Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Applique A Tiny Bird's Eye

Several people have asked me to do a blog post about how I manage hand appliqué on a tiny bird’s eye. And they keep reminding me. (These things take time!) So here it is.

First, enjoy shopping for just the right fabric for your bird’s eye! On antique Baltimore album quilts, a daisy-like flower might be cut out and sewn as a bird’s eye. I appliqued this tiny flower which made a 1/8” circle – quite challenging!


This fish’s eye was the center of a large flower. His upper lip was appliquéd with the technique explained below.

Polka dots are great if you find just the right size. Circles and ovals provide a nice guideline to appliqué. This eagle's eye seems to have eyelashes.
 
Here's a wild bird eye! Wish I had more than a scrap of this fabric....

The little block design below was clipped from the full-size block in my Baltimore Garden Quilt book, for a workshop on basics of appliqué with freezer paper on top, tricks and techniques for leaves, skinny stems, stuffed cherries, and a tiny bird’s eye.

The black polka dot is the perfect size for my bird’s eye, and its white background allows me to include a white eye-ring which shows up nicely against the bird. But it’s still really small to applique! Here is the trick: Usually I cut an appliqué seam allowance about 3/16 inch. However, for tiny appliqué, cut out the appliqué fabric with a HUGE seam allowance. Knot a thread, and baste all around the eye. End the basting thread with another knot.

If a white eye-ring is desired, use a circle template to mark a bigger circle. Depending on your fabric, you might not need that, such as the eagle with eyelashes shown above.

Clip out one or two basting stitches – just enough to trim a LITTLE BIT of the HUGE seam allowance down to 3/16 inch (or less) for ONE STITCH of appliqué. The remaining basting stitches will hold the fabric in place while you begin to sew.
 

Thread the needle with appliqué thread and knot the end. Insert the appliqué needle under the eye fabric (so the knot will be hidden) to begin the first appliqué stitch. Turn the seam allowance under and send the needle to the back of the block. Pull the thread taught and then park the needle.

 
That first appliqué stitch is now holding one side of the eye in place while the remaining basting stitches are still holding the other side.

At that point, you must clip out more basting, and trim more seam allowance away before you can continue around the circle. The appliqué stitches must be very close together. Instead of the usual horizontal appliqué stitch, send the needle straight up and down vertically for each stitch. You might call it a stab stitch. 

About halfway around, all basting will be gone, but the eye will be stable. From there on, trim carefully and appliqué until the last bit is turned under. This is probably the most difficult part. The seam allowances have to be very small – all the seam allowances have to be cut narrow enough to fit under their its part of the circle.

TIPS: On this tiny appliqué, concern yourself with only one single stitch at a time. Trim only enough and turn under only enough seam allowance for that one stitch. Use the needle to wipe the seam allowance under. Slide the tip of the needle under the circle to smooth the gathers. If too much is pushed under, flattening the circle, use the tip of the needle to coax it out a bit before taking the stitch. Push in any bumps with a fingernail or a toothpick. Hold the block at the eye between your finger and thumb and press to flatten the gathered turnunder (finger press).

Finished! If there are a few bumps in the applique, you can still push those bumps in with the needle, a toothpick, or a fingernail, and take an extra stitch or two.

In my book Baltimore Garden Quilt, there are more ways to make use of this method. Try this technique on a bird’s eye, or any small appliqué piece. I would love to see your photos – visit me on Facebook. And watch for a future post on embroidered bird eyes.

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham

www.barbaramburnham.com

(c) 2015 Barbara M. Burnham. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any kind is expressly prohibited without prior written authorization.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Teaching Hand Applique at Paducah 2015

Join us in Paducah, Kentucky at the American Quilter's Society QuiltWeek for some applique!  Whether you are a beginner or advanced appliquer, have fun learning new techniques in Paducah. I will be teaching SIX different applique workshops! Many workshops are almost FULL, so hurry and register. 

Mark your calendar for April 22-25, 2015. Bring your friends! Enjoy the incredible AQS contest quilts! Visit the vendors! Enjoy learning new techniques!

Edge-Ruched Flower and Bud - Wednesday Afternoon 1:00-4:00 pm Lincoln Room
Dress up your appliqué quilts or clothing with easy edge-ruched flowers and buds. Learn easy techniques to finish this little block. Start with a simple leaf and stem and learn to appliqué smooth curves. Sew a fancy ruched flower and a bud bursting from its calyx. Add a stuffed circle or button to finish your ruched flower. I will also show you how to turn your ruched flowers into fabric jewelry to wear.
Applique Stems and Vines - Wednesday Morning 8:30-11:30am Lincoln Room

SOLD OUT Start as a beginner or expand your appliqué toolbox! Barbara will demonstrate as many methods as time allows to make stems, vines, and basket weavers for various styles of hand or machine appliqué. Determine which methods are best for each appliqué situation. Learn about bias and straight grain, when each cut is most effective, and easily figure out how long and how wide to cut fabric for stems and vines to fit your project. Learn several methods of stem placement, how to neatly turn under cut stem ends, and how to reduce bulk or add dimension. Handout booklet is loaded with graphics, tips, and tricks for eighteen different methods. Choose a few methods to sew stems on your class project, or make samples to store in your booklet for future reference. Top off your stems with colorful yo-yos or add flowers of your choice.
Baltimore Garden Dogwood - Thursday Morning  8:30am-4:00pm  Lincoln Room

SOLD OUT This graceful applique block is drawn from the antique quilt featured in Barbara’s book “Baltimore Garden Quilt,” and may have been inspired by our native dogwood trees. Honor tradition with red and green, sew pink dogwood flowers, or learn ways to harness the power of modern fabrics for any color flowers. Start as a beginner, or expand your appliqué skills! Learn techniques to finish this block using needleturn with freezer paper on top method. Begin with gentle, smooth curves and pointy points on leaves. Choose from several methods to make stems and two ways to place them in graceful curves. Learn how to appliqué inner curves and round outer curves on the flowers. Experiment with layered appliqué. Finish with perfectly round stuffed flower centers, or embellish with French knots or beads. Learn Barbara’s method for accurate placement without marking the background, tips for handling small pieces, and ideas to make your hand appliqué faster.
Baltimore Garden Bluebird and Tulip - Friday Morning  8:30-11:30am  Lincoln Room
A single tulip clipped from one of the original blocks in Barbara’s “Baltimore Garden Quilt” is joined by a swooping bird. Start as a beginner, or expand your applique skills. Learn to applique smooth inner and outer curves, and two methods for a graceful curved stem. Master inner and outer points and learn tricks to make your fabric do as YOU wish using freezer paper on top as a guide for needleturn. Barbara will offer a method of accurate applique placement without marking the background, and tips to make your hand applique faster. For a final touch, the bird will seem to come to life with an embroidered eye.

Antique Cornerstone Applique - Friday Evening  5:30pm - 8:30pm  Lincoln Room
Inspired by an antique Pennsylvania applique quilt, learn to hand applique with an easy back-basting technique and needleturn using very simple tools – fabrics, pencil, scissors, needle and thread. Start as a beginner, or expand your applique toolbox! Choose fabrics and marking tools for best results with this easy and portable technique. Honor tradition with red and green, or go wild from your fabric stash. Determine the order of appliqué placement and how to align symmetrical pieces. Learn to appliqué gentle inner and outer curves, turn angles on flower buds, and perfect points on leaves. Barbara will offer tips and tricks to handle small and large applique pieces, and ideas to make your hand applique faster.
Baltimore Garden Rose Sprig - Saturday Morning  8:30am-11:30am Lincoln Room

This graceful little rose sprig is clipped from a pattern in Barbara’s book Baltimore Garden Quilt. With freezer paper on top as your guide for needleturn, learn to hand appliqué with gentle curves, Vs, easy points, and a two-part flower bud with inner and outer curves. Choose from several methods to make graceful curved stems. Honor the traditional with red and green, harness the power of modern fabrics to fussy cut roses and buds, or try an optional broderie perse technique. Barbara will offer tips and tricks to make your hand appliqué faster, and teach you how to manage placement of small appliqué pieces with no marks on the background.

Hope to see you in Paducah!
Barbara M. Burnham
www.barbaramburnham.com/

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Great Featherweight Cover-Up

Last year in Paducah, KY at the AQS Quilt Show, I bought a pattern for this Featherweight Cover-Up and Thread Catcher from Chris Moline. What a great idea to protect our precious antique vintage sewing machines while in storage or travel, and at the same time, keep our sewing area neat with a pocket to catch snippets and threads.

Note: This is not an advertisement, and I have no affiliation with Chris, but it is fun to share such great ideas! Isn’t this a great idea!?!

The instructions provided in the pattern are minimal, but as my Grandma used to say “How hard can it be?” It looks easy enough, and a simple pattern. The only real challenge (to me) was a little clip – how to sew around that little clip had me stumped – so the pattern sat around for a quite a while, cut out, but unsewn.

You know how sometimes when you can’t sleep, your mind wanders aimlessly? That’s when I realized, "Oh! Yes! I know how to do this!" I had some pre-quilted fabric and binding strips on hand; so if it didn’t work out, it would be an inexpensive trial run. At the clip, I stretched the edge way apart, pinned it well, and kept the needle down at the corners. For binding, one strip cut from selvage to selvage was plenty.


Maybe I will make another Cover-Up someday. Next time, my Cover-Up will be appliqued with a flower and bird from my Baltimore Garden Quilt pattern!


Fans of vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machines will want to know about this pattern, so I contacted Chris. (I don’t think she has a website.) Here is information directly from Chris:

"This pattern is $2.75 plus $1.00 in postage. Orders for the pattern only can be placed by mailing a check made out to Chris Moline, 1168 Hyde Park Lane, Naperville, IL 60565. If they desire additional featherweight items, I would suggest they call 630-357-8055. For orders over $10 they can use VISA, MasterCard or Discover. I am running a bit low on the pattern after this year's quilt show season, but am planning to go out today and get more printed, as it has been very popular." - Thanks Chris!



P.S. The light on the left of my sewing machine is a magnetic, battery operated barbeque grill light. Another great idea for sewing on the go!


Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
Author of Baltimore Garden Quilt

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Applique Stems and Vines - So Many Methods!

A valuable resource for your applique library, or gift for your applique friends, at a reduced price during this Special Limited Offer (see below). Then donate an extra copy of this invaluable guide to your guild library, or as a door prize.

This 22-page handbook explains 18 DIFFERENT METHODS to make applique stems and vines, basket weavers, and more. Try different methods for curved or straight stems, by hand or by machine, with or without special tools. Learn which methods work best for each situation, and when to use bias or straight grain fabric.

Photos and graphics show examples to ensure your applique success. Helpful tips and tricks are scattered throughout.
For example:  Here is an easy way to determine how long to make stems for your project:

"Measure the length of stem with a flexible measuring tape. Stand the tape on its edge against the pattern. Add 1/2 inch for overlap at each end." For lots of stems, keep holding the tape at that measurement, and continue along the tape to measure the next stem. As you measure, checkmark each stem on your pattern or write the length needed.

We all have our favorite method of making applique stems. My personal favorite is using bias bars. But what if I’m traveling with no sewing machine, no bias bars, rulers, rotary cutters or mat. What to do? Maybe you prefer Clover(R) Bias Tape Makers, but don’t have the right size, or forgot where you put them?

Find the best way to arrange stems onto your block. Achieve graceful curves or dimensional stems. Use modern tools and sewing machines, or sew by hand with minimal tools. Discover the value of a hera marker. Be inspired by methods found on antique and vintage applique quilts. Weave an applique basket. Try backbasting applique. Learn about Neverending Stems and Stained Glass Applique. Add new skills to your applique repertoire and have some fun.


Special Limited Offer:
For a limited time, order 3 or more Applique Stems and Vines - So Many Methods at a reduced price of $5.00 each plus shipping. Please request a shipping quote.
PLUS – You will also receive “Which Method for Your Project?” rating each method as Good for Curves? Easy to Turn Stem Ends? Narrowest/Widest? Easy for Beginners? (This  handout is provided in my Applique Stems and Vines workshop.)
PLUS – An 8-inch block pattern to experiment with applique stem methods.

Questions or need a shipping quote? Contact me at my website: http://www.barbaramburnham.com

Keep Stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham
Author of Baltimore Garden Quilt



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quilts from Concept to Contest

Book Review:

"Quilts from Concept to Contest, Advice from a Hand Quilter,” by Suzanne Marshall, published by AQS.

Finally got my copy of Suzanne Marshall’s newest book!

Annoyingly, my book arrived damaged. As I was basting a quilt in my front room, I heard something hit my front door hard – BAM! When I opened the door, the USPS postal carrier was picking up the box from my lawn (about 15 feet from my porch!) He said he dropped it. Uh huh, yeah, that’s it. That’s why the box (and the book) had a huge dent in it. Amazon will replace my damaged book, but they shouldn’t have to. ‘Nuff said.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading the book, however bent and torn the pages were. I have admired Suzanne’s hand appliqué and hand quilted quilts at shows. I once attended a hand quilting workshop with her in Lancaster PA. In her workshop, I learned a great tip (but it’s not in the book): Keep a snippet of quarter inch masking tape on the tip of your thumbnail to help estimate that quarter inch distance – great for echo quilting!

Suzanne hand bastes her large quilts on a Berber carpet – great if you can work on the floor. She quilts by hand with no frame or hoop.  A photo shows the position of both hands using see-through fabric.


You can also see how she handles the quilt in her YouTube videos. I didn’t quite understand her three methods for ending quilting threads without a knot. Maybe a drawing (or three) would have helped make that clear.

Lots of photos with closeups show Suzanne’s competition quilts.


Judge’s comments are included, some quite humorous. Her signature style of appliqué is emphasized with outline embroidery on blocks framed with appliqué sashing. With inspirations from various art and antiques, she explains her design process from idea to finished product. Several pages illustrate ideas and offer sources for background hand quilting designs. Suzanne’s husband, Garland comments frequently; he recommends that we “... always buy more fabric than you anticipate needing.”


Instructions for Suzanne’s method of Take-Away Appliqué are included, and there are many tips sprinkled throughout for hand appliqué and hand quilting. I will be looking for a pair of “Revlon scissors made for baby fingernails or nose hairs” that can be used on an airplane.

Keep stitching!
Barbara M. Burnham


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cherry Birds and Running Reds


One of my favorite blocks from “Baltimore Garden Quilt”* is this Cherry Bird block. I started this one for teaching a hand applique workshop in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the American Quilter’s Society’s QuiltWEEK event. Now I can finally finish stitching the rest of this block. Just one little problem...


I do not make any marks on my background fabric, so there are no marks remove; however, by the time a hand appliqué block is finished, it is a little wrinkled. So I rinse the block in cool water, then let it dry overnight laid flat on a terrycloth towel. Once the block is dry, I give it a little spray mist, and press it with an iron from the BACK on a fluffy terrycloth towel. (Never press the front of applique – it flattens the applique, and could cause shiny edges at the turned under seam allowance.)


But, wait! OH NO! Some of the red cherry fabrics ran! See the pink halos around the cherries? (Insert your own words of distress here.)
 

No worries, I think I can fix this. Back to the basin, fill with cool water and add a spoonful of Dawn dishwashing liquid (original blue Dawn shown in the photo). Swish it around, and let the block soak in that a while, maybe an hour. Then rinse, rinse, and rinse again to get all the soap out. (No wringing or squeezing which could distort the block.)


Let the block dry once again. Hoooray! The pink halos are gone. Back to the ironing board, face down on the fluffy terrycloth towel. Spray a light mist to dampen the block, and the block is ready to press.
  

Looks good!
 
Students often ask “How did you do the tiny bird’s eyes?” Here is a photo of the fabric (with a penny for scale) that I used for these bird’s eyes. I seem to collect bird’s eye fabrics. This fabric was also available in white, but it was not handy, so I needleturned the pink under, leaving only the circles.
  

One of these days, I will blog step-by-step how I stitch really tiny circles. But, if you were in my Chattanooga workshop, you already know!

Keep stitching,
Barbara M. Burnham


P.S. This pattern and more are available on CD in the book "Baltimore Garden Quilt" or in full size printed patterns here: http://www.barbaramburnham.com/

Friday, August 15, 2014

APPLIQUE! Workshops at AQS Chattanooga, September 10-13, 2014

Join us in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the American Quilter's Society QuiltWeek for some applique!  Whether you are a beginner or advanced appliquer, have fun learning new techniques in Chattanooga. I will be teaching FOUR applique workshops, plus free demos of Applique Basket Weaving. Some workshops are almost FULL, so hurry and register. Hope to see you there!

Enjoy over 500 quilts, including the incredible AQS contest quilts! My quilt "M.E.C. Remembered" from the book Baltimore Garden Quilt will also be on exhibit.  

#63501 Edge-Ruched Flower and Bud
Wednesday 1:00-4:00 pm
Dress up your appliqué quilts or clothing with easy edge-ruched flowers and buds. Learn easy techniques to finish this little block. Start with a simple leaf and stem and learn to appliqué smooth curves. Sew a fancy ruched flower and a bud bursting from its calyx. Add a stuffed circle or button to finish your ruched flower. I will also show you how to turn your ruched flowers into fabric jewelry to wear.

#63101 Cherry Tree Birds

Thursday 8:30am-4:00pm
Four hungry birds in a cherry tree appear on an antique quilt featured in Barbara’s book Baltimore Garden Quilt. Plan traditional colors of red and green, or go wild from your fabric stash as Barbara shows you the techniques needed to finish this block including: how to choose fabrics, organize and manage lots of pieces, and accurately place the pattern without marking the background. Learn how to needle-turn smooth curves and points with the freezer paper on-top method. Make perfectly round, stuffed cherries with super skinny appliquéd cherry stems. Raise your skills to a new level, and learn to sew tiny appliqué on a bird’s eyes and legs, or use embroidery techniques for details. Experiment with layered appliqué and off-block appliqué techniques. Barbara will offer tips, tricks, and ideas to make your hand appliqué even faster. http://www.quiltweek.com/workshops/63101-cherry-tree-birds/?portfolioID=13202

#63502 Baltimore Garden Tulips
Friday 8:30-11:30am

Inspired by an antique appliqué quilt, perky tulips are clipped from the larger pattern in Barbara’’s book Baltimore Garden Quilt. Learn to hand appliqué smooth curves and soft leaf points. With freezer paper on-top as your guide for needle-turn, master the V-points in the tulip and inner U-curves of unfurled tulip buds. Choose from several methods to make graceful curved stems. Barbara will offer tips and tricks to make your hand appliqué faster, and how to manage accurate placement of appliqué pieces without marking the background.
http://www.quiltweek.com/workshops/63502-baltimore-garden-tulips/?portfolioID=13202

#63503 Applique Stems and Vines
Saturday 8:30-11:30am
Start as a beginner or expand your appliqué toolbox! Barbara will demonstrate as many methods as time allows to make stems, vines, and basket weaves for various styles of hand or machine appliqué. Determine which methods are best for each appliqué situation. Learn about bias and straight grain, when each cut is most effective, and easily figure out how long and how wide to cut fabric for stems and vines to fit your project. Learn several methods of stem placement, how to neatly turn under cut stem ends, and how to reduce bulk or add dimension. Handout booklet is loaded with graphics, tips, and tricks for eighteen different methods. Choose a few methods to sew stems on your class project, or make samples to store in your booklet for future reference. Top off your stems with colorful yo-yos or add flowers of your choice. http://www.quiltweek.com/workshops/63502-baltimore-garden-tulips/?portfolioID=13202

See you in Chattanooga!
Barbara M. Burnham