Applique Outside the Lines – I did!

Detail of Quilt made by Piece O Cake Designs
Detail of Quilt made by Piece O Cake Designs

For Christmas this year I splurged and bought myself a few titles from my publisher, C & T Publishing.

I took my time and went through each one slowly, unwrapping each page like a present.

One of my favorite projects was from Applique Outside the Lines – No Rules, No Ruler, by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. (You might remember me gushing over seeing Becky at Quilt Market in an earlier blog.)

I had first seen this dynamic duo years ago on Alex Anderson’s televised quilt show. I remember them showing how to make appliques and thinking – I like how the work looks, but I could never do that! All the pieces and the precision and the fussy fussy. Cripes!

I went to a quilt show in the fall of 2010 and I took photos of only six quilts. (That means I only really liked these 6) One of them was very whimsical and charming.  I didn’t write down the name of the maker, but…

Live Well and Be Happy Quilt
Live Well and Be Happy Quilt

…it just happens to be from a pattern found in the book that I just bought! This is a project called Tree O Life and it is a great example of the lively, lyrical approach found in Applique Outside the Lines. 

Each time I see a quilt from their creative team, called Piece O Cake Designs, I feel a bit green with envy because their applique work really appeals to me.

However, the fact is that I avoid applique like it is a four letter word. This is strange, when you know I wrote a whole book about applique chair quilts! While I espouse using a glue stick at every turn, Becky and Linda show both hand and fusible applique directions in the book, so you can use either approach.

Leaves in the Wind quilt page from the book
Leaves in the Breeze quilt page from the book

The leaf quilt on the cover really called out to me and I hopped at the chance to make it in raspberry, pinks, and greys with green stems. This would give me a chance to use all these great greys that a dear friend sent me as a Christmas gift. (Winning!)

Pink Leaves - on the design wall
Pink Leaves - on the design wall

Of course, I started out using glue stick like I do for my large pieces on the chairs. But I found that this really stretched the edges of the leaves and with the small pieces it was a real pain – I got glue all over everything BUT the leaves! The leaves ended up in stupid little curls of fabric or with so much fringe they looked like J Lo’s false eyelashes.

Then I smartened up a bit and began to put fusible on the back of my pinks.  I couldn’t be patient enough to use the books’s templates, but I didn’t think the girls would mind if I rotary cut them.

Leaves in waiting
Leaves in waiting

What I did was remove the paper off the pieces first and then cut each leaf with a swoop, swoop of the rotary cutter. Then each one was ready to place and fuse quickly and easily. Boss!

Four rows ready to sew
Four rows ready to sew

I sewed a funky zig zag stitch around each fused leaf and then added the green stems.

Detail of edge stitching and green border
Detail of edge stitching and green border
another close up
another close up

Then I added a fun and funky border – just like the girls! I even made a great pieced binding, too. Love it!

Pink Leaves in the Wind, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Pink Leaves in the Breeze by Alethea Ballard; 2012

So what’s next, you ask?

The Ground (as seen from above)
The Ground (as seen from above)

Yumbalia!

Or perhaps?

Picasso's Garden
Picasso's Garden

Yes, please!

Wanna read a good book?

Eli's Pirate Ship Quilt
Pirateland, 2010

It was after dinner and before Cheeto-thirty (you know – the time to eat Cheetos each night) and there I was sitting in the Lay-Z-Boy googling myself again. Just another Thursday night for the old maverick quilter.

And I came across a book review that made me want to buy my own book – I swear!  It was so positive, even I was inspired.  I ran right into the sewing room and cut up some large scale fabric – kidding.

Check your humble author out HERE!

And thank you Creating the Hive for the shout out.

OK folks, Cheeto-thirty starts now.

Pirateland detail
Pirateland detail

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the Loving Hearts Quilt

Loving Hearts
Loving Hearts

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since it is February, you can see that my quilt finishing schedule is about four months behind.  I think I will have the Christmas quilts finished by April, but who is counting.

I want to share with you a special quilt that I made.

Love for Susan
Love for Susan

Some of you have seen a quilt on my website called Love for Susan. It was made for a dear friend when she was recovering from unexpected surgery about three years ago. I was able to get it done by the time she was sent home from the hospital and I was happy to wrap her in love and affection. She uses it all the time and has washed it many times. With the raw-edge appliques it is just soft and yummy.

I love you cup from Starbucks
I love you cup from Starbucks

The idea for the quilt came from a cup that was distributed by Starbucks. I loved the flowers which were created by hearts. It was an easy project to design and the way I made it allowed for my family help me assemble the top. For Susan’s quilt, my husband and one of my nephews glued the appliques for me and working as a team we got that sucker done in a day!

When I learned that a friend and colleague from my husband Steve and son Nathan’s work was mounting an epic battle against breast cancer, I immediately wanted to make her a quilt like Love for Susan. However, many things slowed the progress and it took me a long time to finish the project. I made all the appliques and Steve and Nathan worked with me to glue them in place. It was so nice to be able to do this together. This month we were finally able to give it to her.

She has endured three surgeries, rounds of chemotherapy and now radiation, but she is fighting a good fight and we were so glad to finally give her a token of our love, support and admiration.

I can share the ideas and designs of this quilt with you and give you instructions to make it, but because the design was distributed by Starbucks and is likely under copyright, none of us can make the pattern or the quilt to sell. But I am sure they won’t mind if we share the Loving Hearts Quilt with friends and family. It is so pretty and quick to make when you really want to support someone special.

Close up of Loving Hearts flower
Close up of Loving Hearts flower

Here’s how to make the Loving Hearts Quilt

Send me an email at maverickquilts at gmail dot com and I will email you templates for the hearts and leaves

Materials needed:

Background piece of fabric 55″ x 70″ (can be pieced if you can’t get wide yardage)

Scraps of pink fabrics

Scraps of green fabrics about 6″ x 10″

Large scraps of green fabrics (2) about 14″ x 18″

Freezer paper

UHU Glue stick or lightweight fusible web (see note below)

Sewing Directions:

1.  Make three heart sizes by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting it into three sizes (or use templates from my email – see note above). Begin with pieces of paper 6″, 5″ and 4″. Transfer the templates onto freezer paper.

2.  Rough cut chunks of pink fabrics in the three sizes. 15 of each size for a total of 45.

Note: At this point you can add fusible to the backs of each piece of fabric if you don’t like the raw-edge look and don’t want the edges to fray. Trace the heart pattern to the paper side of the fusible.

Step 3 - stack 5 pieces of fabric
Step 3 - stack 3 pieces of fabric, press to nestle the fibers

3.  Press 3 pieces of fabric in a stack

Step 4 - Pin
Step 4 - Pin

4.  Pin with flat head pins

Step 5 - Press freezer paper in place
Step 5 - Press freezer paper in place

5.  Iron the freezer paper template to the top of the stack, on top of the pins

Step 6 - cut
Step 6 - cut

6. Cut out the hearts.

Remove the freezer paper
Remove the freezer paper

create 15 of each size

7.  Use the same technique to create 22 small leaves and 2 large leaves.

8.  Create the flower stems by cutting a 1 1/2″ strip of fabric and dividing it about 2/3 of the way.

9.  Create the leaf stems by cutting a strip of fabric 3/4″ and subcut it into 22 stems 1 3/4″ long.

10.  Cut the background fabric to 55″ x 70,” or so. Put it on a large flat surface with sheets underneath (so you can iron on it) or on a design wall that you can iron on.

Step 11 - create flowers
Step 11 - create flowers

11.  begin creating the flowers by laying out 5 hearts for the middle, then add the next layer of (10) hearts to surround the center.

Step 12 - create all the flowers and add stem
Step 12 - create all the flowers and add stem

12.  Get all the flowers in place.

13.  Add the border leaves, leaf stems, flower stems and flower leaves.

14.  Fuss it all until it looks balanced and even.

Note: If you are using fusible,  press everything in place now.

Glueing instructions:

Get some help! I was able to make this quilt as a family project. My husband and my son each manned a glue stick (I prefer UHU brand) and I wielded the iron. I handed a heart to one of them and marked and removed the next one. They would glue the back side, and I would put the hearts back on the background and iron them in place. It felt good to all do something together for someone we care about.

a.  Mark each heart’s location on the background with a pin at the point and a pin at the ‘v’.

b.  Add glue to the entire back of heart, taking care not to stretch out the bias parts too much.

c.  Repeat the same system for the leaves and stems.

Leaf quilting detail
Leaf quilting detail

Quilting ideas:

If you can get it quilted on a long arm, then the whole project can be completed fairly fast.

The top edge on the longarm
The top edge on the longarm

I quilted it with lots of circles on the backgrounds, leaf veins in the leaves and hearts and circles in the hearts. By sewing about 1/4″ inside the edge of each applique, I was able to create a raw edge. This will fray nicely when you wash the quilt.

Hearts quilting detail
Hearts quilting detail

Our friend is a really girly girl, so I had to use Minkee on the back and a puffy wool batting inside. It looked so great on the back!

Then I washed it on gentle in my washing machine and dried it on medium heat in the dryer.

When it comes out of the laundry, the raw edges need a little haircut in places to make everything look clean and tidy.

Loving Hearts Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Loving Hearts Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

Send me photos and messages when you finish your quilts. We can all get strength from sharing love with the brave people who are fighting cancer.