Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sentimental Stitches

Did you see that our blog "Beyond the Cherry Tree" is mentioned in the newsletter from Sentimental Stitches?  I think that is exciting! 

Blocks 3, 8, 9, 10, 11

I know you all must think all I do is applique and for the most part you are  right.

This is my block three.  Those dreaded fingers.  I was really surprised when it didn't fall apart when I washed it.  
This is one I am not at all happy with putting it aside while I worked on others was not a good idea because now it doesn't seem to fit in. I changed my yellows and this one seems way too dark.  Heaven forbid I should have to do it over.
If anyone has any suggestions as to how I could make it fit better please speak up.  I would really appreciate it.

Block eight was a fun block and not too challenging just lots of  little leaves.

I didn't do the bird in block nine but I did add an extra leaf.  Most of these blocks don't look at all balanced to me.

 Block ten was another fairly simple block just more leaves.  I left off the embroidery again and just put one stem to each cherry. Thanks for all the information about joining a circle I had never done that in applique' .

 I like block eleven I  made the basket purple instead of green.  I think my quilt has enough green with all those green leaves and stems.

These are my blocks so far.....not a great picture but you can get the idea.  I think I have laid them out like the picture so I could see where I needed certain colors.  Don't want another block three fiasco.

I would really like to catch up so I can  concentrate on just one block a month but the blocks I have let are a little challenging.  I have finished the vines on the grape block but not all those bazillion circles and I see more fingers in blocks 12 and 13.
I don't know where I would be without this blog.  It is so nice to be able to see what everyone else has done with their blocks and all the tips are so helpful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to Join a Circle

Hi everyone,
First off, my camera died when I started to take photos of this process, so I put in the spare ones from my camera case. Well, they were dead it's a photoless post, but I'll do my best to answer any questions you might have.
OK, I started by putting my background fabric over top of my pattern so I could see the lines from below. I took my blue wash out marker and made little dots all around where the bias stem would go.  Next I took a piece of painters tape and taped down one end of my bias stripe, leaving a good inch hanging out on the end.  Carefully I inched my way along with the bias strip, making sure I didn't stretch the bias stem.  Once I got to the end where I needed to join the strip, I used this method.
Here I have posted step by step with photos about adding binding.  How I joined my bias stem is EXACTLY the same way I joined the two ends of a binding.
When you join the two ends, it requires that you open up your folds.  Once you have joined your ends and pressed the seam open, you need to re press your bias strip.  I used a few dots of Roxannes Basting glue to help turn under the sides and then pressed.
Once I had a circle of bias, I put dots of glue along my blue dots.   Carefully lay your circle along the glue line and manipulate it with your fingers.  I ended up with a circle that you cannot see the join.
I hope this helps and once you see the tutorial photos, it should all be clear.  I also found a very good way to make ends on the bias strips that are not covered with a flower.  I definitely need photos to tell that method so I will share it later in the week.
Hope everyone got in some stitching time this weekend,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What I learned Today

The perfect post was made yesterday that links to the fantastic method I learned today at my Applique Society meeting from Cheryl. I hope it makes sense to everyone, and please ask any questions about this post.
This is an ingenious way to do the circles. You can use paper or the mylar plastic, there would be no difference. Please note, I have used white quilting thread for contrast, but you would use whatever thread you want to applique your cherries/berries.
Cut your fabric circle slightly larger than your paper.

Knot your thread and baste around the outer edge.

Gather your circle by gently pulling on your long thread tail.
Take the long thead tail and wind it around your circle.  Wind enough thread to applique the circle down when you are ready to make the block. 

Remember, you are using your applique thread for this whole process.  When it's time to applique, you simply unwrap your thread, loosen the gathers enough to slip out the paper or mylar circle, gently gather it up again, then thread a needle and stitch down. 
This is a new idea for me and I know I will definitely be making the rest of my cherries/circles with this method.  It allows one to get the paper out very easy.  Right now I'm cutting my basting thread and have to tuck the gathers under as I stitch down.  The second time saver is that you already have your threads ready for appliqueing, making this the ultimate "take and sew" as the only thing you would need is your needle and some small scissors.
I also asked about joining a bias stem for the wreath.  Someone suggested that you measure how much you need for the circle, then join the ends on an angle like you would join binding strips, then gently lay out your circle on the background.  I'm going to give this a try tomorrow and I'll report back on how it went for me.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Making those cherries...question

Hi everyone - no completed blocks to show this week, but do have a question. I am working on #16 and have started the cherries (or grapes - depending on your colors!) - how have you approached these 100+ little puppies? I am trying the Paper Pieces, Perfect Circles and Office far they all give good results, but getting the Paper Piece circle out after basting is not something I am enjoying. Is it okay to leave it in? When this quilt is finished, it will be for show and I can't imagine washing it. On other projects the Office Dots have worked well and they have been left in with no problem. But the Paper Piece circles are just slightly heavier.
In the meantime, the woven wreath and leaves are done and I go back to #6 every once in a while just for a break.
Hope you all are stitching merrily away - maybe I will have something to show next week??
Thanks for your feedback to my question and have a good weekend. Take care.
Pat at Taylorsoutback

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Block Seven

I finished block seven last week.  I think this is one of my favorite blocks so far.  Once again I didn't do the embroidery.  I like everyones blocks with the embroidery but I just don't enjoy doing it so I  chose to use the bias strips.  It was a little tricky making them so small but but I am happy with the way it turned out.  One question....are you making the blocks wonky like the pattern are do you straighten out the vines and center up the circles and flowers?  My circles are a little off center on the basket but they were that way on the pattern.

Cherry Tree block 17

I took Gay's advice and decided I had done enough on block 16 for the time being, and went on to 17.  I have 30 circles to go on 16, and I will get back to it later.  Thanks for the permission.

 Once again, the fabrics are straight from my scrap bag.  I had a sewing room clean up today, and found even more scraps that I had forgotten about, and can use in my applique projects.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Joining a Circle Wreath

Here is a picture of my first circle wreath. I commented to Lori that I tuck the end under when I start the stitching and when I get to the end, I tuck that end back under and butt up the folded edges together. I did a little whip stitch on the folded ends to keep them together. The join is on the lower left side, just above the blue x, (8 o'clock position)
Here is the circle appliqued down,
and here is a close up of the join.
Sorry, it's a bit blurry, but if you look at the fabric pattern you can see the join.
I hope everyone had a nice day today, my boss went out and got all the office staff a box of chocolates, even got small boxes for the men!

Block 17

Block 17

This one was what I call a quickie - I got all the leaves stitched in one evening in front of the TV.  Since our eyes are drawn first to areas of high contrast, I wanted this block to be muted so people would first see the more difficult blocks in the quilt when it's finished.  Besides, I like this green!  The red in the flowers is an older one I used because it has hearts in it and I thought it would be nice with the heart shapes in the applique. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Block 10

Block 10 done!! I followed Mary's blocks and only embroidered one stem per berry. That's one good thing about being behind everybody else. You get such good advice!!!

I have a question. On a circle like this how do you applique your ends? Mine need a lot of work!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Border Cherries

Did you all see the post over at Sentimental Stitches about the border? She says it has a mix of cherries, 5/8" and 1".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Block 17

Block 17 is posted.  This one looks much easier than #16.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blocks Four, Five and Six

I finished three more of my blocks this week.  I opted to put block three aside for the moment and move on.  I think I will have to make a trip to the quilt shop to find a few more yellows and some of the orange because my supply of those colors is limited.


 Block four seems to stand out a lot when put beside the others - I guess it's because of the large red leaves.

 I changed the flowers to red in block five because I didn't have a good yellow to use here.

I decide against the bird in block six.  I am not real fond of birds in quilts. so I just moved my center flower over a bit.

I have prepped the next block.  Lots of little tiny circles in that one.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Block #5

Tonight I finished #5. Added a bit of purple. Tomorrow I will start #6. This is so much fun!

Lori in South Dakota

Block #14

Feeling lazy.  So I decided to do #14 since it is so closely related to #12, my last block.  I didn't even bother to choose new fabrics, justifying that by a reason of cohesion of the quilt!

Did I read somewhere a discussion about several designers of the blocks.  I certainly feel that Block#12 and block #14 are designed by the same person.  Perhaps the quilt was a group effort, or someone wanted a bigger quilt so added blocks from a different source.  Pity we have no provenance on the quilt, or do we? Apologies for picture quality and layout.  It is a miracle that this post even happened at all since I am away from home and struggling with modern technology.  Onto #16.

Block 3 finished!

I am on a roll! I had already prepped this block, so hence the reason why it has only taken me a week to stitch it. I am particularly pleased with the fabric I used for the pot. I still have the dreaded pineapple block on the go, but will spend some time this afternoon preparing another three blocks, so it maybe a couple of weeks before I post the next block.

Thanks for the wonderful suggestions of what vodka could be better used for than taking pencil marks off fabric, you are all after my own heart! and continue to make me smile :-)

For any New Zealander reading this blog today - Kia ora, Happy Waitangi Day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Block 8

Here is block #8. I have to say this block forced me to change my strategy. I had maybe 17 leaves appliqued and I wasn't looking forward to picking it up again. Too many leaves, all the same color- BORING! It is what I want for this quilt, but not my usual quilt style.
So, I made myself happy and machine appliqued the rest of the leaves on. I hand appliqued the stems because I do enjoy it, but am also pleased with my decision to get this block done. I'm perfectly fine with a mix of hand and machine applique.
This was a block I skipped by mistake so now I'll be prepping block number 10!!