I've said it before....I'm a sucker for a sewalong!
The latest one is hosted by @thenextstitch on Instagram. She started a sewalong a few weeks ago called @shutdownstitchalong....I think because her area in Melbourne, Australia had entered a shutdown again because of an uptick in Covid cases. (I just have to say....up until a couple of weeks ago, I'd never ever heard the word "uptick" before. Now I hear it all the time and here I am actually using it!)
During this stitchalong we are encouraged to slow stitch for at least 15 minutes a day. Hey, I start everyday with slow stitching, so I'm in!!
Somehow during the beginning of the sewalong I saw the quilt Hills 'n' Hollers being shown and remembered that I have this pattern and what a good opportunity to try it.
Should have worked on a UFO, right?...oh well.
I thought it would be a great opportunity to use my Jen Kingwell Stash....just needed a background fabric. So, I made my way to my local quilt shop, Quilt Junction. Well, didn't I find out that Lana has started carrying a couple of Cotton & Steel fabrics....and I have a lovely stash of C&S fabrics sitting in a box at home. So I switched thing up to use these fabrics.
You can see that I basted down all the pieces first to make sure the "hills" were spaced out nicely across the fabric.
I baste in my applique once in a while....normally to attach all the "vines" in a piece of applique. It takes extra time, but I find it worth it in the end.
When I posted a picture on Instagram showing my progress in the sewalong, a friend commented that it looks like surfboards....I like that and I think this quilt will now be known as Beach Blanket Bingo!....anyone old enough to catch that reference???
Once the surfboards were in my head, my brain somehow leapt over to a pattern I bought recently and thought that if I incorporated part of that pattern it would kind of look like sun rays. The pattern is "Hunt" by Carolyn Friedlander...
So I read through the pattern and was surprised to find out that she uses a whole other method of applique in this design.
It scared me and thrilled me at the same time, lol!!!
I've been a quilter for over 40 years now and I've got a lot of my methods down pat....but I always enjoy learning a new tip or trick that I may be able to add to my toolbox.
Here are all the pieces pinned to the background...
The next step was to baste each piece down....with the stitches precisely 1/4" from the edge of the applique piece. Not difficult when you've been a quilter for a while as the 1/4" measure comes quite naturally, right?
Then I was to needleturn applique the pieces. But wait a minute....for years now I've been finger-pressing my seam allowances....how was this going to work????....that was the scary part. I was prepared for the fact that this would not be my best work, but it would be a learning experience.
So I started this morning...on a straight section as the curves were going to be the messy part...
Well, here's the brilliant part of this method....those basting stitches really make a nice "edge" that my needle used to follow as I was needle-turning. So pleasing in an inexplicable way.
Then came the curvy bit, and it worked out just fine. I'm quite happy with my work this morning, and I can see using the "Hunt" pattern for a full-sized quilt.
I will digress for a moment.
A long time ago I read this book and I came to call it my applique Bible...
Almost everything in this book revolutionized my method of applique.
When I have trouble with curves (and circles were my nemesis for a long time), I always remember this bit of the book...to just make that next stitch a good stitch, concentrate on just that stitch...and this passage of the book served me well again doing the curves this morning.
My design wall is full at the moment, but I had to see how Beach Blanket Bingo was really looking...
I like it....a lot!!! I can even hear Annette Funicello singing in the background as she dreams about Frankie Avalon.
This quilt has been quite the journey that has morphed in many different ways since I began the #shutdownstitchalong!!
On the design wall is my Halo quilt....a long-time UFO that will finally be a real quilt because of another sewalong on Instagram.
I put the blocks up haphazardly to live with for a while and shuffle them around when I see something that needs shuffling...
Already I know that this is a quilt that will call for hand-quilting.
Halo will be my One Monthly Goal for August. I am linking up with Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal.
I am also linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching