Monday, January 16, 2012

Applique taskmaster...

Weasley has been holding my feet to the fire, keeping me company and helping me to get some applique prep work done. I've been methodically glue basting smaller units of each block, then stitching those smaller units with YLI silk thread.  By building the applique blocks unit by unit, then stitching the smaller units before glue basting further, I will be able to trim the black background behind the larger applique motifs in preparation for hand quilting...especially if my black background muddies my lighter, brighter fabrics.
Since I am using a black background for this applique quilt, my usual trick of using my light box for applique placement won't work.  I am using the 'overlay' technique instead. 

You know those clear dividers you get when you buy the deeper Art Bin satchel containers.?  They are smooth on one side, ridged on the reverse?  They make great overlays!  Since I have temporarily misplaced my pen that wipes off with water, I am using a dry erase pen (and being very careful not to smudge the ink!).
I trace just the very outside lines of the block design from the paper pattern to the smooth side of the clear divider.
After gluing then stitching the smaller units, I've glue basted everything I can by just working over the paper pattern BEFORE working on background with the overlay.  Using the "dot-dot-not-a-lot" amount of Roxanne's glue baste, I know if my applique gluing bleeds through and the piece sticks to my pattern, my dots are too big, LOL.
My background is a couple of inches larger than the finished size, so I glue the round center medallion in the center of my over sized background square (confident in having enough background to carefully place the other motifs)...
Next I place my traced overlay on top of the applique block.  Using my long tweezers, I move things around until they line up pretty well.  Then I remover the overlay and carefully lift and apply my tiny dots of glue baste one motif at a time, checking alignment with my overlay when necessary.

Now I can simply wipe to remove the dry erase pen from the clear plastic overlay.
I place the clean overlay on the next paper pattern.  The dry erase pen removes easily, but is way too easy to accidentally smudge or remove.  When I use this overlay method, I much prefer the wipe board pens that have to be removed with a damp rag.  I don't have to be so careful with those overlays.
 I only outline outer edges.

Before using my traced overlay, I glued up the sunflowers and stitched the centers first.  This is especially important on this block with all the light yellow fabrics.  If too much black background shows through, I will trim away even more of the unseen black background.
Here are the flower flip sides.  You can see how I sewed the smaller circle centers to the larger ones, then stitched and trimmed before placing the center units on the petal layers and doing it all over again.

Now I am ready for my overlay,
 Done...ready to erase and trace the next block...
These are a little out of proportion because the camera is at an angle, but you get the general idea of the four blocks I will be stitching now! 

Oops!  I forgot to say that these are blocks from Lori Smith (From My Heart to Your Hands).  The name of the pattern is "Folk Art Applique."
Preview of coming attractions...
In stitches,
Teresa    :o)


  1. You make this look so easy, yet I have no mastery. I will sit back and admire! Just lovely - and your helper could be a twin of my helper.

  2. looks great!! you have put a lot of work into it already and not even stitched!!

  3. Teresa
    You are amazing! So detailed and perfect. I love to check in on your blog to see the neat projects you are working on!

  4. Thanks for all the details on this......I am just about ready to try my hand at some applique, and yours is the method I am going to try. It really helps to see all the steps involved in placement, too, since I have not even thought about how to do that! lol Thanks!

  5. That quilt is going to be stunning. The black background is worth the extra effort.

  6. Oh, how lovely!!! I really want to learn how to do this. Any suggestions on books or video tutorials? Or, you wanna come for a visit???

  7. What a great lesson! It will be beautiful.

  8. I may have to print a photo of Weasley and hang it in my sewing room to keep me on task. When I was in Paducah last year, Lori Smith had a booth, and I bought several of her patterns. What a nice lady. I might just have to prep one after seeing yours.

  9. Oh nice method! I would love to have all of those blocks prepped so I could just applique this evening.
    Happy Stitching!

  10. Those blocks look awesome. Love the bright colors on the black. Very beautiful applique.
    I love Lori's patterns.

  11. The colors are so vibrant on your blocks! I had never thought of the dry erase pens for creating an overlay. Well, I have rarely used an overlay but I can see it is valuable in working on dark backgrounds.

  12. Very fun! Recognized the pattern halfway through the post - it is hanging on my quilt room dream-board!

  13. love those bright zingy colors in this block - beautiful work. what a nice kitty helper :)

  14. Oh, look at all those bright fabrics. that is going to be a fabulous quilt.
    What a great idea for the overlay. I have some of those. You have the greatest ideas. Thanks.

  15. Hi friend....I have been MIA lately in getting around to see what everyone is up to. Of course you are 'up to' sumthin' fabulous!!! This quilt is going to be absolutely scrumptious! The black background is soooo attractive. What company is your black fabric AND have you ever done a black background before???
    Thanks for your 'how to' on this one and it will be fun to see your progress.

  16. Weasley is so cute! I love his little mustache :o) I can't wait to see this project when it's finished. Love the fabrics you chose.

  17. fabulous blocks...the colours are so vibrant and putting them on a black background just makes them sing!

  18. Your blocks are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your applique prep process.

  19. Hi Teresa , I am From Brazil , and I am a "patchworkholic" , and I love your blog , you wrote right , yes fabric is therapy .
    The beautiful Weasley is like my kitty XAXA she sleep well on my fabrics I am follow you .
    Look at my blog too I have translate google. Good week


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