Applique Pressing Tip

Have you ever had problems pressing your completed applique blocks? I’ve been sewing along with the Triplett sisters on their current block of the month. We are making 8″ blocks with a lot of applique detail. Since they are smallish blocks it’s sometimes challenging to press the block without leaving iron shine on the appliques.

In this first photo the applique is completed. As you can see it’s been crumpled and stuffed in my sewing bag and needs a good pressing.

Birds and Daises

I like to press with a hot iron and steam. Here the block has been pressed but I’m not satisfied with the bubbles that remain in between the appliques. If I were to press again with more emphasis on those areas I might end up with iron shine on some of the thicker pieces, especially the bird’s beak.Here’s my trick: Spread a terry cloth towel on the ironing surface. Place the completed block right side down on the towel. Press using a hot iron and steam. You don’t have to press the living daylights out of it. Just pressing across it once is usually all it takes.Here’s my finished block after pressing it on the towel. Really, I promise you, I only pressed it once on the towel!

Bird and Daisies Block

When I was a teenager my aunt taught me to press my completed embroidered blocks with this same method so it’s nothing new! Try it the next time you have an applique block that needs a little extra attention.



Poppies for Day Two

It’s day two of a five day challenge showing a different quilt each day. Yikes! The day is almost gone. So quick, before the sun sets, here is my quilt of the day.

“Poppies” is an original design – hand appliqued by me and machine quilted by Denise Mariano. Yesterday I forgot that I’m supposed to nominate someone else – today I nominate Reese Hansen.Poppies


Color Cats

My design wall hasn’t been very busy this spring and early summer but today there’s something to talk about.

I drove to and from Denver last week and, as all quilters know, a road trip isn’t complete without a stop at a fabric store or two! At a quilt shop in Colby, KS, way out on the western edge of the state, I found a panel of happy cats. I’ve been keeping my eye out for pre-printed designs that I could use with back basting applique and thought these cats looked fun.

Printed on a cream background the lines show through on the back side which means I don’t have to draw a pattern on the wrong side for Back Basting Applique, I can just start right in with the basting step!

See how well the lines show on the reverse side?

See how well the lines show on the reverse side?

This fabric has been out there for awhile, I think it was printed in 2009, but if you want to try this you may still be able to get a panel from the shop in Colby. Click here for their Facebook page. Here’s the fabric’s identifying information.311I’m appliqueing my cats in solids and making samples for a color theory lesson at the same time. Here are my fabrics for the first cat. I use an old Grumbacher color wheel that I bought years ago in a art supply store.317And because I didn’t have to worry about enlarging a pattern or drawing it on my background fabric I started right in with the basting step and got to work which brings us to Design Wall Monday. And this is what’s on my design wall today – a partially completed color cat!327Let’s link in with Patchwork Times and see what others have on their design walls today. Click here to go to Design Wall Monday.

And check back later for a full report on the Denver trip and an update on my Star A Day project!


Design Wall Monday – After the Quilt Show

Does your quilt guild hold an annual quilt show? Mine does. It was a week or so ago. So, although it’s not on my design wall today I thought I would share a quilt I put in the show.

Beyond the Cherry Trees, 96 x 96. A reproduction quilt from Sentimental Stitches

Beyond the Cherry Trees, 96 x 96. A reproduction quilt from Sentimental Stitches

It’s called, “Beyond the Cherry Trees” and it’s huge! 96″ x 96″. The quilt was hand appliqued with theĀ  Back Basting Applique technique described in my book, Back Basting Applique Step by Step. The project was offered from Sentimental Stitches as a block of the month, I faithfully downloaded the patterns each month for over 2 years. I did a pretty decent job of staying caught up as the block of the month was in progress, that is, until I got to all those berries in the borders!

For years I have collected red and green reproduction fabrics, just waiting for the right project to use them in. I’ve seen other interpretations of this quilt done in more modern fabrics but I adore these funky blocks, especially when stitched in the reproduction fabrics. So there was no doubt in my mind that I would be keeping it traditional.

When I completed the top a year or so ago, I took it to my friend Theresa of Always Quilts. Theresa does incredible machine quilting but I wanted this quilt done a little differently. I like to think of those funky blocks as the Baltimore Album Quilt’s country cousins. Being a country girl myself, naturally, I’m attracted to them. So I didn’t want dense, perfect quilting with balanced feathers and swirls. I wanted funky. And I just wanted the background between the blocks to be quilted. That way, when it came home, I too could have some fun adding quilting to this long term project. Poor Theresa. My request was WAAAAAY outside her norm. But she did what I asked. The day she finished her part, she sent me a text saying it was ready for pick up. I replied, “Are we still friends?”

When I got the quilt back I spent hours and hours at my HQ Sweet 16 quilting in the ditch around each and every applique motif, then adding quilting on top of the appliques.

As I quilted in the ditch I added a few more swirls and tendrils and whatever else moved me to fill in the space evenly.

A completed block

A completed block

For a grand finale, I added a tiny piping of gold and a red binding. I would like you to think it was for the special finishing touch but the truth is that I was down to the deadline for getting it done in time for the quilt show. Adding the piping allowed me to stitch the binding on entirely by machine. Voila! Finished in time.

I like this quilt with it’s quirky blocks and uneven borders. And apparently visitors to our quilt show liked it too. It came home wearing a 3rd place viewers choice ribbon in it’s Bed Quilt category.

About that Bed Quilt category, I don’t expect anyone will be sleeping under this quilt – at least not in my lifetime!

Let’s link to Judy’s Patchwork Times today and see what others are working on. Click here.