Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hot August Not

Honestly, where does time go ... ? In the back of my mind I've had this nagging feeling (along with a couple of migraines) that I haven't blogged here ... but then neither has anyone else.

I promise things HAVE been happening behind the scenes.

You see ... I got kind of caught up ... in a crazy hexagon craze! This wasn't really supposed to happen, considering I'm still busy busy on this and this. But you see, Lynne of Lily's Quilts started a "HEX A LONG" inspired by this quilt and then ....

Watermelon and Friends Overview

I only allow myself to work at this one a block at a time during the week and even then evenings only ... but weekends are fair game.

Then, there's this one, my take-along everywhere project. I picked up this simple but inexpensive case at Ikea (yes, I know coulda-shoulda *made* it but this way I have more time to stitch *fun* things). Makes taking along so simple: doctor's office, 5-hour round-trips to Germany, the garden for a half hour each evening when Axel comes home. When I get back, the hexies get sorted into my tray to make sure I'm keeping my color saturation where I want it. Am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the fabric I designed and was printed by Spoonflower and another order of Japanese fabrics ordered from the states. Also found some more gorgies at a friend's shop nearby.

have Hexagons - will TravelVintage Hexies

And I promise to get busy on Jane again ... I realized today that I never blogged about my "fake" method for reverse applique - so that's on the top of the list for this week.

Maria, on the other hand, has been busy with Jane and you can see more of her gorgeous blocks here.

I know Deb has been busy too getting ready for their quilt show. Now if only we'd been smart-er and had told you about it before the show ...

And I'll be checking in with Dana later tonight.

Mary? I am sooo excited .. we've made a date .. to have coffee and exchange our little quilts .. in November!!

So, what have you been up to? Has your weather been as crappy as ours (not that I'm complaining - wink ... our summer just came early - April / May early and now fall is firmly on it's way). Are you busy with the summer, kids going back to school, new projects, heaven forbid that jump start on Christmas gifts? Tell us what's on your sewing table ... we'd love to hear, and if you have a blog we'll be sure to stop by and see!

Don't forget I blog over here too .. you'll find my latest knitting project, a day out in Gent, a another quilt along - I'm one of the designers ... and more! I hope you'll stop by!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dad's "Plaids"

A-7 Dad's Plaids
Dear Jane® book reference: Block A-7, page 20

Jovita's Method: hand "normal" and reverse applique, hand pieced

My comments: This is another block that can be constructed many different ways.  I am quite certain that Jane used traditional hand-piecing. In fact the Dear Jane® CD reflects this with lines drawn from the ends of the melons to the closest corner. The diagram in the book doesn't even closely resemble the picture of the block. So the first decision was which I thought would be more attractive .. hands down, Jane's block of course, but those extra seams would be very short and I wasn't in the mood.
So I decided to applique. Hmmm, normal applique for all four squares or two "normal" and two reverse?

I considered two things: 1) would how I appliqued make any difference to how I choose to quilt later? and 2) would one of my fabrics show through the other when I appliqued one on top the other?

Wait, what? I'm thinking about the quilting already? Yes! That's what got me started on this whole crazy Contemporary Jane ride ... I saw THIS QUILT along with a whole bunch of you drooling folks!

What I loved about this quilt from the get-go is that it is only quilted in the white "background" so if I want to do that (or have that lovely Judi of Green Fairy Quilts do that) then I am making sure I plan a little ahead now. Look closing at blocks B-1 Bachelor Buttons on the left and C-9 Jane's Tears on the right. It's quilted IN the white ... so to get this effect reverse applique will be necessary ... or in my case "fake" reverse applique - but I'll explain that tomorrow.

But I digress .. right now we're talking about A-7. I took a minute to think about quilting in the background and decided that yes, to get that look I'd need to do two in normal and two in reverse applique. Here's a picture to make it clearer.

So yesterday at Jovita's Patchwork Atelier I wrote a little FAQ / Tutorial about reverse applique and showed a few of the steps in picture format.

"normal" vs. reverse applique
Down-load a printer friendly version of this picture tutorial here.

A-7 PrepI prepped for the block by cutting:

Background (black):
Two 3-1/2" squares with the melon shapes marked* diagonally
Two melon shapes
   * My favorite marking tool for dark fabrics is the White Marking Pen Fine (Item # 517) by Clover.  

And I just read this tip: Save your melon template to use again for block E-10 .. although I'll probably be skipping that block (wink).

Print (green):
Four 3-1/2" squares

Place two melons diagonally onto two green squares and baste in place (see diagram above).  Your basting should be a bit more than a 1/4" inide the marked line on the melon.

Place each marked black square on top of a green square.  Baste around the outside edge of the melon shape a little more than a 1/4" from the line (see diagram above).

A-7 Reverse PrepCarefully clip away the inside of the applique shape taking care that you leave adequate seam allowance and don't cut into your applique shape below.

Now, you can turn these shapes over and trim away the excess green or leave it until you've finished your applique. I did one each way and noticed no difference.  There's a photo here of the backs of the basted pieces.

A word on clipping your seams ... since I'm not going to do a full blow-by-blow how to applique here, I'll just say this ... clip as seldom as possible. I know this may go against the grain of so many tutorials you've seen of hearts being clipped every 1/8" all the way around it. But you don't have to, trust me ... a heart needs one clip - in it's valley. Your melon's don't need a single clip. When do reverse applique on the melon you'll need a few more - I clipped six times. One in each "valley" end and twice on each side. Here's a pic where you can see me taking the first clip on a reverse-appliqued melon .. see the angle of my scissors? I'm not clipping straight into the seam. I'm clipping with the grain of the fabric between the threads to prevent as much fraying as possible.  Want to know more about applique but live too far to come visit me, then I recommend "The Applique Sampler" by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins as a jumping off point. Then take as many classes from as many different teachers you can - you'll be amazed how you pick up a bit here and a bit there until you find your style that fits you perfectly.

A-7 TrimGeez, I almost forgot .. after you have all four quadrants appliqued, you need to trim them.  Use a square ruler and make sure that diagonal line runs right through the center of your melon. Trim each quadrant to 2-3/4" square (for me that meant the points were each 3/8" from the corner). Then hand or machine piece your 4 blocks together. Personally, I found it much easier to hand piece since the melons are just 1/8" from the edge.

Wow, so that was one long-winded post about this little block .. but I hope it helped and that my waffling on about things I think about helps you rather than gets in the way.

Please comment, ask questions or request a tutorial on a block that's stumping you. We look forward to hearing from you.

A-7 (reverse)Oh, and here's a picture of the back of my block .. well, not my block .. I made this one for Maria but didn't tell her and so she made one too while she was on vacation. Check the flickr group tomorrow, I'll have a pic of my block up and a post here about how I "faked" the reverse applique on those other two blocks.

  • Minka made this block and then went back and re-made it using a different technique, you can read more about it here.
  • Anina, from That Quilt walks you through her approach here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to Jane

I'm back from a fabulous two-week "staycation," which you can read about here and here.  The weather was crappy most of the time so I'm taking advantage of today's sun (and natural light) to do some stitching in the garden.  Maria asked me to explain "reverse" applique so I'm working on that for you all and will post a tutorial / FAQ at Jovita's Patchwork Atelier tomorrow.

Then be sure to pop in on Thursday to see a step-by-step explanation of how I made block A-7 Dad's Plaids using applique and reverse applique.  On Friday, I'll show you how I "faked" some reverse applique to do blocks B-1 and C-8.

Back to Jane