Debra brought her design board with blocks that she made using heat resistant templates and starch.
The little baskets on the left are from a pattern called Trick or Treat in the the book When the Cold Wind Blows by Barb Adams and Alma Allen of Blackbird Designs.
The hexagon blocks on the right are a design called Garden Pavers and there is a free pattern for a table runner. Just click here. Debra says she is going to make an entire quilt with these hexagon blocks!
Debra's demonstration was very helpful and informative. I found it interesting that she just uses her finger to apply the starch to the seam allowance before pressing it over the template! I also learned that you really need a seam allowance that is less than 1/4" to get smooth curves and turns. She also highly recommended Tulip Hiroshima Needles (#10 Milliners Needles - Straw). I ordered some to try them out. They are very nice needles to work with. They are thin and flexible and just glide through the fabric. I still like to use Roxanne Applique Needles but these ones are quickly gaining a place in my sewing kit!
I have the book When the Cold Wind Blows in my library so I pulled it out and decided make a block to try out what I had learned. I also timed myself. Debra told us the first basket she appliqued took 30 minutes but with practice she got it down to 15 minutes. The starch basting is quick and easy and then I used my Roxanne Glue Baste-It to hold the handle and basket in place. I looked at the clock and started stitching. On hour later this is what I had!
I like the basket but there are roughly 300 of them in the quilt so unless I get faster (or do machine applique which is an option) it would take me a very long time to make that quilt. However I will cut and starch baste some baskets and keep them in a bag so that if I need some hand stitching (or decide to machine applique) they will be ready and waiting! They don't take much fabric (the background is a tiny 5 1/2" square) so they are a good way to use up scraps.
Speaking of scraps I've been stitching my red scraps together to make this red border for my Birds in the Loft hexagon quilt. I had to add a few red pieces to either side to bring it to size and I have done that.
It was time to add the border to the top section of the quilt.
That border is now stitched to the top section of the quilt! What a difference a border makes to a quilt.
The final step is to applique this section to a 2 1/2" red border so that I have straight edges! The end is finally in sight! I think that the final red border made with my leftovers will be yet another improvement. Hopefully I can get it stitched down today or tomorrow. And you just have to know I'll show you how I did it (mitered corners and all)!
Until I post again, happy sewing!