Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 6

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 5).

But before I share about the new part added to the quilt, let’s enjoy what you have sent in!  And THANK YOU!!!!

This is mine, made using Bleecker Street fabrics by Quilting Treasures.

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects. Stop by Billie’s blog and see all the amazing quilts she is making!  Seeing her projects always makes me want to retire!

Alice sent in her progress picture as well, despite having had a busy month!  Good job, Alice!  I am loving the calming effect of the blues Alice has used in her blocks!

And here is Kim’s batik version — so happy to see this done in batiks because the batiks give such a sense of depth to any designs.  And you can see that Kim has been VERY busy!!! I love seeing all the blocks that I have yet to make, and I am feeling really motivated!!

Good Job, EVERYONE!  Your quilts will all be absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at anystage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time, and still have a life to live. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. You can go as fast or as slow as life allows.  More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

Life took on a crazy pace for me, and before I knew it… another part of the Sew Along is due, ha!  I want to thank all my Sew Along friends for keeping me accountable on this.  I can tell you if you weren’t sewing with me, I wouldn’t have done as much on the quilt as I have.  I have had an under-the-weather Miss Baby for part of this part week, and add to that a rather traumatic experience of being locked out of our house because I was out just for a jiffy getting leaves for our new wooly bear pet!  It was good to finally settle in to get a bit of leisure sewing done.

For Part 6, I am making the birdhouse block – only the pieced portion because I am a bit unorganized currently with my sewing notions as I continue to outfit my sewing room!

Since this block will have some tiny pieces, so I made sure I press-starched my fabrics before I cut them.  The rest is actually quite straightforward with a few things to note:

#1.  When making the flying geese unit, I pressed the seams open so that I made sure I “hit” the point just right when I added the white tonal strip above the flying geese unit in finishing out the block.  Below is a blown-up image of where the point of the flying geese unit meets the white tonal rectangle at the top.

#2.  When I trimmed off the dog ears when making the flying geese units.  I went ahead and cut into the dog ears into triangles to make HST units to make the pinwheel units for the outer border.  With the dog ears, you can cut 4 sets of triangles enough to make HST units for 1 pinwheel unit.

#3.  When making the pieced leaves and stem unit, I pressed the seams to one side when making the pieced row units, but press the seams open when sewing the rows together.  The main reason is that with 1″ finished width, I didn’t want to lose any real estate from pressing the seams to one side.

And here is how my birdhouse block is looking.

I shall be back next month with the applique butterfly and stitchery added to the birdhouse blocks, as well as the swirl and bird applique blocks!

Use the image below as a guide for applique and stitchery if you decide to go ahead and finish the block.

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Happy Sewing-Along, Friends – keep making those pinwheel units!!

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Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along: Part 4

NOTE:  If you are just now hearing about the Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along, and would like to find out more, click HERE.

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Hello Friends, I hope you have been well since our last Spring on Bleecker Street post (Part 3).

Let’s enjoy some progress pictures you have sent in?

Billie of http://billiebeesblog.blogspot.com (I have “known” Billie for quite a few years.  I have affectionately called her the queen of BOM’s because she works out the coolest BOM projects.  So, it is an honor to have her join my humble little sew-along).

Alice has a nice round sun for her quilt, and she also has pinwheels happening at different stages.  I like her method of operation a lot – it’s pretty much what I do as well.

And here is Gail’s progress picture!  I am loving the 30’s fabrics Gail has used.

Before I go on, I want to share with you my excitement when I found out one of Gail’s quilt is a Paducah winner this year!!!  How amazing is that?!  Take a look at Gail’s absolutely amazing quilt.

I love that Gail took the time to write and share with me the exciting news, and a little snippet of her life.  I want you to know you are all free to do that!  I love hearing about your personal stories!!

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I am VERY happy that you are sewing along.  You can send me pictures of your quilt at any stage at any time, and I will just include your pictures in the next posting of Spring on Bleecker Street.

Remember, this is a sew-along for those of us who have more projects we can count, all going on at the same time. :-) So, absolutely no pressure to get things done on time. More importantly, I just want you to enjoy the project as I have.

Part 4 deals with applique (I am using fusible machine applique method) and hand stitching — and the whole applique and stitching portion of the bunny block took me about 5 hours.

Disclaimer – you may choose to use the method of your choice to tackle the applique and stitchery! What I am describing henceforth is by no means dogmatic. :-)

1.  Prepping the background fabric

We are supposed to cut a 8″ x 17″ white background fabric.  I normally press-starch this multiple times until the fabric piece takes on the feel of a solid sheet of fabric for the following reasons:

a.  There will be multiple times of pressing – so if I “squared up” the rectangle first, I run into less chance that the rectangle will be wonky and out of shape after I am done with the applique and stitchery.

b.  For fusible machine applique, if the background fabric is starch-pressed well, I don’t have to have a stabilize the piece when I stitch the applique pieces in place.  The multiple rounds of starching stabilize the piece well enough for me that I don’t get any puckering.

Once you have your 8″ x 17″ rectangle prepared, eyeball at about 1/3 from the bottom and mark with a sharp pencil a “wave-shaped” landscape boundary.  It doesn’t have to be exactly like mine.  I realized that Quilting Treasures hadn’t included a placement guide for the applique or the stitchery.  I am not sure why.  So, we will just use this picture below as a guide.  So, you will use the pencil to mark the landscape boundary, as well as the flower stems once you cut out your flower pieces and figure out where you want them to go.

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2.  Prepping applique pieces

I am using machine fusible applique method.  I prefer to use the “window” method concerning the paper-backed fusible.  You can easily find tutorials on this method.  I have also written briefly about this method here.   Make sure you use a very sharp applique scissors to cut out the shapes to prevent fraying on the edges.

I showed a black and white photo below to show you the faint pencil marking I have done on the background rectangle.

When fusing the pieces, be sure to use a pressing cloth.

3.  Stitching applique pieces

I have traditionally used Aurifil 50wt, but ever since Aurifil released their 80wt last year, I have been wanting to try out the 80wt for machine applique.  Now, the 80wt was initially developed for hand applique, but the wooden spools will go on your machines nicely as well!  In the picture below are shown the 80wt and the 50wt thread spools.  The 50wt spools are pulled from my Subtle Strings collection.  Click here if you haven’t heard of the 50wt collection I had curated for Aurifil.  You can now purchased the collection of 12 large spools for $99.99 instead of the usual $149.99 from https://pumpkinvinecorner.com/aurifilcollections4.htm (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page).

For the 80wt, I used matching threads for the top and bobbin threads, and I absolutely love the very fine effect. Now, the 50wt already gives an amazing look, but I think I might even like the 80wt better!  I do love both the 50wt and 80wt.

Now, you may choose to zig-zag, satin stitch or buttonhole stitch around the applique shape.  I personally like to buttonhole stitch because the stitches tend to not look overpowering around the applique shapes to me.  For these rather small applique pieces, I used W = 2.0 and L = 2.6 on my Bernina’s setting.

4.  Hand stitching

I took my piece back to the ironing board after I stitched my applique pieces in place.  And for the stitchery, I used colors from my Marmalade Meadows collection.  You may also order from https://pumpkinvinecorner.com/aurifilcollections4.htm for $38.50 (be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page) since at this point there is a wait list on Cinnamon’s Quilt Shoppe.

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I definitely hoop my piece before I stitch.  I also use a John James Embroidery Needle 8, and stitch over 2-ply of the floss.  That means, each strand of floss comes in 6-ply.  I would separate out the floss, and would stitch with 2-ply. Click here to find out why I like stitching with Aurifloss.  Remember, there is a free stitchery wallhanging pattern with the purchase of Marmalade Meadows thread pack – shown below!!

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And here is how my bunny block all stitched up — you will notice that I have used different shades of green instead of just one shown in the sample quilt.  I decided to add more colors to mine!  You may choose whichever colors you would like to stitch, and the number of leaves you stitch on the stems are up to you too!

And I have a confession – I actually wear a pair of jeweler’s (magnifying) glasses when I stitch!  I like that I can see better, and judge my distance better — and thus, my stitches end up looking much nicer!  Now, you just about know all my secrets! Hehe!

This concludes Part 4 at my end – it’s your turn now!  Looking forward to see your progress pictures!

Happy Monday, Happy Week – and I hope everyone had a blessed Mother’s Day!

Happy Monday & Sew Along & Scrappy Mystery & This and That

Hello Friends, Happy Monday and Happy Week to you!  I hope you are all well!  I will try to cover a few items today. :)

#1.  This is of utmost importance — I want to know who amongst you still has her Christmas tree up! :)  I found out over the weekend on Instagram there are quite a few still who are keeping their Christmas trees up to enjoy them longer.  With that, I will no longer feel self-conscious about keeping ours up for two weeks at least after Christmas!!! Truth be known, Miss Baby is still blasting Christmas carols and music at home.  And I sewed up these charm squares over the weekend.  So, Christmas is here to stay, I think!

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#2. Spring on Bleecker Street Sew-Along!  If you have expressed an interest in following with the sew-along, you will have received an email from me with a bit of logistics on how we will be doing things – all in an informal way!  Please know that you are able to join in the fun anytime!  It will be great if you just shoot me an email expressing your intention to join in the fun! :0)

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You may download the pattern instructions and templates here.

I will be using the Bleecker Street fabrics from Quilting Treasures for this project!  I am totally in love with these fabrics!!!!  You may use fabrics of your choice for the project.  However, if you want to replicate the original quilt,  I know of places listed below that are selling the kits/fabrics.  For the embroidery, I will be using colors from my Aurifil’s Marmalade Meadows collection.  Click here to read about the collection if you haven’t known about it.  I would imagine any Aurifil dealer will be able to order the floss for you.  Please know that I will be showcasing more ways to use up the floss in a couple of months.

* The quilt and floss kits are available from http://thimblemouseandspouse.com.  I think Lynn is still waiting for the fabrics and floss to arrive.

* Quilt kits from http://www.northerncomfortquilts.com/sales-and-specials

* Fabrics from Quiltropolis.

* Quilt kits from Hancocks of Paducah.

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Tentatively, I will be posting my first section on Feb 15th.  And then you will have a month between Feb 15th and March 15th to complete your section. :)

#3.  SCRAPPY MYSTERY Quilt-Along!  I asked, and you responded.  So, scrappy it is!  This will start in June or July 2017.  I am still working out the details, and will have more to share when I have more solid information.

#4.  Miss Baby’s Stitching Progress.  Some of you have written to ask about Miss Baby’s stitching progress.  Here is the last progress picture I took of her work.  Pattern is by Jardin Prive.  You may purchase the chart here. The latest completed house is the one right next to the letter “m”.  She actually messed up on counting her squares. Instead of correcting her mistake, she “improvise” to make her house work!  I am not quite sure how I feel about that yet… on one hand, I want her to follow the rules because I am pretty much a “dot my i’s, and cross my t’s kind of person.  But on the other hand, I thought she did a great job improvising!  Hahaha.  The original house has 3 windows, and Miss Baby’s version has 2 windows.  And of course, Miss Baby has totally ignored all the “suggested colors”, and picked out all her colors.

I have to say Miss Baby has made great strides in the last 6 months in that she has learned to thread her own needles, and finish her stitches etc.  She is now a totally independent stitcher.  For a while there, I had to cut the threads, thread the needle, show here where to stitch, and then help her bury her thread tails etc.  Now, she asks if I could get her a gold needle!  Well, I didn’t… I told her she would have to earn her own money to buy that as regular needles do just fine. :-)

I say all that to encourage mothers and grandmothers out there who are teaching their young ones in the art of needle and thread that it is possible to start them really young!  I started Miss Baby when she was about 5.  And it’s been really gratifying to see her progress and develop in her skills.

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That’s all for now, Dear Friends!  It’s past 10pm, and I still have a quilt to bind that needs to be shipped in the morning. :)  There goes my life whirling around again!  Hugs to you all, and I do hope you have a lovely week.