Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Quilt Files, Episode 3

In this episode of the Quilt Files, we get to look at my first experiments with applique. I bought this kit because I liked the pattern and thought it didn't look too difficult. And it wasn't, at first; the background is made of small squares that you piece together in rows—exactly what I'd done for my rainbow wall hanging. They call this effect "water color," using light and dark squares to create a background. With a 12x16 square background, I only had to piece together 192 squares, which were included in the kit. Except somehow they didn't do their math very well; although there are 192 squares, around 20 of them were actually a combination of light and dark triangles, to create the rayed effect you see. So I actually needed 212 squares, and there weren't that many in the kit. I raided my stash to find more light squares, but my stash is mostly bright colors, so it was fairly tricky.

Still, I managed to get the background pieced and I was ready to try the applique. I decided to do it the easy way: satin stitch the edges, which means no need to fold under edges on the applique pieces. Just cut them out according to the pattern, fasten them to the background using double-sided iron-on sticky stuff, and sew. No problem, right?

I didn't think so. And it wasn't a problem with the first pieces: I cut and stuck on the lighthouse without problem, easy peasy. Then I cut out the house, and when I went to stick it on the background, I made a discovery: if you trace a pattern on the double-sided sticky stuff, then when you iron it to the wrong side of the fabric, you actually get the reverse of the pattern on the right side. Oh, geez. You mean I have to pay attention to left and right? That's never good for me.

So my house was backwards, and I didn't have enough fabric in the kit to cut out a second, correctly shaped piece. Luckily, I only had to adapt the rock-path piece a little bit to compensate, and the overall picture still turned out okay. I had no problems satin-stitching the pieces, and it was fun to quilt the sun's rays with a metallic gold thread. I like this little quilt, and it hangs in my bedroom, where it's a little bit of sunshine when I wake up (even if I wake up at the ungodly and dark hour of 6 am). And it's a good thing I had this experience with applique before I started my next wall hanging, which you'll get to see in the October installment of the Quilt Files.


  1. Nothing about that looks easy to me.

    The way the light squares work so it looks like lighthouse light is amazing.

  2. Diane,
    The effect is definitely art. I can't imagine putting all those two hundred some pieces together and having them not only come out even, but be beautiful.
    One more reason to be envious of you. Ha.