My January Stitch Along Week 3

Posted by Ruth on 17 January 2016 | 0 Comments
This content belongs to Arbee Designs.


I made a decision to make my finished piece about 8" x 10" so not a lot of room for my two applique lists that I made last week, but they will fit. The first thing I needed to do was remove the paper backing from the fusible and position them ready for pressing in place. I always like to play around with the positioning a little and get them in the perfect spot before pressing them permanently.

applique lists with backing paper removed

I did notice, with the backing paper removed that I could see the back applique shadowing through the front one. Normally this wouldn't be ideal and I would add another layer of fabric to prevent that, but for this project, I rather liked the effect. It tends to make the list appear a little transparent as if it was actually paper.

overlapping applique shadows

In my scraps was the perfect size piece of batting ideal for this project - I don't throw any of my scraps away as more often than not, I find a use for them. I really hate cutting a small square out of a large piece of batting! I used a pale blue backing for this project and layered them ready to begin stitching. The cotton blend batting seems to cling to the fabrics nicely when I press it so no pins are necessary.

three layers top batting backing

Next I selected two threads, both dark and close to the colors of the applique edges. I didn't have a really dark, almost black brown, so I used a dark grey instead. It looked better than the dark brown I did have.

threads to match applique edges

As with all my applique, I free-motion stitch around the raw edges twice. It makes for a much neater edge. As you can see, it is almost invisible.

double stitched applique edges

Here's how they look both stitched.

stitching around applique edges finished

I decided that I'd stitch over the written word too. It's been bugging me a bit so I need to do something to make it a little more appealing. When I stitch like this, I stop and start as usual, but instead of snipping the threads, I drag them across to the next start point and snip them off later when I'm finished.

stitching over letters

What a difference with those threads snipped!

stitched letters trimmed

Looking at this I was wondering where to go next. They do look a little flat so I'm thinking of getting the paints out again and adding some shadows.

painted shadows

Well that didn't work as well as I had hoped! So I'd better add some stitching - there's no going back now!

painted shadows stitched

Would you believe I used the same light brown thread for both shadows. The thread has taken on the color of the paint it would seem. You may have noticed while I was playing with the paint, I added a little white highlights along the edges.

Next is the background. I want to really push it down with stitching so that means something quite dense rather than an opened design. I could do a very tight stipple, but I tend to fall back on that too often and want to try something else. The next thing that comes to mind is pebbles. These are tiny rounds and take a little longer than stipple to complete but I don't have a big area so pebbles it is.

background quilting with pebble stitching

It did take a little longer than I expected, but I love the texture of it. It is rough and bubbly where the batting is trapped in each circle. 

The back may be a little easier to see, but the texture isn't as apparent.

back of quilting with pebble stitching

I starting thinking that "what if" question that often pops up in my mind while I'm creating. What if I painted in some of those pebbles different colors. That could look pretty interesting, but I'm not really sure I want to do it on this project. Huh, an idea.... I could try it on the back to see how it looks first.

quilted pebbles painted

It's a little hard to keep the paint within the circle - it may have been a better idea to paint circles first and then stitch around them. It does make an interesting fabric though.

With all the pebble stitching, it has really pushed down the background as I had hoped, but it has also bumped up the applique - just a little too much, so now I've decided to add some wide lines of quilting using a light tan thread. I like the effect, my lists look a little more like paper with lines now.

applique lists with quilted lines

Here is how it looks with the pebble background, painted shadows and lined lists. I have to admit, I'm happier with this now than I was when I painted those shadows. In real, it looks as if you could almost pick those lists up off the background. They look like those old stone tablets from the middle ages!

applique lists with background pebble quilting


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