of my lucky followers!    You can enter here.

Thank you for dropping by!

–Tracy:)

It’s a “Splendid” Day!

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I have been playing catch up in the Splendid Sampler QAL, but I’m almost there. Yea! Just in time to fall behind again as I am going on vacation next week to Lake Powell lol:)

The 4 blocks I worked on were lessons in technique. I did two applique blocks and two paper piecing blocks.  For the two applique blocks I tried two different techniques.

Applique Blocks

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The first was the very easy, tried and true fusible web technique:image

  1. I traced the pattern  on the fusible web
  2. I ironed it on the wrong side of my fabric.
  3. I cut it out and peeled off the backing paper
  4. I ironed it to my background block
  5. I placed a paper towel behind it  for stabilizer and machine botton hole stitched around it.

Easy easy, but it doesn’t look like that beautiful  hand applique that grandma used to do. But it was fast and very clean looking.

On the next applique block I tried a new method that Nanette @quilting quandary was so generous to share with me. She does AMAZING, museum quality work.  I am sad to say that have a long long way to go, but I gave it a try.image

  1.  Trace the pattern to the back side of the background block.   – I found this to be difficult because fabric is not transparent . A bright window is what I used.  I assume some people have a light box.  Maybe some nice transfer paper would work as well.  I think I might try tracing on a dryer sheet and pinning it to my block and then baste over that.  The dryer sheet could even stay in the quilt.
  2. Hand baste  a piece of fabric that is larger than the section you are sewing to the front of the fabric.  Use the marking on the back as your guide. Trim around the basting.  Isn’t it pretty?  – I probably should have done one piece at a time, but I was so excited.   All of the layered fabric made it a little tricky to get my needle in for the hand sewing.

     

  3. Time to needle turn applique.  I removed a few stitches and started my hand sewing.  I thought I remembered reading somewhere that my thread should match the background color.  Nope, I think I would have liked it to match the applique piece better. Oh well, I’m learning:)
    image
    You can see the marks where I should have sewn. I should have clipped it so I could have reached the inside point

    I found this part easier than I thought it would be. The basting stitches left holes that were guides to show where I was going.

This technique was definitely slower than the fusible method, but it is the real deal and it ended up looking pretty good. I am probably going to redo the heart with a different fabric so it shows up better.  I can definitely say I learned something with this block.  I am no Nanette to be sure, but hey, we all start somewhere right?

Paper Piecing BlocksimageThe paper piecing blocks should have been a lot easier, but the dress block really tested my edges. The designer, Charise from Charise Creates, had us cut the pattern apart and then sew the fabric to the paper without the seam allowances.  I don’t know why, but this seemed to really make it tricky to get the fabric the right size   I have definitely learned to be more than generous with my fabric when paper piecing.

I am very pleased with how it turned out though. I added a pretty little sash with a blue embroidered flower and French knot buttons in the bodice.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have a dress like this to wearimage

The Scrappy Happy Heart block was a breeze after this dress block.  I really do like paper piecing.   The points come out so sharp and crisp.image

I know my colors look a little odd, but I think they are going to all work together in the end.

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Have a super SWEET day!!

–Tracy:)