AMAZING N.C. FLOWER QUILT
Now that the Quilt Show is over, let's start a new project. It shall be a "block of the month" project of beautiful flowers that bloom in the spring and summer here in Western North Carolina. The first week of each month for the next 9 months, I shall have a new block for you. It is to be an appliqué block that you may do by hand, or by machine. Whichever is your pleasure!
The blocks are set on point and have a maze type sashing that gives the effect of a trellis. Each block will be done using the actual leaf shape from the real flower. I have been seen picking leaves off bushes in the area I am sure.
The finished size of the wall hanging will be approximately 75" square. I am making my blocks using fat quarters instead of buying all of the fabric at once; however, here are the necessary fabric yardages.
Size of all flower blocks: 12 1/2" unfinished (I cut mine 13" as appliqué eats up some of the fabric.) Blocks are turned on point so I would recommend that a solid fabric or an all-over print be used to conserve fabric. It will take approximately 9 yds. 100% cotton for 9 applique blocks, 4 plain blocks, 8 half triangles, 4 corner triangles, four 4" X 75" border strips (plus a little extra for mitering corners), and backing for the whole wall hanging.
The trellis effect type sashing requires about 1yd of dark fabric (this will be enough for the binding of the quilt as well) and1 yd lighter print. I use a little of each of these fabrics in the flowers as well.
The first block is the Rosebay, Great Laurel Rhododendron. They were blooming profusely outside my kitchen window last month. I plucked several leaves to be sure that I would have the correct shape for the pattern. The leaf color is olive green and the flower is white. I use fat quarters for this. Most of the flowers will make use of fat quarters ( available in all quilt shops.)
If doing the appliqué by hand, I recommend either silk thread or 100% polyester thread as it disappears into the appliqué. Other supplies needed: several shades of green fabric will suffice for the leaves in N.C.; a box of freezer paper found at the grocery store; washable glue stick; appliqué needles and short pins without a big head on them. 2 yds. Wonder Under needed for machine appliqué.
Next week I shall go into the process for making the beautiful ruching flowers for the center of the Rosebay rhododendron. Try to have your fabrics for the first block ready to use. I wash all of my fabrics before cutting them.
If you need help with this project, come to Cashiers Quilters Guild at the United Methodist Church on Hwy 107 S, any Wed. at 12:30. Someone will be happy to help you. This will be a great winter project for us all.
Flowers Blooming Profusely in WNC
I don't think I've ever seen the flowers prettier this time of year in our area. What a great time to be starting our new project "An Amazing Flower Quilt."
The supplies needed for this quilt were in last week's paper. If you need a copy, drop by the newspaper office and pick up one. While you are there, pay for your subscription to the paper as you shall need it all winter to do this quilt.
Part A of Block #1-Rosebay Rhododendron (picture next week!)
If you have creases in your fabric that seem to refuse to be ironed out, spray white vinegar diluted with water on the crease and iron with a hot iron. Now, let's learn how to make "ruching flowers" and practice making them with a scrap piece of 100%cotton fabric. The flower cannot be done by machine so it must be done by hand.
Cut a strip of practice fabric along one edge about 22" long X 1 1/8" wide. Press the strip in half with a hot dry iron. Open the strip and fold each edge to the center fold just as bias tape. Press as you go.
Using the edge of a legal size envelope, place a mark along the bottom edge starting at the right hand corner every half inch the whole length of the envelope.
Lay the fabric strip with seams face down on the table, and place the marked envelope along the bottom edge of the strip. Using a water erasable fabric marking pen, mark every half inch alternating placement first at the bottom of the strip and the next mark at the top, etc. across the entire strip. You may go back and draw diagonal lines from dot to dot for a sewing line.
Thread a needle with strong thread doubled for strength. Knot the end of the threads. Starting at the bottom right hand edge of the strip, bring the needle up at the first mark. Take medium length stitches up to within 1/8" of the top mark; throw the thread over the top and bring the needle up from the underside just below the last top stitch. Continue running stitches down to the bottom mark stopping 1/8th" from the mark, throw the thread over and come up from the bottom and continue doing this for about 2". Stop and gently pull on the thread, gathering up the strip as to look like a rickrack strip. If it doesn't gather up this way, you have not thrown the thread over properly or have gotten too close to the last stitch when coming up from the bottom. It takes a little practice to get the rhythm of this.
Once the strip is gathered up as tightly as you can pull it without breaking the threads, begin making a circle with the beginning of the strip. Tack points to other points until the strip is in the rounded shape of a flower. For more visible directions, Google:"How to make Ruching Roses" The Rosebay flower is white and requires 4 of these "ruching flowers."
If you get behind in this project, don't hurry, just take your time and enjoy doing it. This is a great project to help you to learn how to do many different kinds of applique and skills that you can use in many different ways. I'll be posting on this website as often as I have time. Check back often. Happy Days!