Monday, October 24, 2016

DCMQG 2016 QAL - Block 23

Block 23
We are moving on to our second applique block and our third theme block. I'm not sure what I'd call this one, because I don't remember where I got the original idea for it, and then I changed it a bit for the queen sized block and quite a lot for the baby quilt version.

Cutting Instructions
Queen sized:
Background: (1) 13"x13"
Background: (4) 4.5"x4.5"
Background: (4) 4.5"x12.5"
Prints (Assorted): (44) 2.5"x2.5" (this is a great way to use up some of those scraps)
Prints (Assorted): enough for applique
Baby quilt:
Background: (1) 12"x12"
Print: (4) 1.5" strips at least 13" long
Prints (Assorted): enough for applique
Here is the blue is my background and the letters are my print. I just cut them WOF from a FQ.

Piecing Instructions - Applique
Since the two blocks are different, I will go over the applique portion first, and then separate the piecing instructions into queen sized and baby quilt versions. We'll be using the same rough edge applique method we used for the last block. If you'd like suggestions on alternate ideas for applique, please check out that post.

First start with your template. For the grapes I just found a clip art image in EQ7, exported it and then used InDesign to blow it up to fit a 12" block. For the travel themed baby quilt, I'm doing all boats, so I found an image of a clip art submarine online and used that, but didn't really care for it, so went with a sailboat from EQ7 instead. If you want to use one of my templates, double check that the print settings are set to "Actual Size" before you print.
If you want to make your own, you have several options. If you have EQ7, you should be able to set your block size to 12" (6") square, import your image, blow it up to fit the block, and then print out your pattern. If you have InDesign or Photoshop, you can use those to do the same thing using clip art online.

If you don't have that either, import your image into Paint (almost every computer comes equipped with that). Drag the area of your canvas to be fairly tiny before you paste in your image, so the background expands to encompass only your image. Once it's pasted in, click outside your image so it deselects, (we're doing this so the background is selected as well, not just the image) and then go to the tool bar and click on "Resize." Older versions, you may need to open the Edit menu, or something (it's been a while). Once you're in the Resize, you should see Percentage and Pixels, click on the Pixels button. 12" is about 860 and 6" is about 430 pixels, so set the larger dimension to one of those, depending on which size block you're making. Don't worry if it's a bit blurry, we just need this as a template. The very important part is that you go into Page Setup and make sure that Scaling is set to "Adjust to 100% normal size" before you print it. If you are printing for a 12" block, this may mean tiling your image and gluing the pieces together.

Now, prep your templates by cutting out the pieces (do not throw away your piece of paper). If you have a pattern that requires pieces to overlap, cut it along the dividing line and then we'll add in a little extra for the bottom piece later on.
Take your templates, turn them upside down (you could also print it in mirror image, or flip the image in your editor program), and then trace them very carefully onto the paper, non-bumpy side of your iron-on double-sided interfacing. For the grapes, I elected to only cut out one of the circles and create a template out of template plastic. Saved me the hassle of having to carefully cut and trace around 10 paper circles. Remember, that if your pattern has overlapping pieces, decide which piece you want on the bottom, and add a little bit of extra space to that side of the shape so there is no weird gap where your background can peek through.
Cut around the shapes, leaving some room around the lines you drew so we can prevent fraying. If you want to fussy cut these pieces, hold the pieces up to a strong light source and move your interfacing until you are satisfied. Then take your cut out shapes to your ironing board and carefully press it, bumpy side down, onto the back of the fabrics you'd like to use, carefully following the manufacturers instructions for your interfacing. Using fabric scissors, cut out the shapes on the lines. I also tried this with my paper scissors and they did alright, but the final little bit, the scissors kind of slid on the fabric. If you plan to applique a lot this way, you may want to designate one pair of scissors for this task, since you are cutting through a layer of paper.
Next, take your large background piece and crease it down the center in both directions. For the baby quilt, since you'll be using these lines to cut, I would even suggest ironing these creases into the fabric. Otherwise finger creasing should be plenty. I also drew a square around my cut out on the template paper, ticked off the center marks, cut it out on that line, and used that template to center my design on the fabric.
Remove the paper backing on one of your pieces, the carefully place your first piece inside of the paper template. Hold down the piece with your finger and remove the paper, press the piece in place using the manufacturer instructions, put the paper template back into place. Rinse and repeat until all of your pieces are pressed on. If you are using overlapping pieces, make sure you start with the lowest pieces (those with extra fabric) and work your way up to the top pieces (without extra fabric).
Now take your piece to the sewing machine. I like to pull out a decent tail of top and bottom thread. Starting in one corner, sew around the outside of the shape about 1/8" from the edge. I use white thread for everything, but you can match the thread to your shape. When you reach the start, I use my hand crank to make sure the last stitch goes through the same hole as my first stitch and then pull out a decent amount of top and bottom thread before clipping. I then thread the top two threads through a sharp needle and pull them through the hole and then knot it very tightly with the other two threads in the back as close to the hole as possible and then clip the threads about an inch from the knot.
Rinse and repeat with the other shapes. I was lazy for the grapes and sewed across the background fabric to I could do all the grapes in one go without having to stop and start every time.
You are now done with the applique portion.

Piecing Instructions - Patchwork (Queen Sized)
Trim your applique block down to 12.5" square, making sure to center your ruler. We're trimming down because applique can sometimes distort the fabric a bit. Now lay out your other background pieces with the 12.5" square in the center, the 4.5" squares in the corners, and the long background pieces on the sides, leaving gaps between the pieces (Note: I have changed this block since I made the original layout, so do not look at the block at the top as a guide, look at my pictures instead). Now start to lay out your 2.5" squares in the gaps. I started with the squares I had cut the most of from my fabrics. And then filled in the fabric I also used for my applique, that I knew I wanted to keep as far away from the center as possible.
Now fill in the other squares until you have 6 squares at the top and the bottom, 12 squares running the length of the side gaps, and 2 each on the little horizontal side gaps.
We are going to start by sewing together those sets of two squares on the left and right sides. And then attaching them to the background pieces so you get two long panels on the sides. Be careful about your seams, since a too small seam or a too large seam won't do much with these squares, but when you are chaining together 12 squares later, that will make a big difference.
Next chain together the six squares above and below the applique. And then attach it to the background pieces so you get one large panel in the center.
Now chain the 12 squares on either side into one long strip, attach them to the side panels and then the center panel, remembering to pin at the seams where the squares intersect.

You can see the finished queen sized block here:

Piecing Instructions - Patchwork (Baby Quilt)

Take your finished applique and carefully cut a line 3.25" from the center crease above and below the applique.
Sew in the first two 1.5" strips. Then cut lines 3.25" from the center crease to the left and right of the applique.
Sew in the last two strips. And trim the block down to 12.5" square, centering the ruler in the middle of the block. Try to line up the horizontal strips when you add the sides back onto the block (I did not do a very good job of that on one side).

Here is the final baby quilt block:
Completed block size:
Queen sized: 24.5"x24.5"
Baby quilt: 12.5"x12.5"

Several other options:
  • Come up with your own applique pattern, generally putting a word or phrase plus clipart into Google Images nets you a decent amount of usable stuff for an applique pattern.
  • Invert the background fabric and prints.
  • Make 4 of the baby quilt blocks instead of 1 queen sized block, with a different applique in each center.
  • Use a different applique technique.
  • Freehand your applique design.
  • If you're doing the grapes in the queen sized format, use 1" hexagons to English Paper Piece the grapes.
Themed applique quilt (not exactly what it would look like, but you get the idea):

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