This week is about sewing all the blocks together. I am still working on the applique center and need to make more cross blocks, but I have all the smaller applique blocks finished. The next step in the process is to trim the smaller applique blocks to the correct size, if there are any blocks where any glue has been used when completing them I give them a rinse in lukewarm water with a little soft detergent, then rinse in clean water. I dry them over a towel with the wrong side facing up, until they are almost dry, then press them with a dry iron. Once this step is done I trim them all to measure the correct size.
I use my design wall to arrange the cross blocks around each of the smaller applique blocks, placing the applique blocks on the design wall in the order they are to be in the quilt, doing this allows me to see if any fabrics are too similar, how the colors are blending together, etc. I then stitch them together as shown in the pattern instructions.
The design wall helps immensely in this process and this is how I work with all of my quilts. When I made the original quilt I did not have a design wall, I laid them all out on the floor after making all the blocks and it all worked in the end.
The outside border of this quilt is a row of the cross blocks, the design wall works great for making sure the fabrics in the blocks work together.
I have had a few questions regarding the cutting machine I use to cut my freezer paper templates. I use the Cricut maker machine mostly for this. I also have a brother scan n cut machine, the difference for me is this;
Cricut maker has a wonderful rotary blade which cuts the fabric really well. In order to cut the freezer shapes, it has a knife blade. You can not cut straight from the PDF pattern you will need the SVG files, and a for the machine to be attached to a computer via USB. This is not a problem for me as I am designing the shapes and can change the file easily into an SVG file. I have also thought about making the SVG files available for anyone who needs them, but as it would take a little time to get them into some sort of order, it will take some time that I don't have at the moment.
Brother scan n cut machine is great as you can scan your pattern in and it will cut the shapes without having to have a special SVG file and uses wifi so it does not have to be directly connected to your computer. But it only has a knife blade, which is great for freezer paper but does not cut fabric cleanly. If you need a machine to cut fabric then I prefer the Cricut maker. Hence why I have two machines, each for a different task.
Having a machine to cut the freezer paper makes the shapes very accurate and such a time saver.
Cutting my fabric into strips, work well for placing the shapes and trimming the seam allowances. This way I do not have holes in my fabrics, and only use what I need. (Unless fussy cutting of course)
Today I have been working on the applique center, the larger flowers have been sewn together before basting them to the background. This saves having to turn the large center around many times in order to stitch all the circles in place. I love how the flowers look once then have been sewn together, like pretty maids all in a row. If you have my e-book on applique there is a more detailed step by step information on how I stitch them. Or you might like my little video explaining the process here
Stitching the applique, you can read all about threads (You can find my review about Micro Quilter Thread by Superior Threads here) and needles and the stitch I use in this post, I have tried many different stitches to get the look of hand applique, (as that is my goal) but personally I find the zig-zag stitch gives me the best results. It takes a little practice, but the biggest thing is to make sure the first stitch stays close to the edge of the applique piece and the next stitch just pierces the applique piece by a couple of threads. I personally find it easier by moving my needle over as far as it can go to the right and then I can use the inside of my presser foot as a guide. I made a little video to show the stitching here. I like to make sure I have stitches in any area that is a sharp point or a sharp curve, sometimes taking more than one stitch in areas such as these making the stitching more secure.
I hope you are all still reading this long post, and the information I have tried to cover has answered all your questions. Please keep the questions and posts of your wonderful work coming, I love seeing all your pictures and helping you along the way.
Keep Well and Happy Stitching
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There is a lot of information to cover, I will be re-making the entire quilt. I will be doing tutorial based blog posts for each part of the quilt top.
You will need to purchase a copy of the Vintage Crosses pattern, there are already many of you with this pattern, but if you do not here are a couple of places you can find it.
All Vintage Crosses blog posts for the Sew Along are here
You can find more of my Quilty Ramblings blog posts on all things quilting here
Browse through my downloadable PDF patterns available here
See more of my video tutorials here
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I wanted to mention how I cut the triangles from your scrap fabrics. In this little video I show how I cut my triangles, using my scrap fabrics to get a lot of variation in fabrics.