Friday, February 27, 2015

Finished Squirrel block and prepping a fish

I have finally finished the squirrel and strawberry block for the Rachel Meyer quilt. So happy to be finished with all those tiny strawberry caps!

The original quilt has lots of embroidered details and while my adaptation is by no means a faithful reproduction I do try to add some embroidery in each block. In this block I embroidered all the strawberry stems in a tiny chain stitch using 2 threads of Valdani variegated embroidery floss. It comes in a little ball and has only 3 threads rather than the usual 6 threads of embroidery floss. I have used Valdani whenever possible in this quilt as I love the depth of color in the hand dyed threads. The squirrel's eye has been embroidered using an outline stitch in one thread and a French knot.

Since it has been a long while since I shared the beginnings of this quilt I thought I would show a little of the next block being prepped. Several people have asked if this quilt is begging made from a pattern. It is not a pattern exactly however I am using the "pattern" for the quilt that appears in the out of print book American Graphic Quilt Designs by Dolores Hinson. Here is a picture of the pattern for the fish block.

The book includes these drawn templates for each block and a tiny illustration for placement. Unfortunately the templates do not always fit in the block when the placement is made so I must evaluate each one to determine if the piece needs to be reduced, enlarged or remain in the original size. Some blocks require very little adjustment but others involve significant changes. A bit challenging but not too bad once I realized that I needed to pay attention to size before cutting fabric pieces. So when I start a block prep the first thing I do is take a copy of the template drawings and then do my size adjustment on the copier in my sewing room. In this block the bird and the upper interior flowers needed to be reduced

The next step is to select fabric possibilities for the whole block. Here are the fabrics I selected for the outside flowers. I ended up making a few changes in the final flowers but since I have so many different fabrics pulled for this quilt it helps if I make some choices before I start cutting.

My prep method is very simple. I cut the template shapes from the copies I made, trace around them on the front of the fabric using a Frixion pen and cut them out using about a 1/8" seam allowance. I do use a sandpaper board when tracing the template as it helps to hold the fabric in place. Once a few pieces are cut it take them to my light box to be glued in place. In this quilt the light box is not necessary as I am not using a full size placement pattern but if I did have the pattern the light box makes placement easy. In this quilt I lay out by sight and usually fold the background into quarters to give me center lines for guides. Here I have laid out the circle and made sure the fish, bird and flowers fit inside before gluing everything down with tiny dots of Roxanne's basting glue. I did alter the fish slightly as it is only one piece in the original quilt. I couldn't resist changing one fin and the tail to separate pieces so I could take advantage of the printed fabrics.

Next were the outer flowers and leaves. The original quilt has a bit of a crowded feel so I decided to use the flowers and leaves at the original size. Once everything is glues down I drew in the stem details and birds feet ,using a Frixion pen, to be embroidered after the appliqué is complete. Finally after about 4 hours of work this block is ready to stitch.

 

13 comments:

Carole~Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus said...

This is such a unique and intriguing project, I'm really enjoying following your progress. You must be happy about finishing the cute squirrel block with all,of those very edible looking strawberries. I love the fabrics you have chosen for the fish, just perfect! Four hours to prep that block - phew! I wonder how long it will take to sew? Thanks for showing your process in detail.

Janet said...

I just love the wreath with the flowers going around on the outside - it's going to be a beautiful block!!

Cathy said...

Your squirrel turned out so nice. Can't wait to see the finished fish. Hugs

Karen said...

That is a lot of strawberries and done very well.

Kyle said...

Those strawberries and especially the caps deserve a great big gold star. Your block is fabulous. Prepping is a huge process. Love where this newest block is headed. Thanks for sharing your technique.

Featheronawire Sally Bramald said...

Looking really, really good. I am so impressed with your work on this.

Janet said...

Your squirrel and strawberry block looks fantastic. Great job. Your tutorial on the fish block is very informative. I did find the book but lord it is challenging and like I said, you are doing a good job. I look forward to your next post. Thank you for sharing.

Karen H said...

This is going to be a fabulous quilt! The squirrel and strawberries is perfect. I love how the tips of some strawberries are lighter, just like the real thing. The fish block is a fascinating and I love the personal touches like different coloured fins!

Barb said...

weee! I love your berry block!
The fish block looks awesome too

Karen in Breezy Point said...

Sweet block--your squirrel looks pretty proud of his prize!

Raewyn said...

Your squirrel and strawberries look great - whew what a lot of work in the strawberries! It's interesting to read your prep process too.

Every Stitch said...

Oh Heather - this is gorgeous! Just love your work and good to see how you designed the fish block - going to be another lovely one. Looks like a good book to have :)

Rachaeldaisy said...

I've loved every part of this post. All the interesting details and your beautiful work. The fabric you used for the strawberries could be more perfect.