Saturday, June 9, 2018

Doing the Hard Part First

I spent some time today working on the applique block for this month's Sweet Land of Liberty sew-along.  I thought I should work on what looked to me like the hardest part first and when that's finished, it will be easy going.  At least I hope so.

Below is a part of a drawing of a tree for applique onto an 8½" block.

part of tree pattern for Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty quilt

Below is Cheri's version of that block.  I could make the tree easily if I were using wool, or raw-edge applique, or fusing the tree to the block.  But I'm not.  I'm using cotton and turning edges under.  You can see that some of the branches are so close together there's barely fabric to turn under.

poor photo of one block of Cheri Payne's Sweet Land of Liberty quilt

I deliberated how to cut out the tree because there just isn't much to it -- it's all thinness.  And then I remembered that I could trace it onto the dull side of freezer paper, cut it out, iron it onto fabric, and cut around it.  And that's just what I did.  Except I adjusted some of the branches so there was a little more space between them, so that there was enough to turn under.

tree pattern traced onto freezer paper for Sweet Land of Liberty

When that was done, I knew it would not work for me to baste the edges under.  I remembered having used glue to hold turned edges into place when I made several blocks for an Airedale Terrier rescue quilt years ago. 

Applique of Airedale being groomed or Airedale Terrier rescue quilt Applique of Airedale nose-poking the letter "N" for Airedale Terrier rescue quilt
The pieces were tiny and I was new to applique.  Glue worked.

I pulled out my Elmer's washable glue stick and, after about an hour, I had a tree.  It's not quite like Cheri's pattern but that's the beauty of Cheri's patterns and primitive quilts.  Adapt as needed.  A wonderfully imperfect tree.

adapted tree pattern ready to be appliqued for Sweet Land of Liberty

I don't know what I'll do about those berries, though....  They are very tiny at just 3/8 of an inch.  They will challenge me for sure!

Next I'll choose clothing fabrics for the people and get them ready to applique.  Will I embroider on the block?  Probably not.  Maybe I'll use a Micron pen or some other permanent pen/marker.  Or leave it blank.

After this hardest block is finished I think it should be smooth sailing for the other blocks this month.  Maybe not fast, but not as challenging.

If you applique, what methods do you use?  By machine, hand, fuse, glue, needle-turned, raw-edge, turned-edge...?  



  1. I started this months blocks yesterday with the appliqué block too. I am using wool so mine will be much easier. I am loving this quilt. Love your Airedale blocks. We have an Airedale and I have made a small quilt with an Airedale in wool appliqué. It turned out real cute.

    1. Yes, this is quite a fun quilt (with some challenges for me, too) to make, SueJean. Do you have a blog or are you in Lori's Humble Quilts Facebook group? I'd love to see your quilt so far.

      I'd also love to see your Airedale quilt! They are such a fun breed, most of us owners can hardly resist anything Airedale -- cups, socks, quilts....

  2. Interesting to see how you accomplished your Cheri block.

    1. Yes, Karen, it's not the way those who can really applique do it, I'm sure. Maybe one of these days I'll succeed at needle-turned applique.

  3. As usual Nancy, I loved reading this post. Decisions, decisions. I think Cheri would be very happy with your make this motif and block work for you. I use all of the above at times when appliqueing though usually needle turn where possible.

    1. Thank you, Jocelyn. Cheri was so accepting of all quilting efforts, but seemed especially interested in us enjoying the process. That I do, even if sometimes challenged!

      One of these days I hope to conquer needle-turned applique!

  4. Hi! Your tree is wonderful! Cheri would be proud of you! I think your applique is lovely, you are your toughest critic. I do needleturn. I never ever baste, was taught not to baste ["waste of time"] anything. I just turn w my needle as I go, but I do glue points and sometimes curves. Whatever works. "Fray Check" can help with scanty seam allowances, but it can make your app piece stiff, and sometimes, like on my current project, it stains, ugh.

    lizzy at gone to the beach...k

    1. Thank you, Lizzy. You're so kind. I just finished appliqueing the tree on Tuesday and I think it will do. There's one spot that I might need to either undo and restitch or reinforce the stitches. I'll look at it more closely before I do anything.

      That needle-turned applique! One of these days I may succeed at it. My experiences with Fray Check have not been good so I probably won't use that but the glue washes out, even if it is just a little stiff for stitching. I hope the Fray Check on your current project doesn't ruin it or can be helped.

  5. Your tree looks great! I've enjoyed watching you work on this quilt!
    For the tiny circles, you could try this -
    I've taken her Craftsy class and love her work!

    1. Thank you, Gayle. This quilt has been an adventure and I'm trying some new things, too. (Some I enjoy, some not so much.)

      Thank you for the link to another way to make the circles. I think I will try it for the berries.

  6. Tiny red buttons? Tiny yo-yos? Ironed around plastic forms and glued, too? I like the Bohin glue stick for this kind of thing. It's very light weight, and when you peel things up, it doesn't distort the fabric.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Susan. I used cardboard circles as a pattern for the fabric. It worked pretty well and the circles were easier than I expected them to be. I'll have to look for the Bohin glue stick, though.


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