A quick tour around this sceptred isle in applique.
This month Part One: Thistle
Note: For making this block only
- 20cm (1⁄4yd) purple for thistle top and inner border
- 10cm (1⁄8yd) green for leaves and stalk
- One fat quarter white for centre panel
- 20cm (1⁄4yd) dark green for second border
- 50cm square (20in square) backing fabric
- 50cm square (20in square) wadding
- 20cm (1⁄4yd) binding fabric
- 30cm sqauare (12in square) stabiliser
- Fusible web for machine applique or freezer paper for hand applique
- Embroidery threads to match
Approx 46 x 46cm (18 x 18in)
Welcome to Part One of our Four Nations series. Starting with Scotland, we will be making a block to represent all parts of the United Kingdom over the next few months. The designs can be made as individual wall hangings or cushion fronts or the blocks can be joined to make a small quilt.
If you have relatives living abroad a small quilt to remind them of their homeland will make a lovely gift and won't be too expensive to send! And what a lovely wedding day keepsake; if the bride and groom hail from different corners of the four nations then why not join their two blocks to make a unique and delightful present?
- From the white fabric, cut a 10 1⁄2in square.
- From the purple fabric, cut two strips 2 1⁄2 x 10 1⁄2in and two strips 2 1⁄2 x 14 1⁄2in.
- From the dark green fabric, cut two strips 2 1⁄2 x 14 1⁄2in and two strips 2 1⁄2 x 18 1⁄2in.
- If you are making individual quilts, cut two 2in strips across the width of the binding fabric and set aside.
The design can be either hand or machine appliquéd and instructions are given for both methods.
Handy hint If you want to make the blocks up into a quilt using the quilt-as-you-go method, when quilting make sure you leave at least 1⁄4in unquilted all round the edges of the block and omit the binding stage. We will include instructions for making the quilt up in Part Four.
- Using the templates provided on the January 2009 pattern sheets (the pattern is unfortunately on a join, so you need to print both pages), trace the motifs onto the paper side of the fusible web and cut out roughly. Make sure you mark the fusible web clearly as the fabric is rather dark, making it difficult to see your markings.
- Press (warm setting) the rough side of the fusible shapes onto the wrong side of the appropriate fabrics. Cut out all the shapes neatly.
- Remove the paper backing and place the motifs onto the white square and press in place.
- Place the stabiliser onto the wrong side of the block and pin at the corners.
- Set your sewing machine for a narrow satin stitch or a small zigzag stitch. Pat used a stitch length of 0.5 and a width of 1.5 or 2, but refer to your own machine's user guide. Ensure that you use embroidery thread on top and polyester or bobbin-fill in the bobbin.
- Slowly embroider around the motifs. If you turn your work gently, your stitching will be more accurate. When stitching points, stop stitching, with the needle down if you have that facility on your machine, at the outside edge of the shape. Lift the presser foot and re-align your fabric, then continue stitching. Use the guidemark on the centre of the presser foot to ensure the stitching is half on the applique shape and half on the background fabric.
- Tear away the stabiliser and press the block on the wrong side on top of a folded towel or pad using a spray of starch.
- Turn and lightly press from the right side if you like a very flat block.
- Using the templates provided on the pattern sheet (the pattern is unfortunately on a join, so you need to print both pages), trace the motifs onto freezer paper and cut out accurately on the line.
- Press the freezer paper templates onto the wrong side of the appropriate fabrics. Cut around the shapes adding a generous 1⁄8in seam allowance.
- Remove the freezer paper and replace shiny side up; carefully fold the seam allowance over the edge of the freezer paper and press down.
- Place the motifs on the background fabric and pin in place. Slipstitch in place starting at the centre of one side of the shape. As you stitch, gently turn in the seam allowance using a cocktail stick to give your shape a smooth edge and to keep the points sharp.
- When you have approx 1⁄2in left to stitch, remove the freezer paper by pulling it though the gap with tweezers. This is why it is best to avoid starting your stitching at a point. Then stitch the remainder of the shape in place.
- Press the block on the wrong side on top of a folded towel or pad using a spray of starch. Turn and lightly press from the right side if you like a very flat block.
- Stitch the 2 1⁄2 x 10 1⁄2in purple borders to the top and bottom of the appliqued block. Press the seam outwards. Stitch the 2 1⁄2 x 14 1⁄2in purple borders to the sides of the appliqued block; press.
- Stitch the 2 1⁄2 x 14 1⁄2in dark green borders to the top and bottom of the centre panel; press. Stitch the 2 1⁄2 x 18 1⁄2in dark green borders to the sides of the centre panel; press.
- Layer the quilt by placing the backing fabric wrong side up on a clean flat surface, followed by the wadding and then the quilt top, centrally and right side up. The backing and wadding are slightly larger than the quilt top. Secure the quilt sandwich with a grid of tacking stitches or quilters' pins placed at regular intervals.
- Hand or machine quilt as desired to complement the thistle.
- To bind the quilt, trim the excess backing and wadding level with the quilt top edges. Take the binding strips and join at right angles; press the seam open to reduce bulk. Trim the ears and fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Match the raw edges of the binding to the raw edges of the quilt and sew in place, folding a mitre at each corner. Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt and neatly slipstitch in place by hand
First published in Popular Patchwork January 2009