Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quiltmaker Rocks the Blocks!

Welcome to the kick-off to the Fall 2012 edition of Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks!

My quilt featured in this issue is "Posy Path", which uses my "Garden" block from Volume 4 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks from Today's Top Designers.

"Posy Path" is a medallion quilt, using the Garden block at the center, with rows of quarter square triangles and more applique, using the same templates as the block, to surround the center. This quilt was beautifully machine quilted by Judy Danz! One of the great features of Quiltmaker is their addition of quilting diagrams to go along with the quilt instructions, so you can duplicate Judy's designs yourself!

"Posy Path" by Martha Walker, machine quilted by Judy Danz

I usually applique my quilts by hand, as I did with "Posy Path", and I use two different methods to make bias vines and stems, depending on the project. I usually use a bias tape maker if I need just a small amount of bias, or if I do decide to applique by machine. But if I need a large amount of bias, or have very long vines to make, I usually use pressing bars.  For "Posy Path" I used the pressing bar method, because of the amount needed for this quilt.  I'll show you my process for making these stems.

For this method you will need pressing bars (also known as bias bars). You can buy pressing bars that are made either with plastic or aluminum. Both work great. The plastic bars are a little thicker, so they don't press as crisply, but can definitely be pressed again, after they are removed. I have also made my own. I happened to see some brass strips in several different widths at ACE Hardware. So I bought them, and cut some curved edges with scissors, and voila! The edges are a bit rough, but they work!

You will need to cut enough bias strips for the project. To find the bias of your fabric, fold the selvedge edge (lengthwise grain) up so that it is parallel to the adjacent edge (crosswise grain) of the fabric. Finger press the fold.

Finger press the fold

Use the finger pressed crease as your guide to cut your bias edge. Notice on this ruler that there are 45 degree lines marked, that can also be used to cut bias from your fabric. Many cutting mats include 45 degree lines as well.

Next, cut the amount of strips needed in the appropriate width from the fabric. For "Posy Path", cut your strips 1 1/4" wide to make 3/8" stems.

Fold the strips wrong sides together lengthwise and stitch a 1/4" seam. Begin the stitch at about 1/8", gradually increasing the allowance to 1/4", to make inserting the pressing bar into the resulting tube easier.

Insert the pressing bar into the tube, with the seam allowance centered and on top.

Press the seam allowance open as you press the tube along the length of the pressing bar.

Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching to reduce bulk.

finished bias stem, wrong side

Now your bias is ready to stitch!

I have one issue of Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks to giveaway!  For a chance to win a copy, please leave me a comment below. I will draw one lucky winner on Thursday, Sept. 6th at 5 pm PST.

And if you haven't done so already, be sure to go to the Quiltmaker blog, Quilty Pleasures at http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/?p=13042 for more chances to win! Good luck!

Until next time,


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