Tuesday Tip – Working With Fusible Applique

I was working on a fusible applique project today.

(If you’re new to fusible applique, here’s the short course on how it works – you trace the shape you want on the paper side, then iron that to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut the shape out along the drawn line, then remove the paper backing. Now the fusible glue is on the wrong side of your applique, and you can fuse it to a background fabric.)

Anyway, some of the pieces were skinny little letters, with parts that were less than a quarter inch wide, and I was struggling to remove the paper backing.

The fusible wanted to come away with the backing, and the edges of the letters were getting frayed. So were my nerves…..

Then I tried something new. I traced off a new letter. Fused it to the fabric. But I didn’t cut it out. I peeled the paper backing off first. (By the way, did you know if you take a straight pin and score the paper in the center of the unit, you can then grab and peel the paper from there, instead of starting at an edge where you run the risk of fraying?)

So I bet you’re wondering how I’m going to cut the shape if I no longer have the drawing to follow? Well, you know how that paper has a lot of static and wants to cling to your fingers? It will also cling back to the piece of fabric you just removed it from. I just placed it back on top and held on carefully while I made my cuts:

(Another tip – I like to cut my inside details out first, while there’s still a lot of the shape to hold onto. Then I’ll do the larger outside cuts.)

It worked really well! Look at how nice and neat these letters turned out – and notice the size from the ruler on my cutting mat!

Now the next big question is…..what on earth am I working on that I need to spell “EEL” on my project???????

Stay tuned, I’ll try to post a photo of it tomorrow.

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Tuesday Tip – Taming the Stash

During my Stashbusters Club last year, one of the things we learned was how to tame those leftover bits and pieces from quilting projects. In the past I when I had finished cutting out what I needed for a quilt, I threw the leftover strips and pieces in a basket, thinking I would use them in a future quilt. But you know what??? All they did was multiply in that basket and get all wrinkled and tangled.

So when it came time to use them in a project, I didn’t want to take the time to sort and press and cut to size.

Now what I do is cut the leftovers into the largest useable pieces I can. If I can get a full strip, I cut it to the largest half-inch increment possible – 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, etc. up to about 6-1/2″. The size you cut is up to you, think about what sizes you use the most.

If it’s an odd sized piece, I cut it into squares or rectangles – again think of the sizes you use most – 5″ squares will work for nickel or charm quilts, 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangles can be the start of a flying goose block……you get the idea. Don’t you think you’d be much more inclined to use these pieces in a quilt?:

I also sort them by color or type, so if I decide I need some 5″ blue squares, or some Christmas prints, I can grab them at a glance. I store them in a bin like you see above, or empty (clean!) pizza boxes work well too. If you have room for a drying rack, you can store strips on it:

It’s much easier to cut up that last little bit of fabric as you go, then try and do a whole bunch of it at one time.

What tips do you have for taming your stash???

If you don’t yet have much of a stash, visit the website where I now have fat quarters on sale for just $1.50 and $1.75 – a great excuse to add to your stash!!

Tuesday Tip

I’m going to try and post a quilting tip for you each Tuesday. (Notice the operative word here is *TRY*…..I didn’t say promise, now did I? 😉 But we’ll see how it goes. )

Before cutting out all the pieces for a new pattern, it’s always a good idea to cut and sew one block to be sure the directions are correct and that your cutting and sewing will yield a block the proper size. It’s much easier to fix a problem with one block than an entire quilt. For instance, if the directions are correct but your block is coming out a bit small, you know you will need to use a slightly smaller seam allowance for future blocks.

If you don’t want these blocks to be wasted, choose a color scheme or theme (like Christmas, Patriotic, 30’s Reproductions, blue & white or whatever floats your boat), and always make your test blocks from those fabrics. Store them away in one spot (a new *unused* pizza box make a good hide-away), and before you know it, you’ll have enough blocks for another quilt. A bonus quilt – how cool is that???

Think Spring!

It was a long hard winter here, and spring was slow in coming. While it’s finally starting to feel that way in the last week, I was bemoaning the cool temps and cloudy days last month.  I was craving some flowers and bright colors…..

So if I couldn’t have them outside, I decided to have them in my studio.

Aren’t these stinkin’ cute???!!!??? These are kits I made for the quilt in the background……

Several years back I designed a quilt I called “Twirling Tulips”. I had taught this as a class, but never published the pattern. I decided it was finally time to do that, so I made a new version of the quilt, and finally wrote the pattern. (To be honest here, *I* didn’t make the top. I picked the fabrics and supplied the directions, but my friend Betsy did the sewing – thanks, Betsy!). The fabric line is called “Boutique” by Moda, and this is the piece I chose for the border:

And here is what the entire quilt looks like:

Hope this brings a little Spring into your life!

Sad Day

It was a busy day at the shop – that was good.  It helped keep my mind off of what I had to do when I left work today. In this post I showed you a picture of Annie. Annie is our lab mix who came to live with us on our first anniversary (hence her name – short for Anniversary Dog) back in 1995, when she was just 8 weeks old. Which makes her 14 now. That’s about 98 in human years. She doesn’t hear so well, doesn’t see so well, and for the last year or two has had trouble with her back legs. She had trouble standing up, her back end would start sinking. And she couldn’t always make it outside to do what should be done outside.

And in the last week or two she was pacing a lot and panting. Which the vet had told us were signs she was in pain. So we decided it was time to put her out of her misery. I *know* we did the right thing, but it still hurts. We had her all but one year of our married life. We lived with her in 5 different houses (plus 2 motels) in 3 different towns. And she caused us all kinds of problems, like chewing through the cable TV and telephone wires, and digging out of the backyard fence, and jumping out of the 6 foot high kennel – several times, and jumping out of the window of the rental house (ripping the screen and messing up the trim), and stressing out during thunderstorms, and, oh, – I can’t even think of all the other things. But you know what??? We loved her anyway. And no matter how much we ignored her or got mad at her or yelled at her, she loved us right back. Pets are funny that way. People should learn from their example.

So long, dear Annie. Thank you for sharing your life with us. We’ll look for you at the Rainbow Bridge…..

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