I hope that all of you are having a great time visiting all the different designers' sites and getting all the different rows that have been created for this year's Home Row Along. Have you made sure to sign up for all of the great give aways!
My Row is a celebration of New Hampshire where I was born and raised. I left New Hampshire for too long, living in Florida. Yes, there's lots of warm weather and sunshine in Florida but there's nothing to compare with the seasons of New Hampshire and, for me, nothing takes the place of the mountains! Having done a few patterns with a Fall theme (my favorite colors), I decided this time to create Summer in New Hampshire. Whether hiking, swimming, camping or just being outdoors, summer is a wonderful time here in New Hampshire. The Old Man in the Mountain is shown on the right side of the row. Even though we lost our "old man" some time ago, if you grew up here, it will always hold a spot in your heart. Of course, it can't be New Hampshire without our motto "Live Free or Die" so I just had to put that in but in a place where, if you don't like it, you can easily leave it off without changing the look of the row.
This pattern is very easy and you can place your applique shapes wherever you want to make it your own. The first thing to do is read the pattern over and also this blog before you begin anything so that you can read about any short cuts or different techniques I may have used along the way.
I generally start by tracing the shapes onto fusible webbing. I use SteamASeam 2 Lite but you should use your favorite brand! I have reversed all of the shapes so they are ready to trace for fusible web applique. If you have a Brother Scan N Cut, you will need to mirror image the shapes since you will be cutting from the front of the fabric. If there are any shapes that require more than one, you will find the correct number for each shape. Feel free to add, change, subtract, etc., any of the shapes to get what you want. For example, I have two fish in the lake. If you want more fish or no fish, go for it. If you want smaller fish, just trace inside of the fish shape I have provided. If you use the Brother Scan N Cut, just reduce the size of any shape to get what you want for your row.
So let's get started!!
This picture shows how I cut away the center of the fusible webbing and only had about an inch of webbing going around the outside shape of the lake. Since the lake piece is so large, I could save on the webbing by not using the center of it and this keeps the large pieces a little softer especially if you are going to add more pieces on top of any big applique piece. I used the center section of webbing that I cut out to trace some of the other shapes. I will say that I used my Brother Scan N Cut for cutting out the smaller pieces and lettering. What a time saver that is!
Once your shapes are done, it's time to start sewing!! The sewing is very simple. You have four sky pieces and four grass pieces.
Now you will place the mountains on three blocks and the lake on the remaining right block. Fuse these pieces down according to the instructions on the brand of fusible web you are using. Once you fuse down the mountains and lake, you can applique stitch them at this time or wait. You will be stitching the sashing to the right side of three blocks, then sew all the blocks together to make your row. You want to do this stitching before you add the rest of your applique pieces.
Now you will place all of your applique pieces wherever you want to make this row your own. Once you have placed your pieces, be sure to press the pieces according to the instructions of your brand of webbing. This will make the pieces stick permanently to your background fabric.
If you look at my pattern picture you will see (on the left side), a bird on a branch. When I prepared my row, I moved the camper over to the left and put the clothesline of quilts more in the middle of the second block. I still have included the shapes for the bird on the branch. I just wanted to show you how you can change things around.
Usually I use the applique stitch on my machine but, in this case, I sometimes used a shorter straight stitch since some of the pieces are pretty small. Applique stitching is really all about personal preference of the look you would like to have. If you want stitches that show a great deal, you may want to use a 30 weight thread and a buttonhole stitch. If you want stitches that show less, you may want to use regular sewing thread (50 weight) and the applique stitch. The difference between the buttonhole stitch and the applique stitch is simply that the buttonhole stitch makes a stitch next to the shape then takes a stitch into the applique shape (called the "bite"). The applique stitch makes several stitches next to the applique shape then a "bite" into the applique fabric. You can also change the width of your stitch which changes how long the "bite" goes into the applique fabric. Try some of these options on a scrap of fabric and you'll see what I mean.
There are some sewing machines that don't offer these stitches, so you could use a blind hem stitch or a zig zag stitch.
I didn't really mean to leave just the moose's rear end showing next to the tree!!
Here's a couple of pictures to show you where your needle should be when it is stitching along the side of the applique shape. I hope these pictures help you out.
Just take your time when you are stitching. If you have the pivot feature on your machine, this is the time to use it. If you have a knee lift, use that. If you have to lift your pressure foot with your hand, remember that you don't need to lift it all the way up, just lift it enough to keep your fabric in the right place--next to the needle.
The other thing that I do to make sure I have nice smooth stitches when I applique or when I stitch with decorative stitches is use Stitch in the Ditch paper. It comes on a roll either about 3" wide or 9" wide. It's very thin paper that you place under your fabric and it helps a great deal to keep away that puckering that can happen when using decorative stitches or stitching applique shapes. Here's a look at the paper as I placed it on the wrong side of my fabric. I don't need to glue it on or spray baste it. I just make sure it's under where it belongs when I start stitching and once I've done some of the stitching, the paper stays in place and rips away really easily when I'm done stitching.
Here's a couple of pictures of how I used the straight stitch at about a 1.8 stitch length to stitch down my letters. I would use this on any small pieces that I need to stitch down since it's much easier to get around those little pieces.
The main thing is to have fun and don't stress. Do whatever stitching YOU want to do or what you think makes it easier to get around the shapes. Place your shapes where you want them to be and use the fabric colors that you like. It's amazing how many different looking rows will be made from the same pattern. It's lots of fun to see and I hope all of you stitch some of the rows in this series and upload them to Flicker.
To get your free downloaded copy of my row pattern, click HERE.
If you need any help with applique techniques, visit my Youtube Channel -- Miss Loreen's Schoolhouse
Here's your chance to win some cool prizes!
First is a machine embroidery design collection from Anita Goodesign!
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