Minimal Day Sampler
When I was asked to create this year’s block of the month, I might have had a tiny panic attack. Then when the word “applique” came up, I was intrigued. Since I don’t typically work in a modern style, (tiny pink flowers, anyone? No? Just me?) I wasn’t exactly sure where to begin. So after I stopped hyperventilating, I started looking around for inspiration and ideas. At some point in that process, I came across these two pieces in my jewelry box:
They are the marvelous work of my great uncle, Russell Day. He was an art professor at Everett Community College. A designer and jeweler. Entirely obsessed with color and light. And he made some truly amazing things with beautiful and interesting forms. Sounds like the makings of a quilt, right? Right. So here we go.
Knowing that applique may be new, or even terrifying to some of you, I’ve tried to keep it very simple. You are not in for a Baltimore Album here. I promise. It’s a relatively small quilt that incorporates a new applique skill each month. So if you hang in there with me throughout the year, you will learn all the tricks to be able applique absolutely anything you want. (This is where you cheer, clap, happy dance, whatever. Go ahead. I’ll wait…)
Ok. That’s done.
Now, let’s talk about what you’ll need to get started.
- Milliner (or Straw) needles size 10 or 11. I especially like Bohin as they are very fine but have a larger eye. Richard Hemming works well too. The advantage of the milliner needle is the length. It allows you more needle to hold on to while you’re using the rest to sweep your seam allowances under.
- Fine weight thread to match your appliques. Aurifil 50wt works brilliantly, though I have had success with most threads. If you can’t match the color of your applique, go a shade darker or choose a medium neutral, like grey or tan.
- Thread conditioner. Thread Heaven (or something similar) may be helpful depending on the kind of thread you use.
- Applique pins. Glass head pins seem to tangle threads less, but short and fine are the most important things to look for. OR – if you regularly glue baste as you sew, you can use that same washable glue, with a fine tip applicator in place of pins to hold your appliques in place.
- Either a sandpaper board or just a plain old sheet of fine grit from the hardware store. It will hold your fabric securely so you can trace your templates without pulling or puckering the fabric.
- Marking tool(s). Use your preferred tool here. I will use Frixion pens in this case because the lines get turned under with the seam allowance, so there is no worry over it leaving visible marks on your quilt. I would avoid chalk though, as the marks may disappear too soon from handling your piece as you are stitching.
- Template material. Since we will generally use each template only once, you can use paper or cardstock (or junk mail or whatever) for these. Of course, template plastic will work beautifully too if you have it.
- General sewing supplies. Thimble, scissors for fabric and templates, rotary cutter, mat, sewing machine, etc.
Circa 15 Fabric Studio in Kirkland has all of the supplies I’ve mentioned above. www.circa15fabricstudio.com
You may choose to make either a 9 block, 30” x 30” wall hanging, or a 12 block, 56” x 69” lap quilt.
- For the wall hanging:
- About 1 yard or a pile of scraps for your appliques*
- 1 yard for block backgrounds
- For the lap quilt:
- About 1 yard or a pile of scraps for your appliques*
- 1 ¼ yards for block backgrounds
- 2/3 yard for sashing
- 1 2/3 yards for borders
*If you are new to applique, you will likely get the best results with a tightly woven fabric for your applique pieces. Lawns, batiks, fabrics by Art Gallery, and Michael Miller Cotton Couture all work well. (Circa 15 had a nice selection of all of these too.) Avoid anything that has a loose weave, unravels easily, or is heavy or stiff.
If you would like to look ahead to the stitching part, YouTube has a wide array of tutorials (hooray for the internet!) and of course there are lots of books available too. (My favorite for the actual “nuts and bolts” of needle-turn applique is called “Jacobean Rhapsodies” by Patricia B. Campbell and Mimi Ayars. The designs are not modern, but the diagrams and explanations for exactly how to stitch the general types of shapes are excellent. It is out of print, but good, used copies are available on Amazon for around $10.) There are many, many, many methods for doing the applique itself, so if one doesn’t work for you, please try another. I will happily answer any questions you have along the way. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Instagram (@bespokeoutlaw), where I hope to be posting helpful photos and tips each month as well.
For a little extra information about the source of my inspiration and more insight on the style of this project, take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_361S1onRQ.
I hope you are as excited to get started on this as I am!
So is the assignment this month to gather supplies? Or are we supposed to start sewing anything? And do you have an overall picture of what the finished quilt will be like?? I’m kinda confused… 🙂 Are the inspiration photos for one block or the overall quilt? Sorry for the 20 questions game!
January’s assignment is to gather supplies, no applique assignment this month. We don’t have an overall photo of the project yet, but I bet we will soon 🙂 The inspiration photo is where Jonna’s inspiration for the design came from, It’s just to give us an idea of the style we will be working in.
This month is just to gather supplies and fabric. We’ll start sewing next time. You won’t see the whole design until November when we do the layout. The inspiration photo is just to give you a feel for the style of the overall design. The blocks each have simplified elements from these pieces but are very minimalistic- nothing is this complex. And ask away! I definitely don’t want to confuse you!
What a wonderful video of your great uncle and great aunt. Thank you for sharing the link. What an amazing artist he was. I am very intrigued about the project, but I now live in Port Angeles and am unable to attend meetings on a regular basis. Please post instruction and photos if you can. I can’t wait to see what.this project evolves into. 🙂
Aren’t they interesting? I confess, I have always been fascinated by them. All of the patterns and information will be on the blog, so you can certainly sew along from there if you want. And I will be posting things on Instagram too, if you are on there. (I am @bespokeoutlaw there) Or email me with questions at email@example.com. I am happy to help! It would be awesome if you join in the fun!
I’m excited about this! I’ve wanted to learn needle-turn applique, but everyone I asked seemed scared of it. Bring it on!
Oh good! I’m so glad you’re excited to give it a shot! Yay!
Thank you so much for sharing this! I was on the fence on trying another BOM. It will be my first with the guild. And only 2nd attempt to do a BOM. I have done 2 small applique items. Muddling my way through. Watching that video was so inspiring! I love the jewelry pieces and the use of color and shapes!! So excited for this. Now to choose a color pallette!
Hopefully this project will help you feel like you don’t have to muddle through any more. I really tried to keep the shapes simple, but modern, and still cover all the basics of appliqué. Even if you do a few blocks, you will get a better comfort level with appliqué. And I would love to help with that however I can! I’m excited you’re going to dive in with this!
wow. i very much loved the video. i will watch again. so interesting.. i can hardly wait to see what you have chosen for this B o m. Lynette
So glad you enjoyed it! I can’t wait to get started either!
Hurrah for applique! I’m very excited to see what you have planned.
Happy to know there are other appliqué fans to sew along with on this!
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