Catching Up

We’re in the race to be ready for Ezri’s fourth surgery a week from Friday, so I feel as if I am behind on everything. Actually, I’m not, but there’s something about the surgery deadline that always makes me feel that way. I’m sure this is a cumulative panic from all those years of meeting grant deadlines and getting to ballet performances and softball games. And the worry of the surgery doesn’t help.

I finished quilting my nephew’s graduation quilt yesterday and have one more graduation quilt to do. These quilts are getting my e2e  freehand swirl pattern which is really nice for a young man, and I have done so many times that it is totally stress-free. I heard from Danita yesterday, so will mail her turtle pieces today and have some embroidery to finish and some files still to mail for that. I wanted to finish quilting my turtle quilt for you to see before I break for the surgery, but not sure that will happen.

Ezri woke up with a runny nose last Friday, so she is home from school and essentially quarantined from the world for the duration until the surgery. Of course, we have neuro and endocrine appointments in the meantime–which means clinic visits which will expose her to all sorts of germs again. As you know, she has good days and bad days, but yesterday was a good day. She was stringing two and three sentences together and having nice long conversations with us and with her sister. In testing, she always scores high on her receptive language, but not expressive so we love to hear her conversing. 
 

Drum Roll—–and we have a winner!

Danita is the winner of the shapes to make a small turtle quilt. My random number generator consists of writing all the names on small pieces of paper, folding them up, shaking them up, and drawing a name. Thank you all for following my blog and Accuquilt.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. 
 

Trying something new

Don’t forget – LAST DAY FOR TURTLE GIVEAWAY – leave a comment here and LIKE the Accuquilt Facebook Page for a chance to win.

 

Today’s post is about trying new things. The challenge of finding the best technique is never-ending. Judy Danz mentioned to me that she has been using glue sticks instead of fusible for machine embroidery applique. I also have used glue stick on some things – like door hangers, but never on more delicate applique. So, I decided to give it a try. With Judy’s technique, she starches the fabric before cutting the applique, then uses glue stick around the edge of the wrong side of the applique. I used glue stick on the background just inside the die line. My method was a bit messier, but my fabric had not been starched, and I was afraid I would stretch it. But I wanted to show you the results. I love this method–it leaves the applique so much softer. Because of the number of stitches and the length of the stitch into the fabric, I do not believe the fabric will fray. I already washed the flower that is shown below, and it looks as good as new. What do you think?

Applique applied with glue stick

 

One important thing is that I really did manipulate the fabric to make sure that it came all the way out to the stitched die line. Because it is softer without fusible on the back, that was easier to do. I also used my mini iron to press the glued applique piece onto the background so that it would quickly dry.

Remember, these craft glue sticks are just starch, so they wash out very easily, leaving your work soft and beautiful. 
 

Let’s talk fusibles

This conversation came up yesterday with Judy Danz, and I thought you would all like to be in on it too. Judy mentioned that in many of her classes she uses glue stick to baste the pieces in place before stitching rather than fusible. I have done that when I am using a satin stitch on the applique. And it works beautifully and leaves the applique nice and soft in the end. It also does not gum up the needle as I thought it might. And you don’t even have to get up from the embroidery machine. I was able to find a piece of cardboard that was firm enough and thin enough to place under my hoop while at the machine, so I barely had to slip the hoop off the clamp to add the glue.

However, on the applique stitch, I have been using fusible just because I was thinking the stitches might fray a bit if I didn’t. The stitches that I am using to digitize are so close together that they probably won’t fray no matter what – so I’m going to try this experiment, wash it a few times and I’ll let you know how it comes out.

I use almost all the different types of fusible depending on what is available at any given time. But I’ll tell you what works for me and then you can make your own decisions. My top favorites are Mistyfuse and Stitch Witchery. Thirty years ago I made baby quilts for my children and those baby quilts are still in use today with the grandchildren and are just as nice as ever. They were fused with Stitch Witchery because that was the only fusible available at the time. Mistyfuse has come along and it is a bit lighter than Stitch Witchery, and I can find it a little more readily. These fusibles do not come on paper, so I have to lay them between two pieces of parchment, press, and then peel one piece off or lay them on the back side of the fabric and layer parchment on top. They leave the fabric nice and soft and fuse nicely.

Paper backed fusibles that I have used include Wonder Under and Steam a Seam. I love Wonder Under and like Steam A Seam Lite. The regular Steam A Seam is too heavy for appliqué, in my opinion; although I do use it when making boxes and things like that.

And that’s my two cents on fusibles.

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Here’s Judy’s turtle

 

My Purple Turtle stitched by Judy Danz

Judy stitched up the turtle on her Bernina and it looks great. The center circle was a little long and we talked about the variabilities that occur with different fabrics and different fusibles and the dies. This is just the nature of the beast, and we talked about how accurate the fit must be between the appliqué stitch and the dies in order to work with machine embroidery. This does make me rethink my digitizing so I can add some stitches to account for that factor. But–the machine embroidery is so much fun that I am going to try to keep manipulating the fabric with complete abandon and will stick pin the edges and fuse them first and deal with the middle last.  I’m sure that will land me in trouble sooner or later. . .I’ll let you know 🙂

  
 

Another turtle – and last day to Vote for the Barn Quilt Block

I’m having a lot of fun reading everyone’s comments and have started sending out embroidery files. I extended the giveaway through Friday and will send files out for comments posted through Friday, April 22. In the meantime, I made a couple more turtles – just for a little variety – here is a photo of one.

Star turtle
 
 

Turtle Applique Using Accuquilt Die Cut Shapes and a Giveaway

I have been digitizing some embroidery for all kinds of quilt blocks from Rose of Sharon to whimsical blocks for children’s quilts. I love applique done with the traditional applique or blanket stitch, but find it difficult to cut accurately enough to make it work as perfectly as I would like using the embroidery machine. In addition, it is important to me to have as few thread changes and steps as possible and still have beautiful embroidery. So that was my challenge. Because of a love for turtles, that was my choice for this.

Initially, I digitized my own turtle drawing and then cut the fabric and made the applique turtle. Several issues were immediately apparent. When I cut the shape, it didn’t fit exactly the way I have digitized it – even though I drew the pattern from the stitched embroidery lines. Part of the reason for that is the width of the drawn/cutting line. Another thing that was a real problem was the amount of time it took to cut the shapes. These two things alone made me realize how important it is to use die cuts for machine embroidery.

After that experiment, I determined which shapes I would need to make a turtle using the Accuquilt dies. I chose the large hexagon and a medium circle for the body and shell, the curved feather shapes for the legs, and a small circle for the head. I took those shapes (with fusible on one side) and pressed them onto parchment paper to see how this would look. Here are some of the versions of what I got. It took several iterations to get the eyes, legs and head exactly the way I wanted them.

Here are some of the various versions.  The final version has eyes like the one with the green body and  checkered shell, legs like the one with the red body and yellow legs, and a shorter tail.

Versions of the turtle

 

Shapes for turtle

 

Turtle Dies

 

Hoop the fabric, stitch the dielines, then remove the hoop from the machine for fusing the shapes.

Die lines for placing turtle shapes

This is the dragonfly, but shows how I fuse the shapes. Because all fabric has a slightly different hand and the fusible also adds some variables, the shapes should be pinned to fit the dielines exactly–you may have to give a little “stretch” to it or “scrunch” it in a bit to make it fit. In the end, it looks great because of the wonderful forgiveness of all those variables.

Pinning shape to dieline

 

I remove the pins as I press.

Pressing shape onto dielines

Next comes stitching the tail, then fusing the shapes to the dielines.

Stitch tail, then fuse legs, body, and head

Stitch the embroidery around the shapes.

Machine stitch the embroidery

Then stitch the dieline for the center circle, fuse the fabric to the dieline, and stitch.

This is the end result:

Turtle

Finished size: 6.05 x 8.15 inches (154 x 207 mm).

If you would like to have a copy of the embroidery file for this turtle, please leave a comment on this blog and become a follower of this blog, LIKE  Accuquilt on Facebook, by Friday, April 22. I will email a link to the file to each commenter. In addition, one lucky person (random drawing) will receive ready-to-fuse die cuts for nine brightly colored turtles – just enough to make a baby quilt. Enter to win the shapes even if you don’t have an embroidery machine – you can still use the applique stitch on your machine to make a very cute baby quilt.

No-reply bloggers will not get a response as I must have an email address for the winner–make sure your email address is included in some way.

 
 

String Quilt Project

Here’s a project I started after the studio makeover. After the makeover, with everything in it’s place, I re-discovered a whole box of strips that had been cut and were waiting to be used.

half strip blocks

I added some other strips of varying widths and started stitching. I have done two-three blocks a day and they quickly multiply. Each square of strips makes two complete blocks when the plain square is added and they are cut.

I used a 10 1/2 inch paper base (sandwich wrappers that I got at Sam’s Club). I started in the middle and used the sew and flip method until the paper was covered.

center strip - 1st seam
more strips added

Then I added a plain 10 inch square to the top and stitched diagonally across 1/4 inch from the center diagonal. The block is cut on the center diagonal.

marking the center diagonal with chalk

stitched and cut blocks

 

finished block trimmed to 9 1/2″ for finished 9″ blocks

 

Personally, I think I would like this better if I had sewed the strips parallel to the center diagonal, but it was too late when I decided to do that. Now, we’ll just have to wait until I feel another strip frenzy coming on.

 
 

Spring Blog Hop

There’s a great blog hop this week featuring Accuquilt projects and lots of giveaways – so I wanted to give you a list of the blogs and hope you have fun.

Mon., April 11
SewCalGal
Andrea’s Nest (Melissa)

Tues., April 12th
Bejeweled Quilts (Barb)
SewCindy (Cindy)

Wed., April 13th
Sunshower Quilts (Katrina)
Bits & Pieces (Terri)

Thu., April 14th
Just Plain Laine (Laine)
Rosebud Quilting (Michelle)

Fri., April 15th
Hollyhock Quilts (Glenna)
A Quilting Life (Sherry)