Thursday, September 30, 2010

Update on thimbles


I just want to share a link for those of you who, like me, tend to punch holes into their right hand middle finger when appliquéing. I found on Etsy a great thin silicone thimble from Amy Abatangle:

It is really soft yet protects your finger wonderfully. You are not hindered in your movements as with many stiff thimbles and hardly feel it. Unfortunately, it comes only in one size, which for my Prussian finger is a little tight. But I will experiment with small incisions to give it a little more width and those of you with beautifully thin fingers should have no problems at all. I can only highly recommend it.

If anyone has suggestions for like products that come in different sizes, I'd much appreciate it. For example, I saw on the internet a baby toothbrush made of silicone, which is just a silicone finger (like snapped off from a glove) the mom puts over her index finger and gently massages the baby's gums with. I'll try to get one of those and report on my success with this tool....

Greetings from the Rhine,

P.S. I found another silicone thimble on the net. It is made by a French company called Bohin and the name is "doigtiers aggripants" or "finger cots for quilting." These come in different sizes. I ordered the large ones and they're perfect. Very soft, yet protective for hand appliqué. One may even take out a pre-perforated wedgie on top for long nails...
So - I'm happy and I won't experiment with the baby toothbrush...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My first block

Hi to everyone! I'm Janet from Alberta, Canada. I have been following this blog since it started. After all this time of watching you create these beautiful blocks/quilts I couldn't resist joining in.

I started with the Peahen block #14. I wanted to start with a bird block and I thought this bird looked fairly straight forward. lol! That was before I started appliqueing the feet. It was a fun challenge and I know I will get better at applique as I work on this quilt. I'll have to get better at embroidery too as I've done very little of it.

I thought Cheri had found the perfect fabric for the circles on the tail. As soon as I saw her block 14 I recognized the fabric and knew that I had it and I would use it too. This blog has been such an inspiration and I'm so excited to now be able to contribute to it. I'm starting block #2 next. :0)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Need Advise

Whenever I work on this quilt the Charles Frazier book Cold Mountain is in the back of my mind. The book is set during the civil war and the female main character, Ada, struggles with making her family farm work and support her. I have always thought of my bride as Ada, more of a widow than a bride. In the movie version of the book sheep are a very important aspect at the end of the story, showing that life goes on and happiness can return. So for my block 17 I have substituted the elephant with sheep. The advise I need is do you think the block is to plain? All of the blocks are so full of applique and this one has the most blank spaces.
Thank in advance for any opinions,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Block #5

Finally finished #5.  It seemed to take longer to put this block together than the first four combined.  I made my bias stems first and after getting them basted, decided they were too wide.  Rather than remake them, I carefully turned under the edges.  Then decided they were the wrong fabric.  Threw them away and used fabric I knew would work.  Couldn't decide what fabric to use for the daisy flower on the left so omitted it and inserted a bud---it's my block, after all!  All along I thought the fabric that is now the apples would be my vase but after I cut it out decided the vase was all wrong.  I fussy cut the cute bunnies and think they make a nice vase.

 Block #6 is basted and should be ready soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Hi all, I'm not posting pictures of my bride because I finished the hand applique on vacation and when I got home she had disappeared along with the dog and cat square.  It was 3 weeks ago and I felt so bad I couldn't even talk about it.  How dumb is that, with all the strife in the world, and I'm losing sleep over appliqued blocks...but I hadn't even taken a picture of her yet (and she was so much work!).   However she has not re-appeared so I think she is gone for good.  I did finally start another block this week but I am really paying attention now that these squares don't leave my bag.  Keep up the beautiful work, you are all so inspiring.   

Half Way!!!

Woo Hoo!! This is my 10th block, I have finished half of the blocks. This is block 5 in the quilt. I just love looking at them all together.
I decided to start on the borders and work on them as I do the last 10 blocks. I applique by back basting so I have the borders all traced on the back of the fabric. A dreary, rainy day a couple weeks ago I made miles and miles of bias strips and got all of the stems onto the borders. I want to start with the cute little owls on the bottom border so I am auditioning fabric for them now.
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

baste-it tip for Bird of Paradise


I want to give a tip for those who are still intimidated by the tailfeathers of the Bird of Paradise. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures during the process, but this is how I did it:
I started out by copying the entire tail onto freezer paper and carefully marked the tail feathers from 1 to 18 from left to right. Then I cut the feathers and chose the fabrics. I ironed the freezer paper of  each feather onto the right side of the fabrics I chose and cut them with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then I laid them out in the right order from 1 to 18 again.
I then turned the seam allowance of each feather on the concave (right hand side, outward curve) under the freezer paper and fixed it with Roxanne Baste-it glue. Make sure to turn the allowance around the tip as far as that it will be covered by the next feather. Only the last (#1) feather was turned around on both sides and the curve - convex and concave.
Now I took an iron/padded cutting mat and put the block template on. I began by pinning the red feather (#18) down exactly on the template. Three needles stuck in vertically will do, just so it can't move anywhere. Then I took the second (orange checkered #17) and, using Baste-it glued it onto the seam allowance of the convex side (left hand side, inward curve) of feather #18.
The tip of the feather can be placed neatly according to the template and along the freezer paper on #18. Once the second feather is applied, the freezer paper can be taken off the first feather (#18): careful though with the short - in my case yellow - feathers. Only take off freezer paper, once a feather next to it fills from top to bottom...
You proceed in this manner from #18 to #2 and then apply the last #1 on to finish the tail. Move the pins consecutively to secure the next feather in place when attaching the following feather. After a few minutes or after pressing once, you can take the entire tail off carefully and place it on your block like any other piece....

Hope this is helpful for those who also like to glue-baste...

Greetings from the Rhine,

Block #7

Block 7  is my sixth block.
After I finished this one I promised myself - NO feet in my next block.
My next two blocks will be without feet - for sure.
This time I fused and buttonhole stitched.
When I tried to look up how you all did your feet my internet didn't work. Now it is working and I will have a look.
But I did enjoy this block (except the feet).
Happy stitching

Thanks to the Floods

I can't believe that it has taken me so long to get back to my own hand stitching. I had a quick and prolific start to this quilt and stitched 3 blocks in 3 weeks, then I had so many other commitments and attended 2 quilting retreats etc that I put my own stitching to one side and focused on finishing off donated tops and blocks. I have the next shipment ready to go to Pakistan and as we have been isolated by flood waters for the last week, it was finally time for me to stitch on some of my WIPs. The other reason I brought out my hand stitching again is that I find it so very relaxing when I'm under stress. So far I've finished off blocks 1,4,6 and 8. I made a mistake with this block and made all the flowers the same colour and then realized later that they should be in 3 different colours. Oh well it's a "design decision" and I'll probably make the other similar block with flowers in 3 colours instead of the one as suggested. I think the other thing which impacts on my hand stitching is whether or not I have prepared the applique pieces in advance. Otherwise I take my hand-sewn hexagons or other handwork instead. Now I've started again I must keep going as it also helps to have the momentum of finishing off blocks regularly too. Hope you're all making progress and I'll try to report back with my next block soon. Hugs Jan Mac Aussie

Saturday, September 11, 2010

block 14

Okay, last night I finished block # 14, the peahen.

In addition, I have prepared two more blocks for appliquéing at my guild meeting next weekend. They are block #13, the table and the cherries, into which I have sneaked my cats Bootsy and PeeWee. I still miss the cherries but hope to find a good solution for those during the applique workshop. The berries are smaller even than the Perfect Circles...

 and block # 9 (I believe), the bird of paradise, which I think turned out beautifully. But alas, again with the feet....

Can't wait to stitch them....

Greetings from the Rhine,
Last night I had my completed blocks laid out on the floor to admire, and the cat [ever helpful] wandered by and started retching, I only just got her off the blocks before she brought up a furball, it was so close. Just imagine the mess there could have been!

Monday, September 6, 2010

to thimble or not to thimble....

I have a question for those of you who have, like me, stitched their right hand middle finger bloody in the process of appliquéing. Usually, I don't use a thimble (I am a stab quilter and there also hardly ever need a thimble), but I have been hitting the very same spot on my middle finger repeatedly so that I broke the horny skin that had formed and now, with every stitch that needs a little more push, I hit into the same spot...
So, my question to you is this: which thimbles do you prefer to use to avoid such desasters (I was forced to stop work and was watching TV and doing Sudokus all night...)? In my usual sewing life, I use and love my men's tailor's thimble, which is a dimpled steel ring without top to allow for circulation -  no sweaty fingers... I know, some love Becky's for quilting, others swear by their plastic or leather thimbles for sewing. Which do you use for appliqué in particular? Is there anything like a strong yet flexible silicone out on the market?

Greetings from the Rhine,