Friday, February 15, 2013

Chain Hand-Applique?

This week was devoted to revisiting a hand applique project that I started last June and put aside in October when Stage One was done.  Then the holidays got in the way of any free time, and now I need a hand project to do during my son's swim meets, so back out it came.

Now, I have to admit, I've been dreading Stage 2 (and Stage 3 doesn't look so pretty either!).

A year ago, I saw this block, designed by Bonnie Sullivan, on the cover of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks issue.
Redrawing it in EQ7 so that I can print onto freezer paper for templates, I have this:
The pieces I have left are small petals parts (marked D,E,K,L) and the leaf (F,G,M,N) that goes on top of them (the main blossom, C, is already stitched to the block).  Since the petals are small, narrow pieces, I decided it would be easier to sew the leaf to the petal, then treat the whole thing as one unit to sew onto the blocks.  But I didn't want to deal with a lot of small, individual pieces.  By Chain Hand Applique-ing, I got a petal/leaf unit without all the little pieces to handle or get lost.  So what I'm going to go over is my method of Chain Hand Applique-ing those pieces.
First, cut a strip that is wide enough for each of the pieces plus SA, tracing the templates at an angle so that there is a bit of a bias edge to help with going around curves.  I traced the part of the petal template that I needed for stitching, and will trace the rest once the leaf is stitched down.  BE SURE TO LEAVE A SCANT 1/4" SEAM ALLOWANCE AROUND ALL EDGES OF EACH PIECE!

Now onto the sewing (and a hand applique lesson!)

Cutting with a SCANT 1/4" around the piece to be stitched down, in this case, the green leaf, finger press the edge that will be stitched to the petal.

I hand applique right to left, and the corner placement marks on the red fabric came in handy for determining where to start and stop.  After finding the start spot, and knotting a length of the thread that will easily go around the leaf, I begin by bringing the needle up through the fold of the leaf.

Then put the needle into the start spot on the red fabric then come up a scant 1/8" away, and put the needle INTO THE FOLD of the green fabric.  There are just a few threads that are picked up.
In this photo, it looks like a lot more threads than I usually pick up, but that's okay for this first stitch, as it can fold over a bit more due to not being held down before it.

Continue stitching into the red fabric, putting the needle almost directly into where it came out, then advancing 1/8", and coming up in the fold.  I've learned that the secret to beautiful hand applique is to come up in the fold.  Anything further out into the piece, and it starts to look like a blanket stitch.
And here's the finished piece, still attached to the long strip of appliqued and waiting pieces!

Ta Da! Chain Hand-Applique! Now I have one long strip of petal/leaf units, without a single piece getting lost!  And I have thread tales so that I can continue around the leaf on the block without have to start a new thread.
Now when I'm ready to applique the unit to the block, I use a new template that combines both the petal and leaf to finish the tracing around the petal.  So if I was off a bit in leaf placement, I can make adjustments now.
Cut out the unit, with a scant 1/4" seam allowance, including the backside under the leaf.

As you can see, by leaving the seam allowance spacing between the petals when marking, the whole strip is easily filled then cut apart.  And the resulting unit is ready to applique without getting lost or turned!
And in case your wondering, the quilt I designed using this block has 48 units going left, 48 going right, and 24 each in another color-way. That would be 144!  81 down, 63 to go!

Happy Quilting!

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