|background & applique panels pinned & ready for cutting|
The pattern presents 3 approaches to this two panel applique quilt: hand applique (which was tempting but I didn't want to spend the time), raw edge applique (also tempting but I wasn't sure the cut-away pieces would be usable on a second quilt) and fusible applique (tempting because it might be the quickest and give me the best leftover pieces). After several nights of mulling before dropping off to sleep, fusing won out. This whole cloth cutaway method (rather than cutting out the individual motifs and arranging on a background) is one I am familiar with through my lessons learning Baltimore Album block techniques but I've not tried it with anything but hand applique. Of course, one can't go straight to fusing but the applique panel does get fusible ironed to the back of it before it is layered and pinned to the background fabric. This took more nights of mulling - which fusible to use - and I concluded that Misty Fuse was my best bet. Once again, I found myself muttering about how much I hate working with Misty Fuse. I really do, although I keep finding good reasons to use it in some circumstances instead of my more favored Steam-A-Seam Light. Pins go in the sections that will remain as applique motifs; care must be taken not to get confused about what stays and what goes. I did anticipate how fussy getting the fusible on would be, but I did not anticipate how fussy and time consuming the cutting would be. It took several days.
I could use small applique scissors for cutting curved lines but I didn't trust I could accurately cut the straight lines with it. It had been difficult to trace those lines off the pattern. I'd run across that nifty tool for use sewing half square triangles that I couldn't find when I needed it (the long narrow yellow thing at the top) and found it was the exact width of those long straight "strips". Cutting along either side of that tool with a rotary cutter was a great help. Slipped between the background and top panel, a small cutting mat (just below the small ruler) kept from cutting into the background fabric.
Well, almost. When I was all done cutting away the excess, using a Clover mini-iron to tack the applique as I went, and was inspecting my work, a small gap appeared next to one of those rectangles in the upper left. Apparently I'd gotten too exuberant after lining up a ruler to make sure the rectangles' ends were even with each other and went beyond the little cutting mat in this one place. When I gave the piece its final fuse, the edge was slightly caught under the end of the rectangle but I don't trust it to stay there or not to fray during the next step so I will fuse a patch over it on the back.
There have been additional nights of mulling before dropping off to sleep over that next step. If I had used Steam-A-Seam, I would not have to worry about finishing the raw edges. But with Misty Fuse, one does. Satin stitch is the most obvious remedy but that doesn't keep me from considering other stitches. And then of course, what color thread, what kind? And since there is fusible between the layers, will I need a stabilizer underneath to keep things from drawing up? Well, only one way to know, and that is with a sample and the auditioning of threads. And as long as I'm going there, I may as well start thinking about the threads I'll use for quilting and how it will be quilted. So here are some candidates for both: two old Sulky Ultra Twists (no longer available) and one Superior Threads polyester twist (Ultra Twists' replacement), and a polyneon. You'd think after all these years I'd quit deluding myself that ANY quilting project would be simple, straightforward and quick.