Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Playing to your strengths

This may not have been my smartest move, considering the time constraints, but I decided to hand applique the mountains and tree branches on my piece for the upcoming exhibit. I knew I didn't want to fuse them on, but it was a toss-up whether to applique by hand or machine. Machine no doubt a little faster, but it was those three smaller branches that made up my mind - it would not be worth it to fuss with getting that seam allowance in those sharp v areas securely turned under in preparation for machine applique. Easier for me to needleturn it under by hand. Besides, hand applique is one of my fortes, and I find it most relaxing and enjoyable.

How did I get to this point? I placed some Golden Needles quilting paper over the batik (it's a bit like tracing paper) and started sketching in the mountains, using my photo as reference. Then I added the tree branches. When I was happy with the arrangement, I free cut the mountain sections, using the iron to turn under the seam allowance along the top. Since the fabrics are batiks, the allowance stays under without having to apply starch. I could then slip each piece under the quilting paper to line them up, securing them with pins.

For the branches, I reverted to my old favorite, freezer paper. I traced the branches onto the freezer paper and cut them out on the line to use as templates. Because I had not reversed the image, the freezer paper got ironed onto the right side of the fabric. I cut them out eyeballing a seam allowance, flipped them over and ironed the allowance to the wrong side, using the edge of the freezer paper as a guide. As with the mountains, I slipped the shapes under the quilting paper to position them correctly, carefully removed the freezer paper and pinned into place. As for that three-branch tangle, you can see I just rough cut around the trio and left the freezer paper on top to act as a stabilizer and turn-under guide. I'm using the YLI heirloom 100 silk thread for my appliqueing.

The best part of deciding to do hand applique became clear today when I poked my nose out the door to see how warm it was. Cool crisp fall days are upon us and the sun is very weak, it's warmth even weaker against the breeze, so it really hasn't been warm enough to sit outside. But today, today it was, and I was able to stay out in it for several extra hours after my lunch break on the porch because the work I needed to do on my quilt was handwork. Isn't that what they call a win win?

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