COUNTRY COTTAGES by Shabby Fabrics- general discussion

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gini replied on Tue, Feb 26 2013 7:18 PM

melody, set it aside and do the next one.  it may not look as bad as you think when you go back to it.  

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Emily replied on Tue, Feb 26 2013 7:31 PM

I do exactly what you do except I put a little glue stick on the wrong side of the freezer paper and fabric and paste it down to where it should go.  Then I leave it on and needle turn right up to the freezer paper.  When it is done, I just remove the freezer paper.  This saves that one extra step of drawing it on to the background.  I do prefer silk thread but if the Sulky works that's great too.  

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gini, I think you are exactly right. I do have a question, what should the stitches look like on the back? Should they be uniform or will they differ in length,or does it matter? I do have a habit of trying to do it perfect and expect more than I should of myself, HAHA. I keep seeing all those lovely more advanced quilts and think, I have to hurry and learn this simpler quilt so I can do the others. Silly, but there it is. LOL

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Frances replied on Tue, Feb 26 2013 10:16 PM

I have decided to jazz my cottages up a bit, so i have brought a book on ribbon embroidery so i can put flowers round my cottages. (never done ribbon embroidery before so should be interesting)

If it all goes wrong im blaming Gini :-)) love you really Gini.

lots of love

Francesxx

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gini replied on Tue, Feb 26 2013 11:55 PM

MelodyP MO/KS:
what should the stitches look like on the back? Should they be uniform or will they differ in length,or does it matter?

  as long as your applique looks good from the front, why would you care, the back will be hidden.   you do know, that it is very bad manners to turn over someone's raw applique and look at the back without permission?    :  0    yes, it's true.   so i always ask before i peak at the back. 

back to your question.  as you become more proficient with your applique,  your stitches will automatically become more even.  then, remember,  as you go into an innie, or where ever you clip your threads, you need to make your stitches closer to hold the threads on your applique and keep them from fraying. 

umm, a rule of thumb is,  your stitches need to be half the length that your seam allowance is wide.   so if your seam allowance is 1/8th inch,  your stitches should be 1/16th inch in length.   

i hope i wasn't too smarty pants  with  you, sometimes my mouth gets me into trouble.   : )

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gini replied on Tue, Feb 26 2013 11:56 PM

Frances:
I have decided to jazz my cottages up a bit,

woo hoo, jazzy cottages.  ribbon embroidery is easy peasy, and will add a lot of interest to your cottages. 

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gini replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 12:02 AM

and, melody, you can always jazz up your first cottage like frances is going to do to hide some of your mistakes.   i, once fnished all the applique on a beautiful  quilt,  got the blocks all sewn together, got the borders appliqued and sewn onto the middle, was clipping the  outermost border to do a rickrack edge and clipped into my beautiful quilt.   after some cursing and turning the air quite blue, i stitches a little bee over the hole with some broderie perse.   it just happened to be close to the beehive block so it worked out just fine.   when you're given lemons, figure out how to make lemonade out of them.  in my haphazzard life,  we drink a lot of lemonade. 

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Robin replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 4:54 AM

Melody,

Sounds like you are making good progress and getting some great advice.    Thanks for sharing your woes with the rest of us beginners so we can all learn together. 

I've got my first block cut and pack for a trip to a convention with students.  I'm not sure if I'll get time to work on it or not but I'm hoping I will on the drive down and maybe back will see how it goes.

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Lillie replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 7:56 AM

Emily:

I do exactly what you do except I put a little glue stick on the wrong side of the freezer paper and fabric and paste it down to where it should go.  Then I leave it on and needle turn right up to the freezer paper.  When it is done, I just remove the freezer paper.  This saves that one extra step of drawing it on to the background.  I do prefer silk thread but if the Sulky works that's great too.  

Emily, are you saying that the freezer paper is on top of the fabric when you place it on the the background? Then using the freezer paper as your guide and needle turn to the edge of the freezer paper? If that is what you're saying, that is a wonderful idea. I've never done it that way and now must try it.

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gini thanks for the help and I'm thrilled that the back isn't that important! I'm afraid I have already taken the bottom of the cottage apart and will mark the embroidery and snow flakes. I have about three other things I must do today but will be anxious to resume on my block later today. The snow man has me a bit worried but I will keep plowing through.Har Har I really like Frances idea and will keep that in mind as well. The other part that really gave me trouble wasn't on the Cottage block at all. It was another quilt I am doing, BOM by B Brackman the Dixie Diaries. After piecing each month's block there is a heart or a star pieced to the center. The star gave me a lot of trouble trying to get the points sharp. My first attempt isn't right but it is still recognizable as a star and there will be 5 more, through the year so I will have lots of time to learn the how to's of making sharp points. I am truly enjoying this cottage block quilt and hope that others are too. Thank you for your good instruction and patience.

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Lillie replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 8:05 AM

Frances:

I have decided to jazz my cottages up a bit, so i have brought a book on ribbon embroidery so i can put flowers round my cottages. (never done ribbon embroidery before so should be interesting)

If it all goes wrong im blaming Gini :-)) love you really Gini.

lots of love

Francesxx

Frances-you'll love ribbon embroidery. I've been doing crazy quilt block swaps and the ladies in that group got me hooked on ribbon embroidery. I've been using YLI silk ribbon most of the time.  "The ladies" mentioned some hand-dyed silk ribbon as well. OHGosh! It's all so beautiful. I've used 2mm, 4mm, and 7mm silk ribbon. There are also tons of free vids on YouTube for making flowers, leaves, stems, etc. You should join the Crazy Quilt group here on QCA. It's a blast!

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Lillie replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 8:09 AM

gini:

back to your question.  as you become more proficient with your applique,  your stitches will automatically become more even.  then, remember,  as you go into an innie, or where ever you clip your threads, you need to make your stitches closer to hold the threads on your applique and keep them from fraying. 

When I first started doing hand work my stitches were horrible. Different lengths and different widths apart from each other. No matter how hard I tried, I just could get them perfect. Now, since I've been doing it for a while, just 2-years, my stitches are very small and "almost" perfect distance from each other. It just takes practice.

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gini replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 9:31 AM

melody,  sharp points---

first, stitch up to the point, as you get closer to the point, make your stitches closer together, take another anchoring stitch right at the point.

 

next, you're going to use your needle as an extra finger.   you are going to make two sweeps. the first sweep, grab your fabric, the seam allowance,  with the tip of your needle.  hold the side of the needle tightly up against the tip and sweep that fabric under the tip, pushing it very firmly up against the far side you have just stitched up.  make sure your thumb is at the ready to hold this fabric.   now, grab the extra fabric sticking out with the tip of your needle and sweep it under, really cramming it up against that far side.   i am not gentle with this move if it is a tight point.  you can see why i need those stitches at the tip of the point to be close together on that far side.   now gently, tug the thread the direction the point is aimed and your tip will pop out.   now take one more stitch in the tip about 2mm out from the tip. this elongates the tip and makes it look more pointy. 

you may have some extra fabric that needs to be tucked in.  if you aren't happy with it, pull the seam allowance out and do it all over again. usually by the third try the fabric gives up and co-operates. 

if you are having trouble getting that last bit of  fabric under, pinch the tip wioth the fabric as far under as you can get it, now  with your thumb and forefinger and roll it back and forth, again , this isn't a gentle move. 

by now you should have subdued that tip enough that it is co-operating and looks pretty good.   

fabric selection:   if you have a more open weave fabric it is really hard to get pointy points.   this is one of the problems i have with fabrics bought at walmart, joann's, etc., even some of connecting thread's.  they may have a good hand feel,  but once the sizing is washed away, the weave is too open to behave.   and another thing.  i prewash all my fabric so it isn't an issue with my applique, but the sizing makes it more difficult to get those smooth curves. if you haven't prewashed your fabric, you may want to try that. 

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gini, once again you have given me good food for thought and a good list to go down, I was not easy and in fact my lovely straw needle is slightly curved now, good thing I have plenty more, from struggling to get the seam tucked under. I'm thinking two things, one I'm very new at this so lighten up. The second is prewashing the fabric. I have given up trying to buy fabric from any place other than a reputable quilting fabric place. I have ordered fab from places and when it came it was too loosely woven! I believe you get what you pay for so buyer beware with ordering sight unseen. Just my opinion from my experiences. Back to the subject at hand, I'm thinking I need to prewash and follow your directions when the next star rolls around. Thanks again!

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Emily replied on Wed, Feb 27 2013 12:16 PM

Yep, Lillie, that's what I'm saying.  Use a bit of the glue stick on the back so you don't have to pin the piece down.  Pinning it down leaves pin-holes.  And no one will see that tiny bit of glue that holds the piece in place. 

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