Now that it is not so stinking hot in Michigan, I can think about appropriate signs and symbols of the end of summer. (Instead of stuff like sweat, red faces, brown grass, wilting trees, successful rain dances, etc. Note to self: must research my part-Cherokee Indian heritage for rain dances that WORK...).
During all our summer car trips this year, I loved passing fields of sunflowers...with all their beautiful, sunny yellow "heads" all looking in the same direction...usually toward the sun (wouldn't it be weird if while you were passing, admiring them, they all turned toward YOU??).
Anyway, I've been putting a sunflower, and a couple of sunflower buds, together, petal by petal. I could not pick just 3 golden fabric colors (large petals, tiny center petals, and center). Narrowing down fabric choices is my LEAST favorite quilting activity. So I sorted through my leftover snippets for possibilities.
Welcome to my insane, miniature applique world!
Now that all the petal fabric decisions are done, the petals are prepped with freezer paper patterns ironed on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabrics. Then I glue the scant little edges to the back with the Elmer's Disappearing Glue Stick. Now I can start constructing a sunflower (insert diabolical, evil overlord laugh...).
I use one of my pattern weights to keep the flower center anchored while I pry up the edges and insert the tiny inner petals under the edge, one by one, each with a tiny dot of glue, all the while making sure that I am following my pattern. Then after the "dot-dot-not-a-lot" touches of glue (Roxanne's Glue Baste) set a bit, I add the outer petals in the same way.
Ta-da! Now, as Janet of the Quiltsalott blog would say, time to do a little applique stitching "off block." (I LOVE that description! Thanks for sharing it!)
I like doing this for 2 reasons:
1) once layered motifs are basted to the cumbersome backgrounds, I find it much more clumsy to do all the inner stitching along with securing the edges
2) now if I want to trim some of the background fabric from behind the appliqued motif, in preparation for doing hand quilting, I don't have to worry about keeping my applique stitches in the middle of my motif from penetrating the background fabric as well as the more immediate layers
Now on to the little sunflower buds...yes, the petals are tiny, and I am insane. I could have simplified the sunflowers and buds quite a bit, but where is the fun (or insanity) in that?
Just like when building the whole sunflower head, I glue baste the tiny petals to the stem head first, then follow with the longer petals.
I lay out and glue the little pieces to each other right on my pattern. A tiny bit of glue may bleed through, but if the motif is actually stuck to the pattern, I've used too much glue baste ("dot-dot-not-a-lot").
Then I applique these little units "off block" before placing the all the motifs on the block background.
My block prep work this week also had me thinking about fall (my FAVORITE season) as I prepped and appliqued the following little motifs "off block."
I love to make these tiny, fat pumpkin babies! They range from about an inch tall to a little over 3 inches tall (I forgot to stick Thomas Jefferson in the pictures, for reference...).
And as a Michigander, of course I had to make a basket of tiny apples (the swirly one on top is about the diameter of a pencil eraser). When this basket is on the background, I will embroider handles on the sides. I will also add twirly vines to the pumpkins.
I almost have my copyright issues taken care of so I can stop giving you tiny sneak peeks and finally show you whole blocks!
I hope you have some time to sew today...I am glad to almost be back to normal, whatever that is. School started for my HS sophmore last week, and driver's ed started the week before that. It hasn't rained in WEEKS, and of course, her first time behind the wheel of a car, it rained. There she goes, tooling around the AAA parking lot. There's a terrified instructor next to her and two pale teenaged boys in the backseat, who have already had their turns driving for the day.
Riley was the last of the three of them to drive in this first session, so she parked the car at the end of the lesson. I hope "hitting the thing behind you" isn't part of the parking lesson (notice the orange cone behind the car...).
I am getting a lot of hand applique done, hanging around waiting in the AAA parking lot. This is a required course in the state of Michigan. In addition, she and I have been spending time in a local empty parking lot learning how to drive a stick shift...I can just feel the strands of hair turning gray...
Of course, she prefers the slick, new, automatic transmission car at AAA, but both of our family cars have stick shifts...DOH!