I am having a blast making blocks for The Splendid Sampler organized by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. This smorgasbord of quilting techniques is often challenging due to the block size (6 1/2″ unfinished) or a technique that is new to me.
Several of the blocks have included more emboridery than I’ve done in years and have taken me quite some time to complete. It all began innocently enough with some simple butterfly antennae. It quickly progressed to words and then these blocks happened.
I love the doily effect created by the chain stitch, but that crochet hook was a beast for me. I pulled it out and reworked it so many times it is a miracle there is fabric behind it still.
I loved working on this one, but it took me fooooorevvvvvah!
Along with embroidery, several of these blocks are made with appliqué. While I can “do” appliqué, needle-turn takes me forever and I don’t like the look of raw-edge after it washes. With these opinions firmly settled in my brain, I found out a while ago that my bloggy friend Lara from Buzzin Bumble was working on a book for an exciting appliqué method she created.
As soon as her book Crafted Appliqué, New Possibilities was available, I snatched one up.
Oh my goodness! Her new technique opened up the world of raw edge machine appliqué for me. Her projects in the book are amazing! I own a half dozen or so quilting-related books, and I’m a serial ignorer of most of the text. I like to look at the pictures and have really good intentions of making most of the projects — some day. The text never interests me much, but the need to discover Lara’s new technique drew me to the text. What a delight. Her style of writing is light, conversational, funny, and (most importantly) very thorough. If you haven’t seen her projects during her bloghop for the book please do go to her site – they are gorgeous.
So where is the connection with The Splendid Sampler blocks? Several blocks have asked for simple appliqué. I chose to needle-turn this one and didn’t stress about the circles because the design was folk-artsy.
A more recent block involved layers of appliqué – a technique I’ve never done using needle-turn and unfused fabric. The block came out just as I was finishing my daughter’s quilt. I was behind on several projects and looking for a quick finish, not days worth of needle-turn appliqué. Lara’s book and method to the rescue!! Here are my two blocks made with her technique – raw edge, no fusible, machine stitched. From Lara’s experience and the experience of other bloggers, there will be no fraying after washing. Another bonus to Lara’s method is that I was able to replace the original flower for this block with a fussy cut that had a very irregular edge. This was originally a much larger flower. If I had used needle-turn I would never have gotten into those little dips. This method lets you choose exactly what you want from a design when you fussy cut.
A little prep, and bam – done. This method worked so well, I couldn’t wait to try it again. The second opportunity came a few days ago. I loved getting to use my pinking shears on that white circle. I didn’t stitch each little triangle either, just around the circle.
I will still needle-turn when I feel like it, but this is such an awesome technique it is definitely part of my wheel-house now.
Do go check out Lara’s wonderful blog and her new book. The book can be purchased at Lara’s blog, AQS, or on Amazon (non-affiliate links). Lara has also offered to send one of my readers a FREE book! Lucky ducks. Leave me a comment – geek out about the Splendid Sampler you are creating, commiserate with me about needle-turn circles that are bumpy no mater what you do, or just say hi. I will pick a winner with my random comment winner thingy on Sunday, May 29 at 8 AM PDT. Please make sure you can be reached by email!