Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tricks and treats!

Debra is a master appliquer and when I heard that she was doing a free demonstration of applique with heat resistant templates I was thrilled. Some techniques I can figure out easily just by looking at a picture but sometimes I want to see a live demonstration so when I heard that Debra was going to show how she does it I jumped at the opportunity!

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!
Karen H


  1. I just love all of your hexagons; its going to be a gorgeous quilt. I have quite a few of the Trick or Treat baskets done, but I finally decided that 300 is a lot of baskets, and mine will be better used in a quilt than in a bag. I started with several at 3 1/2" and then did more at the size from the book (I think it is 5" finished.) So I'm going to find a different use for them. I never tire of looking at your Birds quilt......

  2. Birds in the Loft is looking really amazing so far, Karen! That border is inspired. :)

  3. Love the birds in the loft border!! I just finished stitching together the final Value Prop motif -- now to finish the background hexagons!!

  4. Getting more beautiful by the hexagon! Love it. It is an amazing quilt. And thank you! Garden pavers may be my next hand stitching take along. Those baskets look like fun, too.

  5. Oh my goodness - your hexagons are lookling beautiful (still!!!). Always nice to be open minded to new techniques, good on you experimenting straight away :-)

  6. Lovely little baskets--and i really enjoy that book. What does Debra use for heat resistant templates? I have been using freezer paper and starch over method...hugs, Julierose

    1. Thanks Julierose! The template material is No Melt Mylar Template Plastic. It is not inexpensive but is very good for shapes that will be used over and over again as is the case with the basket and its handle. An alternative is to iron two (or three) sheets of freezer paper together to make the template. You can probably get about 20 uses out of the freezer paper at which point you can toss it in the recycling box and make a new template!

  7. The red border and the hexagonflowers are perfect together. I love it. I'll visit the Debra-site. It looks nice. Groetjes, Dientje.

  8. The border does make a wonderful addition!! That is just more delightful with each added hexagon section. I love the basket fabric piece you used for your trial basket. You could combine other blocks with the baskets to make a quilt. She put in some 9 patches, just sprinkled a couple in. It is always fun to have something in the carry along bag & these are really cute!! Sue Daley has a basket that is curvy, but like this size & she sells a acrylic template of the basket. If you could find a template to trace basket---it might speed up the process!! Just my mind working overtime. Lol

  9. Yes, this is a slow process. I am making the Mimis bloomers quilt as you know and there are quite a few points and tiny circles. I use an old make up brush to apply the starch. I got the tutorials from her site and find they work really well. I tried some leave in-wash out stabiliser, but it didnt have the nice firm edge to fold over my fabric. I prefer the Mylar heat-proof template plastic
    I spend a while day just prepping the block, ready to sew, but you know me, I'm a slow poke stitcher.
    I like Judy's comment about mixing the baskets with 9 patch blocks. I shall have a look at debbie's site next.

  10. I agree...the red border is perfect! It makes everything just pop!

  11. Absolutely Beautiful Karen! The red is stunning in the border. Can't wait to see when you attach the medallion. That is going to be wow for sure. I started the little baskets a number of years ago. It is a fun little appliqué project. I need to haul them out again, but perhaps not too soon as I am adding border hexies to Value Proposition Quilt and don't want to stop!!! Have a lovely weekend.

  12. How exciting to see this grow - its looking great!
    Do like that hexi idea and the basket block must be so cute that small.

  13. Hi Karen, your quilt top is taking shape, and you've only been doing this one since Dec? Wow, its going yo be stunning my dear! Thanks for the links.

  14. Beautiful. You are such a perfectionist when it comes to making hexies sparkle.

  15. Your hexagon quilt is looking great! I made the Trick or Treat quilt several years ago and it's one of my favorites. It's true that once you get the swing of it, you can whip one up in just a few minutes. It's the starching that is the most time consuming. I spent two whole retreats just prepping my baskets. Everyone was pretty tired of listening to me whine about it--lol! You can sneak a basket out of a charm square--a good way to get lots of variety. Once they are all starched and glued, they make a wonderful take along project.

  16. Karen, that quilt is beyond wonderful! Thank you for sharing your progress with us. (I've picked up my Value Prop blocks again :) I am determined to do it.)

    I use a small stencil brush to the starch to my seam allowances. Give it a try; I'll bet it's quicker than using your fingers.