Do you remember the big tin of flower appliques that I showed with a journal quilt a couple of weeks ago? I couldn't forget them. I was thinking of them while I was at my quilt guild meeting a couple of weeks ago. I need a travel hand project. It's difficult to work on those bright flower blocks away from home because of all of the colors of thread and I need reading glasses to see the extremely tiny stitches that Dot (master appliquer from the guild) taught me. If I'm wearing the reading glasses I can't see anything else. At home I actually wear both of the and I look like a kook.
See where I am heading? I thought it would be a brilliant idea to start another handwork project specifically for travel!
I will applique these to 8" finished blocks using a blanket stitch. The project has a rule: Don't buy anything new to do it.
First I had to prepare the appliques. These blocks are so perfectly prepped! But they are kind of musty.
I tried soaking them in some soapy water but it wasn't enough to get the smell out. I added a few tablespoons of baking soda and that helped a lot. I only put in a little soap and I mostly let them soak. I didn't want to disturb the basting stitches. After they soaked in the soapy water for a while (30 minutes or more) I put them in a rinse bin for another 30 minutes or so.
You know how we always hear warnings about leaving starch in things? These blocks have been heavily starched and they are at least 40 years old and they are fine. I suppose that in some climates that it may attract bugs but these blocks are in great shape. A few are stained but I'm just setting those aside because I have about a million to choose from!
After the rinse I am ironing the dry on a cushioned surface with a pressing cloth on top. No colors are running. Can you see how the maker fussy cut these? There are several blocks with the kaleidoscope effect and you know I love that!
I will have to make centers for the flowers but I have a nice collection of solids for that!
I also have a big bag of floss that I can use for the stitching. But there's the first dilemma.
My plan was to do all of the stitching in black. I have a big cone of thread that is about the thickness of 4 strands of floss. But it was too heavy in my sample. I don't have enough black floss but I have lots of colors. Do I embroider the blocks with colored floss or do I break the rule and buy black? Black would make the travel project easier.
I think I will need about 50 for a twin sized quilt and I believe I will be able to come up with 50 different ones. I think this lady must have traded fabrics like we do charm swaps because there is an incredible variety of fabrics in these blocks. See all the blocks in this photo? That's what's left AFTER I remove the 50 I want!
Under the blocks are all of these petals yet to be put into flowers.
What would you do with them? What would you do about the thread?