Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nature is carefree. Leaves are part of nature. Therefore, leaves are carefree!

I have been working on and off on a Teal Baltimore Album style quilt for a few years now.  I just love the project but sometimes working on formal style applique can be draining.  I decided this summer that I am going to approach all my projects with the intention of having fun and simply enjoying the process.  Here is the current block that I am working on (one I began May last year).

There are several elements in the block that required perfect placement to make sense.  For example, the eye of the peacock had to be located correctly in the head.   However, the 50 plus leaves do not have to be PERFECTLY placed nor do they all have to look identical.  I use Template Free (or Back Basting) almost exclusively for all my projects.  However, the thought of basting 53 leaves just zapped all the joy out of this block!  The same goes for freezer paper on top or prepared edge or...

But leaves ARE carefree.  They blow and twist in the wind.  They are all different colors and sizes.  So this is the technique I decided to go with to make stitching this block in the same carefree way as leaves exist in nature.  I chose a few general leaf shapes and cut them from freezer paper. 

I then stacked 5-8 leaf fabrics one on top of each other.  I placed the paper leave template on top of the stack, pinned through all the layers,  and cut out the shape adding a generous 1/8 inch seam allowance.

I then placed all the leaves in a bag and shook the bag to mix up the leaves.

I used the pattern to guide me placing the leaves. I pulled out one leaf at a time and I used my trusty Sewline glue stick.  It’s one of the few adhesives that is made from chemicals that do not attract critters.  In addition, it’s very tacky instead of wet so it sticks and dries almost instantly.  Woohoo!  I prepped a portable block to stitch on the go and it only took a single short session to complete!  Plus, the random nature of the fabrics and placement was lots of fun.

For those of you that this technique is way too carefree, a light box can be used to place the leaves.  If you don’t have a glue stick that you like, the leaves can be pinned and later thread basted to make the project portable.

The block is now ready for needle turn stitching.  After appliqueing for a while most of us can eyeball a standard seam allowance.  However, a bonus of this technique is that each leaf will be different without a lot of effort.  Remember, variety is the spice of life and the key to visual interest!

Happy Labor Day weekend to my USA blog readers!  I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend surrounded by those you love.

Until next time,

Best stitches!

Mercy in Miami


  1. Mercy, that is so beautiful! Love the colors you are using. I invite you to link your post at my Applique Thursday post so my followers can see your fabulous work. We love to see applique eye candy.

    I see a big winner in the future for you.

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  3. Thanks for the kind words! I will try to link the post. I'm not sure how to do it but I guess you will know if it worked :)
    Best stitches!