New Orleans House Project

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hospital Sketches BOM: Hand Appliqué

For the past two years or so, I've been trying to perfect my machine appliqué skills.  I wanted to become proficient with machine appliqué because I believed using the sewing machine would help me finish projects more quickly.

My favorite method of machine appliqué is to prep the pieces using the freezer paper and starch method, then stitch the pieces in place using a small zig-zag stitch and fine monofilament or polyester thread.  I relied on a couple of resources to learn this technique:  Barbara Brackman's Quilter's Guide to Fine Machine Appliqué, Kim Diehl's Simple Appliqué, and the classic Mastering Machine Appliqué by Harriet Hargrave.

So there I was, happily stitching down lots of Mountain Laurel leaves for one of the Hospital Sketches BOM blocks, when my sewing machine developed a problem.  I knew I wouldn't be able to take the machine in to get checked out until the following week, so I decided to finish appliquéing the laurel leaves by hand.  

I quickly fell under the spell of hand stitching the appliqué pieces to the background fabric.  I also realized I could easily stitch a piece or two every morning before work - all I needed to do was sit down, thread a needle and stitch.  Somehow it seemed easier than prepping the sewing machine and doing the machine appliqué.  

Once I started to appreciate the soothing effects of hand appliqué, I figured I should try hand stitching another block in the Hospital Sketches BOM.  Tennessee Rose went together easily, especially since I was still using the freezer paper/starch prep method.

This morning I finished the eighth block in the series, Triple Tulips.  Only one more block left to finish for the Hospital Sketches BOM - and I guess I'll be using hand appliqué for that block, too.

Gathered Harvest block from 2018 BOM
Now that I've discovered how much I enjoy the hand appliqué process, I'm already thinking about future hand appliqué projects.  There's 2018's Gathered Harvest BOM that got set aside when Hospital Sketches started, and an Oak Leaf and Reel table runner pattern I've had on my wish list for some time...
This new-found love of hand appliqué seems like it will be a fun and satisfying enterprise.  My only concern is when will I find time for other hand stitching projects - like quilt binding and hand quilting?!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Few More Purple Scraps

September's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color was purple.  After finishing my planned purple scrap blocks, I didn't have a lot of scraps to stitch up blocks for the Parts Department.  Usually, having a month-long focus on a color pushes me to pull bits and pieces from the fabric stash and slice them up into useful sized strips and squares for the scrap bins.  That didn't happen with purple, because I got focused on some other projects.

I did have some two inch squares and strips to turn into 4-patch blocks and Carolina Chain blocks.

I also kept up with making Tiny Tuesday blocks, although I veered off course for two of my blocks.   The top left block is Crow's Foot and the top right block is London Roads - both from Judy Hopkins' 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks.  
The bottom two blocks were provided via Angela's Tiny Tuesday blocks:  Card Trick and Bright Hopes.  

The theme for October scraps is to use dark fabrics like black and brown.  That fits in nicely with one of my non-RSC projects: a black and gold Endless Chain quilt.
My oldest son recently moved to Denver, Colorado.  He requested a black and gold quilt to remind him of home (black and gold being the colors of the New Orleans Saints football team).  This will be a planned scrappy quilt, so I spent some time experimenting with different fabric combinations to see what would work.  I knew my son would not be a huge fan of metallic fabrics, so I stuck with several variations of gold-colored fabric instead.  It reads more like brown in the photograph, but it looks more gold in person.  Instead of cotton batting, I'm planning to use wool - I figure he'll need the warmth!

For more inspiration on using black and brown scraps, be sure to visit the Rainbow Scrap Challenge link up.