Sunday, April 5, 2015

Adventures in Applique: An Introduction to My Calendar Quilt

Little Quilt Stand
One of the activities at our Quilt Guild this year is to make a calendar quilt. We were given various patterns to cover each of the 12 months in a calendar year, but instead of making a big quilt, I decided to make 12 little ones to display on my little quilt stand. It measures 15" across the top horizontal bar and 11-1/2" on the vertical. The small quilt (a valued gift from a quilting buddy) currently hanging on it measures 8" square.

In my quest to create something different in these calendar blocks, I came upon this lovely blog, chock-full of tutorials and patterns on applique blocks. This provided all the inspiration I needed for this project.  The applique patterns were very easily downloaded in pdf format. Thank you to Wee Folk Art for so generously allowing us access to your lovely patterns free of charge!

Fusible Web
The applique blocks I chose finish at 6" square so the finished block will measure anywhere from 8"-10". And I decided to use the raw-edge applique method for which Lite fusible web was first on my list of supplies. This value pack has been in my stash for a while and there's a lot of it there.

Freezer Paper
Here's something that is invaluable to a raw-edge applique project. These 8-1/2" by 11" sheets  of freezer paper come in a package of 50 and the patterns can be used over and over again. Each applique piece is cut out of the pattern which is printed on the paper side of the sheet.  This particular pattern is not reversed so it is ironed onto the right side of the fabric facing the waxy, gluey side of the freezer paper. 

Transparency for Inkjet Printers 
The next thing on my list of supplies is overhead transparencies made specifically for inkjet printers. These don't smear and dry very quickly. By placing the background fabric under the transparency, it makes it very easy to position the different applique pieces, prior to permanently pressing them in place.

Parchment Paper
This kitchen essential is available in any and all supermarkets and come on a long roll or cut into 12" x 16" sheets to line your cookie sheets. I lay it on my ironing surface so that the glue from the fusible web does not adhere to the ironing board. It's a good idea to tuck the pieces to be ironed between the parchment paper so that the iron is not affected either.

Ready to Begin
Here is the process I plan to follow for this project.
  1. Gather all the necessary supplies.
  2. Make 2 copies of each of the 12 patterns, one on freezer paper and the other on a transparency.
  3. Cut out twelve 10-1/2" squares of background fabric.
  4. Gather fabric for each calendar block.
  5. Cut out pattern pieces from the freezer paper patterns.
  6. Adhere fusible web to wrong sides of each applique piece of fabric, leaving the paper intact on the other side of the fusible web.
  7. Adhere freezer paper pattern to right side of fabric piece and cut out all the pieces.
  8. Remove the paper from the other side of the fusible web and adhere pattern pieces to the background.
  9. Using a button-hole stitch and matching thread, sew around the raw edges of each applique piece.
  10. Once all the blocks are made, they will each be layered, quilted and bound.
Preview of January block
Judging by this first block, I figure it's going to take 4-6 hours to complete the applique for each block. Along with the quilting and binding of each, it'll probably take a day of uninterrupted quilting time.

Watch for my next blog post in which I'll share my trials and tribulations as I complete January's block. I've decided to first make a block for each season and then work on the other eight.

January (Winter)
February (Valentine)
March (St. Patrick)
April (Spring)
May (Tulips)
June (Sunflower) 
July (Patriotic)
August (Summer)
September (Back to School)
October (Halloween)   
November (Fall)
December (Christmas)

Happy Easter, one and all!