I went back and forth trying to decide how I wanted to do the appliqué for these blocks, but in the end I just went with the suggested blanket stitch around the raw edge of the appliqué fabric. The first quilt I ever made featured appliqué, and I used same method for that as well. It has been a year and a half since then. I haven’t done any appliqué since, but wow does this look better than that first quilt.
I guess having months of sewing experience, a better machine, and a proper appliqué presser foot really makes a difference. Plus, when I did that first quilt I didn’t even know what stabilizer was! Heck, I barely knew how to thread my machine with that first quilt. I still definitely have room for improvement when it comes to stitching around points and curves, but it doesn’t look terrible so I am happy with it.
Technically January has two blocks I suppose, or ten depending on how you look at it. There are ten individual blocks, which are then sewn together in two separate rows to make two blocks; one row of 7, the other with 3. The ten individual blocks each have a circular “berry” with a star-shaped “stem” appliquéd in the center. On the stem there is also a tiny circle of contrasting fabric to represent where the berry would have been connected to the vine/plant. The berry has the same fabric across all blocks, but the background fabric differs.
While working on this I was really hoping the thread colors I chose for the appliqué would work well, especially since several people in the class decided to use the same threads based on my choices. I didn’t want to be responsible for leading them all wrong! Before adding the blanket stitching, all the appliqué pieces seemed to get lost against the background fabric. So, for each element I used a different variegated thread in a color I hoped would both compliment the fabric and add enough contrast to keep it from getting lost in the background. In the end they turned out pretty well, but I still wonder if it could have been better if I have went for colors that provided greater contrast.
The bonus project for the month is a set of four placemats. Each placemat has three smaller versions of these blocks arranged vertically on one side, with the rest of the placemat just being a large rectangle of a single fabric. I still need to pick up enough yardage for the large rectangle and backing of the placemats, so I haven’t made them yet. Hopefully I will get around to those this weekend! In the meantime, maybe I can direct my focus back to finishing the Elegance quilt top.