Techniques for Stitching Laser Cut Blocks

Laser cut quilt blocks are a new trend that makes applique quilting quick, easy and achievable to everyone. If you have always admired applique but have been afraid to try it--this is a very good method for your first effort.  It is also a great time saving method for busy people.

When you first open the laser cut kit fabrics, it will  look something like this:
 The applique shapes have paper backed fusible attached to the wrong side of the fabric. They also have a few little tabs that need to be cut; this prevents small pieces from getting lost. A few little snips with small sharp scissors releases them from the larger fabric piece.

You can see from this photo that some of the applique shapes have had the tabs cut so you can see the actual shapes.

To release the paper backing, scratch the paper in the center with a long straight pin to get an opening--then carefully pull away the paper from each shape.

 Place your background fabric on top of your pattern.  Use a small dab from a water soluble glue
stick to hold each applique shape in place using your pattern as a guide for placement.

In most cases the pieces just touch or slightly overlap.  The stems should slightly tuck under
at each end.

When you are happy with your placements, fuse the shapes in place with a hot (cotton setting) dry iron. Use a lift and lower motion so that the pieces do not shift before they are fully fused.
I usually find that it works if I count slowly to ten and then lift the iron to another spot.


The block shown above has been fused and is ready for stitching.  The fusing adds a little stiffness to the fabrics so I found I did not need to use a stabilizer underneath the block. If you find when you start to stitch that your block is pucking, pin a piece of thin paper or tissue underneath as you stitch.
This can be torn away after all the stitching is completed.

I used a very narrow zig zag stitch with a regular sewing thread in a colour that matched the fabric colour or was just slightly darker as I wanted to outline the shapes.  Each machine is a little different so it is best to make a sample--you just want the stitch to be off the edge of the applique shape and bite into the shape by about one eighth of an inch.  If there are cuts in the interior of your shape you will want the zig zag stitch to straddle the cut (for example on the vein lines of the leaves). 

A satin stitch (a closer zig zag stitch) would also look very nice but it would take longer and use more thread.  In both cases when you use these stitches you stop with the needle down on the outside of an outside curved shape and and vice versa for an inside curved shape. 

When you come to a point, such as at the tip of a leaf you can taper the zig zag stitch if you have that option on your machine.

You also need to lower your tension (go to a lower number on the tension dial) and I often also use a lower pressure so that I can turn the fabric easily.  A knee lifter also is very useful to help you turn the fabric as you sew around the curves and indentations. I always pull the threads to the back and tie them as it looks messy to back stitch when you end off.

In some places I have used a small blanket stitch around the outside of some of the shapes.  The blanket stitch should just touch the outside of the shape and take a very small bite (about one eighth of an inch) into the shape.  This will be enough to hold the shape in place and keep it from fraying.

When doing the blanket stitch, try to have one stitch right at the tip--there should be 3 stitches at the point--the two outside ones form a V with one stitch right at the point in the middle of the V.

I like using a combination of the two stitches (zig zag and blanket) as I think this adds a bit of interest to the look of the applique.

This block is partly stitched--I show it here so that you can see that it does wrinkle up a little and that much seemed acceptable as with pressing it came perfectly flat after the stitching was completed.  I show it here so that you won't worry!  Just try pressing as you go along to make sure that the final project will lie nice and flat.  Then when you quilt around the shapes later that will give dimension to the shapes--everything looks better when it is quilted!
I hope these tips will help you.  Please contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

Woodland Creatures Quilt Finds An Amazing Home

Dr. David Suzuki

Pamela Griffin  shares some excitng news about the new home of her Woodland Creatures quilt:

"I would like you to know that the quilt Woodland Creatures thatI made a few years ago has been sent and been accepted by Dr. David Suzuki for display in his office.

It was a shame to keep it at home tucked away in a suitcase in the basement and as I now live in a very small house I was worried about what to do with the quilt.

I enjoyed having it and making it; it also won several prizes (are you surprised!) So thank you for the lovely patterns. I will remake the rabbit block as a wall hanging to remind me of the lovely big quilt that is no longer with me. A few years ago I was asked if I sell my quilts. No I replied because it is like selling your children!

All the best Rosemary, and again my sincere thanks.
Pamela Griffin

Congratulations, Pamela, for your generous gift. I know how much work has gone into making this quilt and it must have been very difficult for you to part with such a beautiful quilt.  I couldn't think of a better home for it!  Rosemary

Canadiana Rose a. k. a. Antique Rose

This is my newest quilt pattern and includes directions and full size patterns for the blocks and the borders.  Also included are lovely full size feather patterns for the sashing and for the borders. 
The block size is18 " x 18 " and the finished size of the quilt is 82 " x 102".  The fabrics used are similar to those that might have been used in the red and green quilts of yesteryear.
The quilt was made in honour of our rich Canadian heritage; hence the name.  As many quilt patterns have multiple names; the quilt can also be called Antique Rose for those who prefer that name.  It would also be great as a special Christmas quilt in these colours, but of course any colour scheme can be used depending on your personal tastes.
Instructions are included for an easy freezer paper method of applique with an invisible machine stitching technique; but any method of your choice may be used.

What If? Creative Use of the Woodland Creatures Patterns

Summer's Song
I recently received this photo from Ramona Houle.  Summer's Song is a creative adaptation using the border patterns from my Woodland Creatures Collector Series patterns.

Ramona volunteered to coordinate the biennial raffle quilt for the Charlottesville Quilters' Guild in Charlottesville, VA. 
I thought this was such a clever use of the border patterns!

The quilt has been appraised by certified quilt appraiser, Neva Hart, for a value of $5210.00 US. The quilt was hand appliqued and hand quilted by award-winning quilters. The valuation on the appraisal is for insurance replacement value. The valuation for this type of appraisal takes into consideration those highly-skilled makers.The quilt raffle will take place in November, 2013.  The proceeds from the raffle quilt will be used to pay for some of the expenses of their quilt show and the rest will be donated to the Charlottesville, VA Free Clinic.

Bunny and Friends
Ramona has also used the Woodland Creatures patterns in other creative quilts.

Shown at right is her Bunny and Friends wall quilt done using felted wool and sewn with a hand blanket stitched technique.

She has used some of the flowers and creatures to add her own border variation.

Sometime ago I posted a tutorial about this method on the Stash Manicure blogspot.

Flyers and Crawlers
Flyers and Creatures is another one of Ramona's quilts using many of the motifs from the Woodland Creatures patterns.

Ramona says that this quilt was a row quilt that was a group challenge.  "We each started with a row, this is my quilt and my row was the chipmunk, then we passed it around and each person added a row to your quilt based on any specifications you happen to include (I just put "wildlife and fauna"). Then, because the quilt was kind of narrow, I widened it by putting some of your border design down the side."
I really appreciate seeing how Ramona used my patterns in so many different ways. 
Bravo, Ramona!

Christmas Poinsettia Quilt

I'd like to share a Christmas Poinsettia quilt that was constructed by Victorian members of the online Yahoo group, Southern Cross Quilters.  The group is made up over 2,000 Australian & New Zealand quilting members.

The quilt was machine quilted by Wendy Watkins of Honey Pot Quilting. (Quilting is based on the original designs in the pattern.) Here are some close up photos of the lovely quilting.

Southern Cross Quilters (SCQuilters) have an annual retreat every year, held in a different state of Australia or New Zealand. 2013 is Victoria’s turn yet again. 

Each year a raffle is run to raise funds to assist with running of the weekend long retreat. The last Victorian retreat was held in Bendigo in 2007, with over 200 members attending,
Workshops are co-ordinated to keep the ladies occupied for the weekend, followed by a full day Shop Hop of the district to finish the weekend off.

The pattern for this quilt was originally published in the book Quilted for Christmas by That Patchwork Place.  It was then published as a separate pattern (see above) along with the pattern for the St. Nicholas Advent calendar.  Some copies of this pattern are still available on my web site