Saturday, July 18, 2009

Going round in circles

For the last part of my little venture into explaining my needle turn applique, I'll try to show you how I tackle those curves and round shapes. Sorry the colours are not good in this photo, all these circles were needle turned in this quilt.

First, an oval shape is done with the same method. Make sure your s.a is small, like 1/8" otherwise you'll have to cope with a lot of pleats. Turn under with the needle or damp toothpick only a stitch or two ahead, no more. In applique, your thumb that is holding the fabric is your best friend and kept close to where the stitch comes out. This gives you a lot of control.

Sometimes, I use the shaft of the toothpick near its point to roll under the s.a and smooth it out. In that case, I sort of lift the s.a up a little with the toothpick rather than just trying to shove it under with the point. The toothpick is great for smoothing out by running it backwards and forwards to smooth things out. Gentle is the way to go.

Reverse applique is no more difficult than with the piece on the top. The lavender is under the purple.
For inside curves only, clip all the way around. I use the shaft of the toothpick ahead of where I want to stitch and pull under the s.a towards me then hold it in place with my left thumb.

I don't clip outside curves, it just isn't necessary or desirable.
There is one small exception and that's when I'm doing a circle.

See where I'm making a small cut on the bias of the fabric, to the left of that cut is my starting point. This circle is 3/4" I do like the circle templates so I'm only doing it this way to show you.
The trick is to only be concerned about the next stitch, don't worry past that. Again, an 1/8" s.a.

I use the needle tip to turn only the s.a one stitch in front of me. The s.a is turned under and towards me, like I am fanning it. I've tried to show a diagram here. Remember, one stitch at a time.
Now comes the tricky bit, the last stitch or two. Don't panic, turn it under with that toothpick or needle tip and smooth it out. That cut you make at the beginning is what makes this part easier because you don't have some big pleat to try and arrange. Be gentle with those s.a's.
Whew, it's so hard trying to explain things by writing it down. I hope some of my methods have helped or encouraged you.
Must be time for chocolate. This is my attempt at playing domestic goddess today.

You just know these ingredients are going to taste good together. My little soapbox rant is how the food companies are reducing the weight of ingredients while still charging the same price. As though we don't notice! Looky here, a 250g (8oz) block of chocolate is now 200g. As if I wouldn't notice that.

No Bake Chocolate Hazelnut slice.
Delicious, special treat and full of calories. You want the recipe don't you? It freezes well, that's if it lasts.
125 g (4 oz) butter
3/4 cup condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
250 g (8oz) pkt plain biscuits, finely crushed
1 cup flaked almonds
250 g (8 oz) block hazelnut chocolate.
60 g (2oz) vegetable shortening (copha is our brand)
Melt together butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened, careful it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pot.
Place biscuit crumbs and almonds into a bowl, add melted ingredients and mix well.
Press into a paper lined slice pan ( mine is about 11" x 7 1/2") Refrigerate while preparing topping.
Combine chocolate and vegetable shortening in a pot and stir over low heat until melted.
Pour chocolate mix over base and refrigerate until set.
Cut into small squares when firm.
I don't think you get golden syrup in America in which case use a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. Gee now what to do with the rest of that second block of chocolate? I suppose you could get away with the one block. Nah!
P.S go here to see the New Zealand ad about Cadbury's chocolate. Palm oil is used in their product which is what comes from the amazon rain forests. I'm switching product after finding this out.


Juliann said...

Your pictures are so great. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this great applique help. And how interesting about the food labeling. You just have to read everything these days.

Liz said...

Thanks Janet for your applique help, I love needle turn and it's always good to see how other people cope with 'little' things. Now I will have to try that slice even if Cadbury things we are all stupid!!
Big hugs, lizzie

Nedra said...

Wonderful tutorial and pictures. You make applique look so easy.
And I'll have to try that recipe. Yum.

Martina said...

Thanks for your tutorial. This is really great. I just started with needleturnappliqué this year and just love it, and so it's wonderful to have such good advice. Mmh this choclate recipe sounds very yummy...

Miriam said...

Thank you Janet for another set of very clear instructions. Your photos are a great addition to the words.

Mmmmm yummmm Cadbury Dairy Milk!!!! I haven't had any in ages!!! That recipe looks delicious.

wishes, true and kind said...

Thank you for the nice tutorial. And I haven't really paid attention to packaging sizes and weights, but my husband pointed it out to me. Instead of jacking up the prices, they just give us less for the same price -- hoping that people like me won't notice.

jean said...

LOL LOL you not only have given us a wonderful lesson in needleturn and thanks for that but you have also made the post very amusing.
I'm off to have a glass of medicine and try my hand at needletun circles, you make it sound so easy.

cinzia said...

great applique hints but I still prefer the method where I persuade someone else to do it... are you willing :)
must say your hazelnut choc bar is to die for... I am on a diet.. well should be but am finding it very difficult. three weeks went well and one and a half weeks have eaten it all back on... can't have that choc slice.. yet

antique quilter said...

great post!
love the tip about cutting the s/a before appliqueing that little circle
I also use needle turn appliqué and I agree the 1/8th inch seam allowance for those small pieces is the key! I remember in the beginning I was soooo hesitant about cutting the s/a that little
great tutorial...

Doina said...

I like the things you have made and show on your blog!

Abby and Stephanie said...

I have a friend who LOVES to applique and is always looking for better techniques to help her. I sent her to your blog. Thanks for the recipe!!!

Kim Brackett said...

Thanks so much for taking time to explain this method. You're applique' looks so perfect! You've inspired me to give needleturn another chance.

Terry said...

Thanks for the great recipe! It's looks wonderful! I've noticed the same thing for years now...instead of increasing the price of something, they just make it smaller instead. Enjoy your weekend! :0)

ozjane said...

Re recipe...know I know why I love Lindt.......and please no one tell me that has junk in it.

I wonder how that recipe would go with roasted hazlenuts..woolworths have them so guess Coles does also.
But then Lindt has choc almond chocolate....oh the horns of the dilemna.
I am no milk chocolate fan.
I did write up a yummy choc slice yonks ago in my blog but it got ignored...sobs....about time I made some again. I have this guilty looking stack of Lindt choc bars in the fridge that I bought whenever they were on special.
I love the what happens when you make something yummy and luxurious.
People say "oh that is rich"
Almost as if you had them bound and gagged to eat the lot. of course it is rich. You have a petite amount.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic tutorial as you make it look all so easy! Then you left me with a chocolate post...yummo! Your right about all the packages becoming smaller! Ice Cream too!!

Unknown said...

This method is great and is the one I learned from Piece O Cake. I took a class with Becky Goldsmith, she was fantastic. I just wish I appliqued more. Your work is phenomenal. Definitely, you should enter that quilt in a show if you haven't already. Thanks for the recipe.

edie said...

You have made my day! Chocolate. Applique. Applique circles. All my favorite things. Thank you so very much for your F. A. N. T. A. S. T. I. C. tutorials. I have been using the Perfect Circle templates, and have had great success with them, but your tutorial is timely as I have an oval halo to do on a current project. Thanks again for your blog and the super, super tutorials! Edie in very hot and windy Texas (very hot, must eat chocolate before it melts!)

ranette said...

Thank you Janet for taking the time to demonstrate circles and reverse applique. I'm going to print all of it off for reference, if that's okay.

I also have noticed that food companies are selling smaller packages and charging the same and sometimes more. It makes me so they think we're idiots?!

My husband loves hazelnut so I might make the recipe for him and I'll just have to eat some too I

Cathi said...

Great info on needle turn applique. Another tip I just learned is to use a drop of basting glue here & there. Works great & can be rinsed out.

Anonymous said...

Actually Lyle's Golden Syrup is available in the US at Cost Plus World Markets and at places that sell supplies for making beer. I get it for making bread.And I have another English recipe for cookies that calls for it.

Another substitute for it is half parts (or 1 tbs each) Karo light and dark syrup.

Beautiful applique. Thanks for the excellent instrucitons. Will you also do inverted points?


Carrie P. said...

Wow, perfect circles. I tried many times to needle turn circles but never did the clipping. That is probably why I never go nice circles that way. So I always used the Perfect Circle maker from Karen Kay Buckley but I think I will try your technique. Thanks.

FlourishingPalms said...

You're so generous to take the time to photograph, draw and explain how you applique circles. I depend on a circle template, but may give your method a try after reading your great instructions.

If anyone wants to know how to applique TINY circles, go to to read Di's May 20 tutorial. It was a lifesaver when I needed to make perfect 1 mm circles. Linda in Iowa, USA

Victoria Findlay Wolfe said...

love that block! only had a minute and I had to come see it! love it!

Sue said...

Such another nice tutorial! You have been a big help to me as I am rather new to applique.
Thank you so much!

Darlene said...

Wonderful tutorial. I don't needleturn because when I tried to learn I failed miserably. And, to top it off the teacher told me that I would never applique. Oh well - she was oh so wrong. LOL

YankeeQuilter said...

Wonderful tutorial! In the US you can also substitute some light Karo Syrup with a bit of dark brown sugar in your recipe....

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Thank you for the great tips and photos on applique.

Julia said...

Thanks Janet for your applique tips...You have expalned ti perfectly and easy to follow..
I need to make my s.a. smaller, that's where i have been going wrong..
Julia ♥

Crispy said...

I've really enjoyed your tutorial and it's amazing how we approach applique in much the same way, however, I've never done the snip before I start a circle. This is something I will be trying ASAP. I hate wrestling with that ending pleat.

Thank you so much!!


Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Janet a fantastic tutorial I am going to have another go at needle turn....I will also have a go at the slice, thanks so much...

Cathy @ CabbageQuilts said...

Beautiful explanation of needleturn Janet, I love your pics. I love your recipe too, I'm off to find some New Zealand chocolate, thanks for the tip! xo

Janet said...

That looks really yummy! Thanks for the tutorial on curves - I will try that idea of a little clip when starting to applique a circle - it looks like a great tip!

Karen said...

Great tutorial Janet. I always learn something new from you. I have never clipped around circles before, but do use a tiny seam allowance and they come out pretty good. Next time I will clip and see how that goes.

quiltfuchs said...

Hi Janet, I love you're way to applique! So tiny stitches, I put my glasses on, but I couldn't see them, they are nearly invisible - great!!

Sonja said...

Thank you very much for your method, Janet!!! For sure, I'll try it!
I begun with another method (fusible, iron, etc) but too complicated for me... So I decided to use Kellie's Machine Appliqué method.
Of course, it's not the same and I'd love to succeed with the Traditional Appliqué method (perhaps with your's;)

kathyk said...

I love to dream while looking at your gorgeous applique! So love the tutorials you do also, you are a great teacher! Great blog too!

Kathy in Michigan said...

Hi I was reading about your circles, I have the hardest time with going to try what you do, yours look Perfect!! Thank you for the explanation, Hugs, Mary