You guys -- I finished my machine appliqué project from Karen Kay Buckley's workshop last month! Well, I finished the top, anyway. I plan to add borders and then I need to quilt it, but still. All the appliqué is stitched down and the stabilizer is all ripped off the back, so I'm feeling like I've accomplished something!
This is a project that I started in a 6-hour workshop hosted by the Charlotte Quilter's Guild. Here's what Karen's class sample looks like:
|I Call it "Underwater Sunrise Garden With Alien Bubbles." 12 x 18|
So, as you can see, I monkeyed around with it a bit to try to make it my own. First I chose the ombre fabric for the background, then I spent ridiculous amounts of time digging through my scrap bins to select different fabrics for leaves, flowers, and whatever those bazillion 3/4" circles are supposed to be. Beads? Marbles? Dormant alien seed pods drifting down from the Mother Ship, about to hatch and annihilate the Earth? Karen is an amazing teacher and I learned a lot from the workshop, but I don't like making the exact same project as all of the other students in the class. I brought this downstairs to the kitchen on Monday so I could work on it with my quilting bee, and then I couldn't STOP working on it after my quilter friends left, so this is what my kitchen island looked like all week:
|"Circles Squared" by Karen Kay Buckley, 14 x 20|
My husband didn't complain once -- no snide comments about "why is all this stuff down here when I built you a giant studio upstairs," either! It was nice to be prepping and glue basting the appliqué while he was watching TV a few feet away from me to keep me company.
|Ain't No One Cookin' NUTHIN' 'Til This Project is DONE!|
So I experimented with fussy cutting and layering, and learning about how different a fabric looks when I cut a TINY piece for appliqué .. This is primarily a learning exercise for me. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this thing once it's finished. However, I did want to finish it for the following reasons:
|Applique Picking and Prepping In Progress|
- To practice invisible machine appliqué -- a technique that I hope will enable me to make MORE appliqué quilts than I could ever finish by hand.
- To decide how I like the stabilizer Karen had us using. I wanted to see whether this iron-on stuff would stay on well enough and long enough for me to finish all of the appliqué stitching, and I wanted to find out how easy it was to remove the stabilizer from the back of the work once stitching was complete (that part was NOT fun, folks!).
- To find out whether or not the tracing paper marks on the background fabric wash out completely from the finished quilt. I'm REALLY nervous about the dark lines against the lighter areas of my fabric in particular. Evidently it was not necessary for me to be pressing so hard when I was tracing the pattern onto my fabric! Some of my friends who were also in this class have tried and failed to remove those lines from their projects, but I don't know of anyone who has actually quilted it and washed it in the laundry to see if the lines come out. Meanwhile, the longer the marks stay on my fabric, the better a test it is of whether I'd be able to get the marks out of a large quilt once I was finished quilting it.
- This is going to be good longarm quilting practice for me, too. I've got some other applique quilts in my pipeline that are important to me, but my longarming skills are not ready to tackle them yet. So the final reason for finishing this piece is so I can use it to practice quilting around appliqué on the longarm machine.
See what I mean? But, worst case scenario, I'll just add some kind of embellishment around the alien marbles with heavy decorative thread at the tail end of the project if those lines don't come out, and then I'll know for next time.
|Dark Placement Lines from Dressmaker's Transfer Paper|
Removing the stabilizer from the back was really annoying, by the way -- much worse than removing foundation paper piecing patterns, because the size 60 needle we used for the invisible machine applique makes much tinier holes than the size 90 needles I use for foundation paper piecing. So the stabilizer isn't perforated quite as well as I'd expected, even though the stitches are super tiny and the needle holes are much closer together than they are for paper piecing.
|Removing Stabilizer With Tweezers|
By the way, I tweaked that stitch again and made it even shorter when I was going around those 3/4" circles. I just felt like I needed the swing "bite" parts of the stitch closer together to secure the circles properly. Honestly, once the circles are prepped and glue basted, they would have been so much easier to stitch by hand than constantly pivoting around that tight curve on the machine. However, larger shapes with straight lines and gentle curves are much faster to stitch by machine. I was glad that Karen mentioned in class that she sometimes combines hand stitched and machine stitched appliqué in the same project; that makes perfect sense.
|Invisible Machine Applique Stitch, Tweaked Again|
Hey, Have any of you made a Double Wedding Ring quilt before? Any advice, suggestions, or tutorial links to share?
Let me know in the comments! Because there's one more thing I want to show you guys. A woman recently contacted our quilt guild after discovering a WIP/UFO (Work In Progress/UnFinished Object) in her late grandmother's attic. She is looking for someone to finish it for her, and it's a bed size Double Wedding Ring. Of course no one raised their hand, because most people know enough to keep their hands down and their mouths shut to stay out of trouble. But I was curious and couldn't resist at least taking a look at it.
I made no promises and told the woman I'd need to see the project in person to make recommendations and give her a quote, but she sent me this photo in the meantime. The resolution isn't good enough to blow it up any larger, but it looks well-pieced and pretty flat, don't you think? Pretty, cheerful colors, too, and that makes a HUGE difference because I hate working on projects that don't appeal to my personal aesthetics. When I see it in person, I'll discuss options with the granddaughter. She did tell me that everything is all cut out already and she thinks her grandma finished piecing all of the rainbow arcs. If the cutting and piecing are accurate and the completed portions are laying nice and flat as they should, this should be doable, right? I can give her some options, too -- even if grandma intended to make a bed quilt, we could just add enough to what she's done to get it to a throw or wall hanging size, or even make a couple of pillows from the already pieced section. I do seem to have a soft place in my heart for rescuing grandma quilts, especially the ones that have the most potential to become a can of worms...
|I Do Know Better, But Still...|
Anyway, you'll have to wait until the end of the month to find out whether that quilt is coming home to my
vintage quilt hospital studio, because next week is Anders' 16th birthday on Tuesday and then we are moving Lars into his freshman dorm at Appalachian State University on Friday. YIKES!!
Have a wonderful week, everyone! I'll be linking up with: