Damnit man, get your priorities straight!

Yes, I did say that to myself this morning, after suddenly remembering last night that I agreed to do a machine applique demo at the next bee meeting and the next bee meeting is next Saturday and I haven’t done the first bit of prep work.


When I agreed, the plan was to do the next block in my Bunny Hill quilt.  These are the blocks I have so far.  The first seven of twelve. I forgot how cute they are.  Not me, really, but they’re a great little something to practice some applique on because the shapes aren’t too complex and the colors are bright and wonderful.  All that I’ve done so far to alter the pattern is embroider the name of the month on the block somewhere in cursive.  If you click the pic you should be able to see all of them except April, which was done in yellow thread and doesn’t show up.


This is the August block.


The plan is to prep all the pieces and do the applique at bee meeting.  Sounds like a plan.  Except I still have to get my light box from Sydney.  I don’t know what she needs it for, but every time I take it back, she ends up with it in her room.  (Her stuff is her stuff and apparently so is mine.)

If you had asked me which method I use for machine applique, I would have eagerly said I use Harriet Hargrave’s Mock Hand applique technique.  So, first things first this morning, I grab the book and start reading. 


And, I found out that I don’t follow the method in the book.  (Oh, crap!.)  Have I lost a more recent version of the book?  Am I following someone else’s method?  Have I created my own?  What I do is very close to Harriet’s method; I put the freezer paper on the back of the applique piece but use a paintbrush to paint spray starch on the seam allowance and a hot iron and a stilleto to press it over the edge of the freezer paper.  The, I use a very narrow (very, very narrow) blind hem stitch and invisible thread to stitch the piece to the background, open the background and remove the paper.  Whoever’s method I’m following even taught me how to set my Pfaff machine to get that very narrow blind hem stitch. Does anyone recognize this?  Can you tell me who thought of it?  I don’t really think I did, but who knows.  I surprise myself sometimes.


Applique is this machine’s specialty.  All my machines have a specialty; something they do better than any other.  Maybe that specialty is just a responsive foot pedal or a quiet motor or in the case of my Bernina, the power to stitch through concrete. 

Even the old Singers each have a special skill or attachment that sets them apart from the rest. 

The Pfaff’s main purpose is applique. 

It took me a while at the machine this morning to remember the settings and get them written down.  I used an old receipt instead of fabric so I could see how my adjustments were affecting the length and width of the blind hem stitch.  With that part out of the way, I’m ready to pull down the scrap bin and start pulling fabrics.  Then, when I get the light box back (hmmm, why did she just look at me like I’m crazy when I asked her to give it back?) I can start tracing the pattern. 

So, crazy quilt restoration, hexie quilt madness, Sydney’s coat; these are the projects in the works (translate as spread all across the room).  And, now, I can add to that a bit of machine applique.   A busy boy is a happy boy.

Speaking of the crazy quilt, I raided the free table at guild last night and found three pieces of garment fabric that will work great in my restoration.  Someone had clearly made a pink quilt and these were the leftovers.  I needed pink, but JoAnn’s didn’t have any pink dupioni the other day, so I just waited until I found some.  And, it’s not going to come at a better price than FREE.


I also found the Ruby McKim book that I’ve been lusting over but wouldn’t buy for myself since my Ruby McKim obsession a few years ago.  The only fabric I still need for the restoration is a striped silk in masculine colors to replace a shattered piece of very beautiful silk.  I was digging in the free table for ties.  A member of my bee heard me say what I was looking for and invited me to dig in her bags of men’s ties when I’m at her house for bee this weekend.  Whooee!  When a project starts to come together, you gotta be ready and flexible enough to roll with it.

While remember priorities, man.  PRIORITIES!

Be well.  Have a great Tuesday.  Our speaker last night was Elsie Campbell.  Wonderful scrap quilt speaker.  I really enjoyed her and wish I’d taken one of her classes (that’s becoming a common refrain when it’s too late).  But, I did sign up to take a class in January.  Turned in my application and my money and I am raring and ready to go.  The class is thread painting, but I’ll have to tell about that later because I’m about to be late to work.




Eileen said...

Lane, what is the stitch width/length you use? I'm about to embark on an applique quilt and will use my Pfaff, too. I plan to use a similar technique, but will press over a heat-resistant plastic template, since I will be doing a single large piece.

And if you think your stuff is Syd's stuff, just wait until she buys a house!

I really enjoy your blog!

Anonymous said...

Lane, I was taught a combination of your method and Eileen's method. Cut heat resisent template, paint a VERY narrow edge with spray starch and PRESS. Remove the template and use a touch here/there of washable glue to adhere to the fabric and sew with invisible thread. The glue is better/easier then using even the skiniest pins :)


Megan said...

In our house, the saying was: "What's yours is mine and what's mine's me own!" Perhaps Sydney overheard us?

Sydney, Australia

Auntie Em said...

Your method sounds similar to Beth Ferrier's "Hand applique by machine"

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Lane! You definitely have an old edition of Harriet's book. I took an invisible machine applique class with her in April using the newest edition of her book (which has kind of a beige and maroon cover) and it was just as you describe except that she had us use fabric glue stick to turn the edges around the freezer paper templates prior to stitching. It was much faster and easier than starching and pressing the edges with an iron (the way I'm doing my hand applique project right now), and the only downside was that you do have to cut the background fabric to pull out the freezer paper template after stitching. You might want to give the glue stick method a try, especially if you are hating the prep work with the iron.

Elizabeth said...

Priorities. Yeah. I need to work on that too.

Love those Bunny Hill baskets. That is such a cute project. I don't know why I never jumped on board with that. I do with just about everything else.

I use the same method for applique, except I pull the freezer paper out before applique and carefully pin it in place with sequin pins. I do needle turn, rather than machine, though, so I don't necessarily need the stability of the freezer paper for that. I saw a tutorial on a blog somewhere several years ago for using the paintbrush to put starch in the seam allowance and then pressing it and have adopted it. It is great for super crisp edges.

And my comment isn't really relevant 2 weeks later . . . but had to throw my 2₵ in.

xo -E