Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Oma's Blues Progess; making templates and starting to sew.

I set aside a couple of days for sewing this week. I fancied a quiet time to recover after the stress of my father's illness and appliqué hit the spot nicely.
I had been studying Simply Successful Applique by Jeanne Sullivan for the best way to make templates. I decided to try a few different ones to find which suited me best. Initially I thought I would use fusible Wash-Away sheets for templates but there had been several comments on the Yahoo group that this product might not wash away completely so in the end I chose to use freezer paper. The book suggested that ironing two sheets of freezer paper together would provide a more stable template.
Mike had acquired a rectangular wooden wine box and it struck me that it would be ideal as a light box. The wooden top was replaced with a perspex sheet and a 10 watt fluorescent light was fixed inside. Ridiculously easy and saved us a whole lot of money too. I look a bit studious in the photo but I was concentrating and not posing.

Tracing the freezer paper templates
The central medallion is a basket of flowers and a bird surrounded by the triangle pieced ring with so many small elements so I needed to be organised. I labelled and numbered the various elements on the plan of the design and as I cut the templates I also labelled them and placed them in ziplock bags.
Selecting the fabrics was the most difficult part for me. I was trying the base the tones on the colours in our Chinese plate with a good range of dark, medium and light blue tones. I had found the ideal fabric to fussy cut for the bird's wing but trying to get a good range of blues with similar tones was hard. Some were too green, others too lilac.

Once the fabrics were chosen I ironed the freezer paper templates on the right side of the fabric. These were cut with a scant ¼" border for the majority of the shapes and ⅛" for the tiny pieces. The freezer paper templates were then detached, the material turned to the wrong side and the templates laid down with the shiny side up.
Concave curves were snipped to a couple of threads from the template. I turned the border over and 'tacked' the straight sides with a touch of the Clover iron. The edges adhere to the freezer paper to stabilize the piece.  Using the Apliquick tools I turned the curves over and used spray starch liquid applied with a paintbrush and the Clover iron to set small gathers to make a smooth curve. I hope I have described that adequately and I highly recommend the book for lots of information and great photos of all the techniques.

The background fabric was marked with lines of running stitch from corner to corner diagonally and from top to bottom and side to side to find the central point. These lines are to help with the placing of the templates. I also traced a vinyl overlay as in the photo below so that I could slip pieces under to the correct positions. Another easy way to place the pieces is to use the master pattern on the light box and place the block on top. The pattern is seen easily through the fabric. The stems, bird and leaf were stitched first then the basket and large flower.

appliqué with vinyl overlay
So, my progress so far is slow but very satisfying. I really feel I am getting to grips with some new techniques.

If you fancy having a go at this there is a link to the Oma's Blues group in the side bar on the right. If you join the group there is access to the pattern for free plus some great Easter projects.

Enjoy your week,


I'll be linking with Esther Aliu's WOW party on Wednesday. If you have any WIP's you are working on why not add your link as well? Click the image for WOW in the right hand column to go to Esther's blog.

I'm also linking to Celtic Thistle's New to Me in 2015 (see the link button on the right). I thought I had nothing new until Fiona suggested the lightbox and the matter of a few new to me appliqué techniques!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A knitting finish

Thank you to everyone who sent messages or posted comments after my last post. It has been a stressful time for the family and all your thoughts and prayers helped a lot. Dad had an angiogram and 2 stents inserted yesterday and has been discharged to my Mum and brother's care at home. Thank goodness for the NHS. Wonderful care and treatment from dedicated staff. I could not speak more highly of the unit my father was treated in.

I managed to finish my Entangled Vines cardigan as well. I am pleased with the result now and it is certainly cosy. Next time though I would knit the size down. There is quite a bit of positive ease and I think maybe slightly too long.

Never one to sit idle, I have cast on another of Alana Dakos' designs. This time it is the Gnarled Oak cardigan.

I'm using Debbie Bliss Rialto (DK) in coral.

I'll be linking up on Sunday to Wool on Sundays.

Right now I am getting down to cooking for the weekend at my parents house. I've made a Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup and will also be baking Mary Berry's Orange layer cake. I thought I would take a lasagne for the freezer and roast a chicken too. Busy busy!!!!


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Blog temporarily on hold

This is just a post to let you know that I will be unable to write regularly for the next week or two. To be honest, sewing is the last thing on my mind.
My father has suffered a heart attack and I have had to travel to stay with my Mum and help out with hospital visiting and organizing things for her and Dad.
Could you please keep us in your thoughts over the next few days? I am feeling a bit stressed and anxious as Dad will be having an angiogram and possibly further procedures on Tuesday. I will not be able to respond to any comments individually and hope you will not mind too much.

I hope to be back with the blog soon.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Oma's Blues- I've started!

A new sewing week and hardly anything else in the diary this week at all. All my fabrics are washed and pressed, I have all the notions I need, so, no more excuses, I'll start Oma's Blues.

I traced all the elements of the centre straight onto the Wash-Away appliqué sheets. These are cut out now and put into separate plastic bags. Some of them are so tiny that I'm afraid of losing them.
My first real sewing is the round border for the medallion. This is pieced from alternating light and blue triangles. I traced the ring onto the sheets which I had joined together, numbering the triangles. I separated the sheets and cut the arcs of the circle with a rough ¼" border. The fabrics I chose are a pale blue and a dark blue and white flower print from the Oriental Blue fabric range from Makower. If you are sharp you will notice I have reversed the placement of the dark and light fabric. I would like to say this is a design element but truthfully I got them the wrong way round and there is no way I am doing the circle again!

I will finish the circle today and trim the fabrics to ¼" from the triangle points. I am undecided about the technique I will choose to turn the seam allowance under. Leah Day has a You Tube video where she makes a template from bonded sheets of freezer paper. The strengthened template is inserted behind the fabric and then the edges are turned with starch and pressing before the template is removed. The turned edges are then sprayed and pressed again. The alternative is to snip the inside circle, apply glue stick to the back of the Wash-Away sheet and turn the edge to stick down which is a technique used by Lynette Anderson. Advice has been offered on the Esther Aliu Yahoo group for both methods but I may go for the more time-consuming template method as it is said to give a smoother curve.

The weekend passed so quickly. My granddaughter Isobel turned 2 and came to stay with my daughter and the rest of the family. Aunties, Uncles and cousins arrived along with the other grandparents and we had an old fashioned birthday tea with cake and jelly and then a couple of party games. The adults all stayed for supper too so it was a very full day.

So by my next post I hope to have finished the ring, prepped the white fabric square and started on making a few of the elements for the centre.