Hand applique

With this quilt, I decided I wanted the look of hand applique.  I’ve made a few applique quilts, but I’ve always been eager (impatient) to have a finished quilt, so I’ve sewed the applique by machine.  I haven’t really taken the time to enjoy the PROCESS of making a quilt, up until now it’s been more about the finished product.  Happily, that has changed.

Cutting out my applique shapes was quicker and easier than I anticipated.  I laid out my fabrics in layers of 4, ironed freezer paper templates on the top layer, and cut them out using my rotary cutter.   (I forgot to take pictures of this process.)

At first, I tried using applique pins to keep the applique on the block, but the applique still shifted, I kept poking myself, and my thread kept getting caught on the pins.  So I glued the pieces in place.

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I used Elmer’s Washable School Glue and a glue tip I purchased from Sharon Schamber’s website.  I positioned the applique where I wanted it, then pressed with a dry iron until the glue was dry.

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The applique pins come in handy for “capping” the tip – they’re just the right size.

I like to use a relatively fine thread.  For this project I’m using Superior Thread’s Bottom Line, because it’s what I have on hand. Silk works, too.  My needle is a straw needle.

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To keep my needle from unthreading while I sew, I thread the needle, then sew through the strands of the short end of the thread three times, then pull it over the eye of the needle, thereby locking the thread in place.  This can be rather tricky but is worthwhile.  My thread won’t come off the needle until I cut it off.

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It’s threaded and ready to go.

Now the fun part – the actual stitching.

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I nudge my needle under the edge of the applique piece so my stitch is hidden by the applique itself.  This is something I’m picky about – I like for my hand applique stitches not to show.  I bring the needle up about 2 or 3 threads inside the edge of the applique shape.

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There – isn’t that pretty?  You can barely see where my stitches are.  🙂

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I don’t want my dark background to show through my light applique, so I trim the excess fabric away.

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One block down, 49 to go!

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Peggi, I’ve been wanting to do that trick of knotting the finer threads at the top of the needle, but didn’t know how to do it. Thanks so much for posting those instructions.  Your stitches are practically invisible – amazing work.  I can’t wait to see this one done – I love the colors you’ve chosen. What a great travel project!

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