Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Finally Have a Center Block!

I took a little break from quilting this weekend. I think my To-Do List is just too long. I have 6 BOMs I am trying to keep current, and 7 UFO’s I try to do a little bit of work on all the time. Maybe instead of working on everything each week, I’ll divide the month into two halves: UFO’s and Current Projects. I’ll try that next month.

This weekend I did do a bit of shopping though! I bought some border fabric for my Twilight quilt. I love, love, love this gray and can’t wait to play with it. The black will be a small Stop border and the polka-dot is for the binding, of course.

Last night I Finally finished my Center block for the Stay At Home Round Robin. This block is from the BOM by Erin Russek. She has been running a beautiful BOM at her blog One Piece at a Time. I wanted so badly to make this quilt, but the techniques were just OUT of my league. This was the first block and it took me a few months to complete!

This block had a lot of Firsts.

1. First bias-stem. I made them a little wide for this block. ***I also should have curved them more. I learned a very useful tip: always place the stems first*** Oops. :)

2. First Freezer-paper Applique method. I still need a lot of practice with this. My curves are pointy instead of smooth.

3. First time using glue. I glued the appliqué pieces together. I don’t know if I like that method. I’m scared it will come apart down the road. It looks nicer, but was hard to work with.

4. First time using Invisible Thread. Invisible thread is interesting! It kind of feels like fishing wire.
I tried to use it in my machine and hated the look. See all the large holes from my needle? I ripped out those stitches. So I spent hours and hours stitching the block by hand (I’m a slooooow stitcher). The thread knotted easily so I learned quickly to use smaller sections. It is hard to work with because I kept losing the thread and had to figure out where I had just come from.

I couldn’t imagine hand-stitching all 20 leaves, so I zig-zag stitched them instead. Then I decided that my flower looked horrible (I did a bad job on the freezer-paper step), so I zig-zagged that too. Then I thought a zig-zag would make the top flowers look so much better and make them stand out more. So basically, I zig-zagged over the hand-stitching that I spent a week doing. Sheesh. Next time I may just skip the hand-applique.

I know you are pointing and laughing at me now. That’s okay. This block taught me many lessons. The first is that I really need to take an Applique class. I love the look but just don’t know much about the technique!

Okay, next assignment for the Stay At Home Round Robin is to make the first border. I need to figure out how I want to add the triangles. Wish me luck!

Still plenty of time to come play with us!


  1. I like your idea to work on BOMs and UFOs in different parts of the month... I can imagine that juggling all the projects you have going is pretty difficult...

  2. Your block is wonderful! We all have to start some place. If you don't mind a suggestion, instead of handsewing with the invisible thread, it's much easier to handsew with a thread that matches the applique piece. It won't show any more than the invisible thread does. Just a thought for the future.

  3. Jen, your block is fantastic.. You have learnt so much from just this... What a hard block to learn on..

  4. Your Twilight quilt is stunning!!
    Good for you on your first applique project - I think you chose just about the hardest pattern out there.

  5. Ya done good, Jen! You really put a lot of work into that block. The SAHR is all about learning, so you're well on your way. Good Job!

  6. Ooh, the round robin applique is gorgeous - I love all the colors you chose! Applique is tricky, yo. I still haven't gotten the hang of it. Don't sweat it!

  7. I have this pattern and keep putting off starting it. You've done a wonderful job !
    (oh and in case you haven't heard....you are next in line for the Traveling Stash Box ...I need your address )

  8. I love to hand applique but like you said it takes forever. After a bit of practice you will see a big improvement. I think a face to face applique class is a great idea. I've found helpful hints online but there's nothing better than a person sitting next to you telling you what you are doing wrong before you've spent 3 hours doing it the wrong way.

  9. We all had to start somewhere...my first applique' class I ended up topstitching with my machine. After several tries and not liking the way it looked, I pretty much said forget it and moved on. Now I refer to applique as the "A" word. Nope, not for me! LOL!! If you love it, it will get better!! Lookin' pretty dang good from where I'm sitting!!

  10. Oh my goodness this is lovely! My great Aunt is Frances Abel Brand. She is quite famous for her quilts and her work is beautiful. I've just sent her a letter in the mail telling her how I keep seeing her work on the Web. Unfortunately I live so far away from her, she is in Boston and I'm in Canada! I would love to have learned all about Quilting from her...that would have been amazing for me!


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