Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quick Project - Strip Applique. (Striplique?!)

Pink Azaleas

 I thought I'd be completely wild and crazy this week and blog on Thursday instead of Friday! Lol, I don't get out much do I!? When I'm done blogging I'm going to put on a CD, turn up the volume and mop the kitchen floor. While dancing. Sometimes cleaning the house feels so good! 

(And once in a great while I give in to the feeling...) 

Before I get to what I've been up to this week, I got some great news yesterday. My quilt "Gotta Dance!" was accepted for exhibition at the National Quilt Museum. It is part of the New Quilts from Old Favorites contest, this year the contest block is the New York Beauty.  I've written about Gotta Dance! on this blog before so I'll just post a pic of it today. If you want to know more about it, here is a link to the previous blogs. (I'm thrilled to be part of this exhibition, they only accept 25 quilts or so!)

Gotta Dance!

Gotta Dance! by Cathy Geier
 Well, on to today's blog.

This is what I made this week. I've made a couple of quilts like this, and I get a lot of complements on them so I thought I'd try to make a small simple version and instead of piecing it, I'd applique the strips. (Striplique?!)

This quilt will end up being a project sample and I'll have to make kits. Lot of kits, and that will be a pain let me tell you since there are over 32 fabrics. But I digress.

Here is how I made it.

Empty foundation and inspirational photo of my quilt Blue Ridge Mountain Sunset
 Notice the yucky card table? You need to design your quilt top on a surface which can withstand some heat. This foundation is a Pellon product called EK 130 Fusible Apparel Interfacing. The rough side has the fusible on it. Don't try this method on fusibles with those little dots of glue - those dots will show through the fabric!

Oh, before I forget. All this information and more ideas are in my book. Coincidentally, I put my book on sale for $15 over the holidays. (Follow the link on the right to my store.)

End of Shameless Plug.
(Oh, by the way, if you have my book and really like it, can you post a review on amazon for me?! Thanks!)

Back to work. 

Greens for the foreground and mid ground.
 I usually have a very messy sewing room. To help keep me on track, I pulled out all the greens I thought I'd use; dark to medium values. Then I organized them into greens and blue greens. Notice that I have some ombre or gradated prints. These are very helpful. 

Cutting and arranging strips

 Keeping darker values in the foreground, I began cutting strips. Most of them are an inch, but I mix up 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch strips just to keep the widths varied. This adds a lot more interest I think. 

I have only done this method of quilt construction on landscapes where the width of the quilt is narrow - like 18 inches max. Keeping these longer strips straight was harder. This landscape was 24 inches wide.

 Every strip I add, I measure from the bottom to the top make sure that the left side of the quilt top is the same height as the right side. I measure left, middle and right sides. 

When the strip is laid out perfectly and I'm sure it is going to work, I press it with a warm iron. This lightly activates the glue but still gives me the ability to rip off the strip if I change my mind. You do want to press a bit as you go though to prevent a disaster if you sneeze. (Or the cat jumps on your table!)

Mountain fabrics
 Once the greens were in place, I picked out the blue mountain fabrics. What you see is what you get with this type of landscape quilt construction so just cut off the ends of the strips in whatever angle you'd like. 

Mountains in place 
 Once the mountains were done, I started on the sky... the fun part. I didn't even try to add any 1/4 inch strips like I do in my strip pieced skies. Each strip only slightly overlaps the strip below it but trying to do that with a 1/4 inch strip would be too hard to keep straight and even across the width of your landscape. 

Working on the sky
 As I mentioned, I've done quilts like this before so I pretty much knew how to angle the strips and change from the sunset colors to the deep blues and purples. 

All Done. (NOT) 
 Ok, so here is where I thought I was all done. But I really wasn't.... I found a couple of things I didn't like. But with this method - it is ok! I fixed it later as you will see. 

Once you fill your foundation with strips, you press it with steam. Since everything is lightly fused in place already, all you have to do is take it to your ironing board. Press with hot iron, use steam.

At this point, I set up my machine with monofilament thread and a narrow zig zag stitch. (The width on my Bernina was about 1.5 and the length was about 1.75.) I zigged and zagged all the strips in place, including all those cut off angles. 

Zig Zag is hardly noticeable! 
 Be sure to click on this picture to see the largest possible image. You really don't see the zig zag and that stitch really helps to minimize the thready raw edge look. In these kinds of landscapes, I think raw edges can look messy messy messy and they take away from the beauty of the landscape.

When I was done with the zig zag I trimmed off all the loose threads and added the appliqued flowers and leaves.

All Done?

 No. Those two lavender strips right above the blue mountains in the middle didn't work for me. Neither did the wide flat blue strip under them. 

Soooo, I fixed it. I just stitched on another blue strip over the first to correct that flat part and then fused on a little 1/4 inch strip right between the lavender ones. No problems! Now it is much better. 

Finished design
 It just occurred to me that this week I've been even more radical than blogging on a Thursday. I actually added borders to a landscape! I haven't routinely added borders to my strip pieced landscapes in years now. But, here it is with borders.

Pink Azaleas
 When all was said and done, I think this little quilt needed a border to set it off. This time I chose a medium blue instead of a darker blue like I chose the first time I played with these colors. (Blue Ridge Mountain Sunset - from my book)  Anyway, I hope you like it!

And now for something completely different. One of the exhibitions from our WI Quilt Expo this year was this one - 

 I thought I'd finish up this blog by showing you a couple of the star quilts.  The lighting was tricky where they were displayed but I did the best I could taking photographs. 

Starry Night by Ellyn Stauffacher 
 I like the way she laid out her stars. I like the little stars on the upper right in the border area. This is a great little wallhanging isn't it?

Summer's Stars by Donna Senzig
 This was light and airy. It reminded me a bit of snowflakes and the quilting was so pretty. Donna chose a different medallion for the center of her quilt. 

Feathered Stars by Eleanor Spears Callaway 
 The dark border really sets off the blocks giving this a very traditional look. 

Blue Feathers by Marin Anderson
 We all love our blue and white quilts! 

Holiday Feathers by Joyce Millett 
And lastly, a starry quilt for the holidays in Christmas colors.

I hope you've enjoyed my blog for this week. Next week is Thanksgiving so I won't be back for a while. I hope you all enjoy a great holiday with friends and family.

It has been a sad week for all of us. We live in scary times but I hope you all can find some peace and joy. 

Love your family and love your friends. Be kind to everyone. (Jesus said to love your enemies as well, my Christian friends.)

That's all from me this week.  Oh, if you have any comments or questions feel free to ask! This technique is very fast and fun.  


  1. Replies
    1. I think your work is extraordinary, and I would like to buy your book.
      Do you give any directives in your book about your work on the horses you made and the wood ? I adore your horses, they are so wild and expressive. Can I hace a suscripcion to your blog also? I'd love to follow your work.

    2. Hi Micky, I think you have the wrong blog. Of course I'd love it if you bought my book - it is even on sale now! - but I haven't made anything in particular with horses or wood. Thanks though!

  2. Hi, Cathy, I am working on a banner for church, and I have been sewing strips for the background. I have your book, love it, but (foolishly, I'm sure) decided to try to do this with all my mountains of stuff on hand, thus did not get tear-away foundation. Found a roll of pattern-making paper/cloth and am giving that a whirl. Also, I'm sort of just foundation piecing the strips ... No idea what problems I am creating for myself, but having a good time nonetheless! Anyhow, I will do some appliqué features for my foreground and I will iron them on and secure with a narrow zigzag... I seem to recall trying monofilament thread a few years back and hated it. What advice can you give me about that? I put it in the bobbin too; was that the error? If so, would you use bottom line in the bobbin instead? Thanks, Cathy!

    1. It sounds like you are having quite an adventure! Use the monofilament OR a clear polyester for the top thread and try a thin bobbin thread like Bottom Line or one that is polyester that you can find as light weight bobbin thread at Joann's. If you are doing a banner and it won't be seen closeup, you could try matching the colors of the strips you are sewing and using a free motion straight stitch on the edges - about 2-3 threads in. It won't keep the edges from fraying as much as a zig zag but I don't think a banner is going to get much abuse. Plus a straight stitch is easier to manage - I know working with that invisible thread can be a pain. ALSO, if you do use the monofilament or clear poly thread, loosen the tension on the top thread. Sometime I turn my tension to almost 0 when working with that stuff. Also use a sharp needle -

      I hope this helps!

    2. It occurred to me that if you are going to straight stitch down the edges you could try using a walking foot and you wouldn't have to free motion straight stitch.

    3. Wow, thanks so much for the quick and very helpful reply! I WILL try the monofilament in a zigzag with some thin Bottom Line in my bobbin. I'm going to free motion the background stuff, and I look forward to wrangling this thing into a squared up rectangle and following your excellent instructions to apply a facing to my edges! After dozens and dozens AND DOZENS of 'traditional' quilts, I am humbly hopeful for a presentable banner at the end of this little party! Thanks again!

    4. I would love to see the finished product! Let me know when you are ready to share it, ok!?

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