Thursday, April 26, 2018

A New Banner

I'm exhibiting to the quilt industry trade show next month, and about a week ago, I started thinking about my little half booth display. 

My main focus while at the show will be to introduce Your Nest™ Organizers to local quilt shops in a very big way. (Send your local shop owner to see me!)

This might be a little confusing, because I know you know me as the owner of Hummingbird Highway, but when Your Nest™ Organizers came along, I was advised to set up a new, separate company - specifically Pudgie Parrot LLC.

Pudgie Parrot (the name sorta inspired by my blue-fronted amazon parrot who likes eating cookies and ice cream from time to time) has its own website, and its own logo - a really adorable one designed by my good friend and amazing website guru Holly Knott

For my display, I decided to make a quilted banner. I already have a banner for Hummingbird Highway, so it only made sense to create one for Pudgie. And it's going to be all applique. 

First I need to improvise a pattern. I took a copy of the logo that prints out about 4x8" and blew it up four times, reversed it, then printed it onto about 10 pieces of paper.

With a small investment in tape, I joined all the pieces of paper together, then pinned the pattern to the right side of a single piece of fabric--about 2/3 yard of big white-on-white polky dots.

Then I grabbed a light box and a pencil and traced all the shapes. 

If you've been following me for any amount of time, then you know I'm a big fan of a hand applique technique known as back-basting applique or template-free applique. To do this, you trace the design on the back of your base fabric in reverse.

Then pin-baste oversized shapes of colorful fabric on the right side of the piece, starting with bottom layers first. Then baste with a super-close running stitch from the back of the work right on the drawn lines. This makes for REALLY accurate applique shapes!

For the basting I don't have knots at the beginning or end of the thread, and I use a larger needle (size 7 sharps) and quilting thread (I prefer YLI Quilting thread) in a weird color so I can see the threads (see the yellow stitching (below) around the shapes?) the green stitches around the 'bib' area are securing the applique shape. You can see the yellow basting thread around the yellow beak and the green belly particularly at the very bottom of the photo.

After I baste around the shape, I like to let the project 'rest' for a few hours, usually until my next sewing session the next evening in front of the TV. Or in the summer on the front porch. The photo below is the same step as the one above, but from the right side. Notice that the fabric shapes have been trimmed about 1/8" away from the basting.

Once the basting threads have rested, the thicker thread leaves a line of holes in the cloth - both the background cloth and the applique shape. Working from the front with a smaller needle (size 10 sharp) and fine thread (I prefer 60 wt cotton) that matches the applique shape color, I then remove the basting stitches a little at a time (about 1/2" ahead of where I'm sewing), then turn the applique edge under along that line of holes.

I secure the folded edge of the applique shape to the background with itty bitty applique stitches. The fabric tends to turn under nicely following the line of holes where the basting thread was, like ripping a check out of your checkbook at the perforation line.

Some areas are a little more challenging than others. All those little feather ruffles set into the wing were a bit of a job. The seam fabric needed to be crunched under all those tiny points and secured with not much room to spare!

This is where I am right now (below). The green part of the head, the branch and several of the letters are based, rested, and ready to turn under and secure. Once sewn, the branch will get some highlighted patches of lighter brown, and some bird toes, plus we've still got a few missing letters. . .

What's Pudgie Art? I didn't baste all the letters onto the fabric because there isn't enough space in between the letters to accommodate the seam allowances from neighboring letters. So I basted alternating letters, then secured those shapes, then basted the remaining letters. I ran out of gas on the parrot part. . .

Obviously, I'm not quite done yet with the applique. Once I do get that done I have to make the how-will-I-quilt-this decision. Hand? Machine? Some combination?

More to come!

Happy Stitching!


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