So, this is already block three… time flies when you are having fun… and fun you’ve had! I’ve seen a lot of wonderful and beautiful blocks from Month 1 and 2: really great! Every day new quilters are joining this project and that’s fantastic too. Do you remember that you can place pictures in the COMMUNITY of this Blog? So other blog readers can enjoy what you are making too? Who knows.. mayby they will be inspired and start too…
I cannot wait to hear what you are making of this new block. I am working again on my wonderful BERNINA 770QE, which just came back from maintenance and has been cleaned.
Most of the results I’ve seen from blocks that are made by you all, are 32 x 32 cm: luckely they are not cut to a smaller size anymore, and just put aside for assembly month 12. This block too is 32 x 32 cm when finished. Just add (batik) fabrics on top and add as many decorative stitches as you like, almost to the sides of the sandwich. For downloading the 2 parts of the pattern:, please click HERE FOR THE LEFT PART and HERE FOR THE RIGHT PART. Tape them together like you’ve did with month 1 and 2, and draw the pattern on a piece of Vlieseline L11 – directions can be found with block 1 and 2.
This time we will make a lot of decorative stitches too – of course, because that is why I’ve designed this project… but also with freemotion quilting, with a special flower motif, which you can download HERE. This is something which will be used later on this block – MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING A LIGHT COLORED FABRIC FOR THIS PART, SO THE MOTIF CAN BE TRANSFERRED PROPERLY.
Make the sandwich from off-white fabric, batting and Vlieseline L11 with the transferred pattern, all 32 x 32 cm. Pin the sandwich with Flower Pins or other long quilting pins. Many quilters are asking me what the advantage of the Flower Pins is: they have a flat head, making the pin itself lay flat on the surface of the sandwich. Other pins with round, glass heads will lift the sandwich, so the surface will be disturbed. Just so you know…
I am always making a color scheme before I sew my batik fabrics on top. I just place batik fabrics randomly on my pattern to see if the combination of colors works. I do not want to repeat a color scheme, so just to be sure each block will be a bit different, I am preparing everything this way. I also wanted to find out which light fabric I to use for the freemotion flower, and that will be pink.
I place my batik fabrics in order of sewing: no. 1 on top and no. 8 at the bottom: now I have a good idea which fabric to use for nr. 1, nr. 2 etc. All I have to do next is to check the numbers on my pattern to be sure I have the right batik. That is also why I don’t draw the numbers on the Vlieseline L11: I don’t want to see numbers shining through a light fabric. A simpel system, but it works.
Fabric no. 1 is placed on the first part of the Crazy patchwork of Vlieseline L11, where the first decorative stitches will be made, but different from block 1 and 2: they will be made at an arc.
Take a small dish and place this upside down on the batik fabric. Use a white or blue water erasable pen (color depends on the batik fabric), and draw arcs on the small side of the batik fabric. Draw a couple of them, but not too much. They will all have to be covered by decorative stitches. Remeber that you can always add sequins and beads afterwards to fill out empty spaces if there are any…
The decorative stitches that I will make will follow the arcs. I’ve tried them on a sample first, to find out where I should stop after a decorative stitch is completed, before going to the next one, to move my sandwich for the next stitch.
This is done by lifting the presser foot with the needle down, and turning the sandwich slightly to follow the arc. Every time a motif is finished, this has to be done. Just before the machine starts with the next stitch. That is why it is important to know how the stitch is made.
Or you can follow the arc by moving the sandwich slowly and carefully under the presserfoot while making the decorative stitches – but beware of wrinkels or distortions. Be sure to put more quilting pins and hold the sandwich flat with your hands, but don’t push or pull. That will also distort the decorative stitches. By working slowly you can follow the steps of a stitch much better. And if a decorative stitch has some flaws, you can always cover them afterwards with some beads…
The first row of stitches is made. I have choosen an more open stich, (766 with my BERNINA 770QE), with a solid line at the bottom, which enhances the form of the arc. It is important to use an open decorative stitch, one that is not to dence, for the first row. Afterwards, the second row will cross the first row, and the stitches at the intersection are building up threads at that point.
The second stitch is a bit more dence (401 with my Bernina 770QE). Again, I’ve worked slow – just followed the arc and it looks great.
The other arcs are covered with decorative stitches too, with different threads and colors. I have just drawn arcs on this first batik fabric, all the other ones will have straight lines again. Just so the center of the block will stand out!
The next batik fabric is sewn onto the sandwich; and again the fabric extends beyond the lines of the middle square, almost up to the sides of the sandwich of 32 x 32 cm. The seam allowance at that side of the batik is aprox. 3 cm.
First I’ve made decorative stitches on the seam. Then I used a piece of glistening ribbon, aprox. 9 mm wide, and glued this with Bohin Glue Pen onto the batik fabric. This is a water washable glue, which holds about 30 to 60 seconds. It doesn’t stick to the needle, and gives me the assurance that the ribbon won’t shift while making decorative sttiches.
And it worked just fine: this ribbon has sparkles, and gives a beautiful effect, together with the stitches. (Of course you can work without the glue I’ve mentioned, but sometimes – while making stitches on top – ribbon can shift and distort, which is not good. But it is up to you if you want to use the glue.)
Place the paper pattern on a white surface (table) or at a light box, and place the fabric with the right side up on top of the pattern. The picture above shows the motif, which shines through the fabric. You will see the lines even better when you are using the light box.
Fold the fabric to the right side and pin it down at the sides onto the sandwich. Make decorative stitches on the seam – be sure to use stitches that are small, not wide, for they are not supposed to touch the drawn flower. You can also make basting stitches at the sides to hold the batik fabric down, to be sure that there will be no wrinkles while quilting.
Use your quilting foot for freemotion quilting, lower the feed dogs. Quilt freehand, with different colors. Use the drawn lines as guidance. You can fill out the spaces between lines, you can make small circles, spirals etc, just to add color to this motif. Be sure to pull the bobbin thread through the sandwich, to the top before you start quilting, with every color: this prevents ‘birds nests’ at the back of your sandwich – a build-up of thread. Keep the quilting simple, you can always embellish it with sequins and beads, after the quilt is done.
Remove the basting stitches at the sides after quilting – this was just a temporary stitchline. After quilting, you can use a damp cloth or a spray bottle with water to remove the drawn lines of the flower. Now you have made a fun motif on your Crazy block! Don’t worry if you see some wrinkles or distortions on the areas that are not filled out with stitches: you can add sequins and bead afterwards – if you want to do so now, please be sure to quit adding embellishments up to 5 cm from the sides! You will need this space for assembly in month 12.
Now the last two batik fabrics are added and another block is finished. At the upper left part of the sandwich, you can see that the pink fabric is slightly drawn away from the sides: this is what intense quilting can do – it shrinks your block, and sometimes pulls the fabric away from the sides. Because my sandwich is still 32 x 32 cm, it doesn’t matter too much, but to be sure I have added fabrics on the other side that are well over the sides of the sandwich, so the block is well covered.
IMPORTANT: when your sandwich/block is finished, check if the size is aprox. 32 x 32 cm. It can be shrunken a bit because of the stitches you have made, and the freehand quilting. BUT DO NUT CUT THE SANDWICH, not even to make it tidy!!! Leave it like it is, and put it aside until month 12.
That’s it for month 3, the next pattern will be available at April 15, with new directions. Have fun with making your block, I hope you will enjoy yourself again. I would like to see a lot of pictures of blocks on FaceBook and in the Community of this blog!
Sylvia’s Art Quilts Studio