Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Seeing Stars Quilt-Along - Applique Star Block

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Seeing Stars Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win one of three $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by  Fat Quarter Shop you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule


September 19th - Applique Star Block (That's Today!!)
September 26th - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
October 17th- Seeing Stars Parade and Grand Prize Winners



Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Basic Star Assignment.   And great job to everyone for getting your Basic Stars all sewn up.   It was awesome to see you tackle them with such confidence after all of the flying geese we have made so far ;)

The Basic Star Assignment winner who gets a $20.00 Gift Certificate to Lou Lou's Fabric Shop is

#17 - Seahorse Quilts!!! - Congrats :)

  



So here we are, on our last set of Star blocks.  My how the time has flown.   And we are finishing it all up with some super fun Applique Star Blocks!!!   We will be doing raw edge applique that is machine stitched.  (but if you prefer hand, you can do that too ;)   And I know that Applique can be scary if you have never tried it.  But trust me, this is a great beginning block to learn Applique with and you are going to see just how fun Applique can be!!!   So let's get right to it :)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)



THE APPLIQUE STAR BLOCK


STEP 1 - CUTTING

We will be making 28 Applique Star Blocks.  I will give the cutting directions for 1 Applique Star Block (for those that are making alternate layouts).  Then I will give the cutting directions for the Total Pieces needed for all 28 Applique Star Blocks.    


Applique Star Block - For Each Block cut:

Print Applique Star - (1) 4" x 4" square  (* 3" to 4" squares work, just put your template on an angle                                                                               just in case you have scraps of that size ;)
Background Fabric -  (1) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" square
                           


So for all 28 Applique Star Blocks you will cut:

Print Applique Star - (28) 4" x 4" squares  ( or smaller depending on scraps ;)
Background Fabric -  (28) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" squares




STEP 2 - MAKING THE STAR APPLIQUES

For our applique we will be using a very basic Star shape.   I have included on the template a 4 point star and a 5 point star.  The 4 point star design matches the center of our curved stars, but you are welcome to use whichever you like best ;)  
So to start, click here to be taken to the Star Template.  Print a copy of the template.  I always like to print my templates on card stock or cover stock, just so they are a little sturdier.  So if you happen to have either handy, use that.  If not, it isn't necessary to go out and buy a pack ;)  Be sure when printing you are set to print at actual size.  Before cutting out your template, use a ruler to double check that the template printed to accurate size.  The little square should be exactly 1".  Once you have double checked it, go ahead and cut out your Star Template.  


And with our template, we are ready to make some appliques ;)  So grab your print squares and your template.  I will be showing your 2 types of applique, one using Starch and one using an Adhesive like Heat N Bond (my personal favorite) or Wonder Under.

There are pro's and con's with each method.  The nice thing about the Starch Method is that you don't get any stiffness in your quilt once the starch is washed out when you are done your quilt, the draw back is it means pinning and a little bit more tricky when it comes time to stay stitch.  And the Adhesive Method is just the opposite.  Easy and convenient to put the block together and easy to stay stitch but the appliques will be a little stiffer because of the adhesive :)   I will go over each method and you can choose a favorite :)  



STARCH METHOD

For the Starch Method, start by spraying a generous amount of starch on the wrong side of your fabric square.  If you get any little white bubbles, don't stress.


Press the square with a hot iron.  See how those little bubbles go away with the heat ;)


Now, repeat with another layer of starch and another hot pressing.  You will continue to repeat this process until your square is super stiff, like you could throw it as a Frisbee stiff.  Depending on the thickness of your fabric, this will take 2-4 times.


Place your template on the wrong side of your stiff fabric square.  Using your favorite marking tool, trace around the template.  The template itself won't have a wrong or right side ;)   And your marking tool doesn't have to be a disappearing one.  You can always use a pencil or chalk, that won't show up on the wrong side.


Now carefully cut along the line until you have cut out the entire star.  



And just like that, you have a Star!!!!  So cute ;)



ADHESIVE METHOD

For the adhesive method, you want to start by cutting 4" x 4" squares from your adhesive yardage.  This is just like cutting fabric, cut it into strips and then sub cut it into squares ;)


Now, move on over to the ironing board.   Your adhesive squares will have a glue side and a paper side.  Place the Glue side of the adhesive square onto the wrong side of your print fabric.  So just to double check that, the glue and the wrong side of the fabric should be touching ready to be adhered to one another.


Press the pair to adhere them together.  Now every adhesive is a little different, but most will tell you to press for about 6-8 seconds and to use a Dry Iron.   And trust me, if it says Dry you want it to be Dry.  Otherwise you are going to spend some frustrating times trying to get the paper backing off.


With the two squares adhered together place the Star Template onto the paper side of the pair.  Trace around the Star template.


Now carefully cut along the line until you have cut out the entire star.  



And just like that, you have a Star!!!!  So cute ;)




STEP 3 - ASSEMBLING THE BLOCK

And now, it's time to get your Star Appliques onto your blocks.  Grab your 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" Background squares.  We need to know where center vertically and horizontally is so fold the square in half and finger press a line.  Then unfold it and fold it in half the other way and finger press a line.



Your square should look like this now, with the small finger pressings showing you right where the center of the block is.  And now you are ready to add your Star Appliques to each square.  Once again, we are going to go over both methods :)


STARCH METHOD

If you are using the Starch Method, place your appliques as shown lining up each point of the star with the finger crease in your background fabric.  When all 4 points align, you will be perfectly centered.   


And now you can pin it in place.   I like to pin my Applique so that I will be able to stay stitch it without moving pins to much.  So I try to keep them away from the very edge.  These are smaller, so you can get away with 2-4 pins per Applique.  Just do what you are comfortable with  as you don't want them shifting around when I go to Secure Stitch them.    And your block is ready for Stay Stitching.
  A quick note here - I know a lot of quilters who use glue sticks here instead of pins.  It will work and you are welcome to do that, but I find for me I prefer pins as the glue stick doesn't always hold everything tight and you can get some shifting, especially where we won't be stitching these for a bit.  Just FYI :)



ADHESIVE METHOD

Once again with the Adhesive Method, we are going to start out at the Ironing Board.   Begin by removing the paper backing from the Star Applique.  This should just peel right off , but if you have some problems getting it started, use a straight pin so stick through the paper but not through the fabric.  Tear up to make a slit and give you a starting point :)


Just like the starch method, you want to place your appliques as shown lining up each point of the star with the finger crease in your background fabric.  When all 4 points align, you will be perfectly centered.



Once aligned, place your hot, dry, iron on the Applique.   Once again, use 6-8 seconds in one place.  Always adhere applique with an up and down motion, not back and forth  as it will cause the applique to shift.   Repeat this until the appliques are completely adhered.  And your block is ready for Secure Stitching.




STEP 4 - SECURE STITCHING THE BLOCK

Secure Stitching around your applique holds it in place and gives it strength.  It is the final step of the applique process.  Now, I have to say, this is probably my favorite part of applique.  It is so very relaxing for me.  I often rest my head on my sewing machine while I stitch around all of my shapes ;)  So I hope you find it fun and relaxing as well ;)  So let's get to it ;) 

SECURE STITCHING APPLIQUE - BASICS

First off, you have to decide what color thread you want to use to secure stitch your applique.  You will have an entire rainbow of choices, but they are most likely going to fall into 3 categories.  Matching, Blending, or Contrasting, and all are great.  It just depends on the look you want to go for.  
Matching is when your thread color is the same as your applique fabric.  Using matching thread makes it so you can hardly see the stitching lines at all.  This works great when all of your applique is the same color.  

Blending is when your thread color is not the same, but a soft color that will blend away into your applique.  Normally soft cremes, light greys, and light yellows tend to blend well with most colors.  This is a great alternative if you are doing scrappy appliques and you don't want the thread to stand out but you also don't want to have to change it a million times ;)

Contrasting thread is when you want your stitching to stand out, which can be a lot of fun ;)  So if you are going for a bold look,  pick a bold thread color that will stand out ;)  And you can pull in colors from the rest of your quilt to tie in the stitching as well ;)  

I like to lay the thread in a single strand over the applique to help me get an idea of what it will look like.  Kind of like auditioning binding fabric, only you are auditioning thread.  So you have an entire rainbow of choices, time to pick ;)   


Once you have picked a thread color, wind a bobbin with the same thread.  I like to have my top and bottom threads always match when I am secure stitching so I don't get any little bits of color showing up from the bottom that I didn't want.   And now it is time to start stitching.  I made up a little sample block to show this off, so that I could Contrast the thread so it could show up :)  I will be going over the three basic types of secure stitching. 


 And just a few good Secure Stitching Basic Rules of thumb before we start,
1 - Always have your needle in the Needle Down position, it makes pivoting much easier ;)
2 - Always Back stitch 1-2 stitches at the beginning and end of your applique.
3 - Start at a side or straightaway of your applique, not a a point.
            With that , let's go over some stitching options ;)



STRAIGHT STITCH

First off, is the Straight Stitch.  I love using this stitch when I want a raw edge that will scruff up a bit in the washing machine.  It gives a super cuddly look to the quilt ;)   So to straight stitch I like to use my 1/4" foot and the basic straight stitch setting on my machine although I like to shorten the length of the stitch a bit for strength ;)



With this stitch, I like to stitch an 1/8" in from the edge of my applique.  I use the inside of my foot as a guide.  Remember to start along a side of the star and back-stitch at the beginning.  Then continue stitching forward down the side of the applique, using the inside of a foot as a guide so your stitch is nice and straight.  When you get 1/8" from the corner of you applique stop with your needle down.  Pivot your foot and then repeat stitching up the other side of the applique.  This can be a little tricky as it is a bit of a blind inner corner, but just lift your foot to check if you have stitched far enough ;)   Then continue around the entire star, back-stitch at the end and clip your threads.  


ZIG-ZAG STITCH

Next is the zig-zag stitch.  For this stitch I like to use my Open Applique foot because it allows me to see all of the stitching, but if you don't have one of these your basic foot will do just fine ;)  Select the Zig-Zag stitch on your machine.


Once again, start along a side of the star and back-stitch at the beginning.  Then continue stitching forward down the side of the applique, keeping the applique edge centered in your foot.  And when back stitching zig-zag I like to go slow.  If you go to fast, your stitches won't wind up in the same place.    Pivot around the corners and then back stitch at the end and clip your threads. 


And a fun little thing about zig-zag is you can customize it to look any way you like, all the way down to a basic satin stitch.  Play with the width and length of the stitch on a practice piece of fabric and find the look that suits you best ;)


Those simple little tweaks can really change up the look as shown below.  



BLANKET STITCH

The final stitch I use for Secure Stitching my applique is the blanket stitch and it is my personal favorite.  Once again, for this stitch I like to use an Open Foot, but your basic foot will work fine as well.   Select your Blanket Stitch on your machine, which you might have to look for a bit. 



Like the other stitches, start along a side of the star and back-stitch at the beginning.  Then continue stitching forward down the side of the applique, keeping horizontal part of the stitch along the edge of the applique.  The important thing to remember about the blanket stitch is that the stitch is 3 parts, so you always want to end the stitch along the outside edge.  Remembering to do all 3 parts of the stitch come in handy :)   Pivot around the corners and then back stitch at the end and clip your threads. 


And those are the basic Secure Stitches!!!   Not to tricky, just enjoyable stitching that you can really have some fun with ;)  And I have seen some pretty fancy stitches on applique, these are the basic, but if you want to get fancy with your machines stitches you go for it ;)


Now I have shown you all of these steps with making 1 block, which you might want to do while you are making decisions about which methods or stitches to use.  But once you have decided, I highly recommend assembly line piecing these, ie.  Cut out all 28 appliques, Adhere all 28 appliques to the blocks, Secure Stitch all 28 appliques to the block ;)   But however you make them, you just want to finish with 28 Appliques blocks that measure 4 1/2" x 4 1/2". 

Super fun!!!  



So now it's your turn, get your Applique Star Blocks made and your assignment is complete!!!  And then you can enter to win the weekly prize :)


The Weekly Prize is sponsored by Green Fairy Quilts and a huge thanks goes out to them for their support of the  Seeing Stars Quilt-Along.



This weeks prize is a Portsmouth Layer Cake by Minick and Simpson for Moda.   And it is so pretty!!!  Someone is going to be super lucky ;)
    
So what do you have to do for a chance to win the Layer Cake?  Simple . . . Just link up your Applique Star Blocks at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post or a social media picture, or whatever.   If you are still not sure how to link up, I wrote a little Linky Tutorial over here, that might help ;)  Just make sure to link up by the early morning of September 26th as I will be announcing a winner in next quilt-a-long post :)

If you don't get your Applique Star Blocks done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-Along.  

And Don't forget to add your  Basic Star Blocks to #seeingstarsquiltalong on social media or at the  Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group.   I am so excited to see all of your fun Applique Blocks  ;)

 Have a Happy Quilting Day!!  

And remember, any questions, just email me at happyquiltingmelissa@gmail.com ;)



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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Autumn Love Table Runner!!!

I was so super excited when I was asked by the wonderful folks at Riley Blake Designs if I wanted to participate in the Autumn Love Sew Along!!!  I absolutely adore everything that Lori Holt does and was thrilled to be a part of her amazing designs!!!  


The Autumn Love Quilt and Sew Along is in celebration of Lori's newly released fabric which is also named Autumn Love.  It has a beautiful Fall in the Country feel and I was so excited to get to play with it for this Sew Along!!!   This week everyone is working on two blocks and I knew I wouldn't have time to do the entire quilt, so I incorporated them into this fun table runner.  


So the first block is the Hunter Star.  Which lets talk about some tiny piecing.  This was so much fun to make!!!  The Star finishes at 10" square and I have to say, I am pretty proud of all those happy points!!   And since I know you will ask (because who doesn't want to do some super fun tiny piecing) The pattern guide for this block, and the entire quilt for that matter can be found here ;) 


They are also piecing the Autumn block and the tiny Sawtooth stars, which again are tiny.  They finish at 4" square so the flying geese are super cute at 1" x 2".   And I absolutely love when Lori includes words in her designs.  Her alphabet blocks are so fun to piece and just to cute for words!!!!


When it came time to quilt it, I decided on some simple matchstitck quilting ;)  And this is the first time I have ever done matchstick quilting on my long arm, and can I just say, it was so slick and fast!!!   I know I will have to do that again soon.   So fun!!!  And I just love the awesome texture it gives the finish ;)



And that is my Autumn Love Table Runner!!!!   Thank you so much to the wonderful folks at Riley Blake for having me along for this amazing Sew Along!!!   It was so much fun and I am just thrilled to have this wonderful finish that will now grace my table for the next few months ;) 


And be sure to pop on over to Lori's blog and check out all the details on this amazing quilt along!!!  It's not to late to join and your finish will be a treasure forever :)   


I hope you all have a very Happy Quilting Day!!!!

P.S.   There will be no Terrific Tuesday Giveaway Day today, it will be back next week ;)  
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Monday, September 17, 2018

Dessert Sampler - Block 2

I am getting all packed up to head up to the Utah Quilt Guild's Quilt Fest Retreat for some fun days of teaching and I am so very excited!!!  But of course, with all the fun, there is also some prep work ;)   And it made last week a little crazy getting ready for it, read new pattern to soon be released ;)    But I am thrilled that with all of that fun crazy prep,  I also managed to squeeze in a little laid back piecing and finished my second block of the Dessert Sampler!!!  Isn't it just so fun with all of that pink and red Figgy goodness!!! 



And I have to say, I am so happy that I started this project and am enjoying it as a Long, Long, Term project.   It is nice to just have no deadline and to just sew on it when I need a break :)   I cut out Block 3 as well this weekend, so I am all set with that.   And this block has purple!!!  Yippee!!! 


So how about you???  Do you have a super Long-Term project you pull out when you just need things to slow down a bit???
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