Sunday, October 7, 2012

Grapes and more grapes!

I have been working on what I lovingly call “the yellow quilt” off and on for a few years now.  The background is a lovely soft yellow with a scroll design.  The clipper ship, which appears on the right side of this page is also on that background.  I recently finished a block from The Best of Baltimore Beauties, Part II by Elly Sienkiewicz.

The most daunting thing about this block is all those grapes -- grapes and more grapes!!  It's best not to count them but then, how would you know the number to make??  So, the bad news:  ONE HUNDRED AND TEN!!!  But wait -- just imagine the exhilaration of stitching down the last one! 

So, a couple of tips on the grapes. This block is enlarged to match my other blocks so the grape is 1/2".  I usually use Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles which is a set of mylar circles in a variety of sizes.  But I only have four of the 1/2" size and I didn't want to make these four at a time.  I pressed together a triple layer of freezer paper or you could use cardboard and cut a bunch with a hole punch.  I then followed the usual steps explained in many books: mark the circle on fabric, take a running stitch around the circle, cut it out, paint the edge with starch and pull on the the thread tail so that the fabric gathers around the freezer paper circle.  Use a tiny quilting needle to do that running stitch -- it is much easier to manipulate around the circle.  Leave the circle templates inside the grapes until you're ready to stitch them down  -- humidity seems to get to them, even in a zip loc bag.  I placed the grapes on the block a bunch at a time with glue and stitched those babies down!

As to the rest of the block, the stem is needle turned.  The leaves were fused to the block with Shades Soft Fuse and buttonhole stitched with two strands of silk floss from The Thread Gatherer.  Elly Sienkiewicz will be teaching this block at her Appliqué Academy in February 2013. This grapevine wreath is fun to make: the repetition makes it restful and a great take along project.  The sense of accomplishment when it's finished is quite exciting.  And the results are dramatic!  You could always make the grapes first!