I have been reading this blog long enough to understand that many people doing this quilt have also felt this way. The pattern is a guideline... my first block is done. I need to get back into the applique groove and my photo looks a little skewed, but all in all, I am pretty happy with the results. I am getting the calluses back on my fingers so I will be able to applique longer without pain and blood, (don't you know everything worth doing requires pain and blood, not really, but it seems like it some days). I am doing plain needleturn applique; cut out the shapes and a little edge to turn, use a bit of glue to hold pieces where I want them, usually change my mind on placement and have to re-place a couple times and baste, because by then I have the needle and thread in my hand, and sew down. I use matching cotton 60 wt thread and take tiny stitches because I am always so nervous it will not hold, and because I have just eyeballed the placement, it never really matches the pattern anyway. I also wanted a larger quilt top, so I cut the background 13x16", thinking that I would trim them up a bit later, but of course, now I won't much because the applique is at the edges. And because I am too impatient to pre-wash fabrics, I finish the block by swishing it around in a pan of cool water to get rid of the glue and make sure that the colors won't run, and then press, using the iron on the back of the block. Cave-woman sewing is what my sister calls it, it's about as basic as it gets. I have tried lots of other ways to applique, but this one seems to work for me... Also to Kathie who asked about the vase fabric, isn't it beautiful, it's a Moda, Park Avenue, by 3 Sisters.