September 2009 - - Vines and Flowers

First, you'll need to cut your background fabric. Here's what I suggest for less seams:

  • If you're making a 36 inch long row, cut one strip 36½ by 6½.
  • My quilt rows are 60 inches long, so I cut two 30½ by 6½ inch long strips.
  • If you're making a 72 inch long row, then cut two 36½ x 6½ strips.
Of course, if you want to piece your background, that works too - and if you love applique, feel free to make your strip as wide as you want, so you have more space to fill with flowers and vines -- or whatever you choose to applique, if you're going off on a different tangent!
Now draw some templates for the vines. You'll need half your vines curling to the right, and half curling to the left, so let's make one template, and flip it over (mirror image) for the second. This will give you a vine that undulates across your background when you alternate the two different pieces. First, I cut some cardboard -- the bottom of the kleenex box you see there.

Notice I've taped two pencils together. That's ForestJane's handy-dandy exceedingly inexpensive parallel line drawing (HDEIPLD) tool ... lol

Go on, make one too. You know you want to. :)

For the top curve of the vine, I used a single pencil and traced one line around the outside of a canning lid, making a C. Then I put the ring aside, and used the double pencils to trace the line I'd just made, on the inside of the C shape ... making that middle line you see. Then I put one of the pencils on the middle line and traced again, to make the vine thicker.

For the larger arc on the bottom of the vine, I traced around the outside of a large dinner plate. Then I used the HDEIPLD tool to widen the inside of the plate curve.

Last, cut the templates out on the outside lines. I fused a lightweight sheet of web to the wrong side of my fabric, then traced the templates onto the paper side of the webbing. Remember, half need right curls, half need left curls (mirror images.)

Drawing the leaves is easier - I don't care if my leaves aren't exactly the same size, in fact, I wanted some to be bigger and some smaller. I'm using scrappy fabrics too, so none of my leaves are the same as the ones next to them.

I used a Mayo jar lid for the leaves, because I wanted something bigger than the canning ring. Like we did for the plate, above, just trace an arc, not the whole lid. Give yourself about an inch in the middle of the leaf, then trace another arc for the other side of the leaf.

The bobbin flowers are simple too. Trace around a bobbin for the center, then trace around the bobbin five times for the petals. Trace around a single bobbin circle for contrasting flower centers. I've darkened the picture below so you can see my pencil lines.

I was thinking of the cone shapes for buds, but changed my mind when I started laying it out.

Got all your pieces traced and cut, finally?

Here' s the beginnings of my layout.

I used the rulers at the top and bottom to make sure I didn't forget to leave seam allowance and some 'float' space along the sides of my 6½ background fabric.

I used my big plate again to get the arc of the vine curves right, before I ironed it down. Note that you alternate curves, by using the template and it's mirror image, to make two vine segments, a right, a left, then a right, etc. My vines were 8½ inches long, and I made two right curls and two left curls for each half of my fabric. If you 're making a 36 inch long row for your quilt, you might want shorter vines.

For each half of my row, I used 4 segments of 8½ inch long vine = 32+ inches, so I had plenty to overlap and trim where needed. I always put the curl on top of the beginning of the next vine, then trimmed any that stuck out. And I started with about an inch hanging off the middle of the strip, because I didn't want too much leafy vine in the center when I sew my two background bits together.

After I got the vine placed where I wanted it, I ironed it to the background fabric, and sewed it down with a little machine blanket stitch, in brown thread. You could also use clear thread, if you wish.

Then came the fun of putting the flowers and leaves on. I used matching thread and a blanket stitch to sew down each flower, flower center, then switched to green for the leaves, or you could use clear thread here too.


Of course, if you prefer - you can make and use bias tape for your vine, and even needleturn all that applique down, and not fuse at all. ;)

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