First, the important news: I've finished all of the applique orange peels which was my hand sewing project from last year! I was motivated you see, because I wanted to start a new applique project. Quilty Folk
has a Quilty 365 Challenge
which asks you to applique a single circle each day. She started back in November, but I was quite determined to finish one project before starting another. January 1st seemed to me like the best date to start a calendar quilt, and so I waited patiently. It has been fun to see how other people are interpreting the challenge, and because I have enjoyed watching so many different methods being used, I though I'd share mine.
I have some Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Circles. I chose this 3 inch version, because it fits nicely on a 3.5 inch strip, and I've been trying to put bigger strips to work lately. I use the template as a guide, and rough cut the circle, leaving a seam allowance around the outside. Using a double piece of thread for strength, I do a small running stitch about an eighth of an inch from the edge.
That gets all gathered up around the plastic template.
Because the template plastic is heat proof (kind of), I can iron the fabric around the template. I use a quick spritz of sizing spray to help the edges stay crisp. I read somewhere that sizing is supposed to be better than spray starch because it doesn't attract bugs. Also, I dropped the spray starch on the hardwood floor and cracked off the nozzle. I am quite talented when it comes to dropping things you see.
A quick press from corner to corner both ways on the 4.5 inch backgrounds square helps give some guidelines for centering the square. I have a big stack of 4.5 inch squares ready to go, lots of tone on tones and light neutrals.
After using glue basting for the orange peels last year, I decided to try pins this time. 4 small pins on each crease seems to be plenty. Though the pins are a little less "perfect" than glue basting, I am just in the stage of removing the background fabric from behind my orange peels and regretting the glue a bit. I am also regretting not removing all the background fabric as I went, so that is another thing I can do better this year.
The applique is actually pretty quick after all of the prep work is done.
I am making sure to remove the background fabric as I go this year. I am so
tempted to start appliquéing the small circles of background fabric onto a smaller square of dark fabric, but I have resisted so far.
The plan is to sew the blocks into rows of 7 days each week. I should be able to assemble a big block at the end of each month, making the final quilt come together much more quickly in December. I did the math, and a 3 by 4 setting of the months should make a reasonably sized quilt. This year started on a Friday. You can see that the Friday, Saturday and Sunday blocks are all finished and ready to go. I felt it was important to have Saturday and Sunday together at the end rather than split on each side. Monday through Thursday were not part of this month, so sadly, they just get empty squares. I'm not committed to making all of the blocks blue for January, but so far, it just happens to be what is out and ion hand.
Do you have an urge to slow down with some handwork on Sunday? Head over to Kathy's Quilts
to see what everyone is up to. It is always nice to take some time to slow down and just breath every so often.
I did used a random number generator to choose a winner for the blue hand dyed fabric
from Vicki Welsh
. Carol S.
was the lucky winner. She doesn't have a blog, but is hoping to work on some Dresden Plates this year. She says applique is her nemesis. I used to feel the same way, but look at me now, seeking out new applique projects voluntarily! Sadly, Vicki sold out of the rainbow palette packs completely, fortunately got one to use for the sampler. She has lots of other beautiful fabrics though. It has been wonderful to have her participation in the challenge for the last three years.
Kathy is sharing statistics this morning, so I thought I'd ponder numbers. I finished 11 quilts this year! They are listed on the My Quilts tab
at the top of the page. The most I have finished in a year was 17 in 2011, I think that was while I was still working part time. The least was 5 in 2013, work was pretty busy that year.
I am following several bloggers progress on this project and will be interested to see another :-). I think sewing them together in week long blocks is a good idea and will certainly make things easier at the end!
So glad you are joining us in this project! You're idea of joining the blocks as we go is a good one. The thought of sewing together a year's worth at the end of the year is a bit scary!
I remembered that you were going to start in January :) I use those perfect circles for my small ones.
Oh, go on, use those little circles for something else: two quilts for the price of one. I like your way of joining them together - it looks pretty good so far.
That is how I would hand applique circles.
Maybe the centre circles you are removing could be for a mini row of light on dark circles.
Or it could be a border!!
That is a neat way to make circles!
I like the idea of that quilt, but I know I could never keep up with it right now. Enjoy all of your stitching. I am looking forward to watching your quilt grow.
Some thoughts on starch...
I was worried about bugs too, but I've been using starch for 2 or 3 years now and have not had any problems. I don't starch my fabrics until I'm ready to use them.
I bought a couple of bottles of non-aerosol starch at the grocery store because they were less than $2/bottle. Unfortunately, that price point didn't last, but the empty bottles are re-usable. I buy Faultless Liquid Concentrated Starch and dilute it 1:4. At that strength, I get good results on the fabric and less clogging of the sprayer. Starch and template prep for hand applique are a match made in quilt heaven!
The circle applique is going to make an intriguing quilt! Quite a challenge?
I am planning a calendar quilt this year too. Rather than a strip, I designed up a block. I can't wait for a full week so I can see how they look. Like yours, my first week is almost entirely background.
This is the same method for circles (leaves and orange peels too) that I use :)
This is the technique I am using for my circles, too. I'm sewing them together as I go since my background is pieced for a 2-rail fence setting.
Looking good. I've thought about joining in on this. I may have to take up the circle challenge. Have a great day!
I love those blue circles. It will make a great quilt. I've never used the heat proof templates before...I usually make a circle out of stiff paper and wrap it with foil, then press the fabric around it. Have fun with your project!
You could use that fabulous creative mind of yours to figure out a pocket of some kind to attach to the side or end of your ironing board so your spray starch or sizing is contained and can't be knocked over. Love all your work. Haven't had time to do any myself, but follow you with your progress with "I will get to it someday". Have loads of UFOs and projects already planned. Must live to be 200 to get everything I want to do done. Have a great year. poladydwd(at)yahoo(dot)com
I also am really good at dropping the cans and knocking off the sprayers lol.
I like your idea of putting the groups of circles together as you go - much easier than trying to put them all together at the end. Hmm....better have a think about that!
I took the 365 day plunge also. After an earlier project prepping circles I have decided to use needle turn applique. - so much faster and I get better everyday.
I'm tempted to start the daily circles. Looks like fun. I am going to do the scrappy blocks this year - I've cut some pieces and hope to sew them this week.
I like your plan for the circle blocks. It will be fun to watch this project grow.
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