Sunday, April 10, 2016

"BLOOM" Sew Along, Block 1!

I've never participated in a Sew Along.  I've never done quilt applique.  However, Lori Holt of "A Bee In My Bonnet" has enticed me to try both.  At the same time.  Check this out, and you'll know why:
Credit: "A Bee In My Bonnet". Click the pic for all of the deets on Lori's blog!
Isn't it just sooooo cute?!?  Like, OMG, I almost can't stand looking at it CUTE!!  So, here's a cute (I know, enough with the "cute", but it is!) little banner Lori posted.  I'm going to use it!
So this Sew Along started back in January, and they are already on Block 12.  Lori posts a new block tutorial every Monday.  That means that Block 13 will be out tomorrow.  I'm woefully behind, but I want to catch up and sew with the group.  Well, gotta start at the beginning:
Credit: "A Bee in My Bonnet". Click the pic for Lori's tutorial
If you haven't already noticed, I like to do my own thing and be different, which is probably why I haven't done a "craft along" thang before now.  So I've already decided that I don't want to do the double border effect that happens when you join two of these lovely blocks together.  I'm going to make the framed blocks, but will sash them with an inch of white background fabric in between.  Yeah, that's what I'll do!

I have a layer cake of Lori's super fabric "Calico Days", not the fat eighths the pattern calls for.  And actually, that will work out just fine for my plans.

Here's how I'm organized, which is a gigantic feat for me because I am NOT organized.  Lori's a genius, and she gives little priceless idea gems throughout her blog posts, like how to organize the Bloom template shapes, and how she keeps all of her project stuff in a dedicated binder.  So call me a copy-cat, but I'm doing it too!  
I cut each of my layer cake pieces so that I would have (2) 8.5"x2.5" rectangles & (2) 2.5"x2.5" squares of each piece.  That means that I would have a total of 80 rectangles and squares (on the right), which is enough to frame all 20 Bloom blocks.  Worked perfectly with a layer cake. The left-over fabric (on the left) should be enough for all of the flower shapes.  If not, I have some fat quarters from Lori's "Modern Minis" collection which will coordinate.  But I'm pretty sure  I should be cool.

OK, I got this!  After reading the blog post several times, watching the video Lori made, and checking out the Block One's on Instagram that other talented peeps have made, I picked out my fabrics:
I totally ripped off others' ideas and am making a sunflower.  Because I love sunflowers!  It's so fantastic when creative people share ideas...I would never have thought of it on my own, and now I get to make a sunflower!  

Although Lori does a bang-up job of explaining how to do her method of applique, and it looks really easy, I'm actually going to use some Steam-a-Seam 2 to do fusible applique.  So for that stuff, you trace the templates onto the gridded paper side of the SAS2, rough cut it out, tear off the opposite paper side of SAS2, and stick it on the wrong side of your fabric.

Then, you give it a quick press with the iron to set the glue onto your fabric.  The SAS2 packaging instructions don't tell you this, but helpful crafty peeps in blogland and on YouTube know all about it, and I thank the stars they saw fit to share this vital info.  Because if you don't press your pieces at this stage, the glue doesn't transfer to your fabric, and that's kinda the whole point.

I briefly pressed my pieces on a teflon pressing sheet to protect my ironing pad from getting sticky gunk on it.  After that, I precisely cut the shapes out of the fabric, and then peeled the paper backing off, yielding a sticky fabric shape.  I was easily able to place and stick my pieces as per Lori's instruction...YAY for no basting little flower bits!

Looks pretty good!!  So after much trial and error, and lots of practice, I decided on a blanket stitch in white thread for all my of applique sewing.  Lori suggests matching thread, but I'm just too lazy for that.  Maybe for the up-coming "Cozy Christmas" Sew Along!

My only issue during applique was that my needle got gunky, and started skipping stitches!  Yup, the SAS2, whose packaging clearly states that it will not gum up a needle if you sew through it, almost made me throw my sewing machine out the window.  

After a deep breath and a new needle, I was able to finish my applique:
I'm going to have to make my stems wider for future flowers.  But I like it!  It's shabby and charming!  Next, to square it up (down?) from 9" to 8.5", I used my 12" square ruler with tape marking 8.5".  To make sure it was square, I lined up the ruler's 45 degree line w/my cutting mat's 45 degree line.  Like this:

Trimmed this baby up (down), picked some pre-cut framing rectangles and squares from my handy-dandy binder sleeve, and voila, I done did an applique quilt block!
Block One DONE!
  Woot woot!  Okay, can't gloat too long, I gotta start Block Two!

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