Monday, September 1, 2014

Hive 5 - September Block Tutorial

Hi, I’m Jacki Bracewell, I live in Alexandria, VA with my husband Tom, and our cat Mr. Stupid. His name was Spooky when we adopted him, but he quickly earned his current moniker.  Our two grown daughters live in North Carolina, one happily married with two boys (14 and 15), the other happily single. I am two years out of the classroom, and not sure I like being retired. On the other hand, I know I enjoy the extra time I have to spend on sewing, knitting, and all those things there was never time for when I was teaching full time.

I’ve always sewn, my grandmother made sure I learned all the needle arts when I was very small, but it wasn’t until I was grown, married, and a new mother that I made my first quilt. It was a quilt-as-you-go log cabin pattern from Family Circle magazine.  The fabric was a bag of scraps from a local garment factory (some sort of poly-cotton blend), and I cut up an old blanket for the batting. Looking back I’m sure “hot mess” was the best description for it, though my mother, an accomplished quilter, displayed it on her sofa with a proper mother’s pride for years. I haven’t kept count of how many quilts I’ve made since then, but it has to be nearing triple digits by now.
What order there is to my stash has been imposed on it by my loving husband. He is a ‘clean desk’ person, and tries to be patient with his ‘everything at hand’ wife. Thank goodness for IKEA. I have a wall of shelves with doors, and can work with the doors open, then shut them, creating instant tidiness. I sort fabrics by size, under ½ yard in bins, larger pieces stacked. Phd’s live at eye level and I try to limit their numbers to fewer than 30. (‘don’t want to be a fabric collector, lol)
My favorite fabrics and fabric designers have evolved over the years. The one constant has been a love of earth tones and reproduction fabrics. Oh, and batiks, I swoon for batiks. I joined the stash bee this year to break out of my rut and expand my color and design horizons to include all the lighter, brighter fabrics in the stores. It has been a very freeing experience. (And a wonderful excuse to haunt the fabric shops getting a handle on “modern” as a concept)
My favorite tool is my design wall. It began when in a fit of pique I stapled batting to the wall, and quickly evolved to its current glorious incarnation of batting stapled to the wall with an edging of wooden trim so it doesn’t look like someone stuck batting on the wall with a staple gun”
The thing I wish I'd known when I first started quilting is that there is no tool, technique, or class that is a substitute for just  doing a thing. It doesn't matter if a project turns out perfectly the first time, just get in there and ask questions as you go. After all, it's only the first 500 that are hard, after that it's easy. I'm still working on that first set of 500, but I'm showing up for practice every day. 


This month’s blocks will become the quilt for a grand-nephew’s first big-boy bed. I would like primary colors (that box of 8 crayons). Please avoid floral fabrics, and juvenile prints; the goal is a quilt that is fun for a toddler, but not “too babyish” for a boy of 6 or 7.
This is a fairly long tutorial. I looked online for an example of this applique technique but did not find one (must be one somewhere…) so I've tried to be very detailed. Although there seem to be a lot of steps, there are only 4 seams.
This block uses a tear-away or wash-away stabilizer. (not a fusible) A paper coffee filter that irons out to an 8 inch circle will work, but despite what I’ve been told paper towels tend not to. If you do not have such, I have envelopes of tear away stabilizer just waiting for addresses, so please send me an email and I will post them to you at once. You will need the equivalent of an 8 inch circle and a 5 inch circle for the block.
You also need a copy of the template. The small square should be one inch when you print the page. ( Rough cut around the large circle, but do not fold on the sewing line.
Set your machine for a shorter stitch than usual (whatever you use for paper piecing). If you are a “foot for every purpose" person, like me, use an open toe foot, or one with a clear line to follow, and set the needle to match the line.

All seam allowances should be cut as a full, or even a generous, ¼ inch.


Begin by selecting a primary color, and its complement. (red/green, yellow/purple, blue/orange). Here are a few from my stash.


Cut a square 12 ½ by 12 ½ inches of one fabric, and a square of 7 ¾ by 7 ¾ inches of the other fabric.


1. Layer the 7 ¾ inch square (right side up) with the stabilizer and the template. Pin the layers together (glue basting is not useful in this technique).
2. Sew on the dotted line, stitching over the first few stitches at the end.
3. Trim the circle by cutting on the solid outer line.
4. Tear away the template paper outside the sewn line, and then carefully lift the center section in one piece (set this aside to use the smaller circle template).
5. Pinch and separate the stabilizer and fabric. Snip a small hole in the stabilizer and then cut several lines that go about half way from the center to the seam line.
6. Turn the fabric to the outside and using first your fingers and then a stylus, smooth the edges of the circle (if you don’t have a stylus a mechanical pencil with the lead retracted will do the job). Iron the circle.
7. Place the circle off-center on the 12 ½ inch square. The closest the circle comes to the edge should be 2 inches. Pin the circle to the square and using a STRAIGHT stitch sew as closely to the edge of the circle as your machine foot will allow (1/8th inch or less from edge). The top thread may match either the background or the circle fabric.

8. Turn the block to the wrong side, separate the fabric layers and beginning near the edge inside the sewn circle cut away the bottom fabric (the12 ½ inch square)  leaving a full ¼ inch seam allowance.
The fabric you remove will become the smaller applique circle.

9. Carefully tear away the stabilizer (if using wash away stabilizer leave this step until block is finished.) Manipulating the seam allowance while removing the stabilizer will create some fraying, which is why a generous seam allowance was used. When the stabilizer is removed a quick spritz with water or Best Press© before ironing will flatten things out nicely.

10. Repeat steps 1 to 9 using the smaller template, the smaller piece of stabilizer and the fabric cut away from the 12 ½ inch square.


No comments: