Do as I say, Not as I do

I have a bad habit of buying block of the month kits only to put them away for years before working on them. DON’T DO THAT! For the last several months I’ve had the itch to work on the applique blocks (it’s half pieced and half applique) in a BOM (Home Sweet Home by Kelli Saffell) I bought in 1999 from a store that is long gone. Yes, that’s right, the BOM is almost old enough to vote. My desire to work on it was frustrated because I couldn’t find it. Last week I couldn’t stand it any more and started an exhaustive search. Since it wasn’t upstairs where I thought it was, I assumed I’d taken it downstairs and put it in the UFO/kit cabinet. It wasn’t there. Hmm. If it wasn’t downstairs it must still be upstairs which is where I thought it was in the first place. I finally found it upstairs buried under a pile.

I knew I’d worked on the project a little bit at one time. To my surprise I discovered that I’d prepared all the applique for the blocks and, apparently, some of the applique for the borders and cornerstones. Great! Now I’ve got a head start.

I pulled out the package with the first month’s blocks only to discover that there was no background for the applique block and no fabric for the vines. Darn. I got gypped and it was my fault. That’s why you shouldn’t buy a kit and put it away without looking at it. If I’d at least looked through the kit to make sure everything was there I could have gotten the missing pieces from the store. Have I learned my lesson? We’ll see. Off I went downstairs to find replacement fabric. I found suitable replacements although I don’t have much of this style of fabric in my vast collection. I’d call it country-ish.

There is surprisingly no picture of the finished quilt, although each month’s kit has a picture of the blocks. That’s good because that’s the only way to know where the various fabrics go. I couldn’t find any photos of finished quilts online, either. I think I must have missed buying a kit or two and must not have gotten a reminder because I only have fabric for some or all of the leaves in the borders but no fabric for the other applique and pieced motifs. Maybe it was optional and I passed it up figuring I could use stash fabrics. Who knows? May have to take a shopping trip to Lancaster county when I get all the blocks done to find fabrics that go with it. I remember not buying the sashing fabric at the time because what the store used didn’t appeal to me. I thought I’d wait and find something later. I wasn’t expecting it to be this much later.

Above is the closet thing I have to a picture of the entire quilt. At least it gives me something to work with.

I haven’t done hand applique in several years. I suffered the tortures of the damned the other night while working on the first two blocks. The technique I used to prepare the applique is freezer paper on the bottom and the seam allowance is glued to the freezer paper. Sharp points are thick with fabric and glue. I broke at least two needles and bent another – all different brands. At one point I was using a flexible plastic thimble and managed to get a needle eye to puncture the thimble and lodge in my finger. Ouch! That hurt. My thread was shredding and breaking when I pulled the thread tight after a stitch. My Clover needle threader wasn’t threading the needles. I tried several brands of needles and three different thimbles. During the course of the evening I exhausted my inventory of curse words. I need some new ones. That was last Friday.

The first two blocks are stitched. It was the points on the hearts on the second block that were so troublesome. The blocks haven’t been washed yet to remove the glue and freezer paper. After that is done, they’ll be pressed and cut down to the proper size.

On Monday I bought two brands of needles (John James Gold Eye and Clover Black Gold) and switched to using my pink plastic thimble like the one below. I used to get them at my local quilt shop which is gone now. I haven’t found a new source. I like it because it’s cheap (I keep losing them) and it fits my finger better than closed top thimbles.

Image result for pink plastic adjustable thimble

In fact, I lost my thimble at guild last spring and was forced to use other types. One night a few weeks ago someone dropped something on their way out without realizing it. I hollered at her to stop so I could give it to her, then mentioned  that I’d lost my thimble last spring. Caren asked if it was pink plastic. Then, she pulled a bag out of her tote and said, “here it is”. She hadn’t realized for a long time that some lost and found items got mixed in with raffle basket stuff from our quilt show last spring. I was thrilled to be reunited with my thimble since I hadn’t found a local source for a new one.

I haven’t had any problems stitching this week. I even got the needle threader to thread the needles. I think part of the problem was that I wasn’t putting the thread in correctly. I seem to have the hang of it now. I’m currently using the Clover Black Gold needle.

I started to lay out block three. Got the bias stems pinned down and discovered I’d forgotten to reverse the pattern. All the pieces were backwards. Sigh. I had two choices: pick new fabrics and remake the pieces or use the pieces and make the block reversed. Guess which one I picked? After all, an applique pattern is like a chili recipe – it’s a starting point. No one will ever know that I changed it. I had copied the pattern onto tracing paper to use as a layout overlay so all I had to do was turn it over.


I center the design on the background, then pin the tissue paper to the background at the top. Slide the applique piece under the tissue and maneuver it into place and pin it. Block 3 is now being stitched.




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