Today is the first day of the block release for the Fall into a QAL.
This QAL is brought to you by Partners in Design: Where Friends and Fabric Meet. Who wouldn’t like that?
It’s the same group that brought you last year’s I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long.
Can It Get Any Cuter Than This?
We have 11 more blocks to release, so you’ll have to just wait to determine that for yourself. In the meantime, grab some fabric and cut and stitch this little guy.
Join this Quilt-A-Long
You can join in anytime. Each 12.5″ (unfinished) block will be released every other Tuesday with the last one scheduled for release on October 16th. You are free to make these blocks any way you want. However, if you are wanting to enter the contest, be sure to read the rules found in the Enter to Win section below to make sure your entry counts. The final finished top containing all 12 of these blocks (it doesn’t have to be quilted) link up for the mega giveaway is November 13th at 11:59 EST.
I’ve chosen spots and dots to be my fabrics for this QAL. I wanted to liven fall up a bit.
I bought a few new dotty ones, raided by stash for spotty ones, and discovered some leftover freckled ones in my scrap basket. It’ll be a fun challenge and hopefully, won’t become a lesson in what not to do. You can get a glimpse of more of my fabrics on my Intro post here. I am excited to return to North Dakota for the summer especially after Nancy at Grace and Peace Quilting reminded me that I might find more spots and dots in my stash there.
Making Applique Easier
I am no expert on applique, having only used that technique on two other quilts, but I do have a couple of tips that I’ve started using which might make it easier for you.
One of my readers commented on another post of mine regarding an applique quilt that she had made that was so stiff it could have stood up by itself. If stiffness is what’s stopping you from doing applique, here’s what I did for this block to make sure it stays soft and cuddly.
I trace the pattern onto Lite Steam-A-Seam 2. I am frugal and traced the head inside the spikes to save on the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 as it is expensive.
Then I cut out the pieces. Notice my hand-drawn broken lines in the spike and head pieces in the pic above; these are my inside cutting lines. Yes, I cut away the excess, leaving about a half an inch from the edge on the inside and leaving some around the outside, too.
After removing the backing of the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, I place the pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, press down, and cut around it leaving some fabric exposed.
I do this with all the larger pieces. The small pieces I treat as one piece and keep them grouped.
Then I place the pieces between two Teflon pressing sheets (no affiliation) so I don’t get any sticky residue on my ironing board or iron.
Yes, my ironing board cover has seen some serious pressing. But don’t fear, I have a replacement ready.
Using a sharp scissors, I cut out the pieces following the outside lines. I’ve found that turning the fabric while I cut (holding the scissors in place) makes for smoother and rounder circles and curves rather than moving the scissors around the shape. One has to concentrate to do this as the natural tendency is to cut and move the scissors around the paper.
After all the pieces are cut, I remove the paper from the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and arrange them on the background one at a time. Vanda’s pattern is very clear which one to start with. Using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 makes it very easy to reposition these pieces until I get it just right! Placing the block between two sheets of Teflon pressing sheets again, I use the iron to press and heat set them in place.
Preventing or at Least Reducing Block Shrinkage
Blocks ending up too small or blocks that shrink in size is another common complaint/concern that keeps quilters away from using applique. I think this is more prevalent in machine applique than by hand. I start by making my background piece about 1/2″ larger to begin with. Then I can trim it down when the appliquéing is complete.
Once the pieces are heat set in place, it is ready for your favorite method of appliquéing. I chose to machine stitch it down using a blanket stitch (number 1329 on my Bernina).
To prevent or at least reduce the amount of shrinkage of the block, I carefully and slowly stitch the piece in place keeping my needle very close to the outside edge of the applique piece. Rather than moving and turning the block with my hands to keep the needle close to the edge of the appliqued piece while the machine is sewing; I stop my machine, lift the presser foot, move the whole block to adjust it so the edge of the applique piece is lined up straight with the needle and myself, lower the presser foot, continue stitching, and repeating as needed.
Yes, it is a slow process and sometimes I only take one or two stitches and need to reposition the fabric. My blocks hardly shrink at all! I believe the shrinkage happens from moving and turning the fabric while stitching resulting in fabric bunching up and being stitched into the blanket stitch or other decorative stitch. Stitching one piece that way may not amount to much shrinkage but multiply it by the number of overlaid pieces and it could be significant enough to produce a block that is now smaller than it should be.
After I have stitched all around the pieces, I pull the two layers apart separating the background from the animal. Using a sharp scissors (I prefer the small Karen K. Buckley Perfect scissors) and working from the back of the block, I carefully cut away the background fabric from the underside of the block inside the stitched area. I keep my finger or my purple thang in between the scissors and the front fabric as a protection to prevent cutting into it. (If you haven’t read my hilarious but true purple thang story, you can find it here).
It really is surprising that doing applique this way reduces the stiffness of the block and keeps it soft and cuddly.
Enter to Win
If you are the lucky winner that is picked for making this block, you will receive a free PDF pattern of your choice from Quilting with Vanda and 4 half-yard cuts of assorted Boundless Fabric Solids by Craftsy.
Entering is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Everyone (You must be 18 to be able to enter to win prizes) gets to participate because International entries are welcome! You do NOT need to have a blog to enter. Hosts and designers are not eligible to win.
- Make a block using Vanda’s pattern. Take a picture of it. Slight variations of the pattern are ok such as embellishments but keep your block true to the designed pattern if you are entering the giveaway. The block should definitely be recognizable as one made from this free pattern. Deviating too much (or substituting a different block entirely) will cause your entry not to be counted. If you have questions if it’s allowed for entry into the giveaway, please ask me before you cut.
- Post a picture of your block before 11:59 PM EST May 28th either on the linky party found on Vanda’s post here, on the Facebook page, or on Instagram #fallintoaqal.
Winners are drawn from the eligible pictured blocks and prizes awarded every other week with a mega grand-prize at the end for a finished quilt top (it doesn’t need to be quilted or bound) using all 12 of the block patterns.
See These Hosts for Inspiration and Tips on Making the Hedgehog
- Vanda at Quilting with Vanda
- April at JANDA Bend Quilts
- Sherry at Powered by Quilting
- Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting
- Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
- Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my applique process.
- Abbie at Sparkle On
Thank You to Our Sponsors
Come on Back for the Next Block Release
Join me on May 29th at 12:00am EDT for the release of the second block designed by April Adams of JANDA Bend Quilts. (Update: View my version of April’s block (Block 2 of the Fall into a QAL)–the Harvest Basket here which was released today, May 29th and find the link to her free pattern.)
Don’t Miss out on My Previous Fall into a QAL Posts
Tu-Na Quilts: Big Announcement!!! (QAL introductory post with a schedule of when the blocks are released and a sneak peek at the fabrics that I’ll be using.)
(Update: View my version of April’s block (Block 2 of the Fall into a QAL)-the Harvest Basket here which was released today, May 29th and find the link to her free pattern.)
What I Learned Today:
- Long product names are cumbersome to type. Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is a very long name for a product. It’s a good thing I really like it!
- I really do not like the taste of Strawberry Cheesecake Coffee Creamer. There really are not many things I don’t like and I am very surprised by this one since I love strawberries and cheesecake, just not in my coffee.
- Asking for Tu-Na Helper’s advice can be very helpful.
- I hold my breath when snipping out the excess background fabric inside the appliqued piece.
- Fall used to be my second least favorite season because it meant that my least favorite season was about to happen.
- Fall is becoming my favorite season as it means that time is growing closer to our returning to “Winter Camp for Seniors” and our Arizona home.
- The key to retirement living is flexibility.
Question: Have you done applique? Do you prefer hand or machine applique? Share any tips that help you.
Thanks for stopping by and do come again.
Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
At this time Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats or Tu-Na Quilts is not affiliated with any businesses , services, sponsors, or products. I mention them only because they serve me well.
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
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Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt