Friday, February 15, 2013

Turned-Edge Appliqué for the Faint of Heart

Last week I was encouraged to 'splain my technique for turned-edge appliqué.   I know there are others who do something similar to this, but this is the method I have worked out -- it's fairly quick, it's easy, and I enjoy doing it.

And best of all -- I love the results.

First I made a pattern from my drawing.  I reversed it in my computer and printed it full size.  I traced it onto freezer paper with a Sharpie, keeping the various elements together -- face, teeth, spikes, etc.  I keep a key with all the individual pieces numbered in colored pencil or marker; when there are lots of little pieces, it's easy to confuse them.  Hmmmm.... is that a tooth?  ...or a spike?  ...maybe a finger...?

I gathered my tools -- two pairs of scissors, one for fabric and one for paper, the magic pen, and some water-soluble glue.  The glue and pen are available at my LQS.   The paper scissors I stole from my kid.

Then  I start cutting.  I have learned to cut only a few bits at a time -- partly because of the confusion factor, but mostly because I find myself making changes as I build the image in fabric.

I iron the pieces to the wrong side of the fabric -- remember, the freezer paper was traced from a reverse image.

Then I get out the magic pen and "mark" along the edges that I'm going to turn.  I use a hot iron to turn the edges.  The magic pen wets the fabric and makes it easy to get really sharp edges.  I clip the inside curves so they lie flat and I cut out the bulk in the outside curves to make it easier when I quilt.

As I trace the pattern onto the freezer paper, I  look at the individual pieces to see which I want on top and which would look best underneath.  I use dots to mark the underneath seam allowances so I don't accidentally turn them under.

I dip a pin in the glue (it comes with a really nifty cap that squirts tiny dots, but it's not so nifty when it clogs and I have to spend time unclogging it, so I just use the pin) and wipe tiny amounts onto the seam allowance.  Then I literally glue the image together.

I use the cut out portion of the freezer paper as a guide to make sure that the pieces are glued together at the proper angles.

Sometimes I use tracing paper to trace an image that I can reverse to make sure that all my pieces are fitting together the way I originally drew them.

Using the reverse image and ironing the freezer paper to the wrong side allows me to see exactly what parts of the fabric I'm using and I can make changes if I desire.

I use the full size pattern to build the image with glue as I go.  I have learned to be careful to avoid getting glue on the freezer paper, and I remove it as soon as the pieces are in place.

Of course, all this begs the question: why bother?  Some say it makes the quilt more durable -- but this is meant to hang on a wall, so durability isn't really an issue.  Especially since I like to cover the whole thing with thread.   I am an art quilter and I have no qualms about slapping down some fused fabric and calling it a day. And I'm certainly not judgmental about others who fuse -- except when they don't use really sharp scissors to cut their fusibles and there are little tiny threads sticking out everywhere.  But that's another issue.

I am putting this dragon on top of a pieced background and I have found that sometimes fusing on top of piecing leaves lumps and bumps where I don't want lumps and bumps.  Also, I do this because I like the dimension I get with layering fabric.  It seems that the finished piece is more 3D.  I will be quilting this in layers for even more depth.  And it's way quicker than needle-turn appliqué.

I'm linking up again this week with Nina Marie at Off the Wall Fridays.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Celebrating a New Beginning

 I'm working on a challenge that is due next month.  I have to use these two fabrics and the theme is "celebration."

The first thing I thought of was fourth of July -- Independence Day.  The fabrics at the top left illustrate that theme.  But then I thought, hmmmm...that's a little vague.  So I brainstormed another idea.  

I took a whole day and made a pattern from freezer paper.

And pulled some hand-dyes from the shelf to go with the sparkly fabrics.

I'm doing a form of appliqué that I will explain in a future post.  It involves the aforementioned  freezer paper, a magic pen, an iron, and some glue.  And thread.  Lots of thread.

Later, there will also be some paint and some machine piecing.  I'm going for the full range of techniques here.

I'm linking up with Nina Marie at Off the Wall Fridays.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snow Dyeing with a Twist

Over at the ...Fire Blog this month, TieDye Judy has a post about scrunch dyeing (here).  I decided to take advantage of our wonderful snow (and the freezing temperatures that make it wonderful) and do some scrunch dyeing.  But wait!  There's more!

Of course, I have to add my own twist -- this time in the form of folded shibori dyeing called itajime.  

A lot of people who do snow-dyeing have fancy racks with screens set up so that the snow and dye can drip through the fabric.  I usually just put the snow on top and let the fabric sit in the soup of melted snow and dye while it batches in the up-cycled plastic lettuce boxes I like to use for dyeing.

But I hate wasting dye and I thought: what if I used fabric as a rack for the scrunched fabric?  I figured I would get pastel coordinating fabrics with interesting patterns to go with my snow-dyes.  So I folded up some soda-soaked fabrics and laid them in the bottom of the boxes and scrunched up more to sit on top.

I packed on a layer of the powdery snow and poured my dye concentrate over.  Then came the hard part...letting them batch overnight.

I put the boxes in a really big plastic box and left them in the front hallway overnight.

I prefer to use pure colors for most of my dyeing because I like to mix the colors myself.  But for snow-dyeing, I purchased a couple of already mixed colors -- a couple of browns and some blues -- because I never know just what is going to come out in the wash.

Of course I got fabulously patterned snow-dyes.  

But the real surprise was underneath.  No pale coordinates here.  I got these amazing bits.   I may add some of these to the to-be-overdyed-later pile because they might benefit from some more color, but maybe not.

I am linking up with Nina Marie at Off the Wall Fridays.