Quiet Afternoon and a Little Quilting

After another morning with a long walk searching for the shop that sells envelopes and pens, I’m tired.  Even after a brief nap, it’s almost too much to formulate words for my online Scrabble games, or really pay attention to the news as it unfolds (again and again) on BBC World News, the only English language TV station we receive. Two other posts begun and not finished…..and a response to being nominated for a blogging award…….. but not now.

Time to sit quietly and work on my hand applique project – the only quilting I can do until our air shipment arrives, with my sewing machine and the cornucopia of colourful projects I packed in it.  I am very close to having the preparations all done and decided to take a few photos of the process, to show you my method.P1030311

I love hand applique.  I find it very relaxing, and also extremely portable, especially on trips when you have hours to while away in airports and on planes. I’m not a big fan of watching movies in the air, as I find that all types of earphones and headsets make my head ache.  so I read or work puzzles or sew. And while I love the applique part of it, I hate all the steps involved in many methods.  I get very bored tracing out 78 leaves on paper and cutting them out, drawing the pattern on the front of the base fabric and then having trouble covering all the lines.

I use a variation of back basting, taught to me by Mary Milne of Patchwork Creations in Aberdeen, Scotland.  When I met Mary in 2008, she and her daughter ran a divine little quilt shop.  They have since turned it into a web-based business, and specialize in original patterns and kits. It was a quiet day, and Mary was working on an applique block for a class she would be teaching in the fall.  I was intrigued by her method, and she graciously showed me what she was doing.  I even went back the following day to clarify a few points.

Mary’s method calls for tracing the block pattern on the back of the fabric, and then basting the applique patches on the front…… 1/8th of an inch inside the drawn line.P1030318

P1030312Cut the fabric 1/4″ outside your basting line, and you are all set to stitch without having to pull threads.P1030313

P1030317You just turn under the edge to the basting line, and stitch away.  You only draw the pattern once.

The great thing about this is that you can set up a whole block, or most of it, before beginning the hand applique.  This way, all you need is needle, thread, and something to cut the threads.  P1030314No tiny pieces to lose under your airplane seat. Even overlapping pieces are no problem, as I discovered when I did my large applique quilt featured on my blog header. With this project, I’m waiting to put the vines and end leaves on until the first ones are stitched, so they don’t get in the way.Photo 2013-03-26 4 44 51 PM

The project I’m working on is called “Branches Entwined” and was featured in Quilter’s World Magazine.  There is pieced sashing and a scalloped border……. pieces in the aforementioned air shipment.  If I get busy, I may be ready to begin when my machine arrives in April.

Hope you enjoy the photos…… I’m going to sit and stitch.

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14 Responses to Quiet Afternoon and a Little Quilting

  1. Karen in Canada says:

    Hi Kathi: Gosh – only BBC World News in English! That would drive me nuts – I’d sure get a lot of quilting done though! Do you have any idea when and if all the snow will be gone where you are? We get little flurries off and on but not enough to stay on the ground. Don’t you just love back basting. I use it and teach it all the time.

  2. Thanks or sharing the photos. I need to try hand applique – it can look beautiful. How do you quilt it after it’s all done? I can’t quite get my head around that.

    • i’m not sure yet how I will quilt it… something fairly traditional, I think, as it seems very old fashioned to me. I’m hoping it will give me some ideas when I get the top completed. it will probably be June or so before I get my quilting machine here, so I have a bit of time.

  3. Sue Nixon says:

    Hi Kathi! Well the plus side of being stuck inside is that you can devote your time to your projects, better than I am doing! We are off to Barcelona on Thurs. for 4 nights, so looking forward to that as it is predicted to be in the high sixties, whoo hoo! We are getting lots of sunshine here, but still cold. Have seen Snowdrops and Krocuses out, so pretty! Hey, I have a new Ipdad mini, so into the Scrabble now. Now sure how it works in a group, you will have to let me know. Paul and I play on separate Ipads. I don’t like playing the computer as they come up with some very weird words and abreviations and they are hard to beat! Roll on Spring and give Snoopy a hug from me! Sue

  4. antarabesque says:

    When I am brave enough to try applique I think I’ll use this method. Thanks!

    • When you first try it, make sure you use fabric with a fairly tight weave. The first time I tried, I didn’t and it was awful. It used batik to learn on.. But regular fabric is much easier to sew. Just watch the weave until you’ve practiced a bit. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. It’s nice to know there is someone out there, isn’t it?

  5. Connie says:

    I also haven’t been brave enough to try applique. I took a course at Patchwork Cottage many years ago but this method looks much easier. What type of stitch do you use for the actual applique?
    We just got home after being on the Island for a month. the last 2 weeks with our granddaughters on their spring break. Had a great time but now need to get back to quilting. I am making quilts for each of the girls and wanted to do some applique on Naomi’s. I was going to do it on the machine but might try this. I have the quilt pieced and want to applique some flowers in the borders, do you think that would work with this method. I am also doing a quilt for friends daughter who is getting married in July so best get busy.

    • It’s just the same as you use to sew on a binding, but smaller. silk thread is really good too – you don’t have to match the colour – just light/medium/dark, and the thin thread really hides well. I think it would work really well on the border.

  6. Sue says:

    Lovely. . . Reminds me that I need to finish the one I have. The applique is done, and I think I have the right fabric for the setting blocks. . . I really enjoyed the applique. Must do more.

  7. Brenda Fritzler says:

    Brought back memories of you showing me this in my home.Honestly, you should win a blog award. How do I vote??

  8. Janice Orr says:

    I, too, may become courageous enough to try applique! It has always seemed like too much detail work but with the method you describe it allows for sitting comfortably and just sewing. I like that. And, yes, what about this blog award? Your blog has been a wonderful dose of creative thinking and discovery for me and you definitely get my vote.

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