I decided to have a go at fussy cut needle turn applique. It was hard, and annoying, and not as neat on the points as I would like. However I got a lot better as I went along and the end effect was good enough for me to keep.
Unfortunately that was when I realised that the placement of the flowers worked a lot better if the block was square rather than on point. It’s soo annoying! For now it is still included in the front of the quilt because it does work on point (just not as well) and it was annoying enough to do that I don’t want to make a replacement. I’ll reserve final judgement once all the blocks are laid out and ready to be joined together. It might be relegated to the growing pile of blocks for the back of the quilt.
I was on a sashiko role so I decided to press ahead with another blossom block. This time I used Susan Briscoe’s Cherry blossom pattern
This was a funny block. I wasn’t particularly excited by the pattern before I started. It felt a little flat and boring to me. However, once it was stitched I just completely fell in love with it. I’m not sure why but this is one of the blocks that keeps drawing my attention when I lay them all out. I think the pale colour really helps to make it zingy.
After the Silk Circle I was on a reverse applique role so I kicked it up a gear and made a carriage wheel block (also in the Susan Briscoe book)
This block as fun. I love the look from using just two fabrics and how the pattern runs across the wheel. I’m really pleased I took the time to orient the direction of the pattern. How weird would this have look if the ripples ran on a wonky diagonal or something.
One of the things I’m trying to concentrate on with this quilt is the directionality of my fabric to try and enhance the patterns created in the quilt. We see how well that comes together in the finished quilt I think.
After my Good Luck quilt I was feeling confident about my piecing accuracy, but nervous about my ability to accurately resize patterns.
So I decided to go for the Silk Circle Block from Susan Briscoe‘s book. I didn’t change the size at all so these pieces would be the smallest I had ever pieced. I really had to check the accuracy of my 1/4″ seam.
Once I had made the circle I then reverse appliqued the block outline on top of the pieced circle. I cut away the middle and then satin stitched over the raw edge.
I’m not going to lie. I am seriously pleased with myself for this block. It really pushed my ability to be precise and accurate with my sewing.
For my next block I used one of Susan Briscoe’s pieced block ideas, but I increased the size a little to fit what I needed. It’s a Good Luck symbol.
I think it’s pretty and chose a simple, quiet pair of fabrics to let the shape of the symbol stand out.
I did slightly misjudge the size of this one. It’s like the hexagon block all over again! Thankfully I did manage to get it to sit inside the block eventually, but you’ll notice the outer border of the symbol is a bit narrower than the inner spacings. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough so this block will make it on to the front of the quilt. I was getting worried the back would get finished before the front at this rate.
My Japanese sample quilt is all about learning new techniques. Although I have done a fair bit of embroidery over the years I’ve never tried sashiko. Susan Briscoe‘s book has some lovely patterns for sashiko blocks. She also includes some helpful advice on techniques.
I didn’t use proper sashiko thread. I just used three strands of embroidery floss. It seemed to work fine. I haven’t seen any other sashiko work ‘in the flesh’ to compare it with so I might be way off, but I like my take on sashiko.
I’ve decided there will be quite a few sashiko blocks in my sampler quilt. I’m going to alternate them with pieced blocks. I’ll vary the colour of my thread between yellow, cream, orange and red to try the quilt a little coherence that might it lacking with so many fabrics being thrown in.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always struggled with how to transfer patterns from paper to my fabric. In the course of making this quilt I hit upon a technique that seems to work well for me. I made a full size paper pattern and pinned it in place on top of the fabric. Then I put a really fat denim needle in my machine and followed the template lines, sewing without any thread. This left a great trail of puncture marks I could then connect with tailor’s chalk and use as my sewing lines. I discovered that if I didn’t go over the puncture lines with chalk before I started stitching the fabric would slowly relax and my puncture marks would disappear. The chalk has enough staying power to wait until I’d finished stitching the sashiko blocks.
One of the cute baby outfits my friend gave me to include in her son’s quilt had an adorable little applique panda leaning into view and waving. It was too big for one of the 5″ blocks and it was on a white background which wouldn’t fit too well with the bright colours I’m using in the design.
I decided this might be a good opportunity to get Christopher’s name into the design by turning the panda piece into a large feature block.
I extended the white background by joining two pieces together to give me a wider surface to play with. Then I made some building blocks and hand embroidered his name onto the lower tier. I turned the edges under and got them to more-or-less stay put with the same bondaweb layer than enabled me to fix the blocks to the background.
I stitched the internal edges of each block to help them be a bit more recognisable. However, now I’m really stuck for how to secure the edges without making it look too textured. I’m almost tempted to leave them as they are and just use an all over quilting design to secure the edges ‘almost’ incidentally.
Any thoughts? This quilt is proving quite the design challenge.