Sunday, October 6, 2019

Bling Bling Applique

This four block applique pattern, available here, has roamed around my mind since the late 2000's. I think I got the first look at it about 2009 and had a small photo of it on my desk top. I knew one day I would make it, and Wendy Whellem from Legend and Lace generously sent me that photo before it became a BOM in Quilters Companion in Australia.  What drew me to this piece was her colors; the cheddar border, the black and white striped sashing fabrics. It just sung to me.

I started these blocks Oct 30, 2018. Back basting is my preferred method for needle turn applique and I wanted a travel project for our annual trip to Hawaii. This was it! The blocks were finally finished last week. Having a 20 1/2" square ruler made trimming these blocks a snap. It's a ruler I don't use often, but when I need it, it proves it was worth every penny I paid for it.

Instead of sashing, I thought a row of 1/2 sq triangles might make a nice bright border treatment.  After putting a few up beside the big blocks I quickly switched to two rows and started making my 1/2 sq triangles.  It I could do proper math, I would have made 276 but instead I was pulling fabrics two more times to get the right number!

I started trimming my blocks to 2 1/2" squares and piling them by color.  This way I could spread out the prints/colors to get a nice balance.

And I continued trimming.  This may seem tedious to some, but when I put together my Broken Dishes blocks, and all the seams lined up, I was reminded how taking time in all aspects of the piecing process results in GOOD results.

Many may see borders of pinwheels but if you start in the corner, you will see it's Broken Dishes. 

Spreading out the yellows and blues was important, as these were the two colors that were used the least.  By using prints from the appliques, it keeps the eye moving around.

Making sure my center lines up and I have enough pieces to create each row of the sashing.

Testing the full border and I was so glad I went with a double row of 1/2 sq triangles.  A single row just seemed to wimpy for these big, full appliqued flower pots.  I did take liberties with the applique, birds were added to one block, circles around flowers made their way into my piece, and some shapes were eliminated. ( Thanks Gwen!)  That's the beauty of quilting, you can take any pattern and make it your own.

It took 6 uninterrupted hours to piece together all the blocks for the borders.  I had a plan, stuck to it and am so thrilled with the final results.  I've got a ream of fabric ready to press, cut and sew into a backing and once my next customer quilt is off the longarm, this one will get basted for hand quilting. 
Almost 1 year to complete the applique
Background is French Vanilla by RJR Fabrics (my favorite)
Prints are 1800's reproductions from my stash.
Appliqued blocks are 20" finished
1/2 sq triangles unfinished 2 1/2"  (276 of them)
Broken Dishes blocks 4 1/2" unfinished.
Back basted needle turn for applique. 
Finished piece 52" x 52"
Hand quilting will outline appliques and cross hatch will extend into border
Binding will be background fabric

What piece is on your bucket list?  What's stopping you from starting?
Keep stitching,