Saturday, November 12, 2011

Snowmen and Mittens and Applique... Oh My!

Well, here we go.. my third foray into applique.

See these two little packages?  They were part of the shop hop I participated in a few weeks ago.  Quilty Pleasures in Orleans and The Quilting Quarters in Almonte combined their efforts to do a Roundabout Town and Country Shop Hop to raise funds for the Avon "Every Penny Counts" campaign.

Since it had a "round" theme, they each put together a placemat kit.  I haven't done any quilting kits yet, so this was a first for me.  You could use the kit from each shop to make four double-sided placements, or do them individually (use your own backing) and make eight placemats.  I'm making eight.

I decided to start with the snowmen one.  There are three snowmen on each placemat... off I go, tracing 12 snowmen, scarves and hats onto fusible interfacing.

And more tracing

Cutting out the insides of the larger pieces, to save for future smaller projects (if I ever decide to do more applique).  That will highly depend on how well this project goes.  Yes I know, practice makes perfect... lol

Placing the 12 snowmen on the white on white fabric (wrong side).  Now, this was pushing it.  There was JUST enough fabric to fit all 12 of them.  An extra inch of fabric on the length and width of the piece supplied would have made this step a lot less stressful.  I figured if I couldn't fit them all on, I'd just use a piece of white on white from my stash. 

No problem with the amount of fabric for the black hats.  I think there was about six inches extra, so no stressing on this part.

Just enough fabric for the scarves.  No problems here either.  Very little waste.

All the pieces cut out of the fabrics.  I assembled one to see how everything fits.  Isn't it cute?

Now, figuring out how to place them on the circular backing.  The pattern supplied had a little hand drawn picture.  It would have been nice to have an actual photo of one they had completed.  I had to determine it from my pieces and the drawing.  Make sure I have room between the hats and the edge, and hopefully have them centered well enough before I iron them down and start stitching.

Here is one of the four stitched down.  I have the snowmen stitched with a very pale blue thread (aurifil).  I didn't want to do white, I wanted their body shapes to show a little.  I've also stitched down the scarves, with thread that matches well enough.  I'm not being overly critical about them not being the exact colour, or not showing at all.  I kinda like seeing the blanket stitch.

Here's a close up of the stitching.  I think I'm doing pretty good!  I'm actually impressed!  lol   I still have to stitch around the hats, and put faces and buttons on their bellies.  I'll do that today.  I think my Horizon has some cute little star type stitches that would work for their eyes/mouth, buttons down the front.  Maybe I can even free motion a carrot nose with some orange thread.

Then sandwich it with batting and backing and decide on how to quilt it.  I was thinking I could use some invisible thread around the snowmen parts (where I've applique'd), and possibly free motion some swirls, loop-d-loops with stars around them.  Then another first... bias bind them.  That will be interesting.

I can't believe how much time this takes.  I could have made another 50 cheddar bow tie blocks in the time it's taken me to get this far on these placemats. 

But I guess that's to be expected.  It's a slow process tracing, cutting, ironing, cutting... and then stitching around them.  And I'm definitely sewing slowly to make sure I do a good job.  

I'll have to experiment with feet too.  The one I'm using is clear, but it has a piece across the front of it, which I assume is to be used to guide the user to stitch based on the markings.  But I'm thinking a more open toed foot so I have clear access to see the needle and where it's connecting to the edge of the fabric being stitched would be easier.

The other thing that makes me anxious is satin stitch.  I know I've done it on another project and I wasn't 100% happy with the results.  I also didn't know enough to use a stabilizer at the time.  I am using one with this project. 

Experiment, play, try again.  It's the process after all. 


  1. Your snowmen are just adorable! I know what you mean that a project like this takes time.
    I did two sets of two "Sew Easy Schlep Bags," and they looked so easy, but took all day to do just one. But they will be great Christmas presents, right?
    How else can I justify them???? lol


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