Sunday, August 11, 2019

Machine Applique Sample Finished + Another Grandma's Quilt to Rescue

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!

I Call it "Underwater Sunrise Garden With Alien Bubbles."  12 x 18
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:

"Circles Squared" by Karen Kay Buckley, 14 x 20
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:

Ain't No One Cookin' NUTHIN' 'Til This Project is DONE!
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.

Applique Picking and Prepping In Progress
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Dark Placement Lines from Dressmaker's Transfer Paper
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.

Removing Stabilizer With Tweezers
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.

Invisible Machine Applique Stitch, Tweaked Again
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.

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 Do Know Better, But Still...
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...

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:


·      Slow Sunday Stitching at  
·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:
·      BOMs Away at Katie Mae Quilts: 


·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at


·      Midweek Makers at
·      WOW WIP on Wednesday at


·      Needle and Thread Thursday at  


·      Whoop Whoop Fridays at
     Beauty Pageant at
·      Finished Or Not Friday at
·      TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here:  


Gretchen Weaver said...

I think you should keep this little quilt and hand it in your studio as a reminder of how you met the challenge. did a wedding ring sew along last year. She has lots of good tips and suggestions on her blog. Look in the header for Double Wedding Ring Instructions. Happy Stitching!

Lakegaldonna said...

Wow. I agree with Gretchen to hang it in your studio when complete. I'm going to try to duplicate that machine applique stitch on my Pfaff. Thanks for showing us the machine setting. Love the multi tone ombre for the background.
I sure hope those black pen marks come out too!
You are going to have a busy week with your boys, one turning 16, one going off to college. Good luck!

Evie said...

I LOVE your version of this quilt. To me, your choice of the background fabric was brilliant. It really makes the quilt shine. Good job. I have to say I prefer it to the original by Karen Kay Buckley!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love your applique quilt but I didn't know you take iron on fussing off the back I thought it was left in - I've never used it - it looks very stiff though - is it like paper?
On the double wedding ring the quilt top what she took a photo of looks well made and if all the fabric to finish it comes with it that is nice - she is paying I assume? if you want to finish it you should ask to see the fabric and the whole thing first so you will know if you need to work with mismatched seams or what. I have made 2 queen size double wedding rings by hand and one mini and they are not as hard as some seem to think they are. In fact I have contemplated making another!

CathieJ said...

I actually like your quilt better than the sample quilt. Your husband is very patient. Mine would have cleaned it up without my knowledge.

Karrin Hurd said...

Love your applique quilt. I have a perfectly good sewing room, but it is dark. I tend to take over the kitchen/dining area where the sun comes in and I can see what I am doing better. My husband doesn't make any comment, as he is pretty much disabled and lives in the living room. So I can leave everything until I have guests for dinner, which will be this week! So guess I will be cleaning up...

Sue said...

I too love your version of the quilt. Your fabrics to me are more appealing. You must have a wonderful husband who said nothing about your creative mess. Mine would have had a fit!! BTW how did you prepare dinner? Haha!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Great effect, using the ombre fabric for your background! As for rescuing grandma's quilt, price it high, then go higher, so you won't mind spending all your time on it.

Jill said...

All your fussy cutting and use of kitchen as a display area was well worthwhile. Your applique wall hanging is wonderful and displays depth and interest. Dark circles would bother me. I've heard the longer they stay, the harder it is to remove. Like your idea of embellishing should they not come out. I enjoy wedding ring quilts, however and personally, I would rather finish the other quilt projects that are patiently awaiting in the closet. ;-)

Quilter Kathy said...

That was fun to see your kitchen ... keeping it real!
The wedding ring quilt might be easy if all the pieces are well made.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Beautiful fabric choices for your applique project. I love everything about it. Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

Little Penpen said...

You truly made it your own. I love your fabric colors!!!

Ruth said...

Oh, my! Your applique quilt is stunning! I love your color choices.

Lynette said...

I *love* the name you've given this project!! :) Also, the fact that my dining room table looking like this right now is not an anomaly.<<< ha!

Hey, I did write up some tips about working on a traditional dwr a few years ago:

Also, a tip for machine applique - try dropping the stabilizer on the back and using blank newsprint, instead. It's FAR easier to remove, and oodles less expensive. I got an "end-roll" from a local news printer maybe 8 years ago for $2.00. I still have about a 1/3 of that after lots of use! If you can't find that nearby, I've also successfully used cheap children's newspaper-style sketch pads from dollar stores.

LA Paylor said...

well your ombre fabric and layout is more beautiful to me. That kind of stitching makes removal of stabalizer difficult... leave in stabilizer next time? Like shirt tailor that doesn't change the feel? Dark lines that won't come out? been there, never mark a quilt now. My granny marked with light graphite pencil marks that flicked off.
I made a double wedding ring with John Flynn's technique. It's like any curvy sewing... get it right and it's a breeze. you can do it girl.

Jayne said...

What a process! I don't do much applique, but I have worked with stabilizer one time and didn't particularly like it! The ombre background is amazing! The flowers and circles appear to be floating. Beautiful job and it's so interesting to hear and see your process!

Preeti said...

Dormant alien seed pods drifting down from the Mother Ship, about to hatch and spread peach and calm on earth... Hey, a girl can dream. The reality is too scary right now.
I have said it before and I will say it again - your work displays the zeal of a warrior and the sensitivity of an artist. And this is no exception, although the real courage was sharing the picture of the kitchen counter. Those bananas look fresh and ready to eat. That is all I noticed. Lots of love and blessings to your boys!!! Ben sounds like Paul - aren't we lucky :-)

Glenda said...

Love love UnderWater Sunrise, you said you did not know what you would do with it? send it my way thanks. LLLOL. Great blog made me laugh and lots to see and remember. When I saw you kitchen area I really laughed out loud, I knew an artist was working on a master piece and it is. It even made my finger itch to make one up too. Have fun with the GMFG. I have may be 7 of these WIP from the 1930,s I’m going or are rescuing too. One is GMFG Cheers Glenda.

Angela said...

I love what you did that piece!

Anonymous said...

Underwater Sunrise is so bright and cheery. Thankyou for the detail you provide. Love seeing your kitchen bench "at work". It's a wonderful feeling to be able have everything laid out in front of you. Love from Australia
Linda xx

Margo Yang said...

Your Underwater Sunrise is beautiful. Good luck with the double ring quilt.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh that is quite beautiful - Love how you made it your own!

Susan said...

Your class quilt is beautiful, and I'm glad you didn't add those side and top squares. It stands well on it's own with that background. GFG is one of my favorite quilts to have, but I've only made a small table runner in a class one time. It was beautiful, but it's work. If she's already pieced all the rainbow parts (and didn't she have an eye for color?), it shouldn't be hard at all, though. It's definitely worth rescuing, but the idea of cutting it for pillows made me uncomfortable. I hope you finish it as whatever size you can conveniently do, even if it isn't a full quilt.

em's scrapbag said...

As a teacher I love when a student takes what I teach and makes it their own. Your applique project is fabulous! And the kitchen island makes me happy! Thanks for sharing with Moving it Forward!

Susan said...

That is so fun with all those circles of color!

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

I'm a big fan of Kay Buckley's work, and I'm keen to learn some of her techniques too. You have done a great job in making this lovely project your own and making the most of all your learning opportunities in it. Thanks for all the info about your process, I am taking it all on board. :)