Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Using templar for small applique

 First I want to thank all of you for your support and cheerleading me to stick with this project.  I've put everything else on hold to prep these blocks for hand stitching.  
The Distelfink(birds) head feathers  can be quite tricky to make so I thought I'd share with you how to get the smooth round tops. 
When working with such tiny pieces it helps to have a sturdy applique template.  Templar is a wonderful product that's heat resistant.  Well... to a point, I've melted it on the highest setting of my vintage iron.  So make sure you read the instructions.  The EZ no melt Mylar is my favorite.  It's as clear as glass and holds up well.  And another plus is it's the cheapest.  With a 50% off at Joann's its almost free!
It also comes in white.  Not a good choice for tracing applique.
At the bottom of my list is the one below.  
And here's why.  The larger applique piece below is made from this product above.  No matter how low I set my iron the Templar wants to distort.  However it's not melting, it just gets wavy.  It's thinner and costs more.  There's a couple good things about this product, #1 is you can print on it using your printer.   and #2 is filing off the pointy mishaps is easier with this product.
So the first thing we need to do is make a template by tracing and cutting.  One of the great things about this product that you can't do with freezer paper templates is if your cut piece has little pointy spots on the rounded edge it can be filed away with fingernail file or sandpaper.  I prefer a fingernail file or emery board.
 Trace the template to the fabric and cut your fabric leaving a little less than a quarter inch seam allowance.  No need to clip those rounded edges, just do a running stitch around the top half, leaving thread tails on both sides.  
 Using a paint brush to apply starch around the edge.  TIP:  I use Sta-flo starch concentrate diluted to about 50/50.
 Any pointy device or scissors will work to hold the template in place as you pull both thread tails.
 Keep a hold on those tails as you press the rounded top.
 Now press each side carefully, you could use your scissors or pointy device to hold it if you're not so brave.
 Carefully remove the Templar and give it one more press from the right side and then cut of the thread tails.  
Super easy and super smooth!  

~ Lea Anne ~

I'm running out of free patterns to link to at the bottom of my post.  If you have one you'd like to share send me a link and I'll share it!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

My Tweets, hand applique

After last weeks UFO unveiling it seemed only right to work towards reducing the pile.   So I chose the UFO most appealing to the eye.
My Tweets By Erin Russek.  As far as UFO's go, this one is just a toddler at 3yrs old.  
 For the most part I stayed with the color palette in the pattern.  Making a few changes to some of the color placement.  And tweaking the design in a couple blocks.   
This BOM was free for one year on Erin's blog One Piece at A Time and then to finish the quilt we needed to purchase the center block, Miss Kelley.  The wonderful thing about Erin's BOM's is she also shares tips and tutorials along the way. 
Here's what the finished quilt would look like if I could stick to a pattern.   My quilt will have different sashing and borders, I'm thinking of omitting the border applique..maybe.  My redesign is still in the idea stage.
I've made a couple different small projects from the pattern.   The one below was made for momma for Valentines Day.  I call it Valentine Tweet.  It was block 2 in the series.  The border was designed from one of Erin's Tutorials. 
 And this one is made from the center medallion.  Both of the smaller projects were machine appliqued.  
One of the reasons this quickly became a UFO is HAND APPLIQUE.   I'm using FUFU's  machine embroidery thread for the hand stitching.  Several years ago I purchased an embroidery machine and a large variety of threads.  The machine gets little use, except for the occasional quilt label.  But the finer threads have come in handy.  It melts into the fabric much nicer than regular threads and is easier to get through the eye of needle.  At first I was leery of using a shiny thread, fearing that my stitches would show.  You never know until you try, and it came out beautifully.  Many quilters use applique sharp needles but I find they distort the fabric, causing puckers.    I'm using hand quilting needles #10  and #12.   I know most of you are curling up your nose at the thought of such a tiny needle, but really once you get the hang of using them you don't even notice the size.  
This combination of needle and thread make the stitching invisible.  Another thing that helps me reduce puckers is hoop-less stitching.  When I first started hand applique a few years ago I found that hoops offered false tension security.  My applique always puckered.  Going hoop-less let's me know immediately if I'm pulling the thread to taunt.  Of course learning the proper way to stitch also greatly improved the overall look.
Below is the incorrect way to take a stitch.  See how the needle comes out on the front of the applique?   I've seen so many quilters do this and then try to pull the stitch tight in order to hide it thus causing puckers and distortions to the block.
The stitch below is correct.  The needle should be somewhere between where the fabric folds over and the back of the applique piece.  Pinching the fabric layers between my thumb and forefinger as the stitch is pulled through, keep pinching until the stitch is complete.  It doesn't take much tension to make the stitch disappear.
 TADA!  No puckers and no stitches showing.  One more tip is glue basting.  No pins for distorting fabric and poking my fingers.  In my humble opinion it's the best thing since sliced bread.  I've heard quilters complain saying its to hard to pull the needle through.  So  my second tip would be, you're using to much glue too close to the edge.  It only takes a very small amount and then set the glue with an iron.  Here's a video link to Erin's method of glue basting.   
Well I'm a few stitches closer to the finish....10 blocks stitched down and one in the process.  
 Only one more block before tackling the center Medallion.  Now how many of you noticed the dreaded purple?  For those of you that are new to my blog, I really DISLIKE PURPLE so using it this quilt was a huge decision.  Too late to turn back now!

~ Lea Anne ~

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Flowers in the Attic

This past week a Bev over at 44th Street Fabrics has been showing off her lovely UFO's.  I say showing off because Bev loves brights.    It reminded me how every January my plan is finishing my growing pile of projects.  
They almost become a dirty little secret I hide in the back of a cabinet or closet.  My fear is someday the pile will grow so large I'll need a larger storage space for them.  Clutter about the house really bothers me so the attic would be my only option, making them my "Flowers in the Attic".   And what would happen if I die suddenly in some tragic event?  They say when a person has unfinished business their spirit is trapped here, wandering the earth.  Now how scary is that, a ghost with rotary cutter?! 
I need ideas on how to stop my lovelies from becoming "Petals in the Wind" and saving my soul from Podunk Purgatory!
So I did an inventory count of...

15 UFO's
16 tops to be quilted
4 WIP's(currently scattered about the studio)
1 on the frame 

Now finding a way to convince me, myself and I that this really needs to stop.  We can't go on like this any longer.  So I told MYSELF if we keep them out where they could be seen it would be a reminder to finish them.  But that's not okay with ME because they'll be clutter and get dusty.  Maybe a clear storage tote would do the trick, they'd be visible, protected from dust and most of all TIDY.  Or maybe the kind on wheels with drawers.   WE all agreed to the new plan.  Mostly because it means WE get to go shopping!  After setting the new plan in action I should set up a meeting with MYSELF to talk about not starting new projects.  To bad my schedule is all booked up till New Years!

How many UFO's do you keep stored away?
Do you have a plan for finishing them?

~ Lea Anne ~

today's freebie from Landauer Publishing

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bekah's Sweet Cherries

First I need to apologize to Bekah for not getting these pictures posted sooner.  My excuse is....I forgot!  From now on I'm keeping a blog journal of future posts.
  Bekah sent these pictures of the quilt she made using my Cherry on Top Pattern.  My version is in my banner at the top of the blog.  The free tutorials to make this quilt can be found in the tutorials tab at the top of this blog.  She explained that she had joined a Cherry quilt swap.  Her partner wasn't fond of the color red.  Now there's a challenge, make a cherry quilt with no red!  Well my goodness she pulled it off with flying colors!  I love the softer palette. Isn't this just the sweetest cherry quilt?  I rarely make a quilt pattern twice but I'm considering a new Cherry on Top with the softer colors.
Thanks Bekah for making and sharing your sweet little quilt.  It always makes my day when a quilter makes a quilt from one of my patterns.

~ Lea Anne ~

today's freebie from Sew we quilt

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More applique anyone?

It's happened again, IMPULSE.  Years ago in my efforts to control impulse I'd lose sleep, become anxious and become the biggest grouch you could meet.  Medicating myself or letting the doctors put me on some toxic cocktail of mood altering drugs could be options, but it's easier to except who I am and love me. 
 I love me! And not to be arrogant but you do too, just a little or you wouldn't be here!...LOL  The truth be told, I love you too....awe....big group quilty hugs!
  As the old saying goes, "The cheese has slid off the cracker".  In laymen terms that means... I'm crazy.   
Anyway.... a quick trip to the mailbox yesterday inspired this.
Long story short, in Podunk it was a picture perfect Autumn day.  The kind of day that makes you stop and breathe in the country air, thanking the powers that be for such beauty.  Maybe "the powers that be"  sent inspiration my way as a thank you for the thank you.  Whoa!  Now that's deep!  We'll skip my sermon on how the world works and continue with quilt story.  Returning to my Studio with Autumn infused senses... and it hit me.  Blue and orange!  What a great color combo for Autumn.  Autumn quilts can be bright, right?  That's what we love about autumn, the colors.  The color inspiration... I was wearing this shirt.  It's a country girl thang....flannel. 
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho ....off to EQ I go. (feel free to whistle the rest of the tune) Whipping up this in a matter of minutes.  It left me feeling Blah... so.. Applique!
 Adding the little pumpkin seeds to the center was a nice Autumn touch.  But still it needed more.
 The ideas started flowing...
....this isn't complete.  In my minds eye I see leaves scattered about, vines and pumpkin blossoms twirling up the rake handle.   The over achiever voice that dwells deep within wants to make the vine continue around the quilt as a border, I told that voice to HUSH!
Well there you have it
A day in the mind of a cheese-less cracker!

~ Lea Anne ~

today's freebie from Amy Smart@DiaryofaQuilter

Edited this post to add a link to a quilter that needs a little help.
Please CLICK HERE for more information.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

A little applique can make a big difference

Just a little peak at a new project using Miss Kate by Bonnie and Camille.  
This new project was inspired by my Jelly Bean Twist quilt.  You can read more about it here.  I love how adding simple applique can really dress up a plain Jane quilt pattern.  And using fusible raw edge applique can make the applique process so much faster!
My favorite quilt using this idea was my Summer Romance.  A simple charm quilt with hand appliqued center, quilted by me.  Simple quilts can also be dressed up with the quilting.   Click here to see the original post on my Summer Romance quilt.
The first quilt I made using this idea of making a boring quilt stand out was 
Spinning Through the Garden.  Another one of my favorite quilts so it was only fitting that I give it to my favorite Aunt.    
And my most recent applique finish "Scrap Happy Baskets".   You can find the tutorial for piecing the block here on my blog.  The applique templates are also provided.  
See how boring the basket was with no applique?  Turn this block upside down and it could be a mushroom.  So many ideas on what could be hiding under that mushroom, maybe a ladybug.  Applique opens the door to so many possibilities. If you haven't been bitten by the applique bug yet I hope that you've been inspired to give it a try!

~  Lea Anne ~

Today's freebie from Corey@ LittleMissShabby

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Test block and DIY Flying Geese ruler/ template (picture heavy)

Making test blocks when designing quilts can be very important.  Sometimes an idea looks good on paper but doesn't work well in real life.  I made this simple test block yesterday from leftovers of my challenge quilt.  Making the flying geese units were the hardest part.  I used the 4 at a time method and oversized them just a tad so they could be squared up for perfection.  Here's quick tutorial(not over-sized) I made for a small quilt class I taught a couple of years ago.  Keep in mind I wrote the tutorial when the only people visiting my blog were family and members of the quilt class.   For this class I had made each of the girls a flying geese square up ruler/template from plexiglass.  They are simple to make if you know the dimensions of the unfinished FG(flying geese) unit.  The block above calls for a 
2.5 x 4.5 FG unit. 
 Here's how I made the template.

When purchasing your plexiglass from your home improvement store of choice make sure the plexiglass is about the same thickness as your standard quilt ruler which is usually between 1/16" to 1/8" thick.  At Home Depot the Score and Snap plexiglass is sometimes called Acrylic or polymethyl methacrylate it sometimes has a blue removable coating and comes in a variety of sizes.  Of course not all Score and Snap has this blue coating.  But I've found if it's Score and Snap it'll have some type of removable coating.  It usually states somewhere on it that it can be scored and snapped.   You can buy a special scoring tool but really it's not needed.  A box cutter works just fine.
 My piece of plexi is leftover from another project and is small.  If your working with a larger piece the steps are almost the same you'll just have bigger pieces leftover for more FG templates!  
So the first thing we need to do is place the plexi with the blue removable side up, measure over 4 1/2 inches.  Using the box knife, just like you would a rotary cutter, score a line, keeping your lefthand(not shown it's holding the camera, I forgot I own tripod) on the ruler. Score the same line 5 to 10 times.  I always make 10 scores pressing firmly but not hard.

 Line up the scored mark with the edge the table.  Hold firmly with the left hand, make a fist and whap the overhanging piece hard and fast.  With a the bigger sheets there's no need for the hard and fast.  Just press down firmly with the left and push down on the over hanging piece, it'll snap clean if you scored properly.
 Place the plexi coating side up and score a line 10 times at 2 1/2"
 Again if you've a large overhang just apply firm pressure on the left and the overhanging piece.  For my small piece I've found they don't break so cleanly with firm slow pressure.  So I'll be using the backside of my box cutter to whap it fast and hard.
 Peel off the protective coating. Look at those edges!  Just as clean and crisp as a store bought template!
 Using a sharpie and ruler on the long edge of the template draw a line 1/4" away from the edge.
 Now turn your template and make a dot on the previous drawn line in the center position 2 1/4" (2.25) 
 From the dot, draw a diagonal line to the corner
 repeat on the other side
 The completed FG ruler/template
 Remember to write the size of the FG on the template.  You could even write the measurements for the squares needed to make the 4 fast geese.  
 Now I've got one heck of a mess to clean.

~ Lea Anne ~

Oh my star's freebie from Thought and Found

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