Hello, Splendids! I’m so happy to be a part of the fun and joy that The Splendid Sampler is bringing to the quilt world. My block, “At Home Anywhere,” is a nod to those of us who’ve lived like nomads much of our life—moving here, there, and everywhere. I’ll bet many of you have shared that same experience. But no matter where I’ve lived, to me home is always where my sewing machine is set up. It’s what makes a house a home, and definitely is my happy space where I can make quilts for the people I love the most.
And no, the little house on my block doesn’t look like any of my previous homes. I’ve lived in a charming Cape Cod–style cottage, a 1910 Sears home, a suburban two-story, a ranch house, and an urban apartment with concrete floors. So, who knows—this could be a future home I haven’t found yet!
So, let’s get started. (And, if you read to the end, you’ll get a little sneak-peek surprise!)
The instructions for my block are simple—it’s fusible appliqué. Here are a few tips if fusible appliqué isn’t familiar to you.
- Make sure to use lightweight fusible web if you’re going to machine stitch your pieces in place, as I did. The medium- and heavyweight versions are often too thick and will gum up your needle.
- Decide whether or not you want your machine stitching to star or take on a supporting role. I opted for the latter and used “Perfect Hometown Colors” Aurifil thread to match my fabrics.
- When machine appliquéing small pieces, try a small zigzag stitch. I set my BabyLock Crescendo machine to a 2.0 mm width and 1.4 mm length.
- The key to machine appliqué stitching that looks sharp and tidy is in the pivot. My favorite setting on the BabyLock is the pivot function button, which allows me to stop with my needle down in the fabric and the foot hovering just slightly so that I can pivot the fabric beneath it. If your machine doesn’t have this capability, you’ll need to either use the knee lift often as you pivot, or use the hand lever for your presser foot in the same way.
- These next two tips assume you are stitching clockwise around an appliqué shape with the left-hand swing of the stitch biting into the appliqué and the right-hand swing of the zigzag just biting into the edge of the appliqué foundation. On outside corners (the outer corners of the roof, windows, window frames, and door), stop at the end of the appliqué shape with your needle down and on the right-hand swing of a zigzag. Raise the presser foot and pivot the fabric (turning the corner completely), then lower the presser foot and begin stitching again. The left-hand swing of the needle will just cross over the last zigzag stitch previously made.
- On curves (the cloud and shrub), imagine that there are marks similar to those on the face of a clock. As you reach those imaginary marks along the outside edge of a curve, you stop with your needle down on the right-hand swing of the needle. Raise the presser foot, pivot the fabric slightly, then lower the presser foot and continue stitching. Pivot often to keep the gentleness of your curve going.
I hope you enjoy “building” this little house block. I’m working on building a whole neighborhood of them.
And now for that sneak peek I promised you. I may be a wannabe quilt-block designer, but by day my “real” job is Publisher and Chief Visionary Officer for Martingale publishing company. Pretty snazzy title, right? It might seem like I should be able to see the future with a title like that. Well, today, I can! Here’s what was on my desk this week when I returned from a business trip.
That’s right, it’s the preliminary pages for The Splendid Sampler book by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson that will be published by Martingale in April 2017. All 128 glorious pages!
These pages will go through dozens of reads, several editors and copy editors, the layout designer, photographer, and Pat and Jane too . . . all to get this terrific collection ready for you to treasure. In addition to all 100 blocks, there will be finished quilts and different settings for the blocks, too. Our hope is that you’ll love it as much as we all do! We’ll update you with more as these pages go from printouts to real book pages with a cover. But in the meantime, put the book on your wish list. Spring 2017 will be here before we know it!
All the best,
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