Thursday, January 20, 2011

Appliquing the Tuba

So my music quilt progresses.

The tuba became my arch nemesis in this project.  So many tiny holes to cut out with little pointy scissors

Then so many tiny holes to applique around!  But I got there in the end.

When I first started reading the instructions for this quilt and saw that it used zig-zag stitch for the applique, I cringed.  My memories of trying this method date back to the 90's where I always used the widest, shortest satin stitch to ensure maximum coverage of the raw edge.  I thought this was what you had to do.  It always ended up puckering the fabric and losing small details of the applique shape.  Plus if you made a mistake and hand to unpick you invariably ended up with a hole in your work.  Since discovering machine blanket stitch, I haven't used anything else for applique until now.

When I set in to actually do the work I read the instructions in more detail.  The zig-zag stitch suggested was not so much a satin stitch.  Stitch width was set at about 2 and length and 0.5 (my machine goes down to 0.2).  This provided a very neat stitch which finished the applique shapes nicely and from a short distance appears to cover the join entirely.

Using the method the pattern describes to pivot on corners and curves, I achieved a very tidy result!
For the strings on the violin and harp, I used stitch width 1 and length 0.4, which produced what appears to be a solid line.  I also used a tear-away stabiliser (in addition to the Applifix) when doing all the zig-zaging.  This stopped any puckering and made the whole job a lot easier.  It really is about using the right tools/products and putting the extra effort in to get the desired result.

I think my favourite of all the instruments at this stage is the violin.

I just love the result of the silver strings on the black neck and the purple edges look very neat.  I think I will
add zig-zag back into my skill set for doing applique.  I am also interested to try the raw edge technique used by Don't Look Now, but that will have to be another project for another time (maybe a suitable shopping list item for the next craft show...)

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