Tuesday, May 24, 2011

June SCRAP BEE Block from glen

In the last six months I won a gift card to a local quilt shop, then I received a Joann’s gift card as a thank you for a quilted jacket I donated to a dog club raffle, then I got a gift card to Connecting Threads for Mother’s Day! Over that period I had a few buckaroos to spend. Guess what I spent it on? Gosh and by golly! I must have a thing for green all of a sudden. These happen to be the last four purchases I made online! Does it look like I am losing my mind to green?

So I had to psychoanalyze myself and see why I wanted all this green. The diagnosis was that I was thinking of trees with green leaves -- big leaves, long leaves, bushy leaves, climbing vine leaves, trees with funky leaves and leaves on bare branches!  Leaves with Monkeys!!!

So I thought you might like to join me in thinking about leaves!

Here’s what you do.

Go find yourself some green! You can toss in just a few accent colors too maybe. And brush up on doing some curves. If you don’t want to do curves, don’t worry, I can fix that too. Just read to the end and that will be for you! But if you have always wanted to try curves, then this is your chance!

Gather up some greens. Maybe a few zinger colors won't hurt, but don't overwhelm it. If you want to use some of your 15 minute fabric for the leaf then you will need those zinger colors for the spine and veins. (I wonder why leaves have human anatomy?) You will need a neutral background for this leafy challenge. Neutral-ness is up to you!
Let me say up front, this is not a precise piecing type block. Sometimes you don't really know how large the block or the leaf will end up to be. Think Buggy Barn technique and let your mind blow!

If want to try curves, let's see if I can intelligently walk you through an easy way to do them. If you don't want to do curves, or the fear factor is high, then keep reading to the end and you will see an alternate way to play.

 I found that large pieces are easier to work with than smaller ones at first. Start out with your leaf fabric and cut a leaf shape about 12 or so inches long. Make the curve gentle. Gentle curves are so easy to work with when you are learning. You can get fancy dancy later.
Cut the leaf in half. Either curvy or straight. I did my first two straight.

Hunt in your scraps to find the leaf's spine. Sew it together --- oops! No thread in the machine!  And trim for desired look.

Oh no, I was so excited I got ahead of myself, I didn't make the veins!

Take the other side and whack off a piece across the half in a straight line. Add a different green or a zinger piece to the bottom of your leaf segment. Sew it back together. Do it again. Maybe even again!  Straighten up the inside of the leaf half so it can be sewn back to the first piece.

You should now have your leaf. I trim the leaf so the curve will be gentle and straight.

OK, let’s put it into a neutral background.  I used scraps of  muslin I had in the "white" box.

The background should be just larger than you want the final block to be. Lay the background right side up and place the leaf right side up on top of the background where the leaf will end up. Some people use a French curve or a flexible curve but I just use a ruler edge. I

Carefully move the edge of the ruler along the edge of the leaf keeping the rotary blade against the ruler while I cut the same exact curve in the background as in the leaf.  I trim about a 1/8 inch piece of the leaf as well so the curve will be as exactly the same as possible.

Make a registration mark by placing a pin at a recognizable point. I forgot to take a picture of the first side so this is the second side.  You can also make a pencil mark where the two sides meet.

Fold the leaf back over the background so the right sides are together at the registration point. Pin. Some people use hundreds of pins, some use just a few strategic pins and some don't use any.

Sew slowly making sure fabric edges meet.  Stop every few stitches to make sure your bottom piece is even to the top piece. Some people use tweezers to keep the top piece in place over the bottom.  Either way, this is not the time to be a speed freak! 

Open out and press and you have it half done.

Do the same for the other side making sure your first cut for the curve has both the background and the leaf right side up. (Smile, check it again to make sure!) Lay it back together like a puzzle.  Check again, then cut.  (even so, I have done it wrong!)

Sew the curve just like the other side and...........................

Press. Voila! You have a leaf!                    These are so fun!

If you do not want to piece a curve, make some green fabric by sewing your scraps together.

Cut a leaf shape. This can be deeper and sharper than the last one since we are not piecing it. Slice it and add a spine and veins as before.

When your leaf is complete trim the edges and applique it the neutral background using your favorite method. I used a small zigzag stitch with a stabilizer.

If you want to make a stem for your  small leaf, try it by slashing and adding it like we did with spine block piece.   If I do this one again I will make the leaf first THEN put it on the branch!  I ended up doing a double treat on this block and appliqueing the other side of the leaf down.  It is cute though!

Curve piecing or appliqué, your leaf will be beautiful! Try some small leaves, fat leaves, skinny leaves or some really odd leaves! They are soooooo addicting

I hope this was enlightening. IF you have any questions, please let me know. It I wasn’t clear enough about the curve piecing you can find a number of tutorials on the internet using the various techniques.

And I have the perfect words for the bottom of the quilt!

                                                                               LEAF ME ALONE!

                                                                            Don’t cha just love it???!!!



Miki Willa said...

These are so cool, Glen. It will be fun to see what everyone does with them.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe said...

I love a block that challenges people to try new things! YEAh for curves!! super cute! thanks Glen!

Barbara Arcement said...

This looks like fun. How many blocks do you want us to send you.?
I think I'll try the curve thingy just to see if I can do it.

Deb said...

I love the leaves! Great ideas!! One could use green leaves...or fall leaves...


Nifty Quilts said...

Fun! Leaf it up to us!