Tutorial



Twelve Words Block of the Month #4: April Inspire

Twelve Words Block of the Month: April

A couple days late on this one. I swear, every month flies by faster than the last. But here it is, my April 2013 free block of the month pattern, April Inspire. (FYI, I’m backdating it to April 30th, so it’s easier to find for people who are looking. :)

Twelve Words Block of the Month: April

This month has been full of soccer games, and daffodils peeking their heads out of the ground, only to see snow falling on their petals. I’ve been dealing with some personal health (thyroid-related) issues too, so I’ve been all over the place emotionally.

Twelve Words Block of the Month

I started my garden seeds inside, and they sprouted beautifully. Just last Saturday, I planted them outside. And then the wind and snow and freezing temperatures came.

Twelve Words Block of the Month

Needless to say, this month needed some sunshine.

Twelve Words Block of the Month

The month of April? Well, I have a particular affinity for it, for some strange reason. But aside from it being my namesake–I love it because it is so full. Full to bursting. Everything is on the precipice of greatness. I mean, what is more inspiring than watching spring unfold?

Twelve Words Block of the Month

April inspires me. Makes me feel like I’m on the cusp of something really awesome. What a lucky month, April, she gets to carry inspiration with her everywhere she goes.

Twelve Words Block of the Month

Was your month full to bursting?

Twelve Words Block of the Month

xoxo

April

PS Need to catch up? Here are links to the other blocks in this series: January Sparkle, February Adore, and March Believe.

Block4

Instructions:

Cut:

(16) 2½” squares from various yellow scrap fabrics

(16) 2½” squares from various orange scrap fabrics

(2) 12½” x 1½” orange strips

(2) 4½” x 1½” orange strips

Block4A

Make 32 half square triangles from your yellow and orange 2½” squares by marking a diagonal line on the wrong side of all yellow squares. Place one orange square and one yellow square right sides together, and sew ¼” away from each side of the marked line. Cut on the line. Press.

Block4B

Arrange triangles as shown, and sew together in rows.

Block4C

Sew two rows together to make a chevron pattern, press seam open. Repeat for second chevron, set aside.

Block4D

Using yellow scraps and a linen background, and following the paper piecing template provided, paper piece the center of the block, sewing all units first, and then putting letters together to make the word. Square up to 10½” x 4½”.

Block4E

Sew your two 4½” x 1½” orange strips to each side of your word block. Press toward the strip. Repeat on the top and bottom of the word block with the 12½” x 1½” orange strips.

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Sew one chevron unit to the top, and one to the bottom of the word block. Press toward solid orange strips.

Square up to 12½” square.

Download Paper Piecing Template here.

 



Virtual Quilting Bee
Block #3 Tutorial

Virtual-bWelcome friends!

I’m happy you’re here at my blog! If you’re visiting for the Virtual Quilt Bee, hello! Let me introduce myself really quick: My name is April Rosenthal, I’m a quilt pattern designer and blogger, a mom to 5 year old twins, and a wife to my high school sweetheart (awwwww). I have a sweet little pattern company called Prairie Grass Patterns, which I absolutely adore. I also adore fabric, herbal tea, the color orange, helping my family be healthy, and above all, I’m an obsessive learner. I would love it if you’d stick around and introduce yourself so I can get to know you, too! I’m naturally pretty introverted, but I truly love my friends {<–that’s you}–and I love helping others learn.

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I’ve known Amy for a couple years now, and darnit, she’s one of the coolest people I know–and hey, when one of the coolest people you know asks you to be a part of their virtual quilting bee, well, the answer is quick and obvious. So here I am, with my block pattern!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

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First, cut the following, being careful not to stretch your triangles:

Orange polka dot: (4) 2½” squares

White and red floral: (4) 2 7/8″ squares, subcut once on the diagonal to make (8) small triangles.

Aqua check: (2) 4 7/8″ squares, subcut once on the diagonal to make (4) large triangles.

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Sew the short side of a small triangle to one side of each orange square. Press seam toward the square. Repeat with another triangle on adjacent side. Press toward square.

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Right sides together, sew one pieced unit to each large triangle, along the long edge. Press toward large triangle.

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Lay out the block. Sew top two blocks together, and bottom two blocks together. Press toward large triangle.

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Sew rows together. Press to one side.

There you have it! This one is quick and easy, you’ll have it put together in a flash. When I finished putting mine together, I was shocked at how different they look. There is so much less contrast in the solid orange block, but the darkest fabric stands out so much more. The Happy Go Lucky block is fun and balanced, and has a more traditional feel. They look like totally different blocks! Which do you like better?

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I seriously can’t wait for the rest of this quilt to come together, the finished quilt is going to be so fun!

Thanks again for stopping by, let’s talk really soon!

xoxo

April

PS Stay tuned this weekend for some pretty pictures of some works in progress…

PPS, If you missed the first two blocks, click on the “Virtual Quilting Bee” button in my sidebar. Amy is listing them all there, just for you.



Twelve Words Block of the Month #3:
March Believe

march

The month of March was a doozy for me. You know the times where you have plans, and then things just come out of left field all over the place to mess with you? Yeah, that kind of month. Some of the stuff was super cool, like my brother coming home after being away for two years in Russia and Kazakhstan. That was awesome. Other things, not so cool, like hey, strep.

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So of course, I thought it pretty darn ironic that the word for this month’s block (which I planned back in September) is “believe”…because hey. This month? It was all I could do to believe that I could handle even one more minute of the insanity. (Turns out I could, no matter how it felt.)

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And then, of course, when I went to actually make the block, I ended up having to do it twice. Apparently my math was all over the place the first time, and I didn’t notice until I got to the part where I’m sewing all the rows together. Hooray for do-overs.

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So. Believe.

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If I were trying to be inspirational, I would say “Believe in yourself! Believe in your dreams! Believe in the goodness of humanity! Believe in love, and grace, and kindness! Believe in creativity, and passion, and luck! Believe in beauty! Believe in your own worth, and in a loving Heavenly Father who’s looking out for you!”

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But that’s not the month I had, so I’m going to say this instead:

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Believe, that no matter how crazy today is, and no matter how crazy tomorrow is, that you’ll get through it. You will. Even if there are a couple do-overs.

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And all that inspirational stuff? Believe that too. :)

How was your March?

xoxo

April

PS Check out Amy’s Virtual Quilting Bee!  She’s having quilty bloggers post a block tutorial every other Friday. I get to post my block this Friday! Come follow along!

Instructions:

Cut:

(12) 2 5/8″ dark green squares.

(24) 2 3/8″ squares from various green fabrics. Subcut diagonally once to make (48) triangles.

(1) 7″ linen square.

Block3A

Make the green diamond square-in-a-square blocks by sewing a triangle to opposite sides of each green square. Align centers for correct seam allowance. Usually, I fold pieces in half and finger press as I sew to align the middles. Be sure your seam is hitting right where the two pieces intersect.

Block3BPress toward the green square.

Block3CUsing the same method as described above, sew two more triangles to the remaining sides of your green square. Press toward the triangles. Trim little triangles off.

Block3DTrace the embroidery onto the linen, and stitch the word and stem using 3 strands of Sublime Thread #778 in Leaf.

Block3ETrace the shamrock for the applique using your desired method (please note, the template does NOT include seam allowance). I chose to pin my piece to some minky and cut it out without fuseable web. I pinned the shape to the linen and adhered it using a zig zag stitch.

Block3FTrim the linen down to 6½” square.

Block3GLay out the block as shown, piece together by rows, pressing seams between square-in-a-square blocks open, and blocks surrounding the linen, toward the linen.

Block3Finished block is 12½” square.

Block Templates Download



Tutorial: Basic Machine Applique Using Fuseable Webbing

PerfectMachineAppliqueDon’t go running and screaming away, I promise this will be quick and painless. And for those of you who haven’t done much with applique, or machine applique, you’ll see this isn’t anything to be afraid of.

Here’s the thing about machine applique: with the right tools and techniques, it can be really, really easy. And if you’re one of those people that just cringe at the word applique, well, you’re not alone. I have a couple friends and family members that are right there with you. But I promise–it doesn’t have to be traumatizing. Lets do it. Here are 10 steps to perfect machine applique.

1.  Start with a template

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Unless you’re really, really good at freehanding it, it’s easier to trace a shape. Also, with this technique, if you want to applique letters, you’ll want the letter to go backwards on the template.

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Trace the template on to the paper side of some fuseable webbing. Usually, I use Heat ‘n Bond lite, but I also really like featherweight–it doesn’t make the finished product stiff at all.

2. Cut around your shape, leaving some space around the line. Iron to fabric.

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Place the paper shape shiny side down on the wrong side of your fabric.

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Adhere the paper shape to the fabric according to manufacturer’s instructions. In my case, I used the “silk” setting on my iron for 2 seconds.

3.  Cut out the shape on the line.

 

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Peel the paper off the back of the fabric.

4. Iron the shape to background fabric, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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In my case, I used the silk, no steam setting for 10 seconds. Be sure not to keep your iron there too long, you run the risk of scorching the fabric or making the webbing not adhere as well. The shape should be stuck to the background well enough that it doesn’t lift or shift if gently manipulated.

5. Choose your thread.

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You have lots of choices when it comes to thread. I have used metallic, iridescent, matching, contrasting, even invisible thread. If you’re just beginning, I suggest using a thread that matches your shape. As you gain skill and confidence, you can move on to other threads–which can add a LOT of fun and visual interest to your project.

6. Start with a tacking stitch.

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Using a clear presser foot, align your shape right in the middle of your presser foot, so that your needle will sink right at the edge. Take a few very small straight stitches along the edge of the shape. This will help your zig zag (or other decorative stitch) be secure and not unravel. On my machine, I set my stitch length to .5 and took about 5 stitches. I usually start on an inside corner or a straight part if there is one. On circles, you can start wherever you want.

7. Stitch around the shape, using a decorative stitch.

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I use a zig zag stitch, because my sewing machine doesn’t have other stitches that work well with applique. If you have a blanket stitch, that’s a fun one too. Align your stitch so that it is all on the shape, just barely coming off the edge of the shape and hitting the background.

8. Drop your needle and pivot at corners.

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When you reach a corner, manually place your needle right at the corner, in the background.

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Lift your presser foot, pivot the fabric until it is aligned, then begin stitching again.

9. On circular shapes, pivot continually or use the “clock method”.

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When I am stitching around a circular shape, I use one of two methods. On larger, more gradual curves, I put one finger parallel to the presser foot on the shape and allow that finger to serve as a pivot point. This allows the fabric to move freely and easily around the curve. The keys to this method are practice and allowing the fabric to move freely.

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If I am stitching around a smaller or tighter curve, I sink the needle and pivot just like with corners, only moving less with each pivot. The “clock” means to pivot at each place where an hour would be located on the clock. This helps so that your stitching still looks circular like your shape.

10. Finish with a tacking stitch.

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Just like when you started, finish by switching to a very small straight stitch and taking 5-6 stitches. This will secure your applique so it doesn’t unravel.

There you have it! 10 steps to perfect machine applique. I hope you’ll try it and see it’s not so scary after all. I’ve included a template you can download and practice with, including marked pivot points on both the star and the circle. Click the link below to open the PDF in a new window.

Machine Applique Template

As I am typing this, I’m wondering if it would be helpful for me to post a video of the circular stitching. What do you think? Do you have other questions? Machine applique tips or suggestions?

xoxo

April

PS Have you made January’s block? Or February’s? (You’re speedy!) I’m going to post a giveaway this month, and one way to get an entry will be to add your block to the flickr group. So far, my block is all alone. :( I’d love to see yours!



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