Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Easy, at Least in Theory

It's Y-seams I'm thinking about when I say they're easy in theory.  Those five pieces of fabric in this block should be able to be stitched together in a snap.

But they don't sew up as easily as I think they should.  This is my first old-style bow tie block.  It turned out pretty well, although I had to unstitch several times to get it right.  And then, of course, pressing went a long way to help flatten it.   This is Block 18 for Cheddarback, a 5" block.

I'm almost finished stitching the applique letters on the upper border of Sweet Land of Liberty.  You wouldn't think 18 letters would take very long to stitch but they seemed to go slower than some of the larger applique pieces.

This is the first time I've appliqued onto a large section of a quilt.  I noticed that the edges began to ravel.  Not a good thing when there's only a 1/4" seam to begin with.  I finally decided to cover them with strips of fabric, pinned to hold them in place.  How do you deal with raveling edges when you applique?

And last, I want to share a thought about solid color fabrics.  I know Kona is really popular, and Moda Bella, too.  I find Kona a little hard to hand quilt and I think both Kona and Bella are just a tad rough.  A while ago I won a gift certificate (I can't remember from whom or for what online shop) and purchased some brown fabric.  It came, I washed it, I made a note what line of fabric it was, then put it on the shelf.  I pulled it out to use on Liberty and wow, am I impressed! 

It's Riley Blake Confetti Cottons.  It's soft, smooth, and easy to stitch -- and I love it.  (I know the photo above suggests lines but it's the photo and not the fabric.  The color is a solid.)  I often use solid color shirts from local thrift shops but if I ever need a color I don't have, I think I'll see if Confetti Cottons has the color I want.  (Riley Blake didn't pay me to say this, just in case you're wondering if this is an advertisement.  It isn't.)

I'm still missing my Hannah.  Sad days at our house.



  1. I always cheat when I make bowtie blocks. Anything to avoid the Y seam. :)
    Hmm, I don't seal with seams unraveling, because I don't applique. But on those rare times I do, I cut the block a little larger to start with and then trim it down when the applique is finished.
    Often I find myself wanting to find a solid with a quality feel. I agree that the Kona and Bella solids aren't as soft and smooth as most quality prints. Don't know if local shops carry the Riley Blake Confetti Cottons, but I will certainly be looking. Thanks for the info.

    1. Hi, Janet. I'm not a fan of Y seams but I thought it might be a good experience for me to try to conquer them so I can at least say I can do them if necessary. I'm not there yet....

      I've tried trimming down after stitching but the times I did I didn't think it went as well as I hoped. Maybe I'll give it a try another time.

  2. I cut my applique shapes a bit larger and fold in and baste on the actual cutting line [because otherwise I applique out too far, sigh]. You can also cut w 1/2" seams and use a pinking shears.

    I would prob applique the BowTie knot square instaed of piecing.

    The intricacy of the appliqued letters makes them very labor intensive. Inch per inch they prob have more edge to sew than some much bigger pieces! I almost always use fusible and machine stitch them.

    Good hint about the Riley Blake cotton, I esp dislike the dense weight of Kona, tho the colors are so nice.

    Sad about your Hannah. I still miss my first pug, he was the sweetest boy ever. It's been ten years on May 30th and I still sometimes think I see him in his sunny spot or hear his little footsteps. Always in our hearts.



    1. Hi, Lizzy. I do what you do with applique shapes -- cut and fold/baste under on the stitching line. I can be fairly exact when necessary but am a little less so for primitive style applique. I don't use fusible on the back because I don't want to hand quilt through the extra layer. I would probably do that if I machine appliqued.

      Yes, oh-so-sad about Hannah -- still. I miss her morning, noon, and night and all the hours in between.

  3. Like I mentioned, Hubby still tears up when we mention Lacie. They stay with us in one way or another.
    Meanwhile, I love to read your thoughts on your quilting, Nancy. Your Bow Tie looks perfect. I had to applique onto a large piece of fabric for the Grasshopper project and I found it a little cumbersome.
    I also found your comments on the solids interesting. I will note the Riely Blake to look for them too. I really trust your judgement.

    1. Thank you, Jocelyn. Those large pieces of fabric for applique are cumbersome and they seem to get "battered" a bit more than the small one, too. If you find Confetti Cottons please let me know what you think.

  4. That is a fascinating brown. It has so much depth. I'm glad you found something you love. Those little letters are really a test of diligence aren't they? But, they add so much so there is no way you would want to leave them out. The homespuns and wovens unravel so easily. You probably did the best thing by covering them.

    1. Thank you, Robin.

      I think the photo of the brown fabric makes it look a little different than it does in person. I don't know if all the colors are great for Confetti Cotton but this one just feels so good and stitches so great.

      I thought about leaving out the letters on the SLoL borders but the quilt would be so much less without them. I think they add a lot to this quilt so I'll patiently prepare and stitch them (and probably fall behind whenever a block with writing comes along).

      I hope the pinning on the edges doesn't distort them too much. That's always a challenge when it comes to homespuns.

  5. Thanks for the solids recommendation. Little letters like that take so long - they are fussy and you have to do so much turning, I think. Oh.... your Hannah... it takes time to adjust to the absence.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. The letters are fussy but I think they're necessary for this particular quilt. They're finally finished, at least on the upper and upper side borders. More to come in future blocks, though.

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