Hi and welcome to Block 4 in the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along! This time the block is my design. I hope you like it! I’m calling it Christmas Memories. When I volunteered to design a block for the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along, I immediately thought of my childhood and our Christmas tree, filled with lovely antique ornaments. I found photos of my favorites and used them to create this block.
The block uses fusible applique, although you can use needle-turn applique to complete the block if you like. I know. Applique. The "A" word. But don't worry. I've got lots of tips and step by step photos that will hopefully make this easy peasy. There are also 11 other quilt along hosts with additional tips so I promise we'll get through this together. And who knows? Maybe applique will become your favorite quilt technique! <wink>
In case you missed it, Block 3 was also released this week so you’ve got two blocks to make this time. Click here to view my version of Block 3 and to learn where to download the pattern.
If you are just joining us, it’s not too late to catch up! You can find everything you need to know about the quilt along (including where to find the patterns for Blocks 1 and 2) here. The block patterns for the quilt along will be offered free through January 15th at 11:59 PM EST, when the quilt along finishes. So get ‘em while they’re hot! <wink>
Block Pattern Overview
For my blocks, I’m using the Shiny Objects in Holiday Twinkle collection by flaurie & finch for RJR Fabrics although you can use scraps from your stash or incorporate any of the fabrics you've already used in the quilt alongs blocks to make your version of Christmas Memories.
From the Holiday Twinkle collection, I chose #2792-12 (Snow) for the block’s background, and 3022-05 (Red Velvet), 3022-06 (Seafoam), 3022-07 (Tannenbaum), 3023-05 (Scarlet), 3023-06 (Sugar), 3023-07 (Crystal), 3163-03 (Radiant Crimson), 3163-04 (Scarlet), 3163-05 (Seafoam) and gold fabric scraps to create the ornaments.
As you can see you can have a lot of fun with this block, pulling fabrics from everywhere! I encourage you to embellish it after quilting if you like, by adding crystals, sequins, and other shiny objects!
As a QAL host, I’m here to help you achieve success with this block. As the block designer, I am even more invested in helping you be successful. I want you to be happy with your block! Don’t be afraid to post your questions here or on Facebook or Instagram. If you leave a comment here, please also leave your email address so I can get right back to you. I’ll be watching my blog, Facebook, and Instagram and hopefully I can get back to you soon with an answer to any questions you have. If not, one of the other quilt along hosts should be able to. That’s the joy of doing this quilt along with so many awesome quilter friends!
Ready to get at it? First, click the image below to download my pattern and print out the applique templates.
Full instructions are in the pattern, but let me step you through it and add some extra tips.
step 1: Trace the applique shapes
The pattern lists the sizes for each fabric, but that will only work if you make the same fabric selections I did. I’d recommend choosing your fabrics and listing them right on the pattern, alongside each template. That way you can group the templates logically for tracing and easily determine the size of the fabric scraps needed for your version of Christmas Memories.
The templates have already been reversed for fusible applique. If you want to use needle-turn applique, be sure to reverse the templates back and add the seam allowance. (Most of the templates are symmetrical so it won’t matter, but Template L would need to be reversed back if you use needle-turn applique).
I use Heat N Bond Lite for most applique, but I’ve also used Lite Steam a Steam 2 and Wonder Under with great success. In fact, someone will win some Lite Steam a Steam 2 as part of this block's prize package. Pretty cool, and pretty handy!
Start by tracing the applique shapes onto the back of the fusible. I normally just lay my fusible on the template sheet to trace, but if you can't see the shapes that well you can use a light box or hold the template sheet and fusible up to a window to trace.
Alternatively, you can cut out the templates and trace around them onto the back of the fusible after you've already fused it to your fabrics. Whatever works for you!
step 2: Cut out the applique shapes from the fusible
Cut the applique shapes out roughly and not on the line just yet. Don't worry about leaving a 1/4" inch or anything--you can cut around them as sloppily as you want.
If you want, you can reduce the amount of fusible in your block (leaving it a lot more supple and natural feeling) by removing the center fusible from the largest template pieces such as Templates A, B, C, F, G, K, L, M, P, Q, and R and any others you deem too filled up with fusible. Notice that I cut through the outer line into the center of the shape to cut it out. When I fuse, the two ends will go back together no problem.
Before you fuse your fabrics, I've got a tip. If you're using white fabric like I did for the far right ornament, make sure you face the white fabric so the red ornament body fabric won't show through it from underneath. All I did was fuse two pieces of white fabric together, then add my fusing to the back of the bottom fabric before cutting out my applique. You could fuse your white fabric to something slightly darker, like a light gray, but white was what I had on retreat so white was was I used!
step 3: Fuse the back of the applique fabrics
Next, fuse the back of your fabrics. Here are some general directions for using popular fusibles--but always follow the manufacturer’s directions. If you use Heat N Bond, fuse it to the back of your fabrics using a medium hot (Wool) dry iron, pressing for a few seconds. If you use Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 just peel the liner off (one side will come off easily) and press it to the back of your fabric. Then fuse it with a hot steam iron for a few seconds. If you use Wonder Under, fuse it for a few seconds using a hot, dry iron.
I fuse everything on a Teflon pressing sheet to prevent the fusible from sticking to my ironing board. I use a second pressing sheet (or the paper liner from the back of the fusible) when needed to cover the applique and preventing the fusible from getting on my iron. Yeah, this stuff gets everywhere! <grin> One note: you'll need to press a bit longer to fuse whenever you cover your appliques with a second pressing sheet.
You can remove fusible from your iron with a used dryer sheet while the iron is still warm. You can also use baking soda and water to clean your iron when it’s not hot. I found that out at a retreat recently, when we wanted to use an old iron and had to find a way to clean it. Good ol’ baking soda!
Once you've fused your fabrics, cut out the applique shapes exactly on the line. This time, you can't be sloppy!
step 4: Fuse the ribbons to the block
As instructed in the pattern, cut your background larger than ultimately needed—13-1/2” square. Fuse the ribbons to the background first using the measurements given in the pattern to center them along the top edge. For example, center Template D at the 4” mark, measured from the left edge.
Again, here’s what I think you do to use the most popular fusibles but always follow manufacturer’s instructions if you’re not sure: to fuse your ribbons using Heat N Bond, remove the paper liner and fuse with a medium hot (Wool) dry iron, pressing for about 10 seconds. If you use Lite Steam-a-Seam 2, fuse for 10 seconds with a hot steam iron. If you use Wonder Under, cover the applique with a damp cloth (I use an old dust rag I soak in water then ring out for this purpose) and fuse it for a few seconds using a medium (Wool) dry iron. I press until the cloth is about dry, then check that everything is fused.
step 5: Edge-stitch the ribbons
With fusible applique, you need to finish the edges to prevent them from coming loose and possibly unraveling a bit. You can use a blanket stitch or a satin stitch, but I prefer a straight stitch. A straight stitch might not prevent unraveling, but it is extremely easy to control so I highly recommend it. To prevent unraveling when using a straight stitch, I use the Crafted Applique technique and apply fabric Mod-Podge to my fabric then add the fusible.
Anyway, it’s often easier to edge-stitch your appliques as they are applied to your block—at least that’s the theory. So I recommend edge-stitching the ribbons now, before you continue. However, you can also wait until everything is fused down before you edge-stitch your appliques. Your choice!
So if you want to, go ahead and edge stitch the ribbons now before you continue. I’ll wait. <wink>
Oh! I almost forgot. If you are satin-stitching your edges, you’ll achieve better results if you fuse some water-soluble or tear-away stabilizer to the back of your block to prevent puckering.
step 6: Fuse the first ornament
I thought it might make things easier to fuse together the pieces of each ornament and move them to the background for final fusing rather than placing each piece on the block background and fusing them all at the same time. There’s no right or wrong however, so if you want to place everything on the background and then fuse all the pieces down, go right ahead.
If you want to fuse the first ornament together, arrange Templates A, B, and C on a Teflon pressing sheet and fuse. They’ll fuse together, but not to the Teflon. When cool, you can move the ornament into place on the background and fuse it down. If you don’t have a Teflon pressing sheet, you can use the paper liner from your fusible or parchment paper for this purpose.
Fuse this ornament just below the first ribbon (Template D). The stem of the ornament should butt up against the bottom edge of the ribbon. Don’t worry about a tiny gap—you’ll be covering it later with the ornament cap (Template E).
step 7: Fuse the rest of the ornaments
Follow the pattern instructions to fuse together the last three ornaments. Move each ornament to the background and fuse it in place. Be sure to fuse the third ornament (Templates L and K) down last, as it goes in front of the fourth ornament (Templates P, Q, R).
I’ll confess. I didn’t notice this little error until I’d already finished my block. That's what I get for being a pattern tester! <grin> So my third ornament defies all logic (and gravity) and hangs in front of ornament #2, but behind ornament #3, which is definitely in front of ornament #4. Oh well. I won't tell if you won't! <wink>
step 8: Add the ornament caps
After fusing the ornaments down, add the ornament caps and fuse them in place. Each cap (such as Template E) will cover the bottom edge of a ribbon and the top edge of its corresponding ornament. The little indent faces down.
step 9: Edge stitch the ornaments
Finish the edges of all the applique pieces with a straight stitch, blanket stitch, or satin stitch.
I used Aurifil 50 wt #2835, Madeira Polyneon 40 wt. #1904, Sulky 40 wt #1055, #561, and #1169, and Sulky Metallic #7001 to edge stitch my ornaments.
When all the edge-stitching is done, press everything—edge stitching often causes some gathering of the fabric. I press from behind to prevent crushing the appliques.
step 10: Trim your background to 12-1/2” square
Now that your block is finished and pressed, it’s time to trim your background to 12-1/2" square. You’ll be trimming only three edges of the block (left, right, and bottom), as shown here.
I can’t wait to see what you make with my block. There are so many possibilities to be creative. For example, you might chose a background that looks like a tree. After all, these are Christmas ornaments so they could be hanging in a tree. They could also be hanging in a window, or simply floating against a snow filled background like my block.
Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to visit the other quilt along hosts to see their versions of my Christmas Memories block.
Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca at Pretty Piney
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting
Diane at Cwilt
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy at SandyStar Designs
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilt in Piece
Be sure to enter the giveaway!
In case you didn’t know, there are two blocks this week, and two separate giveaways. To enter the Christmas Memories block giveaway, you must make the block and post it in one of these three places by Monday, September 11th at 11:59 PM EST.
- On Instagram, with the hashtag #iwishyouamerryqal. I'd love you to also add the hashtag #christmasmemoriesblock too, but it's not required to enter.
- In the quilt along's private Facebook group
- To the linky right here at the end of this blog post
If you post your Christmas Memories block by the deadline, you might win this wonderful prize package—two Lite Steam a Seam 2 sheet packages and one PDF pattern of your choice from yours truly, Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter.
This block comes with a special offer for everyone! To celebrate my new block pattern—Christmas Memories--I’m offering 20% off all patterns in my shop (PDF download or printed) from now until the end of September (midnight EST September 30th). Just enter the code MERRYQAL20 in the Promo Code box at checkout to receive 20% off all the patterns in your shopping cart. Click the image below to enter my shop.
Don't forget about Block 3!
In case you missed it, there are two block patterns in the quilt along this week. Click here to view my version of Block 3-Santa’s Belt and to learn where to download it. There are two blocks this time (Block 3 Santa's Belt and Block 4 Christmas Memories) and two giveaways, so don’t forget to enter both to be eligible for both prize packages.
On Tuesday, September 12th, be sure to come back here for the next block in our quilt along! You can follow me on social media or sign up for my newsletter if you’d like a reminder when the next block is posted. You’ll find all the ways to follow me at the top of my sidebar. If you have any general questions about the quilt along or would like to see the complete schedule, click the I Wish You a Merry QAL tab above.
You can post you finished Christmas Memories block here, in the Facebook group, or on Instagram with the hashtags #iwishyouamerryqal and #christmasmemoriesblock. Deadline for posting is September 11th at 11:59 EST.
Never linked up before? Click here for help on how to link up. The instructions for linking talk about my Wednesday Wait Loss linky, but the process is roughly the same. If you’ve got time, I’d love it if you’d link up to three works in progress or recent finishes and enter my Wednesday Wait Loss giveaway! Last week’s linkup is still open until 12 PM EST today (Tuesday, August 29th) so don’t miss out. In addition, be sure to come back tomorrow for the next installment of Wednesday Wait Loss so you can enter up to three more projects for more chances to win!