|Starting Holly Berries
||[Aug. 6th, 2012|08:14 am]
As an appliquer, I love fussy cutting. For you non-quilters out there, that’s the process of cutting fabric so that a particular part of the fabric pattern is shown on the finished piece. It’s the reason appliquers’ fabric stashes look like they’ve been attacked by moths; to get just the right color or shading or image, we’re perfectly willing to cut a two inch circle right out of the middle of the fabric. It’s far from efficient, but after all if we wanted efficient we could just buy quilts from the local big box store.
The current quilt-in-progress is Holly Berries, and I am finally getting to use a fabric that has been in the stash for ages. It’s gorgeous: gold angels and roses and scrollwork decorate a vivid red background. It will be the focus fabric for the quilt (that’s the fabric that the quilt is built around; other fabrics used in the quilt will be chosen to complement the focus fabric – it’s the starting point for the design of the quilt.) Of course I’m going to fussy cut this; it cries out for it and the three inch blocks where it will be used are big enough to really showcase the motifs.
In the past I’ve been a little frustrated by fussy cutting; it’s hard to see exactly where a motif will fall, and I have trouble judging what will be hidden by the seam allowance, or figuring out how to center something just so. Making templates which show the finished block area is time-consuming, but I can’t judge by eye well enough to be consistently happy with the results. This time I decided to try a quick and dirty trick. I put scotch tape on my ruler just inside the three and a half inch marks, then carefully measured and marked one quarter inch inside that. Using an exacto knife and a light hand so as not to score the ruler, I cut away the excess scotch tape inside the quarter inch frame. Presto, a framed three inch square centered in the three and a half inch cut block. I masked off the seam allowances on the triangle pieces which will be in the border of the quilt too.
The trick worked very well. Using the framed square it was easy to see where to cut to center the angels in the three inch blocks. Then it was time for a long thinking session, holding the ruler up to the fabric and deciding what motifs would go best where. When it’s done, provided I don’t slip up and sew things in backwards, I should have a beautiful quilt and a piece of leftover focus fabric that will look like it’s been attacked by very geometrical moths.
Once all the squares were fussy-cut, I laid them out in order on the bed for a reference photo; this’ll help later on when I am trying to remember what the heck I was thinking about how these squares should be placed.
All the cutting is done for 16 of the 25 blocks for Holly Berries; the rest of them will have to wait until I can find a background material that will match what I’m already using (and don’t have quite enough of.) The four-patches are sewn; the focus squares have been framed with background fabric. Now I need to press the four-patches, fanning the center seams to make it easier to sew the blocks together (I hope.) The chevrons are next on the machine, those and a few red squares to be sewn to cream rectangles; I kept them aside to use as leader-enders for chevron sewing (set-in seams – I’ll start Monday when I’m rested – less chance of needing to frog anything.)
Check out what other wonderful quilters are up to today on Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday!