||[Nov. 26th, 2012|08:42 am]
This past week was mostly a mini-vacation for J and me, so not much quilting went on. I worked on the binding for Holly Berries (2/3 done) and was distressed to find another small spot where the border fabric was pulled badly enough to need patching. I need to take some time this week and go over the whole quilt with a jaundiced eye and see if anything else is wrong. I’m afraid this second spot (not as bad as the first, where the outer border was actually torn) confirms that this happened at the quilter, as I pulled a snarl of quilting thread from the corner of a square in that area. Lesson learned: look the quilt over carefully before accepting delivery.
Anyway, on to more cheerful topics. I also managed to get the Kansas Sunflower block for Grandmother’s Choice completed. At eight inches finished, it’s a lot of teeny pieces. With shapes this small and in circles to boot, I go to hand piecing. I’ve never forgotten my first attempts at making teeny Lemoyne stars on the machine; they turned into little colorful yarmulkes as the seams drew the fabric up. But cutting the pieces carefully and marking seam lines on the yellow shapes to hand stitch worked perfectly. I kitted it up and sewed most of it in the waiting room while J had his dry-run radiation appointment, then finished the piecing at home and measured and cut a center and appliqued it in place.
Once that was done, another round of measuring gave me the right size circle for the background. I cut a slightly oversized (9.5 inches) backing and traced the circle onto it, then dragged out my lightbox to center the sunflower in the marked circle. The seams look off when the light is shining through because they’re pressed in one direction in each ring of the sunflower, but I finally got a good fit and basted the background to the sunflower along the seam line. This is whole-cloth applique in that the design is traced but nothing is cut until you’re ready to start sewing, and it’s reverse applique in that the background is being cut and sewn to the central motif.
The block on the lightbox:
After the first little snip, it became clear that unless I wanted finger cramp from holding on really tightly as I sewed, another line of basting was required. I flipped the thing over and basted right at the edge of the sunflower, so that the background wouldn’t shift when the seam line basting was removed to turn the edge and sew it down. That worked fine, though I think if I was to do another I would enlarge the outermost pieces so there would be more fabric to get a good line of basting into.
The block turned out nice; I made the deliberate decision to make the outer circle a little beyond the points of the sunflower petals to make it easier to center, and I think that worked well. It needs to be trimmed to size, but that can happen while the quilt is being assembled.
As ever, click on the photos to go to my Flickr page and see them slightly larger if desired. And don't forget to take a look at what other quilters are up to on Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday; Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt for this year (Easy Street) started on Friday, so I expect to see a lot of four-patches in progress.