You may have noticed that most of my designs over the past few years increasingly feature blanket stitch applique. Mostly small pieces. Often very small pieces. But occasionally larger pieces.
I've been meaning to give a quick basic tutorial for this form of applique since, well, so long ago I don't remember, but there's been a few new email requests for one lately so as it was a stinking hot day yesterday and I was staying inside close to the air-con an opportunity was there to follow through.
Of course, I can't show you how I do it without giving you a practice pattern, right?
BREATHE is something my sweet husband has whispered into my ear for many years.
Apparently I tend to 'stop' breathing whenever I concentrate, pause, or get distracted. And apparently that really disturbs him. Especially the past six weeks or so when breathing isn't quite as easy as it once was for me. I'm pretty aware these days that my heart needs the gentle rhythm of breaths in and breaths out more than I had once imagined.
So "breathe" seemed the perfect name for this little project you can make with me.
My completed mini-quilt (or should I call it a micro-quilt?) is very small but you can display it any way you like - perhaps a scented sachet? Or the centre block of a small patchwork piece?
The first thing you need to do is DOWNLOAD THE PATTERN HERE
When I am adding applique to a design I only trace the areas which will be hand embroidered, omitting the applique shapes...
Once the pattern is traced onto fabric and the applique shapes prepared, I cut out the shapes along the traced line and peel away the fusible applique paper.
Now don't be put off by tiny shapes. You'll need a pair of tiny, very sharp scissors to cut the shapes cleanly but the results on a design are worth the effort.
Last step is to fuse the shapes in position using a warm, dry iron.
Note: Never use steam in your iron to fuse applique.
Thread your needle.
I’ve used a single strand of co-ordinating thread for my applique shapes.
Secure your thread at the back of your fabric, right behind the applique shape (this hides it from being seen at the front).
Bring the needle up from behind the fabric alongside the appliqued edge of your shape (it doesn’t matter where you begin on the circle) and pull the thread through to the front being careful not to stitch through the circle.
I took a photo of that step but it was so fuzzy I couldn't use it...but you can see how it all works with the next lot of photos which did (happily) turn out. The line drawing above is also helpful.
Insert the needle a little way in from the fabric edge through to the back of the applique fabric, and then bring it up again a little way ahead, to the right of where you began making sure that the thread is looped behind the needle as in the pictures below.
Pull the thread gently, not tight. You want the stitch to sit flat and not pucker the applique circle. The top edge of the blanket stitch should run along the edge of your circle.
Continue all around your shape, securing the thread behind the applique shape on your last stitch.
NOTE: Keep your stitches the same size and the same distance apart for a nice finish.
Do the same thing when appliqueing the little bee body and wing.
(If you don't want to try the teeny applique bee I've drawn stripes on his body in the pattern sheet so you could backstitch him instead)...
Once the applique is complete the rest of the design is backstitch apart from the inside of the leaves.
Here's where you can use blanket stitch again, not as applique but as a pretty embroidery feature.
Just as in my leaf tutorial I've stitched a line of blanket stitch along the centre. You need to imagine the centre line but if not just draw a line to follow instead.
I began this line of blanket stitch at the point of the leaf...
...but you need to begin at the middle point of the rounded end of the opposite leaf to have the blanket stitch sitting along the top edge for a mirrored leaf display either side of the stem.
From here I added thin wadding, trimmed the block to 3.5" x 5.75", adding backing fabric and binding. As this was such a small project my binding strip was just 2" wide for a nice snug fit.
A little hanging sleeve was also added before stitching the binding down at the back.
Now, a couple more of my previous posts might be helpful for new readers or those of you who are just getting started with hand embroidery or applique.
Have you seen the next set of patterns for my March issue of Faith In Hand?
Memberships for the monthly stitching club are always open and you're welcome to stay as long as you like, or leave if it's not your cup of tea or life circumstances change.
To receive these three patterns you'll need to join by February 28th as they will be sent out the next day to all Club members.
Go HERE to visit the Faith In Hand page and learn more, or to simply sign up today!
I'll be back on Tuesday for the next Homemakers Heart post and hopefully my apron will be completed by then. This past week has again been busy with all sorts of things, but in the midst of it there was precious time spent with God's Word, my husband, our precious Blossom and those darling granddaughters Cully May and Rafaella.
Rafaella will be two on March 4th! The time has flown by...a reminder how important it is to cherish every God-gifted day, my friends.
God bless you ever so much,