There’s something curious about blogging in March 2016 about September 2015 blocks, but I’ll try just for the heck of it :D Granted, they were sent to Annika in Sweden in December only, but still…
Annika requested two blocks, which finished at 10.5”x10.5”, and while the background was quick and easy, the petals in pink became my nemesis of sort. Why, you ask? Needle turn appliqué. Sewing by hand. Oh dear. Before we continue, let me assure you that I’m quite eager to try English paper piecing at some point, so the story doesn’t end in blood.
She also had wishes in regards to fabric colours. The background was supposed to be a mix of white and green, whereas four petals, starting from a 2”x4” rectangle, were to be pink. All scrappy as per our general rules.
To fit the background (you’ll see below), Annika asked we draw our own petal templates, and I decided to make mine as symmetrical as possible. I folded a piece of paper first in half, then another time in half. On one of the quadrants I drew a gentle curve along which I cut, then used the cut edge to draw on the rest of the quadrants, whilst folding and opening up the paper as needed. You can see my template here:
There’s also two thirds of a Bohin kit bought via Massdrop. One chalk pencil with sharpener is for thin chalk (white on top, colours below in the box), another not showed is for thick chalk, and the third is a glue stick. I’m very pleased with the quality of these products! (No, I don’t get anything for saying this.)
And here’s my first block. For some reason I had forgotten my Craftsy class in which Sarah Fielke teaches needle turn appliqué, but using that knowledge all of a sudden made my mental block get unstuck. I won’t say it is easy nor fast to learn this technique, as the pieces are a bit fiddly to begin with, but gluing down each petal along its centre helped a great deal.
Here’s a process photo of the second block, which petals I happened to draw first though. You might see the thin white chalk line on the bottom petal, and working with it convinced me that the violet line for the rest of them was a smart choice. While it is reasonably visible in its flat state, when turning the seam allowance the colour disappears almost completely against the white background.
In case you never heard of needle turn appliqué before, perhaps it’s beginning to sound less tricky already? The point is to finger press along a line, which will work as the seam line, and once you sew, aka turn the seam allowance with the needle, the quarter-inch worth of fabric will get tucked under.
My bee members did various versions of hand appliqué, but based on what I saw – cutting up two layers and folding inside out, or using aluminium foil to press down the seam allowances – I still think this technique seems the most straight forward as long as you know what you’re doing. I kind of detest hand sewing, but found a rhythm halfway through the first petal, believe it or not!
The lighting in winter evening conditions is dreadful once again, but such is it. As for my two blocks for Annika, once they finally were sent to her, I was pretty darn proud of them! The only thing I’d do differently is to have a better needle for the purpose. Sarah Fielke uses long, thin needles and I need to hunt them down, because the crystal ball tells me there will be more appliqué in my future.
The mind works in mysterious ways sometimes, but if I ever doubted my Craftsy classes, this particular case shows just how important they are to me. I like learning at my own pace, and with the chance to rewatch something I found difficult, or simply didn’t catch the first time when the phone rang, and so I will keep being a happy occasional customer.