Sunday, 11 January 2015

Machine Applique my way

I am pleased to say that the bushfires are finally over following many, many long hours of volunteers fighting it and then eventually some much needed rain. So now we can move forward to a positive New Year of hope… of my hopes is to shift some of that Christmas ham and pudding from my 'middle' by consuming a little more of this…….
Many photos have been shared of the tragic suffering and loss of wildlife during the fires. The koala is always one that touches the heart and these images resulted in many sewers making mittens for their burnt paws. I'd printed off a pattern as I planned to make some but only heard today that they have received way too many!…..
So "back to some appliqué business". I often get emails asking about those fiddly little points when I machine appliqué so I thought I would once again share some of that process tonight. The threads I am using are rayon from Madeira and the magnificent Magnifico from Superior Threads which is a stronger polyester with the appearance of rayon…….

 In the bobbin with the Magnifico I'm using a poly-cotton - Rasant and my most favourite needle - a Superior Topstitch 70/10 needle..…..
 Now to those pesky points. To start with you do need to use an open toed appliqué foot for good viewing. We will start at a join and then stitch around a curve one stitch at a time. On my Bernina 750 I am using a width of 1.7 and a length of 1.7 and I've turned the tension down to 2.5 - you do not want to see any bobbin thread on the top…………
 My blanket stitch is a 3-step stitch so I usually turn at "3". "1" goes forward, "2" shifts to the left and then "3" shifts back to the right where you started. We use these numbers in class and every machine is a little different - some take 5-6 steps. When I come to a join as you can see below I will hang on to my work giving a little traction so it can't move forward. This way I can sneak another stitch in the angle……..hope you can see it here….
 Now I'm heading to a spot where I am going to have to stop and tie off but instead I will go into a straight stitch by turning my width to "0" and then stitch across just below the flower edge……...
I've travelled across, turned my work, turned up my width again and away you go……...
 Now I am coming up to a sharp point and I am going to count as I go. Take "1" forward stopping just past the tip and turn your work……. 
 Now stitch the "2/3" part of the blanket stitch just under the appliqué……..
 Then turn work around to the direction that you want to go……...
 And here is the final point (and my thread collection!!)………….
I have two quilts to complete so many more hours of machine appliqué on the horizon. I must mention that it is essential to be sewing where you are relaxed and comfortable - for me it is the family room with Larry keeping me company as we watch Midsomer Murders!!…..
Last weekend we had six lovely friends join us for Sunday lunch. The chatter went for hours and it was almost teatime when we finally stopped! What it did reveal though was that the dining table with eight around it is a little tight - so during the week we had a shift of furniture. The family often has trouble keeping up with me moving things in the house and this past week there has been a lot of it! I wonder how long till I move it all again Sophie??!!
 And then late tonight Larry had moved to his "den" - also know as the lounge where this time he was watching Taggart!!…...
During the week I also had a lovely day with a special friend where I purchased a cheapie chandelier that is really a candle holder. I am a bit of a sucker for chandeliers and this one was an absolute bargain…Made in China but still looks glam! But it did look a bit over the top inside so it has a new home outside until it rusts and Larry said it was so cheap he would buy me another!!……….
I've been looking for a while for a display unit for some of my china cups and plates and a trip to Ikea resulted in this one which tucks in the corner well….
 After a couple of days of rain the heat and sun were back this afternoon streaming through the front. Either side of the front door I have two small stained glass replica hangings of the same windows that William Morris had in his entrance at Red House. I purchased them at Red House on the last UK tour and they are made by Winged Heart. The design on the left is Amor (meaning love) and on the right Fortuna (for luck and fortune)…...

 The rain has been wonderful for the garden so we are hoping for a little more in a day or so. Things have been growing really well and the before and after result is quite satisfying considering that most plants have only been in less than 6 months……... 

 The roses have been fabulous despite the heat………..
 And the silver birch and crepe myrtle are thriving……... (at the moment!!) 
 And even these plants below have been prolific. I've been spraying weedkiller on them since we've been here as I thought they were weeds….but it turns out it is a cottage garden flower called Butterfly Bush (Guara)!!……...
 So I hope life is blooming in your part of the world x


  1. thank you so much for posting the tutorial on machine applique!! with my hands developing arthritis so much I know my hand work will be going away slowly and I wanted to be able to try to do the next of your quilts that I will try with the machine applique instead of needle turn which has been taking me forever to finish your Floral Fantasy.
    So sad seeing that Koala with the paws in the mixture to treat the burns - I assume they sedate the poor animal to do this - looks lounging peacefully!!
    Do you mind if I link your tutorial to my blog - would love to share the information to my readers.

  2. Your tutorial on machine applique was quite helpful as I'm planning on trying that this year. As the Butterfly Bush gets more mature it does have a tendency to spread out, but you can give it a fairly severe haircut each year and it will come back nicely.

  3. Thanks for the sewing tips, I am in the market for some new needles! I am sure your garden will thrive with love...and water!

  4. May I ask you if my machine doesn't have a blanket stitch but only a ig zag--could I still have a nicely finished edge on the appliques do you think? My hands don't allow me to do much work anymore either. I love your book hugs, Julierose


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