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Friday, September 13, 2013

Blocks of the month - such fun!

I think I have become addicted to blocks of the month. One is ending, one is just beginning, and 2 others are currently in progress.

Because of my Chateau Hexagon block of the month, I have a product review for pre-cut hexagon appliqué papers from Hugs n Kisses.

Product description (from their web site): The Appliqué paper is unique because it is made up of half soluble and half non-soluble fibers. The 50% soluble parts will dissolver inside the appliqué when washed leaving soft fibers inside your quilt. So it does not need to removed after appliqué is complete but can be left in the quilt or project giving stability until laundering.

With my second block for Chateau Hexagon, I received a new product that the shop sent along for us to try. I'm generally game to try new products that might improve my quilting, decrease the time it takes to do something, etc., so I set about fusing my little ½ inch hexagons to the wrong side of the fabric. Then I cut them out with my ¼ inch seam seam allowances (sometimes a little less, because these are so small but larger than 1/8 inch).

closeup of the appliqué paper fused to wrong side of fabric

What I normally do with both paper and plastic templates is baste them through the seam allowance, but not through the papers, so the basting never shows on the right side of the fabric, and you can just pop the papers out, leaving the basting threads in when they are attached on all 6 sides.

So at first, this is what I tried to do. Only since these are woven papers, it's not quite as easy to know that you aren't piercing through to the front. Also, since it's woven (and thinner than the papers I'm used to - card stock for English paper piecing), it's flimsy, for lack of a better word. It doesn't really have a good crisp, hard edge that you can feel and be sure that you're folding only the fabric at the edge. In other words, I had to check and double-check and sometimes triple-check that I wasn't folding the woven paper in addition to the fabric.

very flimsy hexie basted (please ignore the manicure - it's Friday and time to re-do the lacquer, obviously!)

I decided to try the glue method next. I have one of those glue pencils (I think mine's a Fons and Porter one), so I put a small line of it on the edge of the paper, then carefully tried to fold my seam allowance down. Part of my problem was likely that I tried to put all 6 glue lines on the paper at once, and even though it's a really small piece, the glue dried immediately, almost on contact. Oops. At least I got the first side down. Then I tried the other sides and by the time I got to the last one, they were more finger-pressed than actually stuck down. I also like to tuck the last edge under the first, and had to peel up the first edge to do that. Not really convenient or time-saving. I didn't think the glue would hold, so I ended up getting needle and thread back out and basting it like the other.

The nice thing was - the shop I bought my block of the month kit through said in their instructions, "We're trying this new product, but if you don't like it, let us know and we'll send you the regular papers." So that's what I've asked them to do. I am very comfortable with paper pieces (card-stock weight), so I will just use that from here on out. The Hugs n Kisses applique paper may work for other uses (applique), but for me (your mileage may vary), it just doesn't do the job I want it to do for my hexies. So I printed out some ½ inch hexie templates on card stock and will remove the fusible (fortunately it seems to come off fairly easily) from my fabrics for this month's hexies.

card stock paper basted hexie - not flimsy AT ALL

Here are the hexies side by side, wrong side up. I hope that putting them together will be okay with the wibbly-wobbly one next to a stiff cardstock one.

And here is the block that I am working on for this month. The appliqué is finished, and I'm working on the embroidery now.

Now for two other blocks of the month - I just love packages in the mail!

I just received these two yesterday - on the left is my final kit for Fall Frolic, in the middle is my new pattern, and on the right is the first kit (actually block 2, block 1 comes next month because the fabric for it just came in) for A Rainbow Garden.

Again, lots to look forward to! I think that might be one of the reasons I love blocks of the month so much - they are generally not overwhelming, give a really nice sense of accomplishment, and give me something different to work on besides my normal quilt projects each month.

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