Apple Pie Ridge Star that is; the first Benjamin Biggs Wedding Quilt block from Just Takes Two has been posted.
As you may recall from this post, I’ve committed to the BBWQ block of the month. There’s already activity on the group’s blog site; it’s amazing how generous these ladies are about sharing! The Just Takes Two ladies (thanks Brenda and Gay) provide the historical background of the block and then you get the added insight from BBWQ blog members who post- how great is that?
Anyway, with the block pattern posted I knew I could postpone no longer; I headed to Red Rooster Quilts to choose a background fabric. This was not a trivial matter- 10 yards of fabric and 24 months of applique blocks equals a long term quilting relationship. I browsed the store (one of my favorites) and struggled; I didn’t want anything too cream/vanilla yet all of the whites I looked at seemed too stark. I referred back to pictures of the original quilt, then considered some of my past applique project backgrounds.
Then I saw this fabric (Noteworthy by Sweetwater/Moda) and fell in love:
It’s a white (sort-of) on off-white print. A delicate looking paisley background with just the right amount of movement to catch your eye. I paused, then reconsidered. And reconsidered again.
White on white means typically there’s some level of rubbery-like texture to the secondary pattern. And that texture can be a major pain to needle through whether with hand quilting or hand applique (ask me how I know). I walked around the quilt shop another good 30 minutes selecting then rejecting alternatives, then finally ending up in front of this bolt of fabric again.
So of course I threw caution to the wind and we got married bought the fabric.
Of course I rushed home to get started. First off, wash the fabric. I’m a washer; after years of listening to arguments on both sides, I just find it simpler in the long run to wash the fabric up front. From there I cut the first four background blocks, put three away and started auditioning the reds and greens. With my choices made, I started the block preparation.
Some of the ladies on the BBWQ blog back baste their blocks, but while I’ve watched a few videos, I keep going back to the method I’m comfortable with: glue stick and pencil. I’ve had really good luck with the Sewline gluesticks. I’ve used them for several different types of applique, and they seem to go on nicely and wash out without a problem.
Most applique blocks like this are appliqued in layers, so using freezer paper, I marked the large red bottom piece and cut it out. Using the gluestick, I positioned it and appliqued it in place.
It’s hard to see, but I use the glue stick to lightly attach the next layer of applique shapes on the block, using the pattern shadow under the block to ensure the correct placement.
Once they’re tacked in place, I applique them down. I typically glue one layer on at at time, though I’ve seen other quilters glue everything in place at once. I work full time so sometimes it takes me a full month to get the block done- I prefer to assemble the layers in smaller batches.
Many quilters draw the entire pattern on the background fabric and use the drawn lines for the applique piece placement; I didn’t do it for this block but will probably do so for the next one. I may also bite the bullet and try back basting as well. So many quilters recommend it and it’s hard to argue with the beautiful results.
And how is the background fabric working out? So far it’s needling a little bit on the rough side, but I’m so pleased with the overall look of the block, that I don’t mind.
Hopefully will have a finished block to show you in the near future!