Bear Watching « Ann Champion’s Blog

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I started a last minute project for Christmas.

A couple of times recently my husband mentioned that I had never made him a quilt. I guess I hadn’t thought to? I don’t recall ever seeing him reach for and use the throws that are in the family room…but they are certainly there for his use.

He’s very supportive of my quilting and if it makes him feel slighted that he doesn’t have a quilt of his own I need to set that right!

He enjoys fly fishing so I thought I’d look online to see what patterns were available out there. Well, he doesn’t like aquas and greens. I’ve made two quilts with those colors and he doesn’t like either one. Those colors seemed the most logical for a fishing themed quilt? AND I didn’t see any patterns that I loved.

I could just get some fishing themed fabric and do a pieced quilt…but that just didn’t seem right either? I wanted something a little more special.

As I lay awake Saturday night thinking about the things that needed to be done for the holidays…I remembered a pattern I ordered. It was from Willow Bend Creations. The designer, Mary Stenros has drawn up some wonderful designs. They are meant to be traced out onto fusible, pressed to a focus fabric and cut out, then fused to a background fabric.

When I saw her patterns, I wondered if they could be enlarged and needle turn appliqued? I thought the fused design might be a bit stiff..and you couldn’t really trim much of the fusible away because it’s needed to hold the interior details of the design. I ordered Bear Watching, which seemed like an easy one to try?

bear-watching0181-150x150-5363931I pulled out the pattern and looked at it. It was now Sunday Dec. 13 and my husband was out shopping and running errands. I figured I’d have a couple of hours to work on this project? I wanted it to be a surprise.

I had some log cabin blocks I pieced a couple of years ago from browns and cream/tans. I never finished them into a quilt because they seemed kind of blah? They would be nice around the appliqued piece though…and make a bigger quilt.

bear-watching016-300x225-7777213I rifled through my stash and found a piece of brown with pine cones printed as texture. I had used some of this fabric in the log cabins..I found a spotted tan too.

I laid the brown over the pattern and placed pins in them to keep them from shifting.

I pulled out my Clover marking pen too. In my opinion there’s no better marking option than this? It makes a nice thin line that doesn’t rub off, yet is easy to remove when you want to.

I pulled the pattern and fabric up onto my light table and started tracing. A large window would have been good for the tracing but I didn’t know when my husband would come home and didn’t want to get caught!

bear-watching019-300x225-7327571Once everything was traced, I spread out my background fabric, and laid my brown on top. I smoothed them out and started to baste the two together as they lay flat on the table. My stitches were made just a tad over 1/4″ from the edge.

This is how Hawaiian applique is done.

bear-watching011-150x150-7471764I was able to get the basting done.

Then I trimmed off some of the extra brown to make the applique easier to handle. I left a wide edge, because the fabric would be trimmed and the curves clipped as I sewed. I just wanted to remove some of the bulk.

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When doing needle turn you only do a bit at a time. You trim the piece 1/8-1/4″ away from your drawn line, use the tip of your needle to turn under the seam allowance and take a stitch or two. You just keep working your way around.

My husband had to go out of town on Tuesday and would be gone until Friday evening. Wonderful! That would give me more time to work without him seeing.

bear-watching006-300x225-7441444First I stitched all of the outer edges.

bear-watching007-300x225-5495448Then I stitched the interior edges.

I had to be very careful when trimming the excess brown fabric. One small slip..and disaster!

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Once the interior edges were done, I did the slits and holes that gave the design it’s detail.

I love these little scissors for this part! They are nice and sharp right down to the tip…and the tip is sharp as well. I can poke the tip into the fabric and cut just a thread or two so that I can get in there and cut the narrow slits.

I keep a tassel on all of my scissors. I generally work in my recliner and without it..the scissors slip down into the cracks between the chair and cushion. With a project like this I was using and dropping my scissors quite a bit!

Sooo…did I meet my deadline? By Friday afternoon I had finished the applique. It took 43 hours. There was no way I’d get the log cabin blocks added in time though. I decided to just go ahead and wrap the appliqed panel and blocks with an IOU. I’m sure he’ll understand?

More to come later….

AND..she has a fly fishing design too. Maybe for another time…but I won’t give myself such a tight deadline?

Tags: Bear Watching, Clover marking pen, Hawaiian quilts, needle turn applique, Willow Bend Patterns