Friday, July 10, 2009

Mary Mannakee, an applique adventure

The first block of the Mary Mannakee quilt that Kathie and I are doing together is this one. Kathie's a great inspiration to me and I'm going to enjoy doing this quilt with her and any others joining in. This photo is from the pattern pack.
I don't put time frames on any of my projects if I can help it, I don't work well with deadlines on myself, that's not fun. There are many quilters out there who do the most fantastic applique. I have taken techniques that I've learned along the way that work for me and I'll share some of them from time to time. It's nothing that's new or secret and I don't claim to be an expert, there are many ways to do the same things but I'll share what works for me and if you get a tip now and again that works for you, that's great Pieces are prepped. I like to store my bias strips that I make with the clover bias maker on a roll so they don't unravel. I use a medium weight vinyl overlay to place my pieces and I baste the middle lines of the background fabric.
I'm using freezer paper templates and you can see some dotted lines on some of them. That is to tell me that those sides will be tucked under other shapes and won't be stitched. I'll use my marking pencil to make a mark in the seam allowance where I should stop or start stitching. I also put crosses on the leaf shapes so I know which is the top of the leaf.
I'm using a Moda Bella solid in a cream colour and as I started appliqueing, realised how meaty to the hand this felt and started having doubts about whether I could hand quilt it easily. I like to keep my options open. I made a quick little sandwich with Quilters Dream cotton and tested it.
It's fine and I'm happy to say and the needle went through with no trouble, I did put a finer cotton on the back.
So I can carry on now with more confidence. For a large shape such as the ring of hearts with its inner and outer points, I thought it best to baste it on the background and use the cutaway method. This will help to stabilise it while stitching and cut down on fraying with the handling. It's just a matter of cutting the seam allowance a bit ahead of your stitching.
Here's a close up of my stitch, the idea is to put the needle into the background where you have come up. I put my needle in the background behind the thread to achieve that. I come up only in the fold of the seam, not into applique piece to make the stitches as invisible as possible. I'm only grabbing a couple of threads.
A common question is how far should the stitches be apart, easy answer is closer than the width of your seam allowance. I do stitch small and that's just how I do it.
This red is a looser weave fabric and sometimes that creates difficulty with getting those inner points nice when you snip through the drawn line and you get frayed threads. I cheat in these instances and use Fray stop. I only put only the tiniest little dot from the end of a toothpick and make sure its in the seam allowance because with age, this product will yellow so you don't want it on top.
Edit: I now use a little basting glue smeared on the area  instead of fray stop as it completely washes out.
When I come to the inner point, I take deeper stitches very close together. Better to see stitches rather than loose threads. Look at the photo and see the angle my needle is going in at, I pull the needle through from underneath with stab stitches towards my body. If I were to pull the needle away from me, it might pull out some threads.


Whew, long post. I'll tell you about my curves and outer points next time. Oh that sounds funny! If you have left me a nice comment or asked me a question and you haven't had a reply, it's because you are down as anonymous or no-reply blogger. You can either change that in your profile or contact me at my email address which is under my profile. Have a great weekend, I'll be stitching.

44 comments:

Nedra said...

wow you do beautiful work!

Lizzie said...

Beautiful stitches Janet.

Terrie Sandelin said...

Curves and outer points indeed. That just made me giggle. Your stitching is incredible! Your detailed photos are so informative.

Janet said...

What a lovely first block to start with. You share so much great information - thanks!

Deb said...

Ow Janet I so wish you were here where I could call on your expertise more easily. You do such beautiful work.

Lurline said...

So beautiful, Janet - I have just posted so will do a PS so folks can get applique tips!
Hugs - Lurline♥

susi said...

hello,janet,beautiful work and thanks for the tips,susi

Julia said...

Just beautiful Janet!..
it's going to be an awesome beautiful quilt!
Julia ♥

Chookyblue...... said...

thanks for the tips..........wished I could join you on this quilt journey but I just don't have enough time to keep up with you........I will be watching........the quilt looks beautiful

Martina said...

I love appliqué. Thank you for sharing with all these pictures. That's great and helpful.

CabbageQuilts said...

Thanks for sharing how you do your applique Janet, I might do that on my blog sometime too. It is always so good to see how other people do things and pick up hints and tips from them. And as always, your work is incredible!! xo

jean said...

Thanks so much for sharing Janet, I am determined to master the needleturn method and you make it look simpler.
Have a lovely weekend stitching :-)

Kathie said...

I am so jealous!!! still waiting for my background fabric to come!
maybe today or tomorrow!
can't wait to see your first block done!
thanks for the tips, great photos for us visual learners!
Kathie

Crispy said...

Thank you Janet, I just love posts like this, full of info and pictures. We do some things the same way but it's fun to see someone else doing it too and doing it so well, your stitches are invisible!!

Crispy

Karen said...

Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I'm learning to applique and started with the spray starch method. However I found I didn't care as much for this method and I think I would much prefer the needleturn method. I love reading your blog

Carol said...

What a wonderful post Janet...thank you for all the great tips.

Quilt Hollow said...

Great tutorial!!! Seriously....I haven't the patience for needle turn and you make it look so easy! I loved the tip about the looser weave of fabric because I do find that a struggle.

Stephanie said...

I admire the beauty of applique and those with the patience to do it. Your work is perfection.

Kaaren said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Janet. Everything made PERFECT sense, especially with the accompanying photos. I've never done the cut away method but I can certainly see how this would work.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Oh, and did I say, thank you?

Fiesta said...

Janet thank you for sharing such a wonderful post.

be*mused jan said...

I love to see *how others do it*! Will you be using the same fabrics in each block or varying them within the colorways?

Carrie P. said...

Great post Janet.
Great photos too. These tips will really help beginners. I just added a link on my blog to yours so people who love to applique as much as we do can see your great works.

EJ180 said...

Thanks for the great pics and information. I'm trying to learn on my own appliqueing since my "hands on" class was canceled. I am always thankful for those whom are willing to share their knowledge. I've been quilting for almost 20 years, but hand appliqueing now for a couple of months. I've dabbled before but not as serious as I have been lately. Thanks again to both you and Carrie for sharing with me your site.

alobsiger said...

What a fantastic post, Janet! Fantastic info and fantastic inspiration! Your work is gorgeous!

Darlene said...

I keep telling you how amazed I am with your talent and now here you go again - dazzling and wowing me! This is an awesome post - thank you for your inspiration and for sharing your knowledge.

Juliann said...

Great pictures of your applique methods. I just love applique and appreciate your beautiful work.

Dixie said...

Its wonderful to see how you do your applique. I have really enjoyed this as a reference tool.

Janet said...

The order for the pattern went in the mail today. When it arrives I'll be back to reread your hints. Wish me luck.

ranette said...

I want to do this quilt so badly, but I know that I just do not have the skills I would need. I have given thought to booking a flight to come and spend some time with you Janet...lol...really I have! :o)
I will just have to live vicariously through you and Kathie and dream of the day when I can do work as beautiful as yours!

Karen said...

You are giving very valuable information. I, too, like to make the bias strips the same way as you and store them on rolls. If I have an empty paper towel cardboard roll, that is what I prefer. I have been known to use the cardboard rolls from toilet tissue but it is not as sturdy.
I have not used the fray stop in hand applique but something to think about.

QUILTILNLG IS BLISSFUL, DI said...

Hi Janet--you are doing it again--just beautiful work--I also do alot of needle turn applique and I do use tiny stitches--yet, I too have found some of the fabrics have larger threads and they fray out easily and those points can be "mean" had not thought of fray check!! and I had not thought of putting my bias strips on a roll to keep them turned--thanks for the tips! I'll be back--hugs, just, Di

Robin said...

This post is full of wonderful information. I'm definitely going to have to try the fray check trick. I look forward to seeing how this quilt comes together.

Maree said...

Thanks for a Lovely Tutorial & for the Tip on Fray Stop...don't you hate that when it Fray's...
Gorgeous Block..
cheers

Eileen said...

This is a very good tutorial Janet. Wonderful! Thanks so much. Very clear pictures. You included a lot of little tips that are a lot of times left out.

Sheila said...

I envy those who, like you, do beautiful applique. Your tips make it very do-able, so I'll add it to my 'bucket list.' Thanks so much for sharing.

Lynne said...

It's great to come across someone who enjoys handstitching and applique. Your work is lovely I especially like the previous block.

Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

Janet, your applique work and hand quilting are amazing. The closeup pictures show the perfection of your work. This is going to be an heirloom quilt.

Barb said...

I am glad I came by today....love the instructions. I love applique but think I stink at it. When you have time, come by my blog to enter my giveaway...

YankeeQuilter said...

I have been tempted to make a Mary for years. I was a member of the Baltimore Applique Society when the pattern was made! So glad to see folks are still using it!

kmcl said...

Hi Janet, love your blog and the quilts! Great fabric choices. I've done the Manakee quilt except I drew up three blocks to replace hers. Did mine with a shirting background. Kim McLean

Judy said...

Wow Janet, that exactly the way I learned to do applique! I learned most of it from reading Elly Senkiewicz's (sp?) Baltimore album books. But I do have the Piece O' Cake gals book and dvd too.

I think one of the best tool is my holding (left) hand. I hold that edge tight and when the needle comes up I tilt my fingers and hand with the fold so it looks at me and the needle tilts right out the side of the fold. Then angling the needle so the tip goes into the background just beneath the edge makes the best as close to invisible stitch I can get!

Thanks for all your tips! It's lovely!

Robyn said...

Thanks heaps Janet,
I just found your tutes...lol
I know I'm slow...but in my defense I'm usually looking at your beautiful work!!
Thanks for doing this and going to the trouble....it really helps!
I really appreciate it very much.
hugs
Robyn xx

Debbie kelly said...

This is a neat way of doing applique.I have done back basting but not cutting just before you stitch.I know it seems alot of the repro fabrics are heavy woven and tend to fray a lot so this would be a good way to stitch them.

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