Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Toot, toot

Slow applique, very slow applique. This past week, I finished appliqueing the zigzags on both top and bottom borders. Then I started on the little pot of flowers on the upper border. It was fun to see how narrow I could make the stems.

Those little yellow flowers just about did me in - 55 little petals. The lower yellow flowers have been appliqued down (except for half of the centers) but all the other flowers and leaves are only glue basted. I see now why most other LE makers decided to do Broderie Perse!

Here's a shot of progress so far.

 Friends have told me I need to toot my own horn a little more so here it is: Toot, toot!

My quilt, "Selvage Star of Bethlehem", will be hanging in the "In the American Tradition" exhibit at Houston next week! It will also travel to other Quilt Festival shows this year.

I plan to be at IQF in Houston next week so if you're there and you see a gray haired, 55+ year old quilter wearing jeans and a T-shirt, be sure to say hello! Ha.

Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

LE - Stitching Part 8

This past week, I finished appliqueing the "pixies" or triangles with feet (whatever you want to call them) and have made and glue basted the zigzag appliques on the upper and lower borders. A few hours of stitching is ahead of me before I start the applique motifs which appear in the middle of the borders.

The thought has occurred to me there are more applique pieces in the borders than in the vases!

I'm also trying out border fabrics. I'm not convinced it will be gold but that's the best choice so far. When I finish the part 8 & 9 borders, I believe a trip to the fabric stores will be necessary!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Bleed is Gone!

After a long soak, the fabric bleed is gone! This is what the Love Entwined center looks like now.

This is before the soak. If you look around the red petals of the six petal flowers, you can see some pink tinges. In real life, it was very noticeable. I used the soaking method using Dawn dish detergent recommended by Vicki Welsh. Go here for more information:

The LE center is only about 32 inches square so I soaked it in a storage tub in a mixture of warm water and blue Dawn. I weighed the center down with clean food storage lids and plates. I did not add a Color Catcher because all that would have done is shown me how much dye was in the water. 

While the LE center was soaking and drying, I was preparing to start work on part #8, the first upper and lower appliqued borders. I'm waiting to make a decision about the color of the fabric border between the center and the applique border. As you can see in the photo below, I plan to miter the part 8 & 9 borders and not make part 10 as a cornerstone.

What happened next is one reason I don't like to work ahead. I prepped all 144 triangles for both parts 8 & 9 only to discover I'd made them too large. At least it was too large and not too small! So now I'm remaking the triangles one border at a time. The first border's triangles are stitched down and I've started working on the lower border's triangles. 

It doesn't look like much progress this week but I know I've been working on it every day! After 2+ weeks, my cold is finally getting better and I'm feeling like I have some energy.

Some time during those weeks, a special package arrived from Australia. I've always admired Jen Kingwell's pattern "The Circle Game" and I won it in a giveaway on Carole's blog! Thank you, Carole! 

Until next week, Mayleen

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Love Entwined Center

My goal was to complete the center of Love Entwined (LE) by September 30th and I've done it!

You might notice a few changes from my last post. I decided to use the red gingham "fried eggs" and replaced the multi-color triangles around the Mariner's Compass with scrappy blue triangles.

There are a few things I would still like to do - that crooked embroidered fern in the lower right hand vase is bothering me so I'll probably redo it and I'd also like to embroider around the edges of the calla lilies in the upper left hand vase. 

However, those things will all wait until after I soak the top to remove the fabric bleeds. I plan to do that tomorrow and will blog how successful it was next week. For now I'm just enjoying looking at the LE center!

Meanwhile, I've cut out 144 triangles to use in the next border and have started prepping them. Here they are, four in each color. That should be enough plus a few more. I use the starch method to applique so I cut, prep, then glue baste and applique onto the background.

The Love Entwined borders are all intense applique. Lots of pieces which is something that seems to attract me!

Until next time, Mayleen

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Time to try again

(Just a little whining before I try to fix what I did yesterday.)
I probably shouldn't have worked on my Love Entwined (LE) yesterday but maybe it was a good "learning experience"!
- I now have two small fabric bleeds from the red petals. Don't ask how that happened. I should have known better. I'll finish this part of the quilt top and then soak it in hopes of removing the bleeds. If I can't get them out, I'm going to be very disappointed.
- Then I made eight of those light blue fried egg shapes (upper and lower centers) and I'm not convinced that I'm liking them. I'm just glad they're only pinned on and not stitched down yet. I plan to remake them in a red gingham to see which is better.
- I started replacing the heart wreath on the right but the center where the points meet could be done a lot better. Today I'll also pick out my stitching and try to remove the glue basting without damaging the hearts.

When I was working on my Phebe quilt, someone remarked that to make a quilt like that one needed a lot of time. Along with time, I'd add persistence. 

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in your way of doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."
- Earl Nightingale
Time to try again, Mayleen

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Three is Enough!

This week I've been working on Love Entwined, Part 7 - Vase #4. One of the things left to do on this vase is to applique six tiny circles above the small flower with the yellow exterior and pink interior on the upper left hand side of the bouquet.
In the past, I've sometimes used a sequin when I can't find the right size circle template but that didn't work this time. I needed a 1/8 inch circle but the smallest template I had was 3/8 of an inch.
Today I found a 1/8 inch circle hole punch so I made my own template by punching non-melt mylar template material. This isn't meant as a tutorial but I thought you might like to see how I made the 1/8 inch fabric circles. I apologize for the quality of the photos in advance.

Here I'm using a stiletto to hold down that tiny 1/8 inch circle template onto the backside of the fabric. I'll use a mechanical pencil to draw around the template.

Next I stitch a small gathering stitch around the drawn circle as close as I can get to it. Looks like I may have missed a stitch on the circle. Try not to do that. You want as small a stitch as possible so that the gathers will be even when you pull up the stitching.

Trim away excess fabric close to the stitching. Don't go too close or the fabric will fray away but don't leave too much fabric either. You don't want a lot of bulk.

A tweezer is handy to grasp the 1/8 inch template circle.

Hold the template down with the stiletto and dab on liquid starch. I use Best Press and a Q-Tip. Some quilters use a small paint brush.

Carefully pull up the gathering stitch. Now you'll see all the bulk of the gathers. You may have to manipulate the fabric to lay evenly.

Using a craft iron, press the gathers from the wrong side smoothing out edges. When I'm happy with the shape, I press the front and back again. Allow the fabric to dry thoroughly before carefully prying open part of the gathers and removing the template. Reshape and carefully pull up the stitches gathering the circle again. Once happy with the shape, I press again, snip off the thread and its done!
 Just a suggestion - you probably don't want to try this on a bad day. LOL

After making three of the 1/8 inch circles, I decided three was enough! They're glued on in the photo above ready to be appliqued. Not perfect circles but good enough for me. Tonight I'll embroider the berry stems and then Vase #4 will be finished!

What's up next? I wasn't happy with the heart wreaths so I removed them and have made new hearts. I am hoping for sharper points that meet this time. I'm leaving the fried eggs till last.

Until next time, Mayleen  

Friday, September 11, 2015


Its been 2 months since I've written a blog post so I'll try to fill you in on what I've been doing. Most of my time has been spent finishing up my term as president of the Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita, Kansas. However, I did finish two more UFO's and here's the first:

"Just Ducky", my August UFO finish #8
I started this baby quilt years ago while my kids were still in school many years ago. I didn't know anyone who was having a baby but I thought it was cute. Besides learning to do fusible applique, I learned that its a good idea to line fabrics so the background doesn't show through. The backing is a fuzzy duck print. Quilted by Tricia Lehman. I may give this to my daughter whose baby is due any day!

A few Prairie Quilt Guild traditions - 
The outgoing president makes a gift for each board member. These were my gifts - pincushions pieced from red, pink, purple and gray fabrics. Those squares are about 1/2 inch square. Now that I've worked that small, I'm wondering if I can piece even smaller!?!

Another tradition - The Board makes a quilt for the outgoing president. This is a signature quilt made with many Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The signatures are from the board members, some of whom are pictured, and guild meeting speakers from the past year.

"Cheddar Cheese and Crackers", UFO finish #9
This was a 2009 quilt-a-long on the Humble Quilts blog and is finally finished! The hand quilting was what kept me from finishing this UFO on time. I'm going to have to check if this small quilt is really as wonky as it looks in the photo!

Recently I've begun working on Love Entwined (LE) again. As you can see, I'm busy stitching on Vase #4. When its finished, there's some redo work and I still need to add those fried eggs! I've set a goal to have the entire center finished by the end of the September. At that point, I'll decide if I'll add a narrow border to the center and call it done or if I'll attempt the borders.

Did you see the Houston Quilt Festival button at the top of the right hand side bar? Selvage Star of Bethlehem will be hanging in the "In the American Tradition" exhibit! I'm planning to be there too.

Until next time,