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April 16 2008 Quilting Newsletter


Hi everyone, welcome to the mid-week Quilters Quarters Newsletter. My challenge quilt is going well. I’m very happy with my appliqué border. I’ve just about finished one side and it’s looking great. Lots and lots of leaves though, with two different sized leaves. I find when you’re trying to mimic nature it’s essential that your leaves or flowers are never the same uniform size and shape. That simply doesn’t happen in nature, so it shouldn’t happen in your quilt. It is far more interesting looking at an appliqué quilt and discovering all the slightly different shapes and sizes. Sure, it takes more work and effort, but I really believe it pays in buckets when the quilt is completed.

So far, I have used 83 different greens for my leaves. I dare not tell MD (my darling) that I have at least 83 different greens in my stash. He simply wouldn’t understand the need for so many greens. It does enhance the look of the leaves when there are so many different colours and shades. Again, it adds interest to a very simple pattern, but reflects mother natures eclectic sense of design, shape and colour, and avoids that contrived look one sometimes sees in floral appliqué quilts.

I don’t bother tacking my leaves down. I purchased a little box of pins sometime ago, and they’re fantastic. They measure about ¾” in length with a small “knob” on the top, but only a slight knob. This stops the threads from catching on the pins. Once I’ve commenced appliquéing, after I’ve needle turned one side, I remove the pin and continue down the other side. I find this is the timeliest method and doesn’t take too long to appliqué a leaf – approximately 2 minutes.

So, there are three more border sides to complete. I’m still cutting out shapes for my 4½” squares, but only have to complete another 15 of the required 64 and I will have them finished. It’s all good news so far with this quilt.

I have decided to share with you, the method I use to prepare and cut and machine piece these 4½” squares that I’m creating for this challenge quilt. I’m often asked my secrets to accurate cutting and accurate machine piecing so I’ve commenced a series of articles, taking you step by step though the whole process from fabric preparation, folding ready for cutting, the first trim and cutting strips then shapes and finally how I achieve accurate machine piecing consistently.

Last week the first article of this series was posted on the Quilting website. I invite you to give this a go. Here's the link to that article. http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art4335.asp

We’ll be going slowly so you can fully understand the details and I’ve created a forum for you to directly ask me questions about my instructions or to seek other important answers to any equally important queries you may have. Here's the link for you :http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=43

My little gift to you this week is a series of tips concerning threads

• I only ever use three different colours of thread when machine piecing. I find that dark gray, light gray and cream are the most “blending” colours and this means I’m not having a lot of half empty bobbins of colours I probably won’t use again.
• To avoid your thread from winding around the spindle, make sure you position your reels on the sewing machine with the little cut that anchors the thread away from the spooling end
• If you need to match your appliqué thread to your appliqué shape, go for the darker choice rather than the lighter. The darker will blend better


Cheerio for now, I do hope very much that you’re enjoying an improvement in your weather – the world over it’s getting quite unpredictable. So stay well and happy and keep your needle threaded. Remember have fun quilting.

Judie Bellingham
Editor Quilting - BellaOnline


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