Friday, July 11, 2008


Applique Update

I finished another block in my Birds of a Feather theme. I like this one, probably because I changed what I didn't like about the pattern. It has some very odd looking berries at the end of the stems. I almost left the berries off altogether but decided on these small ones. The author had two of them coming off where the bird is sitting on the branch and they looked like the bird was straddling the branch and her feet were hanging down. I needle turn the edges. I like the 3D look so I bend and twist the piece as I applique. It gives a unique natural look that I like. I stitched this bird on the machine with right side together with cotton batting. Then I cut the batting very close to the stitching, sliced thru the middle of the batting an turned it., I use a curticle wood stick when turning. It has a flat yet sharp edge but not the point end. I pick the beak out with a pin from the right side. Then I iron and attached by needle turn. The wing is two pieces of the same fabric sewn the same way. I do a bigger turn where the wing attaches to the body and then stitich the rest lightly down. The outer edge is fastened on with a running stitch. Maybe you can see better if you click.

I should take pics of how the author designed the block and compare it to my alterations. I had a lot of trouble with the blue background block because of the symetry of the design. The pattern had the branches and leaves absolutely symetral and I moved it some. It's that crossing of the branches right in the center of it that I really don't like. I do love the birds and follow the pattern for them. Lots of fun picking out fabric too.

I have a chair with arms to support my elbows while doing hand sewing but I learned a suggestion at the class I'm taking. Put a pillow on your lap and rest your arms on it. I also have a lamp with an arm that pulls around to shine directly over my hands. It also have a three way built-in bulb and turn it up. And I have a pair of large bifocal glasses (my regular ones are trifocal) made to focus at the distance where my hands are.

It is hard to see but these are some of my favorite helpers when appliquing. The needles are Mary Arden #10. I just learned the best way to thread a needle. Rather than move the hand with the thread, keep it still and move the needle to the thread. Really, it works. Try it. Lots of people use silk thread but I have trouble with it so I use all purpose cotton covered poly thread. I do like Thread Heaven thread conditioner and protectant but I don't use it all the time. I also like Glue-Baste-It but I also do some pinning, especially when auditioning my alterations for the design. I use the finest pins I can buy. Years ago I had some smaller (in diamater) than the extra fine ones I can get now. Does any one know what number or brand they might be?

Have a happy quilty day.

Oh, I see the spell checker isn't working again. Sorry.
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5 comments:

Tanya said...

What intricate work! I haven't had much luck with applique but yours is very inspiring!

Libby said...

I am quickly becoming best friends with my stitchin' pillow *s*

Shelina said...

Wow - all these appliques are really beautiful. Such great work!

Norma said...

It is coming together really nice. I enjoy watching how your lovely things progress and your ideas about each step. This one is going to be lovely.

Janet said...

Your bird blocks are lovely!