Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bird by Bird - Part 3

In the book Applique Mastery by Philippa Naylor, you're given a a template of one quarter of the quilt and it is very, very large but thankfully, the author had the foresight to include the patterns on the back pages of the book. I was able to lay the book on my copy machine and scan the pages into either a .PDF or .JPEG files. The Silhouette software only takes .jpegs.

I want a lot, if not all, of the applique pieces in this quilt to have folded edges as opposed to raw edge. So that means I need to cut designs out of fusible interfacing and fabric but I need the fabric to be slightly bigger. The idea is to iron the interfacing onto the fabric and have enough fabric around the interfacing to pull over the edges making the edge look nice an neat. If you want raw edge applique pieces, it means that you can see where the fabric has been cut and the edge may fray. You would iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric first, then cut your piece out in the exact size you need it.

(I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about the Silhouette software and how to use it. I will say that it is fairly easy to use and if you want to make a lot of cut outs (paper, vinyl or fabric), that the Cameo Silhouette is awesome and totally worth the price. Besides, a lot of quilt kits are now available with the option of buying pre-cut shapes (raw edge) but believe me you're going to pay for those shapes so you might as well invest in something like the Cameo and be able to use it for any future project you may have.)

Okay back to my testing...

I tested a Pellon non-woven, fusible, interfacing and Pellon fusible, Heavy Wonder Under (HWU). It's the interfacing I had in my craft room. I pulled up a design in Silhouette, cut a 12x12" piece of fusible, lightly pressed it to the sticky mat and did several test cuts on each fusible. The heavy WU worked the best but the other was fine too although some of the glue web stuck to the mat but it came off easily. The glue web of the HWU did not. Guess I better make sure I put the glue side up.

Next, I took a scrap piece of fabric and pressed it to the mat and did a test. It failed horribly. The fabric slid around on the mat and needless to say it didn't get cut. I ironed the fabric to some freezer paper and it cut it out beautifully. It didn't cut all the way through to the freezer paper but the fabric was cut just fine.

So I need to buy a lot of heavy WU and more freezer paper and then I can get cutting. Just to mention, my test design was a circle (approx. 1.5") and I covered 2 - 12x12" mats of circles and I got roughly 30 circles of interfacing and 25 fabric circles in about 2 minutes or less of cut time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bird by Bird - Part 2

I've picked my fabric, which I agonized over but won't go into the sad details of that. It's just too embarrassing for me. Anyway, according to the pattern, you need 3 printed fabrics and 7 solid type fabrics.

I wanted something bright and colorful so shopped online. I can see a lot more fabrics online than at my local quilt shop but I normally don't like to shop online for fabrics that I have something specifically in mind for like this quilt. I can buy random fabric and make it work for totes or bags but for this I would rather see the fabric in person.

When you shop online you can't touch it and you can only HOPE the swatch they show is accurate. I really like the ruler at the bottom of the swatch below. This should show you that what you're seeing is a large square of the fabric. This one happens to be around 17x17" some are 12x12" but you get the idea. You should see some repeat in the swatch so you know that the whole pattern is being shown. I've purchased a batik fabric before and when I got it, I saw it was yellow with a brown aqua marbling, which I did not want in my yellow fabric. Needless to say I wasn't all that happy. I checked online where I bought the fabric and sure enough, no brown/aqua marbling showed on the swatch. So be careful.

This fabric is from Michael Miller's Fiesta line called Esme in Chocolate and I found it at but had to purchase it at

So I found my main fabric. The pattern called for: A large flower print, a stripe and a dot fabric.

So I went ahead and found 2 more prints in the Fiesta line. My "dot" fabric isn't really a dot but I figure it will work anyway.

I picked my next 7 solid fabric colors using the main fabric swatch. I picked 2 aqua colors (light/dark), 2 oranges (light dark), 1 yellow (light), green (dark), and pink (medium). I have to admit, this fabric and colors are a little out of my comfort zone. I almost never use stripes and I haven't worked with this bold of colors before. The green I picked is more of a grass green and not really in the color scheme of the print fabric. That's okay. I'm thinking the darker green color will really pop against the lighter colors of the print and the solids. And green looks good next to all of them so it should be a win win.

Also noticed, I picked light/dark values. Sometimes when you see a really nice quilt at a show, its not about the colors it's about the value of the color that you like. Most people like to see a gradient of 1 color. For example, a quilt could have a range of value of one color like pink. It would range from very light pink, light pink, pink, medium pink and dark pink. That's the value of the color. If everything in the quilt is all one value it may look nice but adding a darker or lighter value will add another layer of interest.