If you’re a quilter, at some point you will probably find a need for a paper backed fusible. At one time I was a traditional quilter who thought using fusibles on my quilts was in some way “cheating”. I still prefer my Repliqué method for machine appliqué because it requires no fusibles and avoids the stiffness that heat activated glue yields. But, there are times when I do succumb to fusing.
For my comparison I used the four commercial paper backed fusibles that are readily available in my area: Wonder Under™, Heat n Bond Lite™, Steam a Seam II™, and EZ Steam™. The first two have tracing/release paper on only one side of the web, and the glue isn’t activated until heat is applied. The remaining two have tracing/release paper on one or both sides of the web, and have a pressure sensitive adhesive on at least one side, in addition to the heat activated glue.
There are two advantages to the pressure sensitive adhesive: they can be used to fuse sheers (tulle, organza, etc.), and any appliqué pieces made with them are re-positionable, which is helpful when arranging a design on a background fabric.
The one obvious note that I’d like to make at this point is that the products containing only a heat activated glue will not cause a “glue ball” to build up on your needle when sewing through the appliqués. The ones with the pressure sensitive adhesive will form that “glue ball” on the needle. I used to clean off the needle with an alcohol soaked cotton ball when needed, but I’ve learned a new trick: if you wipe your needle with Sewer’s Aid on a cotton ball prior to sewing through the appliqué the “glue ball” will not form.
My method for comparison – I chose a shape and created three appliqué hearts from each product according to packaging directions. I made the shapes from muslin and wrote which product it was made with on the appliqué.
I then cut three strips of a background fabric and fused one of each of my hearts onto each strip. On one set I top-stitched the edges down, on another I satin stitched (using scrap paper as my stabilizer on the back), and on the third I did a blind hem stitch, to mimic a blanket stitch because I didn’t have that stitch on the machine I was using.
Here are my findings:
* All four products fused the appliqués well.
* The release paper came off easily, with a gentle separating pressure along an edge, from all but the Wonder Under™. For that I had to score the release paper in an “X” with a needle in the center back of the appliqué, and pull it off from the created corners.
* The Heat n Bond Lite™ was the only one with a pattern in the glue. I found it does show through on light color appliqués.
* From what I could tell, they all added about the same amount of stiffness, no matter what the stitch.
One last hint: fusibles may age poorly, especially in very humid areas. They will last longer if stored in an air-tight container or bag.
Last Summer I shared the story of a winter quilt I’d completed (click here to read that post). Well, it’s finally hanging on the wall!
Today’s post is about another winter wall quilt, recently finished, and a quick tutorial on a fun raw edge appliqué technique that doesn’t require fusibles! It’s a very different quilt from the first one, and is hung in a unique way.
In November my friend Doris Deutmeyer gave a lecture and workshop for Patched Lives quilt guild. You may have seen her wonderful work at quilt shows, as she vends at many of them. Her patterns and kits are great, and just in case you’d like to see more, go to: http://fabricationsbydoris.com/wpsite/. I was excited to take her class and chose a winter scene called Crystal Night. This is the pattern and the piece I left class with (some of the students got theirs pieces done and matted!)
Mike and I like to repurpose antiques for our own use and enjoyment (to see another antique repurposing project from a few years ago, click here). Years ago we needed a towel rack in the master bathroom. We found an old window, Mike added coat hooks to the sides and I made an autumn landscape quilt to fit inside it. Since we have no windows in this bathroom (only skylights), it seemed the perfect answer.
I had told Mike I’d make a quilt for every season – but that never happened. As I was making my Crystal Night quilt I realized the time had arrived to change out the seasons (or at least one of them)!
I ordered some extra fabric from Doris, because the new center was too small for the window. I measured how much I needed to add to all 4 sides, knowing the sides were going to be a bit of a challenge. I wanted the distant trees and mountains to match up and look more organic – a straight seam would be too obvious.
I decided to use one of my favorite “raw edged landscape” techniques. I placed the light blue fabric over the dark blue, making sure there was enough overlap. Then I drew a “mountain” line and stitched:
Next I trimmed close to the line.
Once both sides were done I added them and sewed the additional sky and snow on top and bottom. After layering, quilting, binding and placing it in the frame – we have a towel rack with a winter view:
The Springtime view is already beginning to percolate through my brain.
Do you like to repurpose antiques? Any pictures you’d like to share?
Important information about our upcoming cruise
***And now for my topic of the week***
I usually like to design my own projects, but these scarecrows were just too cute, and I promised myself I would make it this year! I pulled it out in the beginning of September only to realize I didn’t really feel like tracing/cutting out all those little pieces. Inspiration struck when I thought about scanning the pattern into my Brother Scan ‘n Cut™, and letting this wonderful machine do the tedious work. It was a great project for me to learn more about what my Scan ‘n Cut™ can do (to read my previous Scan ‘n Cut™ post click here).
Once the pieces were all fused and cut out, Sommer helped me to “build” the scarecrows. She was disappointed when I ironed them down
and machine blanket stitched around them,
because she couldn’t keep playing with them. So she offered to draw the faces. I stalled until mommy came to pick her up. That night I told Mike about it and he said I should let her. Duh!
The next day I had her draw some faces on paper first. We talked about different expressions, and shapes for eyes and mouths. I was amazed at how confident she was. Then I handed her a washout marker (grandma loves her, but she’s not crazy 😀 !) and stepped back. Without hesitation she drew every face: boom! boom! boom! She was done and never even needed to turn the piece around to draw the upside down scarecrows!!!
And here’s the finished runner:
I love them! I traced over Sommer’s lines with permanent marker. I think it’s my favorite table runner ever.
A few semesters ago, Sue came to my Open Lab class. This was her story:
“My first quilting project was a queen sized quilt. I saw the Amish quilt pattern in a Good Housekeeping magazine in 1977 and fell in love with it…probably for two reasons. The photo showed the quilt in reds and blues and those are my favorite colors so it caught my eye immediately. Also, the name of the pattern is “Lancaster Country Rose” and since I grew up in Lancaster, WI, it seemed like it was meant for me to make. As I mentioned, I had never quilted before, so I pieced the quilt by following the directions of the pattern and then quilted the entire quilt by hand on a large oval hoop quilting frame. My journey into quilting had begun. You can imagine my disappointment when, after only a few years, the quilt faded.
Unable to part with it after so much work, I stored it away.
I retired several years ago and began quilting in earnest. I decided that I had learned a few tips and tricks over the years and maybe I could find an easier way to make this pattern again. I like trying new techniques and wondered if I could make this pattern using the “quilt-as-you-go” technique. (This technique is often called the “reversible” quilt technique.) I signed up for Chris Kirsch’s open lab class at WCTC and took my pattern, fabric and questions to the class. Chris assured me that I could make the quilt using the “quilt-as-you-go” technique. So I forged ahead – this time making a king-sized quilt. I used some new applique techniques that I had learned over the years and I did all of the quilting on my sewing machine. Thirty-seven years after making the first quilt, I still love this pattern and I am very happy with the results.
And here are the pictures of Sue’s new “old” quilt!
I was very impressed! Making this quilt once would have been a respectable fete, but to do it again 37 years later – what a great story! Sue’s workmanship is wonderful, and she is a quick study when it comes to learning new quilting techniques. I’m so pleased to have had a small part in this beautiful quilt. Thank you so much for sharing your quilt and it’s story with us Sue!
Have you ever remade a quilt? What was your reason? We’d love to hear your story!
A blessed Easter Sunday to you all!
My first attempt at a modern quilt was the one I just finished for our new grandson Trey Michael.
Mommy had chosen navy, green and brown for the nursery colors, and she likes a more clean, modern look. So I decided to give it a try.
I chose a tan for the background, to match the walls, and began cutting out circles of the fabrics I’d used for the curtains. I added some other circles that fit the look, and stitched them in place using Sharon Schamber’s Piece-liqué technique.
I decided to “poof” the circles using a faux trapunto technique (perhaps a future blog topic 🙂 ). And did some really fast, simple and fun echo quilting.
Then I realized the trapunto poly batt circles weren’t anchored, so I did some quilting inside each circle too. Each circle was quilted, but the “wagon wheel” in the brown circle and the spiral in the green circle are the most visible.
I also quilted in his initial, the year, and signed the quilt on the front with contrasting thread. It was an easy and enjoyable process, and Trey seems to really like it!
When the top was done and it was ready to baste, I had an “aha” moment. I like to safety pin baste my quilts in a frame (it really helps to prevent puckers on the back). I did a blog post on this many years ago (click here to read about it). My problem has always been that my boards for the frame are king sized and it’s such a pain to use them when doing a smaller quilt. So Mike and I made a trip to the lumber yard and purchased four 60″ boards for under $6. Why didn’t I do this sooner? Well, it works great, and I can easily put the frame up in the dining room, because I don’t need a 12′ open area.
This project was a joy. I don’t think I’ll become a “modern only” quilter, but I’m sure I’ll try another one soon.
Are you a modern quilter? Would you like to share one of your quilts with us? If so, please send me a picture at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And on a personal note –
This past week Trey turned 3 weeks old and Sommer turned 3 years old. We had her birthday party this weekend and grandma made her a princess cake (Belle) to go with the party theme. It was fun, but I think I’d rather work with fabric than frosting 🙂 !
During a guild “Show & Tell” last year, a member showed a quilt that grabbed me. My immediate reaction was “my daughter-in-law would love that!” I asked about the pattern and ordered it right away (you can find this pattern at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/FrivolousNecessity?ref=em).
Last week Betsy asked me to show her how to make Christmas covers for her throw pillows. We went shopping for the fabric, giving me insight into the colors she prefers. I was pleased to realize that the colors she chose were almost identical to those on the pattern (I guess I can guess her tastes pretty well :-)). So this week I found the pattern (under a pile in my studio!) and began tracing all the swirls onto fusible web, ironing them to the appropriate fabric, cutting them out and fusing them in place:
Here’s a quick “learn from my mistake” tip – I knew I should use a press cloth of some sort when pressing the pieces onto the background. So I grabbed an older piece of parchment paper, not realizing it had some fusible residue on it, and pressed away. I ended up with unpleasant marks that wouldn’t come out. I was able to cover them with white fabric paint, but it would have been much easier if I had used a fresh press cloth!
Once the swirls were fused, it was time to secure them. The pattern included a number of methods for stitching them down, but I was looking for S-I-M-P-L-E, so I decided to sandwich the quilt layers together and cover it all with white netting!
This part made me smile because I’d saved the white netting from Brad and Betsy’s wedding. Betsy and her mom did a beautiful job of draping and swirling the reception hall in yards and yards of it. While we were cleaning up afterwards I rescued the netting before it hit the trash!
I then pinned the layers together, checking as I went for bits of thread and/or dog hair, which I removed from under the netting with a tweezers:
Next I free motion quilted in white thread along the edges of every swirl, completing the background with quilted spirals. It was so much fun that I made a second one for my daughter in Washington.
What Christmas projects are you working on??? I’d love to see pictures. Please send them to me at: email@example.com.
Wendy and I are anxiously anticipating our Baltic adventure this coming May. We will be taking a group of quilters (and a few non-quilting companions) on a spectacular cruise and we have an opening we wanted to make you aware of:
Roommate needed to share balcony cabin on the Norwegian Star!
Sailing the Baltic Sea 17 May-29 May 2014
$3439 ($3314 if paying with cash or check)
Includes: cruise (incl. taxes & fees), pre & post stay (one night each) in Copenhagen, group airport transfers in Copenhagen, soft drinks and all meals on board, tours in Copenhagen before and after cruise, group excursions and free time in each port (Rostock, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden), visits with local fiber artists, hands on classes and lectures on board, gratuities for ship staff, and loads of fun!
The students in my Open Lab class at WCTC are always bringing in interesting projects to work on! This semester June Puls chose to create a winter quilt from the book: Snowfolk Friends by K.P. Kids (I did a web search and the book is out of print 🙁 ). The quilt contains rows of delightful snowpeople and winter designs that are meant to be created using fusible web appliqué. In brief: each little piece needed to be traced onto fusible web, fused to the correct fabric, cut out and put together on the background fabric “jigsaw puzzle” style. There were so many tiny parts to the snowpeople row June was a bit overwhelmed:
So I suggested using Repliqué. Repliqué is the technique from my first 2 books: “Repliqué Quilts” and “Snuggle & Learn Quilts For Kids”. I know that many of you own one of these books, but perhaps you hadn’t thought of using it for this type of project! In brief: the pattern is traced full size, each part of the design is stitched directly onto this tracing from the pattern side, turned to the fabric side, trimmed close to the stitching and then the raw edges are covered with with a satin stitch finish. June seemed skeptical at first, but is now a believer!
Just about any pattern written for fusible appliqué can be Repliquéd. Also, photographs and children’s drawings can also be recreated in fabric with this technique. And one of the best benefits is that the quilt keeps a soft “hand” because there is no added stiffness from the fusible web.
Have you used Repliqué in a unique way? I’d love to hear about it!
Last week I posted about free motion quilting around appliqués and this week I’d like to tell you about that quilt. My niece Kaitlin was married on December 30 and back in November my Mom and I had a shower for her. While planning the event Mom mentioned that it would be nice to hang a banner from the loft (we live in a log home and our bedroom overlooks the living room). I thought about printing one on paper, but then inspiration hit ….
I appliquéd each letter of Kaitlin and Marty’s names on a quilt block, using my Repliqué technique (from my second book: Snuggle & Learn Quilts for Kids), and hung them from a clothesline.
Then I made those blocks into a cuddly lap quilt as my wedding gift to them!
So here’s the beautiful new couple:
And here’s the quilt:
It was an enjoyable project and I even found matching flannel for the back!
Waukesha County Technical College – Quilting Classes
The new semester is just underway and I wanted to mention a few of my upcoming classes (Wendy is teaching some great classes too and all the information can be found at www.wctc.edu ; click on class search; scroll down and type “quilting” in the “Course Title/Subject” box and click on submit)
My “Open Lab” classes are a great place to get quilts finished while spending time with a wonderful group of quilters on Thursday afternoon. There are three sessions this semester and each one is four weeks long.
I’m also offering these one day workshops:
Saturday, Feb. 11
Learn to create silhouettes in fabric with this fun, free motion satin stitch technique. The class project will be a floral design, but we’ll also discuss how any picture – a grandchild at play, a friend’s profile, a cherished pet, etc. — could be created using this simple technique.
Irish Chain – Friday, Feb. 24
Create a charming, traditional double Irish Chain quilt, with simple strip piecing techniques, in plenty of time for St. Patrick’s Day!
Simply Dynamic – Saturday, March 10
By using just two different fabrics and a simple block, create an amazing variety of quilt designs. The only challenge is deciding which arrangement is your favorite! This course is designed for quilters of all levels.
Beyond Meandering Friday, April 13 Students will learn spirals, leaves, stars, snowflakes and so much more! Make quilting the quilt as much fun as stitching the top. Bring along a quilt top and we’ll brainstorm how to quilt it.
Just a quick note as I do my final packing for Ireland.
My current book: Snuggle & Learn Quilts for Kids is available through Martingale & Co. and can be purchased in quilt shops and on line. I have a trunk show of quilts from the book that has traveled for almost 2 years and is coming home for a rest. If you know of someone who owns a shop and would be interested in displaying the show, please pass along my blog address. There is no charge for hosting the show and a fun 4 step demonstration of my Replique technique is also included.
Here are some of my best satin stitching tips:
1. Machine set up: Set the machine for zig zag. The stitch width will be increased. The amount of increase depends on the look you want, but keep in mind that the wider the zig zag, the bigger the “bite” into the appliqué and the stronger it will be in a quilt that will get used and loved. The stitch length should be decreased to almost zero. The stitches should be close together, but not on top of each other.
2. Match the thread color to the fabric which is being appliquéd. This way if the fabric shows between the stitches, it won’t be obvious (compare orange to black stitching in “K”). I feel that satin stitching puts a lot of holes in the fabric which can weaken it a bit. By matching the thread color the length can be relaxed a little and still yield good results. If you absolutely must use a contrasting thread you will need to shorten the stitch length.
3. Use a stabilizer underneath the block. Without stabilizer the stitches tend to pull together and cause what’s called “tunneling” and the result is puckers. Many different stabilizers are available for purchase: wash away, tear away and heat away, just to name a few. I prefer scrap paper from my computer. It’s a good way to recycle misprints and costs nothing. When doing Repliqué the paper which the pattern is printed on is already in place and works great. Satin stitching puts so many holes so close together that paper removal is easy :-).
I’ve just returned from a very enjoyable weekend teaching at the first annual Sewing and Quilting Expo held at UW-Platteville. There was a nice variety of presenters, great vendors and entertaining evening programs. Next year’s event will be held June 10th & 11th and I highly recommend it! I wish I could post a picture of some of the fun, but alas, I forgot my camera :-(.
It’s time for my next “topic of the week” and, since I just did a Saturday lecture on Repliqué and it’s fresh in my mind – satin stitching seemed like a good choice. This machine stitch is made by increasing the stitch width and decreasing the stitch length. It can be used as a design element or to cover the raw edge of an appliqué. Of all the ways to appliqué, this is my favorite. So much so that I’ve written 2 books on the subject!
Do you like to do satin stitch appliqué? What do you like/dislike about it? Are there questions you have on how to improve your technique? Do you have a tip to share?
I’d love to hear from you. I look forward to any comments and will address them as well as some of the questions I hear most often from students in my Thursday post!
PS Yesterday my son, Brad, graduated from Madison Media Institute with a degree in audio engineering. It was a proud moment. If you happen to know of any job leads in the area of sound production or recording, please let me know :-).