Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Updated: New Color-Coded Marking Technique for Template Free (Back Basting) Applique !

Civil War Bride pattern by Corlis Searcey

Happy autumn!  October is my favorite month of the year.  It's not as colorful here as in other parts of the US and Canada and it's still pretty hot.  But, the humidity doesn't slap you in the face when you open the front door on your way to work.  For at least a few hours in the morning it's very pleasant to be outside AND in the afternoon it's still pool weather; best of both worlds!   Plus, I love the anticipation of the holidays.  They are still far enough away that there is no stress yet but close enough to have something to look forward to.

I've been making progress on a few works in progress this past month, my Teal Baltimore and a few pieced projects.  I'm also starting a new project this month, Civil War Bride (CWB) quilt. 
CWB BOM Block 1 Fabrics from Honeybee Fabrics
I received the pattern last year for my birthday and am receiving the fabric as a BOM from Honey Bee Fabrics.

CWB Stash
To me a BOM is is a suggestion.  I always customize the fabrcis from my most fabric stash. 
I'm predicting this will be a fun project because I am doing it along with a small group of friends online.  If this is something you would be interested in, the yahoo group is called Appliqué Your Way.  We are prepping this month to begin stitching block one in November so there is still time to join if you are interested.

Speaking of prepping blocks, I would like to share a hybrid tip with all of you.   It's a hybrid because I combined tips from two appliqué artist I respect, Sandra Leichner and Jeana Kimball.  Here goes.... I have always used a pencil of some type to mark the back of my background fabric in preparation to use Template Free (Back Basting).  With very complex blocks or blocks that require a lot of stitching and handling, the pencil line will tend to fade over time and become very difficult to see.   Jeana's tip is to use a very fine line marker.  She recommends a Pigma Pen .01.  I tried this on a few projects using a sepia colored one and it worked very well.  It's now my back of background marking tool of choice.  Here's the second part...  I just received several new patterns from Sandra's collection, The Naturalist Notebook.  These patterns are complex so Sandra color codes the pattern drawing to separate the flowers, leaves, birds, etc. and make the pattern a little easier to read.  When I read her pattern I had a true AH HA moment!  Pigma Pens come in a variety of colors! 

Color-Coded tracing on the Back of the Background

So on my first CWB block I tested my idea - I traced the pattern on the back of the background using different colors so that I could easily distinguish the apples from the stems from the leaves from the vase from the table from the .....  I think you get the idea.  It may not be necessary for simple blocks but if you love complex blocks like I do (Baltimore especially) then I think this tip is going to come in very handy.  Let me know if try it.  And if you do, did you find it useful.

On word of caution - USE A VERY LIGHT HAND!!!!


Cosmos block from Jeana Kimbell's A Cottage Garden pattern

These past few weeks I have also been working on my Cosmos block for The Cottage Garden by Jeana Kimball.  I'm not crazy about how this one turned out but I'm not going to stress over it.  Remember the Cinderella Principle; Cinderella always appeared so beautiful because she was always standing next to her ugly stepsisters.  Every quilt needs a few stepsister blocks and Cosmos will be a candidate.
Well that's it for now.  Until next time...

Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami

Quick Update:  Since I posted this blog this morning I have received several emails with the same question "Aren't you worried about the pen showing on the front of the block?"  My response is YES!  I was very worried about it showing through.  That is why I use a VERY LIGHT HAND with the marker and why I included the second photo closeup of the marking. It's VERY light. Also I tend to select heavier background fabrics for applique because I have found lighter weight fabrics don't hold up well to all the handling and the weight of the applique fabrics. I usually stick with Cherrywoods, Kona, and some Modas. For the Modas I avoid white or very pale colors. The Civil War Bride is on a Moda Fig in Wheat color and my Teal Baltimore is a dusty teal Moda Three Sisters. In addition, I just ordered a small set of Pigma markers on Amazon that are all .005 (the finest they make) just to be extra safe.  Finally, remember to ALWAYS test first on a scrap of background fabric!
Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami

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