I am two blocks into my new quilt. This one is taking me into an area that needs alot of work on my part. I have hand appliqued a few items here and there, but have never felt very confident at it. So far I have been having lots of fun with this one, and I have inspired several ladies to get their hand applique skills out of moth balls and start stitching.
These blocks are from a book by Susan McKelvey and it is call Baltimore's Country Cousins. An online group that I am a member has a forum for this project. The kickoff for the first block was a week ago, and I already have two blocks done. I have to admit, I was halfway done with my first block before the bell rang. I was practicing and started with the first block, which was not the first block for the group. I did not want to start more than one block at a time, so I did finish my first block before I picked up the first block for the group.
The Four Feeding Birds was the first block in the book, which was the first block for me. I started to get a little frustrated with the center because of the inward points, but a friend suggested that on that type of piece I could stitch a dryer sheet on the back and clip and turn, then hand applique it down. This worked so nicely... I could be coerced into doing the whole quilt this way. Only the center of this block has that "cheater backing" on it. You can feel it has more stability when you touch it, but it looks pretty much the same as the rest to just look at it.
Crossed Hearts was the first one for the group. I modified mine a little, and I think it gives it a little more character than the simple one in the book. The author of the book suggested that some additional hearts be added.
I will be giving guidance to a few ladies from two quilt groups I belong to, and already I have learned some new techniques, and we haven't really started yet. Next week I will be driving the bus to a quilt shop in Kerrville with lots of these ladies. I will help them find the tools and fabric they will need for this big adventure we will begin in earnest once we are all properly outfitted. They are all quilters, but for many, hand applique has not been something they have done recently. I'm trying to get a few blocks ahead so I will have more gotchas to share with them when they start. Today I got copies made of the enlarged patterns. Most have bought the book, but the patterns in the book will only make 12" blocks if not enlarged. 12" blocks would mean the detail is that much more intricate. We need to try to make this one doable so we don't have too many dropping out because they can't get it looking good.